Fans had to wonder if the specialty jersey, big Saturday night crowd curse was going to strike again when the Americans dominated the first period (outshooting the Thunder 14-5), but were losing 1-0 at the first intermission. Allen gave up the first goal of the game for the 10th time in the 12 games they have played against Wichita this season. To make matters worse, the goal was a power play goal, the eighth straight game against Wichita that Allen has surrendered at least one PP tally.
Allen was not to be denied on this night, blitzing the Thunder in the second period with 20 shots on goal and three goals. One of the goals was shorthanded, scored by Mitch McLain. When the second period ended, Allen had a 4-2 lead and a 34-13 shot advantage.
Allen added three third period goals, including two on the power play when Wichita took an ill-advised five minute major penalty for cross-checking. The third period was won by teh Americans 3-0 on a shot advantage of 18-6.
The final score was 6-2, but Allen could have easily scored 10 goals in the game had it not been for the great play by the Wichita goalie. The Americans shot advantage of 33 (52-19) was the biggest shot differential all season.
The goal scorers for Allen were Stepan Falkovsky (15), Jack Sadek (6), Mitch McLain (2 & 3), Tyler Sheehy (26) and Spencer Asuchak (7).
Here are the video highlights:
Here is the game recap issued by the Wichita Thunder.
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
“It was a much better night tonight. Thinking about last night is still painful.”
“Wichita shot the puck better than us last night, but we served then up a lot of quality scoring chances that were kind of brain dead.”
“McLain is a greasy player that moves his feet well and plays hard. he is a good addition. You never know when players get recalled, but there is a chance McLain could be with us at least through the Utah series.”
“Some of our guys need to figure out how to bring it every night. You can’t just bring it on nights when we don’t need you.”
As good as Allen played last night, the penalty kill gave up two power goals on three chances. In the last four games against Wichita, the Americans’ PK percentage is a mere 30%, giving up seven goals on 10 opportunities. Yes, the penalty kill scored a shorthanded goal last night to mitigate the two power play goals allowed, but the penalty kill needs improvement. The PK has fallen to 16th in the league at 81.0%. With Sheehy back in the lineup and McLain killing penalties, you should see some improvement.
Sheehy looked like he hadn’t missed a beat after sitting out six games with an injury. He led the Americans with three points (1G, 2A) and continues to lead the ECHL in points (67) and points per game (1.52).
Falkovsky had a goal and an assist last night to become the seventh Allen player to score 40 points this season. He has 40 points (15G, 25A), leads the ECHL in goals by a defenseman, and is 4th overall in points.
McLain played in his fifth game for the Americans last night and is now qualified to be on the playoff roster. With Iowa headed for the playoffs, it is uncertain if he will be available to Allen, but he would be a big addition if he is assigned to the Americans for the postseason. In his five games in Allen, McLain has three goals (including a shorthanded tally).
In other action in the Mountain Division last night, Idaho beat Utah 4-0 and Rapid City defeated Tulsa 8-4. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it is looking more and more likely Allen will win the division, Utah and Idaho will battle for second and third, and Rapid City and Tulsa will fight for the last playoff spot.
Five of Allen’s next six games are on the road, and how the Americans fare in the next two weeks will dictate how they finish the season. The first priority is winning the Mountain Division, but Head Coach Steve Martinson also wants to have the best record in the Western Conference. Allen is currently ahead of Central Division leader Cincinnati by six points. Next week, Allen plays in Tulsa on Tuesday, Kansas City on Friday, and takes on Tulsa at home on Saturday. The following week, they play three critical games in Utah.
The Americans had a live auction right after the game to sell the specialty jerseys the team wore in the game. Most of the jerseys went for $350 or less. Only one went for $600 (Sheehy) and two fetched $550 (Falkovsky & Asuchak).
Allen has now finished playing Wichita this regular season. The final record for the 12 games the Americans played against the Thunder is 8-1-3-0.
DID YOU KNOW…
Tyler Sheehy is in some good company with his 1.52 points per game average thus far this season. Here are the best points per game averages for a single season amongst Americans since Allen joined the ECHL (minimum 40 games):
1.74 – Chad Costello (2014-15)
1.69 – Chad Costello (2016-17)
1.52 – Tyler Sheehy (2019-20)
1.43 – Chad Costello (2015-16)
1.31 – Greger Hanson (2016-17)
1.19 – David Makowski (2016-17)
1.16 – Gary Steffes (2013-14)
1.15 – Olivier Archambault (2019-20)
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