The Allen Americans, led by goaltender Riley Gill, shutout the Utah Grizzlies 4-0 last night to advance to the second round of the Kelly Cup playoffs where they will take on the Colorado Eagles.
- Allen won the series 4-1 against the Grizzlies by sweeping three games in Utah after splitting the first two games in Allen. The series win was the 15th straight for the Americans since Steve Martinson became coach and general manager.
- Allen followed an all too familiar formula to win last night. They scored first which is almost a guaranteed win. The Americans were 3-0 when scoring first in this series and for the season the record now stands at 43-2-2-1. Allen excelled on special teams in the series win over Utah. The only game the Americans lost (game two) was the only game they didn't score a power play goal. Last night Allen was 1-3 on the power play while holding Utah to 0-7. For the series Allen was 6-20 (30%) while Utah was 2-27 (7.4%). You won't lose many games when you dominate special teams the way Allen did against Utah.
- Not sure if it is conditioning, will or skill or some combination of each but Allen owned the third period in this series. Last night Allen outscored Utah 2-0 in the third period. For the series here is the scoring by period:
1st period - The teams tied with four goals apiece
2nd period - Utah outscored Allen 6-1
3rd period - Allen outscored Utah 13-0
- Balanced scoring continued last night with three of the four goals being scored by defensemen. Allen scored 18 goals in the series and 12 different players scored goals. Joel Chouinard had two goals last night and joins Wade MacLeod as the team leader in the playoffs with three goals.
- The goal scorers for Allen last night were Travis Brown (1), Joel Chouinard (2&3), and Wade MacLeod (3). You can see all of the goals and highlights at ECHL Rewind. Here is the link: http://www.echl.com/
- Here is the Allen Americans recap of the games: https://allenamericans.com/americans-shutout-utah-4-0-win-the-series-in-five-games/
- Here is the game recap from the Salt Lake Tribune with quotes from Utah coach Tim Branham: http://www.sltrib.com/sports/5207484-155/grizzlies-utah-loses-game-5-eliminated
- I asked coach Martinson for his assessment of the series with Utah and here is what he had to say, "We started out slow in the series but our skill and experience eventually kicked in. Credit to the Utah goalie who played really well and made big saves every night. Riley Gill just calms things down in our end. You could see it was going to take a lot to beat him. Utah had several six-on four chances tonight but couldn't get the puck past Gill."
- The Americans fly home from Salt Lake City this morning and will have the day off before starting to prepare for round two of the Kelly Cup playoffs against the Colorado Eagles who also advanced last night by eliminating the Idaho Steelheads in five games. There will be plenty of time this coming week to talk about this matchup but the story lines are endless. The two best teams in the Mountain Division going head to head in a best of seven series to see who advances, the two most penalized teams in the ECHL, former Allen Champions Darryl Bootland, Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Matt Register are just a few of the subplots in this series. Here is the schedule. All start times are central daylight time, that is the time in Allen when all the games will start. Tell all your friends and relatives they have to get tickets for this series. It should be epic.
Game 1 at Allen - Friday April 28th (7:05 pm)
Game 2 at Allen - Saturday April 29th (7:05 pm)
Game 3 at Colorado - Wednesday May 3rd (8:05 pm)
Game 4 at Colorado - Thursday May 4th (8:05 pm)
Game 5 at Colorado - Sunday May 7th (4:05 pm)
Game 6 at Allen - Tuesday May 9th (7:05 pm)
Game 7 at Allen - Wednesday May 10th (7:05 pm)
- In other ECHL playoff action last night Fort Wayne beat Quad City 3-2 and won that series 4-1. The Komets now await the winner of the Toledo vs Kalamazoo series to see who they will play in round two. Toledo leads that series 3-2. Game six takes place this afternoon in Kalamazoo. Unless Kalamazoo can pull off an upset the top four seeds in the Western Conference will advance to round two.
- It is a different story in the Eastern Conference where the lower seeded teams are leading in all four playoff series. In the North Division #1 seed Adirondack is down 3-2 to #4 seed Manchester. This is the series where the last five games are all being played in Adirondack. In the other North Division semi-final #3 seed Brampton leads #2 seed Reading 3-2. This is the best opening round series in the league as the first five games have all been decided by one goal with two going to overtime. Brampton won last night 2-1 but it took over 35 minutes of overtime to get the game winner. In the South Division #1 seed Florida is on the brink of elimination by #4 seed Orlando. The Solar Bears lead the series 3-1 and the one victory by Florida was in overtime. Game five is this afternoon in Orlando. In the other South Division semi-final #3 seed South Carolina has a 3-2 lead over #2 seed Greenville.
- The chance for all three San Jose affiliated teams (Sharks, Barracuda, Americans) to win championships was dashed last night as the Sharks were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers. The Barracuda play Stockton this afternoon in the second game of their first round series against Stockton. They have a 1-0 lead in the best of five series. While a Stanley Cup is now out of the question a Calder Cup and Kelly Cup are still in play for the San Jose family.
DID YOU KNOW: Riley Gill's 30 save shutout last night was the seventh playoff shutout of his career to go along with 18 regular season shutouts. Riley has eight shutouts this season (seven regular season, one playoff) which is the most of his career. Gill sets an ECHL career record every time he starts a game and wins a game. He now has 84 career playoff appearances (old record was 80) and 51 playoff wins (old record was 43). The one career record Riley does not own is most playoff minutes played in a career. Gill is at 4739 which is 102 minutes behind all time leader Nick Vitucci's 4841.