The Allen Americans disappointed the home opener crowd of 5335 at the Maverik Center last night by beating the Utah Grizzlies by a score of 4-2. The goal scorers for Allen were Gary Steffes, Jonathan Parker, Daniel Doremus, and Greger Hanson. The best way to describe the game is it was a step in the right direction as the Americans got their second straight road victory and improved their overall record to 3-2.
In the game preview yesterday there were several keys to victory where the Americans would have to show improvement to win in Utah and they delivered.
- Get off to a better start: Allen scored the first goal and never trailed in the game. It was the first road game where they scored the first goal.
- Improve on the power play: Allen was 1-18 entering the game. Officially they were 1-7 in the game last night but the Americans actually had two power play goals as they scored their second goal after a penalty expired but before the player got back in the play.
- More production from Steffes, Costello, Hanson & Pierro-Zabotel: Steffes and Hanson each had a goal and all four had assists as they figured in all four goals. Hanson was the #1 star and Steffes the #3 star of the game.
- Continued good goal tending: Joel Rumpel was a difference maker once again stopping 24 of 26 shots. Rumpel has played more minutes (298) than any other goalie in the ECHL by a wide margin, has not allowed more than two goals in all five starts, has a GAA of 1.81 and a save percentage of .934. Hard to believe he wasn't one of the three stars last night.
- While the Americans have been scoring on average about 1.50 fewer goals per game than last year the good news is they are doing a better job defensively this year. Allen has only allowed 10 goals in their first five games. Last year they allowed 21 goals in their first five games.
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
- We played better tonight than we did in Colorado.
- It was a big night for our defense considering we were missing David Makowski and Rick Pinkston and played with just five defensemen and 11 forwards.
- Joel Rumpel was great in goal again tonight and we gave him enough goals to win the game.
- Sometimes the guys that don't go to AHL camps take a little longer to get going, especially with our short training camp. You are now starting to see what they can do.
- David Makowski is out with an upper body injury and is not expected to play until the team returns home. He has been placed on reserve. Rick Pinkston is day to day.
- The Americans have signed rookie forward Chase Grant who hails from Oklahoma City and played his college hockey at Minnesota State University - Mankato. He was in the line up last night but was the 11th forward and used sparingly. Grant hasn't played hockey
in his hometown for a decade. Two days before he turned 15, he moved
away from home, to Dallas to play midget hockey. From there, he went to
Fargo to play junior hockey and, after that, to Mankato to play for
Minnesota State. Grant was alternate captain of his team as a junior and captain senior. Last season the team was ranked #1 in the nation at one point and went to the NCAA tournament. Chase was a college teammate of J.P. LaFontaine who Allen recently acquired in a trade with Toledo.
- All 28 ECHL teams will be in action tonight.
- With six points Allen is tied with three other teams for the league lead in points but the other three teams have one or two games in hand.
- Joel Rumpel leads the ECHL in wins (3), minutes played (298), and saves (127).
- Daniel Doremus leads all ECHL rookies with 15 shots on goal.
- Officials scheduled for the game tonight are referee Stephen Thomson
(#27) and linesmen Kollin Kleinendorst (#35) and Chris Smith (#55). Thomson & Kleinendorst worked the game last night.
- Most hockey experts predicted the Missouri Mavericks to be much improved this year and the early results would prove that out. The Mavericks started the season with four road games and won three of the four games. They have had two shutouts and allowed just four goals in four games. The Mavericks have their home opener tonight against the Wichita Thunder. They will visit Allen for the first time on Halloween night.
DID YOU KNOW: It should not come as a surprise to Allen Americans fans that the team is 2-1 on the road thus far as they have always been a great road team. The camaraderie and bonding that takes place when the guys spend time together on the bus and in the hotel seems to serve them well. The total number of home victories since the 2010-2011 season is 107. The total number of road victories in the same period is 108.