Saturday, December 24, 2016

Allen's Christmas Gift to Idaho, It's Time for a Break, Waiver/Trade Freeze, ECHL Standings & More

The Allen Americans gave Idaho an early Christmas present last night as they squandered away a 2-0 lead and lost to the Steelheads 3-2 in a shootout. You could blame the loss on fatigue (they were playing their sixth game in 10 days), looking ahead to the Christmas break or even the officiating but the facts are the Americans were outworked and out played and were not the same team that shutout Idaho 6-0 Thursday night.

- Here is the short version of a game recap. Allen took an early 2-0 first period lead on goals by Tanner Eberle (4) and Ryan Moore (6) but gave one back on a five-on-three power play to make the score 2-1 going into the first intermission. That was the extent of the scoring until Idaho tied it up at the 11:38 mark of the third period. The game went to overtime and both teams had excellent scoring opportunities but could not convert. Idaho won in a shootout. Below are three links that can give you all of the details.

- This link is a recap of the game as provided by the Allen Americans:

- Here is the recap of the game as provided by the Idaho Steelheads:

- And last, the link to ECHL Rewind to view video highlights. As I am writing this the Allen vs Idaho highlights have not been posted. They may be posted later today but with the Christmas break underway I doubt it. Just in case here is the link:

- My takeaways from the game last night would include Allen got out shot in all three periods including 11-3 in the third period when the game was hanging in the balance. For the game, the shots were 44-28. It is a rare game when you get out shot that bad and win.

- The special teams that have been winning games recently lost the game last night. The power play was 0-5 including a 1:58 four-on-three at the beginning of the overtime. The penalty kill gave up two goals on six opportunities.

- I had the chance to go over both Idaho power play goals with coach Martinson after the game and feel most impartial observers would conclude that the first power play goal, which was scored on a full two minute five-on-three, should have been a five-on-four power play. The second power play goal was scored after goalie Jamie Murray was interfered with. While these calls were frustrating they weren't the reason Allen lost the game. There are calls in every game that don't go your way. You have to be good enough to overcome what you feel are bad calls. The Americans lost last night because they couldn't score a goal in the last 45 minutes of regular time and in five minutes of overtime.

- Allen had won their only previous shootout game and so last night when the Americans chose to go first and Greger Hanson scored things looked good. However, Idaho scored on their first two attempts. Chad Costello and Gary Steffes both missed so the Steelheads won with out even taking their third attempt. For the record Allen is now 1-1 in shootouts. Hanson is 2-2, Costello and Steffes are 0-1 in shootout attempts. The only other player to take a shootout attempt is Matt Willows (now in Reading) who was 1-1.


- It is too bad Allen lost the way they did last night going into the Christmas break but it might have been good timing. You can only imagine what practice would be like after blowing a 2-0 lead and getting outworked like the Americans did last night. It is probably a good thing coach Martinson won't see the team again until he meets up with them in Wichita on the 28th.

- Despite the disappointing loss last night Allen did come away with a point and has at least one point in 11 of the last 13 games. Since November 29 the Americans record is 9-2-1-1. It has been a nice turnaround and something to build on in 2017. Now it is time for the players and staff to forget about hockey for a few days and enjoy their family and friends. Many have scattered around the US and Canada both driving and flying, some have their families and friends visiting Allen and some won't be able to be with family. Hope it is a joyous time for all and they come back next week ready for the "real" season to begin.

- The attendance last night was 4215 and the average attendance for the first 14 home dates is 4047. Last season Allen attendance averaged 4571 for the full season. So as of today the average is 524 per game behind last season. There are still 22 home games remaining and you always hear it said hockey season doesn't begin until after the first of the year when high school football is over and the temperatures go down. If the Cowboys make a deep playoff run there could be some game conflicts which will certainly hurt attendance for the Americans. This team has not been the most stable financially for years and attendance is estimated to be somewhere between 70% - 80% of gross revenue. Just like the team on the ice, Allen fans need to step up after the first of the year to show their support.

- When I got home after the game last night and checked the standings to my surprise Allen was sitting in second place in the Mountain Division with 36 points. It was short lived as Alaska won a late game against Rapid City to jump back into second place. Incidentally, local product and former Allen Americans player Nolan Descoteaux, who now plays for Alaska, was the #1 star in that game. Allen has played more games (32) than any other team in the ECHL so when looking at points it is a little misleading. If you just look at points the Americans are ranked #8 in the ECHL out of the 27 teams. However, if you look at winning percentage which accounts for the discrepancy in games played Allen ranks #16. Here are the Mountain Division standings by points and winning percentage. Remember, top four teams make the playoffs.

40 points:  Colorado
37 points:  Alaska
36 points:  Allen
35 points:  Idaho
27 points:  Missouri
23 points:  Utah
23 points:  Rapid City

.690:  Colorado
.685:  Alaska
.603:  Idaho
.563:  Allen
.482:  Missouri
.411:  Rapid City
.397:  Utah

- Along with the Christmas break where are there are no games or practices between December 24-26, there is a waiver/trade freeze between December 22 (5:00 pm EST) and December 27 (Noon EST). It doesn't mean there isn't work going on behind the scenes and deals being agreed to. They just can't be made official until after the 27th. If past is prologue you can be assured more roster changes are in the works for the Americans but not until after the first of the year.

- I heard through the grapevine that season ticket holders and great supporters of the Allen  Americans, Ryan and Jerrica Stalcup stepped in at the last minute to provide a post game meal for the team last night. I didn't partake last night but I have in the past and the Stalcups put on quite a spread with beef brisket to die for. Stick taps to Ryan and Jerrica.

- As a reminder it is not too late to get your name in for NYE ticket drawing. I have four loge (second level) tickets for the New Years Eve Game against Utah. It is a 5:05 pm start so plenty of time to watch the game and still celebrate afterwards. I will have a drawing for the tickets on Tuesday (12/27). If you are interested let me know via Twitter, Facebook, the Blog, text, in person or by email ( All I need is your name and if you want two or four tickets. The tickets are in the end of the rink where the Zamboni enters the ice, close by where the players that aren't playing sit. I will announce the winner or winners in the blog Wednesday morning and leave the tickets at will call. Good luck!


Dianne Webster spends a lot of time at practice and and during the games providing great photos for the team, the league, the players, the fans and writers. Here are a few from the game last night.

An attentive bench watches Dyson Stevenson

Bryan Moore with a goal in his fifth straight game

Ho Ho Ho and a Merry Christmas to all

Greger Hanson clears the zone while falling

Hard work by Jake Marchment leads to Tanner Eberle goal

DID YOU KNOW:  Going into the Christmas break the Allen Americans have lost 15 games. Last season they went into the Christmas break with 12 losses. Two years ago Allen went in to the Christmas break with only seven losses. 

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