Saturday, April 14, 2018

Allen Gets Big Road Win, Takes 1-0 Series Lead, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Martinson's Comments, Rematch Preview, Barracuda Update, Series Win Probabilities and More

It was Friday the 13th but a great start for the Allen Americans last night as they kicked off the 2018 Kelly Cup playoffs with a big win on the road. Allen beat Idaho 3-2 before one of the smaller crowds of the season (3918) at CenturyLink Arena. One of the keys to the game was to get off to a good start and Allen accomplished that scoring the first goal 116 seconds into the game. The teams kept trading goals throughout the game but Allen began and ended the scoring for the 3-2 victory.

- The great start did not end with scoring the first goal as the Americans out shot the Steelheads (10-9) in the first period. That is a feat Allen had not accomplished in the last 13 periods against Idaho going all the way back to January 5th. The first period ended on a positive note as the Americans took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Allen's regular season record with a lead after the first period was 21-4-1-0.

- Allen's three goals were all very different. Braylon Shmyr scored the first goal, his third since joining the Americans, when he drove the net, got behind the defense, took a great pass from Alex Guptill and tipped the puck home. David Makowski scored the second goal, his 12th of the season on a great individual effort. David intercepted a muffed clearing pass at the blue line, took a couple of strides up the slot and finished like only he can (high glove side) to give Allen a 2-1 lead. Allen's game winning goal was scored by Bryan Moore, his 22nd of the season, on a three-on-one break in the third period. Mike Gunn made a great pass to Spencer Asuchak to start the play, Spencer carried the puck into the zone and dropped a pass right on the tape to Moore who buried the puck.

- Here is the game recap from the Idaho Steelheads which describes all of the goals:

- Here is the game recap from C.C. Hawkley who covers the Idaho Steelheads for Team Sin Bin:

- Here are the video highlights. Take the time to watch this a few times and focus on the play by Guptill on the first goal, how Makowski picks his spot on the second goal and the pass by Gunn to start the three-on-one and the play by Asuchak on the Moore goal. Good stuff by the Americans.

- After allowing Idaho 44, 52 and 48 shots the last three times these teams played it was a different story last night when the Steelheads managed just 29 shots on goal.

- Idaho won the special teams battle going 1-3 on the power play while Allen was 0-3.

- Idaho opted to go with their experienced NHL contracted goalie, Philippe Desrosiers, even though he spent the last month with the Texas Stars and played sparingly (70 minutes). He hadn't started a game for Idaho since March 4. That meant the hottest goalie in the ECHL over the last month, Tomas Sholl, with a record of 9-0-1-1, a GAA of 1.24 and save percentage of .953 was on the bench. Granted Sholl's two losses were both against Allen. In the game last night Desrosiers stopped 21 of 24 shots for a save percentage of .875. Winning goalie Jake Paterson stopped 27 of 29 shots for a save percentage of .931.


- Steve Martinson had this to say in his post game interview, "We played the right way, the way we need to play to be successful. We limited our turnovers and played sound defensively. Jake Paterson was solid."

When I had a chance to touch base with Martinson this morning he had these comments:

"We played with better structure and discipline which allowed us to cut down on low percentage plays and turnovers."

"We still took three bad penalties. Bryan Moore's was the worst but he made up for that by scoring the game winner."

"Jake Paterson was solid in net. Idaho's first goal was a screen and their second goal was a broken play that created a three-on-one in front of the net."


- If Allen can repeat the effort they gave last night they will have a good chance to win game two. When Allen reduces turnovers, which in turn reduces shots on goal against, they fare well. They need to continue with that approach again tonight.

- One area that needs improvement is the power play that was 0-3 last night and is at 12.9% over the last 11 games. Chipping in with a power play goal would really help in the rematch tonight. It won't be easy against an Idaho penalty kill unit that has allowed a power play goal in only two of their last 11 games with a penalty kill percentage of 94.1%.

- The Allen penalty kill has been good even though they allowed a goal last night. Over the last 11 games the Americans penalty kill percentage is 87.2% (5-39). One thing is certain and that is most nights the winner of the special teams battle wins the game.

- You wonder how much of a dilemma it is for Idaho coach, Neil Graham, to decide who to start in goal tonight. With the record Tomas Sholl had over the last month along with the Steeleheads losing game one, Sholl should get the nod. It is worth noting that Sholl has allowed only 14 goals in his 11 starts for Idaho but half of them where in his two games against Allen. He gave up five goals to Allen in his last start on April 6.

- The referees for the game tonight are the same as last night, Andrew Bruggeman (#25) and Alex Garon (#9). The linesmen are Scott DeBaugh (#67) and Brendan Gormley (#38).


- Allen was the only lower seed to win last night but a couple of the favorites had to put in a lot of extra work to get the job done. The #1 seed in the North Division, Adirondack had no trouble against the #4 seed Worcester easily defeating the Railers 3-0. However, in the other North Division series the #2 seed Manchester had to play two overtimes (37 minutes and 38 seconds) before defeating #3 seed, Reading, 3-2. It was a disappointing loss for Reading who had a 2-0 lead after the second period. In the only other ECHL action last night the #1 seed in the Central Division, Toledo scored the game winner 93 seconds into the second overtime to beat a scrappy Indy team 4-3. Former Allen player Tyler Barnes was the hero with the overtime gamer winner for Toledo.

- So far higher seeds (Adirondack, Manchester and Toledo) are ahead 1-0 in three series, lower seeds lead 1-0 in two series (Orlando and Allen) and three series have yet to start (Fort Wayne vs Cincinnati, Colorado vs Wichita and Florida vs Atlanta).

- Here is the ECHL Today with an update on all eight first round playoff series including a preview of the five games on tap tonight.

- It was hard to imagine 10 days ago when the San Jose Barracuda was sitting in last place and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that they would win five games in a row. The win streak along with some help from San Diego, who has lost four of their last five games, and the final playoff berth comes down to the last games of the season tonight. San Jose makes the playoffs if they win in Stockton and San Diego loses in Tucson in regulation. Otherwise San Diego is in and San Jose is out. Allen fans will be watching with mixed emotions hoping their AHL affiliate can make the playoffs after an amazing run the last 10 days but if the Barracuda fall short it could mean Colby McAuley will be assigned to Allen.

DID YOU KNOW: If you want some positive stats after the big win by Allen last night here are a couple that might be reassuring. Across all major league sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) there have been over 1300 seven games series played and the teams that took a 1-0 lead have gone on to win 71.1% of those series. A little closer to home the Allen Americans have never lost a series under coach Steve Martinson when they have taken a 1-0 series lead. 


  1. hat second goal by the fish was just ugly!! Our player lost possession of the puck and then had his stick held and then that same player was just plain beaten at the net seconds later. Makes one wonder if he hadn't had his stick held he could have gotten to a better defensive position at the net?

    The Gunn fight, at the 10 second mark Gunn was holding Nevin up after that HUGE blast!! Derosiers didn't even know Shmyr had shot and the puck was already behind him when he turned to the right, the Makowski was just plain sweet and reeked of "extra effort" on his part!! The 3 on 1 was a beautiful sight!!

    Hope they do equally as well or better tonight!!

  2. That was a great game! You could tell our guys were really trying to do everything right. So glad to see what we are used to seeing from our Americans. So much of the season wasn't that!