ALLEN, Texas – After allowing a total of four goals in four games going into last night’s game against Tulsa, it appeared the Allen Americans defensive play had turned around. This turned out not to be the case, as the Americans lost to the Oilers 5-3 before a crowd of 4,002 at the Allen Event Center. The game was not as close as the final score.
With a 1-1 tie after the first period, the wheels came off for the Americans in the second. Turnovers in the defensive zone, neutral ice, and while carrying the puck into the offensive zone led to four unanswered Tulsa goals. When Tulsa scored at the 18:09 mark of the second period to make the score 5-1, the game was essentially over. Allen managed to score with .3 seconds left in the period to make the score 5-2 to give themselves some hope, but could not close the gap in the third period until they tallied a meaningless goal with six seconds remaining in the game.
Allen is going to have to play much better when they play the Oilers in Tulsa on Sunday afternoon. It won’t be easy, as Tulsa takes the day off today (Saturday) while Allen has to play Wichita and then travel to Tulsa overnight.
Goal scorers for Allen were Jordan Topping (22 & 23) and Jared VanWormer (21). Here are the video highlights:
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
“The biggest thing we talked about before the game was getting pucks in deep and avoiding turnovers, and we didn’t execute that at all.”
“On one of their goals, we had three different players turn the puck over, which finally led to a 2-on-1.”
“We had enough puck possession to win that game; we just weren’t smart. You can’t turn the puck over like we did tonight.”
“You think we are getting better defensively and then some of the same guys make the same mistakes. It is back to the drawing board with some of those guys.”
“We are loaning VanWormer to Cleveland (AHL). He will be leaving in the morning.”
ALLEN VS. WICHITA PREVIEW
The game tonight will be number 10 of 12 where Allen plays Wichita this season. Allen has earned points in all nine previous games, with a record of 6-0-3-0.
Wichita arrives in Allen as a team that is really struggling. The Thunder have lost three straight, eight of their last 10, and 13 of their last 16 games. Wichita would like nothing better than to come to Allen and beat the division-leading Americans. This is the kind of game Allen has to win.
Tonight will be the final game for Matt Register, Mitch McLain, and Kyle Bauman, as the three will head back to Iowa tomorrow. As Coach Martinson stated, VanWormer is on his way to Cleveland (AHL), and Les Lancaster just got loaned to Stockton (AHL). Martinson mentioned last night that Josh Brittain is day-to-day because of illness. Stepan Falkovsky is available tonight after serving his two-game suspension.
Goalie Jake Paterson was placed on injured reserve yesterday retroactive to February 9. Andrew Shortridge will get the start in goal tonight.
In their nine head-to-head games, Allen has outscored Wichita 42-27 and out shot them 314-275. Allen has a power play goal in eight of the nine games and a power play percentage of 23.1% (9-for-39). Wichita has a power play goal in six of the nine games and a power play percentage of 20.6% (7-for-34).
Despite the great record against Wichita this season, the Thunder have scored the first goal in six of the nine games. Allen gave up the first goal last night in the loss to Tulsa and never led in the game. The Americans need to get off to a better start tonight.
Four of the nine games Allen and Wichita have played this season ended up being decided in overtime. Wichita has won three of the four overtime games.
Olivier Archambault leads Allen when playing Wichita with 16 points (5G, 11A) followed by Topping with 12 points (6G, 6A) and Alex Breton with 11 points (4G, 11A).
The referee scheduled is Casey Terreri, who was also the referee last night. He let the teams play for the most part, as he only called four penalties in the game and just one against Allen. However, tonight is Wichita and not Tulsa, so look for more penalties.
Here is the Sporfie highlight the referee reviewed on the disallowed Allen goal last night that would have tied the score, 2-2. Pretty clear the goal is dislodged before the puck goes in.
Lancaster, who was just loaned to Stockton, did not play last night. Stockton plays again tonight in Tuscon. Gabe Gagne also sat out last night, but he has been playing regularly since being loaned to Rockford the end of January. He has played in 14 games and has seven points (3G, 4A). His plus/minus rating is minus-2. Gabe is expected to be in the lineup tonight when Rockford visits division leading Milwaukee.
Allen still has a seven-point lead over Utah and 11-point lead over Idaho in the Mountain Division, but are losing ground since they have lost four of their last six games. While Allen is at home tonight against Wichita, Utah takes on Kansas City at home, and Idaho is at home against Rapid City. Only Tulsa is idle.
Allen isn’t the only top team struggling. Newfoundland has lost four straight games, including three straight at home after winning 19 straight at home. At the other end of the spectrum is South Division front runner South Carolina, who has won five straight and seven of their last eight games. Central Division leader Cincinnati has won four straight games after losing five straight.
DID YOU KNOW…
In the history of the Allen Americans franchise, only four players have played 100+ games and had a point-per-game average of more than one.
1.62 – Chad Costello
1.28 – Bruce Graham
1.15 – Greger Hanson
1.07 – Colton Yellow Horn
Follow Barry on Twitter and his personal blog for a fount of Allen Americans past and present history and information! Don’t forget to also follow The Sin Bin on Twitter and Facebook for all additional AHL, ECHL, and SPHL minor league hockey coverage and insights!
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