Sunday, April 8, 2018

Allen Loses Finale but Retains #3 Seed, Game Recap, Steve Martinson's Comments, Allen vs Idaho Meet in First Playoff Round, Playoff Roster, Jersey Auction and Attendance Decline

The season finale last night didn't end as planned for the Allen Americans as they suffered a  4-2 loss at the hands of the Idaho Steelheads before a crowd of 5173 at the Allen Event Center. However, the weekend goal was mostly accomplished. While fans were trying to figure out whether Idaho or Colorado would be a better first round opponent for the Americans, coach Martinson was very clear in his goal, "I want to win every game, make the playoffs and finish as the number three seed." Even though Allen lost to Idaho they claimed the third seed thanks to Wichita losing to Colorado 5-1. Talk about familiarity breeding contempt. The season ended with the first round playoff teams, Allen vs Idaho and Colorado vs Wichita playing each other. With the best of seven playoff series about to start these teams could end playing each other nine games in a row.

- The game last night was similar to the game on Friday night with a few notable exceptions. The biggest was the outcome with  Idaho earning a 4-2 victory after Allen won 5-4 on Friday. On a positive note the Americans scored the first goal of the game but on a negative note Allen never had the sustained pressure like they did in the last half of the third period on Friday night. Instead it was Idaho who had the big third period outscoring Allen 3-1 to earn a split in the series.

- What was similar in the game last night to the game on Friday was the dominate shot total by the Steelheads. Allen was outshot 16-6 in the first period, 18-6 in the second period and 10 -5 in the third period for a game total of 44-17. Add that to the shot total in game one (52-25) and Allen was outhot by Idaho 96-42. You will not win a seven game series when you are outshot by a margin of well over 2-1.

- There were some individual bright spots for Allen in the game last night.

Josh Thrower played forward in what may have been an experiment you could see carryover to the playoffs. Josh scored his first goal of the season in the last game of the season by driving hard to the net.

Thomas Frazee finished the season in style factoring in both of Allen's goals. He scored the first goal of the game and made a great pass to Josh Thrower on his goal. Frazee has been a delight on and off the ice knowing full well he would not be on the playoff roster. He has been a consistent bright spot for Allen in their quest to make the playoffs. In the last six games he has scored five goals. I was asked after the game why Frazee can't play in the playoffs. There is a rule that players under AHL contracts, which Frazee is, must play at least five games in the AHL to be eligilbe for the ECHL playoffs and if they are a veteran, which Frazee is, they must play in 10 AHL games to be eligible  for the ECHL playoffs. Two players can be exempted from this minimum games rule but veterans can't be one of the exceptions. Frazee played no games with his AHL team (San Antonio Rampage) this season.

Zach Pochiro had an assist in the game which was the 100th point in his pro career. Talk about a turnaround from last season to this season. Last season Zach played 42 games in Norfolk and had 27 points (3G, 24A). Coincidentally he has played 42 games for Allen this season but has 41 points (18G, 23A).

Jake Paterson faced 96 shots in the two games against Idaho and was the reason Allen stayed in the games and earned a split. Jake's save percentage for the weekend was .917.

- Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans including a quote from Thomas Frazee about his time in Allen:

- Here is the game recap issued by the Idaho Steelheads:

- There is a highlight package at ECHL Rewind that includes all the goals and some great saves by the goalies. Here is the link:

- Here is the Sporfie highlight package: 


- Martinson's post game interview with Kayla McLain.

- As usual I had a chance to visit with coach Martinson when he was all alone in his office after all of his post game responsibilities were completed. He reiterated the mistakes he sees over and over again from the team. I wish I could better convey in words his passion for winning no matter the circumstances. As he said in his post game interview, Allen has a winning record against Idaho (5-4-0-1) but will not win against the Steelheads playing the way they did this weekend. Martinson's biggest concern is establishing some line combinations so he has all three lines contributing at both ends of the ice. That has not been the case recently and the issues have been with some of the established players. Having watched Martinson over the years I would expect he will get all of the negative stuff out of the way immediately. He is probably breaking down tape today to pull together all of the problems in the last two games and the team will get a full dose of watching all of the mistakes. He will then move forward and get everyone in the frame of mind to have all three lines going. There will be plenty of practice time before the teams heads to Boise later in the week

- It has been a challenging year when you reflect back. Allen started the year with winning percentages of .625 in November and .692 in December. Injuries (Gill, MacArthur, Pochiro, Arseneau), callups (Archambault, Arseneau, McAuley), Lessard leaving for Europe and suspensions led to disastrous months in January (.250) and February (.409). It forced Martinson to make wholesale changes late in the season just to make the playoffs. The March record (.714) was the best month of the season.

-  The playoff roster is due in the league office on Monday (3:00 pm EDT) and will probably be released by the ECHL on Tuesday. There will be three components to the roster when it is released.

1. The largest component which is a minimum of 19 and not more than 20 players is the active roster.

2. Up to three players can be carried on the second component which is the reserve list. Just like the regular season, players can move back and forth between the active and reserve list as necessary.

3. The third component you will see is the "playoff eligible list" which can be as many players as a team desires as long as they meet the requirements. This list is for players that are currently playing in the AHL. If they don't get sent back to Allen prior to Monday afternoon you will for sure see Vincent Arseneau and Colby McAuley on this list but there are other qualified players that could also appear like Olivier Archambault and Alex Schoenborn. The beauty of this list is you don't need to devote one of the 23 roster spots for each player on the list. You could have four players on the list and save only two roster spots. As recalled players listed on the playoff eligible list become available (by assignment, release from PTO or their AHL team loses in the playoffs) teams can supplement their initial playoff roster up to the maximum of 23 players. Once a team has named a total of 23 players the roster remains fixed.

- When you see the playoff roster on Tuesday all you have to do is add up the number players on the active and reserve lists and subtract that number from 23 and you will know how many roster spots are being saved for the players in the AHL. If it sounds complicated don't worry as it will be broken down in detail once all the names are public.

- From what I could find this morning the playoff dates for the first five games of the best of seven series against Idaho are set. Games #1 and #2 will be in Boise on April 13th and 14th. Games #3, #4, and #5 will be in Allen on Wednesday April 18th, Friday the 20th and Sunday April 22nd.


- It is the last day of the ECHL season and one playoff spot is yet to be decided. In a scheduling dream, Kalamazoo is at Indy with the fourth playoff spot in the Central Division on the line. Indy has a one point lead in he standings (76-75) but Kalamazoo owns the first tiebreaker (34-33). It means whoever wins the game (regulation, overtime or shootout) will make the playoffs.

- The seven CHL teams that joined the ECHL in 2014-15 continue to struggle and the playoff teams prove the point. Allen has been the exception with two Kelly Cups and four straight playoff appearances. Allen is joined by Wichita in the playoffs this season. It is the first playoff appearance for the Thunder since joining the ECHL. The other five teams from the CHL, Brampton, Kansas City, Quad City,  Rapid City and Tulsa all failed to qualify for the Kelly Cup playoffs this season.

- Allen had a good turnout for the game last night (5173) but the average for the year was 4082, the lowest attendance reported by the Americans since joining the ECHL. According to the ECHL website, Allen's average attendance has declined the last three seasons. Here is the year by year attendance for the Americans since joining the ECHL

4082  -  2017-18
4340  -  2016-17
4571  -  2015-16
4096  -  2014-15

- The cancer awareness specialty jerseys were auctioned off live after the game last night. I know some fans were able to buy a jersey that had the name of a family member or friend on the jersey to honor their battle with cancer. I have a friend who bought the #25 jersey to honor his mom who passed away from cancer. His mom's name is on the jersey and the 25th was her birthday. The live auction was a success with many jerseys going for $800 or more. The top jersey was #26, Spencer Asuchak, which fetched $1000. A lot of money raised for the great cause of cancer research.

Bryan Moore models the cancer awareness specialty jersey

- In AHL action yesterday Colby McAuley was the #3 star of the game with a goal and assist as the San Jose Barracuda won their third straight game. The Barracuda's chance of making the playoffs is slim but they have not been mathematically eliminated so McAuley will probably not be assigned to Allen until that happens. San Jose has three games remaining which are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Allen's first playoff game in Boise is on Friday.

- Vincent Arseneau's team (Utica) played Olivier Archambault's team (Syracuse) last night and Syracuse won 1-0. Neither Allen player factored in the scoring but Arseneau picked up 15 penalty minutes after the final buzzer. He received a five minute major for fighting and a 10 minute game misconduct penalty as the aggressor which I think may come with an automatic suspension. Both teams have already qualified for the playoffs. Uitca will play the top team in the AHL (Toronto Marlies) in the first round.  

DID YOU KNOW: Making the payoffs is not unusual for Steve Martinson. His teams have made the playoffs in 21 of his 22 years as a coach. Getting the #3 seed was also an accomplishment. I am pretty sure he has never entered the playoffs lower than the #3 seed. If he can lead Allen to his 11th  championship and the Americans to their third Kelly Cup it would be statue time for Martinson outside the Allen Event Center.


  1. Thanks for the explanation on Frazee. Jersey auction was exciting. I had my friends name on the jersey, but prices were just a bit too steep for me! Ready for the playoffs!

  2. don't know what kind of influence you have on the organization Barry, but last night's live auction raised more money than serveral of the online auctions combined. The live auctions bring in higher dollars and are so much more fun to participate in.

    With the season we had this year, finishing as the 3rd seed is amazing. We need to stop trying to be fancy with the puck and turning it over in the neutral zone or in our own zone. That has been an issue all season. I don't have a suggestion as how to correct it but we need to figure out how not do it if we want to be successful in the post season.

    1. I agree with you on the jersey auctions Gilley. I can see both sides of this, the internet opens up options for friends, family and stalkers. However, each time I bid on a jersey a couple minutes later I'm outbid. I understand the nature of on-line bidding however I can't quite shake that feeling that I'm being duped!?!

  3. I hope the game tape reviews work better NOW. I've seen players make the same mistakes game after game. Loved the hit Makowski made at the blue line which caused a turn over and a subsequent goal. OLD TIME HOCKEY, EH COACH!!