Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview, Allen Adds Defenseman (Abeltshauser) & Goalie (Rumpel)

It is game day and it will be a long one for the Allen Americans as they will head for Tulsa today to play the Oilers (7:00 pm) and then drive to Wichita where they play the Thunder tomorrow night. After these two games the Americans will have just one road game remaining as they will take a same day up and back trip to Wichita on the last day of the season (April 11th).

If you haven't noticed Allen has turned things around recently and has a five game streak where they have scored points winning four of the last five games with the only blemish an overtime loss. Allen has beaten Tulsa three times in the last ten days but you can't attribute Allen's win streak to playing against a weaker team. If you eliminate the three losses to Allen the Oilers are 12-2 in their last fourteen games and playing excellent hockey.

Tulsa should be ready and motivated for the Americans not just because they have lost three straight to Allen but because they are still in a battle for a playoff spot. They could finish anywhere from second place and home ice advantage in the first round to fifth place and out of the playoffs.

Riley Gill and Tyler Ludwig who were injured on the same play last Wednesday in Tulsa will not make the trip but there will be a new goalie (Joel Rumpel) and defenseman (Konrad Abeltshauser) with the team. Both of these players will be in the line up tonight. See details below.

The best indication of what might happen tonight is the three games these teams have played in the last ten days. Allen won all three games (3-2, 3-1 & 8-2) but statistically the games were very close. Tulsa out shot Allen in two of the three games and had more total shots than Allen (89-85).  On the power play Allen was 2-11 (18.2%) and Tulsa was 1-13 (7.7%). Penalty minutes were almost identical with Allen getting 50 minutes and Tulsa 48 minutes. The game will most likely come down to a critical turnover, a special teams play or great goalie play.  With a win tonight Allen would regain first place in the Western Conference which is something coach Martinson is pushing for.


- Here is a statistical comparison:
Team Record: Allen (43-14-6-3) - Tulsa (34-27-2-3)
Points: Allen (95) - Tulsa (73)
League Rank: Allen (4th) - Tulsa (16th)
Goals For: Allen (263) - Tulsa (231)
Goals Against: Allen (192) - Tulsa (225)
Goal Differential: Allen (+71) - Tulsa (+6)
Team Plus/minus: Allen (+241) - Tulsa (+99)
Power Play %: Allen (21.4% on the road) - Tulsa (13.3% at home)
Penalty Kill %: Allen (86.5% on the road) - Tulsa (78.2% at home)
Team PIM's Per Game: Allen (22.79) - Tulsa (19.24)
Record Last 5 Games: Allen (2-3) - Tulsa (4-1)


- The game tonight is the seventeenth and final time these two teams play this season. Allen's record against Tulsa this season is 11-4-0-1.


- The leading scorer for Allen against Tulsa is Chad Costello who has twenty eight points (13 goals 15 assists) in the 16 games. T.J. Caig leads the way for the Oilers with eighteen points (7 goals 11 assists).


- The scheduled referee for the game tonight is Jake Brenk (#29) who is very familiar to Allen fans from his many years in the CHL. You may remember Brenk as the referee who was given a hard time for calling so many penalties for foul language. Here are some CHL memes for old times sake.










NEW PLAYERS

- Defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser arrived in Allen yesterday from the Worcester Sharks and should be in the line up tonight in Tulsa. Konrad is a native of Germany and was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL draft. He is in his second professional season having played all of his 107 games with the Worcester Sharks. He is an offensive defenseman and a left shot so you can expect to see him at some point on the power play. At 6'5" 225 pounds Konrad is described as a big yet mobile defenseman who likes to join the attack and is a leader on and off the ice. He played many years in Germany for the national hockey program and was captain of the German under 20 team. He played junior hockey in Canada (QMJHL) and in 2012-2013 his junior team (Halifax Mooseheads) won the prestigious Memorial Cup. Konrad had the game winning goal in the championship game. Here are his stats courtesy of hockeydb:
Konrad Abeltshauser

Konrad Abeltshauser

Defense -- shoots L
Born Sep 2 1992 -- Bad Tolz, Germany
[22 yrs. ago]
Height 6.05 -- Weight 225 
Drafted by San Jose Sharks
- round 6 #163 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge x8 G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 48 5 20 25 28 -26 ----------
2010-11 Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 58 8 19 27 47 -36 4 3 0 3 0
2011-12 Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 57 8 36 44 30 17 15 5 11 16 16
2012-13 Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 56 7 47 54 22 35 17 7 13 20 12
2013-14 Worcester Sharks AHL 57 6 15 21 18 0----------
2014-15 Worcester Sharks* AHL 50 3 16 19 19 2




2014-15 Allen Americans ECHL Statistics Unavailable

- The other new player on the Allen roster is goalie Joel Rumpel who just signed a one year NHL contract with the San Jose Sharks after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin. In 2013-2014 Rumel was a finalist for both the Hobey Baker award given to the nation's top collegiate player and the Mike Richter Award presented to the nation's most outstanding collegiate goaltender. His GAA was 2.07 and save percentage was .929. Joel's stats took a hit this year (GAA 3.49 Save Percentage .902) as his University of Wisconsin team was one of the worst in the NCAA with a record of 4-26-5. As one article stated, Rumpel on many nights was the only thing keeping Wisconsin from further disaster. Here are his stats courtesy of hockeydb:

Goalie Joel Rumpel has been assigned to Allen by the San Jose Sharks

Joel Rumpel

Goalie -- shoots L
Born Mar 14 1991 -- Swift Current, SASK
[24 yrs. ago]
Height 6.03 -- Weight 185
RS Scoring RS Goalie Stats PO Scoring
Season Team Lge GP A PIM Min GA N SO GAA W L T Svs Pct GP A PIM
2009-10 Penticton Vees BCHL 24 0 2 1308 43 0 2 1.97 19 3 0 496 0.920 ---
2010-11 Penticton Vees BCHL 45 1 4 2586 109 0 1 2.53 27 12 3 1117 0.911 ---
2011-12 U. of Wisconsin WCHA 26 0 0 1524 63 0 3 2.48 12 12 2 711 0.919


2012-13 U. of Wisconsin WCHA 29 1 0 1716 56 0 4 1.96 16 9 4 734 0.929


2013-14 U. of Wisconsin Big-10 29 0 0 1713 59 0 2 2.07 21 6 1 773 0.929


2014-15 San Jose Sharks NHL















2014-15 Worcester Sharks AHL















2014-15 U. of Wisconsin Big-10 31 0 0 1790 104 0 1 3.49 4 23 4 958 0.902


OTHER COMMENTS

- Coach Martinson indicated at his post game press conference on Saturday that this week would have some roster changes and that has certainly happened with the addition of Abeltshauser and Rumpel. Don't think the roster changes are done yet and would expect at least one more player to be announced before the Brampton game on Friday.

- Most fans in the Central Division are putting aside rivalries and hoping whatever team wins the division playoffs goes on to win the Western Conference Championship and the Kelly Cup. Based on how the Central Division fared playing the other divisions this may be a tall order. According to the ECHL pointstreak stats the Central Division was 11-30 against the other divisions this season. If you don't count last place Brampton who played outside the division eighteen times and went 4-14 the rest of the Central Division teams had a record of 7-16 outside the division.

- Three players will set a record tonight just by playing in the game. The most regular season games ever played by an Allen Americans player in a single season is 66 which has been done a handful of times. Because of the longer schedule in the ECHL Jamie Schaafsma, Aaron Gens and Chad Costello will all break that record when they play in their 67th game tonight. Considering how violent the game of hockey can be, playing in every game in a season is a remarkable achievement so a big stick tap to these three ironmen who have played in every Allen Americans game this season!

- Had a chance to meet Jamie Schaafsma's parents (Stuart & Florence) after practice yesterday and spent a few minutes talking more about our similar heritage than hockey. Our ancestors are from the same general area in Holland/Germany and came to North America looking for land to farm. Stuart had a dairy farm for many years just like all of my relatives and talking to Stuart and Florence was just like talking to my cousins in South Dakota. As for Jamie, Stuart and Florence confirmed he wasn't much for chores on the farm being the youngest of four brothers (he has a younger sister). Jamie agreed and confessed he has been a professional hockey since he was two years old and that was about all he did.



DID YOU KNOW: The Tulsa Oilers just signed defenseman Kevin Gibson out of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and if he is in the line up tonight it will be his first professional game. Kevin is the son of baseball great Kirk Gibson. Gibson hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history in game one of the 1988 World Series playing for the Dodgers. He came up in the ninth inning with his team down 4-3, in a game he wasn't supposed to play because of injury and hit a walk off home run, which was actually a limp off home run, off of Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley on a 3-2 pitch.






Monday, March 30, 2015

Recruiting Advantages In Allen, The Record Book is Shattered, ECHL Playoff Race, EIHL Playoffs

- It is practice day as the Allen Americans prepare for back to back road games in Tulsa (Tuesday) and Wichita (Wednesday). It will be interesting to see who is on the ice and who is not. The injury list for Allen has grown with McMillin, Tyler Ludwig, Gill, DiPaolo, Barr, and Messier all on the shelf.  Will that new goalie Martinson talked about at the press conference on Saturday be at practice? When will the new defenseman and forwards coming from the AHL arrive? When you hear these names and look at these players you will know the push for the playoffs has arrived. Should be an exciting week if it goes as planned.


- On several occasions the advantages of recruiting players to a Steve Martinson coached team in Allen, Texas has been discussed in this blog. The Americans have never missed the playoffs, been in the finals three times and won back to back championships. Steve Martinson has won eight championship as a coach, has a system that is fun to play in with a lot of scoring and has a history of sending players to the AHL. Then there are the benefits of playing in a major metropolitan area like DFW where you have the best of everything from major sports to major shopping to major restaurants along with an international airport like DFW. Another benefit of playing in Allen was on display yesterday which was a day off for the players. With the temperature in the low 80's it allowed for time in the outdoors laying by the swimming pool, golfing, sitting by a pond catching some big spring crappies, or hanging out at the local playground. You put it all together and it is a tough combination to beat.


- The Americans have now played 66 games and if they were still in the CHL it would be the end of the season. Thought today would be a good day to look at the single season record book and see exactly what this team has accomplished before they play games 67-72 so the comparison is based on the same number of games. All you can really say is most records have not only been broken but obliterated by Chad Costello and Gary Steffes.
Points: 109 - Chad Costello (old record was 88 set by Colton Yellow Horn in 2010-2011)
Goals: 44 - Gary Steffes (old record was 34 set by Nino Musitelli & Bruce Graham in 2010-2011)
Assists: 72 - Chad Costello (old record was 55 set by Colton Yellow Horn in 2010-2011)
Power Play Goals: 18 - Gary Steffes (old record was 16 set by Bruce Graham in 2010-2011)
Shorthanded Goals: 5 - Spencer Asuchak (set in 2013-2014)
Game Winning Goals: 9 - Bruce Graham (set in 2009-2010)
Plus/Minus: +38 - Chad Costello (old record was +27 set by Dave Bonk in 2010-2011)


- Riley Gill has set single season records in several categories:
Games Played: 48 (old record was 44 set by Aaron Dell in 2012-2013)
Wins: 31 (ties record set by Chris Whitley in 2009-2010)
Minutes Played: 2748 (old record was 2561 set by Chris Whitley in 2009-2010)
Saves: 1265 (old record was 1176 set by Chris Whitley in 2009-2010)


- The race for the final three playoff spots in the Central Division is starting to become a little clearer based on results yesterday. Rapid City, Quad City, and Tulsa all won but Wichita lost for the sixth straight time and is looking more and more like the team that will miss the playoffs. The Thunder have their final five games of the season at home and play Tulsa twice so they can turn things around but it has to happen quickly. Here is an update:
77 points: Rapid City (5 games remaining)
75 points: Quad City (4 games remaining)
73 points: Tulsa (6 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (5 games remaining)


-  The playoffs are in full swing in the EIHL (Great Britain) and they are very different than in the ECHL. If you blink your eye you may miss the entire playoffs as they take just two weeks to complete. This weekend was the first round and eight teams made the playoffs. The first round consists of just two games (home & home) and if the teams split the team with the most goals (aggregate goals) moves on. Here are the results of the first round:
1. Belfast advanced as they beat Cardiff and Trevor Hendrikx in both games.
2. Coventry advanced with a 3-3 tie in the first game and 2-1 win in second game against Nottingham. Bruce Graham and Mike Berube play for Nottingham.
3. Hull advanced on aggregate goals as they split with Breahead losing in Breahead 3-2 and then winning at home 3-1. At the end of regulation Hull lead 2-1 but with aggregate goals tied at 4-4 they had to play overtime to decide who would advance.  David Brown who played seven games for Allen in 2031-2014 is the Hull goalie.
4. Sheffield advanced by winning 3-2 if Fife and then playing to a 3-3 tie at home.

The four teams that advanced will play both the semifinals and finals (each is just one game) next weekend in Nottingham where they are held every year. The Sheffield Steelers play the Hull Stingrays in the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and the Belfast Giants play the Coventry Blaze at 4:00 p.m in the other. The two winners play on Sunday in what is called the Grand Final for the championship.

So two weekends and just four games to win the playoff championship is a stark contrast to the ECHL playoff grind which could take two months and up to 28 games to win the Kelly Cup.

Over the years there have been more players from Allen play in the EIHL than any other league overseas. The list from prior years includes Chris Whitley, Bryan Pitton, Brian McMillin, Justin Dacosta, Kurtis Dulle, Jonathan Zion, Brett Clouthier, Mike Kompon and Alex Penner.



DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans are the only team in the Central Division that has never  missed the playoffs. Rapid City missed in 2008-2009, Missouri Mavericks in 2014-2015, Tulsa Oilers in 2012-2013, Wichita Thunder in 2013-2014, Quad City Mallards in 2011-2012, and Brampton Beast in 2014-2015.




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Allen Beats Tulsa 3-2 in OT, Game Recap, Martinson Post Game Comments, Costello's Next Record


The celebration begins after the 3-2 overtime win against Tulsa - photo by Lauren Lyssy
In a game coaches and fans alike said had the intensity of a playoff game the Allen Americans defeated the Tulsa Oilers last night 3-2 in overtime before a crowd of 5034 at the Allen Event Center.  Chad Costello took a perfect cross ice pass from Aaron Gens and whistled home the game winner just 72 seconds into the overtime period. The overtime win snapped a five game home overtime losing streak for the Americans.

The other goal scorers for Allen were Vincent Arseneau who got his first goal for Allen (tenth of the season) and Greger Hanson who tallied his 24th goal which was a power play goal.

The team will be off today (Sunday), practice tomorrow and leave on Tuesday for games with Tulsa Tuesday night and Wichita Wednesday night.

The win keeps Allen in the hunt for the best record in the Western Conference. The Americans are just one point behind Idaho who lost last night. Allen has played two less games than Idaho. 


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- It was a great win tonight and we are still in control for having the best record in the Western Conference with Idaho losing tonight.

- When Tulsa tied the score at 2-2 we had a bad change, we didn't get a center out, a winger went out of position and left a guy all alone in the slot for a one timer.

- I thought we kept it simple on Hanson's power play goal but did not do that again on the subsequent power plays. Watching some of the forced plays on the power play was frustrating especially the five on three. I am looking forward to not seeing any players tomorrow as they will have the day off. We will work on the power play at practice on Monday.

- We have a goalie coming in tomorrow and expect another player or two to arrive in the next few days. We have a lot of bodies around with all of the injured players plus all of the new guys.

- It was great to get an overtime win for a change. The guys gutted it out and didn't give up.

- I have been using Garrett Clarke some on the power play as he is a left shot and we have been playing with four rights shot players and you don't get a one timer when you are working from Costello's off side. Clarke has a really hard shot so last night (Friday) I wasn't real happy with some of our guys so I put Clarke out and he scored. That is my thinking on that. Tonight he took a wrist shot from the point when we had the five on three and the rule is if you don't one time the puck from the point you send it back down low.

- We really stressed before the game tonight the importance of driving the net and screening the goaltender. Valcak was standing right in front of the goalie on Arseneau's goal and we did a much better job tonight. We need to do more but I will take this effort and the win tonight.

- Eberle has not skated since last Friday and has not had a practice with us. I will move him into a penalty kill role on Tuesday. We have lost a lot of penalty killers and Tanner should do well in that role.

- One of the guys I hope to bring in had 38 goals in the Western League. What I am trying to find for the playoffs is guys that are tough but can also score. He is an energy guy and is a right shot which we need.


OTHER COMMENTS

-  Chad Costello had a goal and an assist in the game last night including the game winner in overtime and was named the #1 star of the game. Chad's amazing season continues as he now has 109 points to lead the ECHL scoring race by 33 points. With Gary Steffes in the AHL Chad also leads the ECHL in goals with 37.
Chad Costello with the overtime game winner - photo by scenebykimberly.com


- South Carolina finally lost last night falling to the Indy Fuel 3-2. The Stingrays winning streak ended at 23 games which blew away the old mark which was 17 games. Job well done.

- The only other Central Division action last night in addition to the Allen win over Tulsa was Missouri beating Wichita 5-2. Here is an update on the battle for the final three playoff spots:
75 points: Rapid City (6 games remaining)
73 points: Quad City (5 games remaining)
71 points: Tulsa (7 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (6 games remaining)
Today all four team are in action with Rapid City playing in Brampton, Quad City playing in Missouri, and Tulsa playing in Wichita.



DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello has 109 points in 66 games this season and will most likely end the season with more points than any ECHL scoring champion in the last fifteen years. Costello will have to pass Tyler Donati who was the ECHL scoring champion in 2009-2010 with 114 points to have that distinction. By the way Donati's coach when he had 114 points for Elmira in 2009-2010 was none other than Steve Martinson. Do you think players like to play in Martinson's offensive minded system? What a great recruiting tool.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Another OT Loss For Allen, Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview & More

If you are a hockey purist there was a lot not to like about the Allen Americans 5-4 overtime loss to the Missouri Mavericks last night before a crowd of 4408 at the Allen Event Center (AEC) but as a hockey fan it was an exciting game. Allen dug themselves a 4-0 hole as Missouri had four goals by the 3:42 mark of the second period. Allen came roaring back on goals by Garrett Clark (4), Spencer Asuchak (10), newly signed Tanner Eberle (1),  and Chad Costello (36) only to lose in what has become Allen's Achilles heal, the overtime. It was the sixth overtime loss of the season for Allen which is the most OT losses in the league.

Allen finished the season with a 8-0-1-0 record against Missouri and took 17 of a possible 18 points from the Mavericks. All in all a job well done despite the disappointing loss last night.

When you out shoot a team 38-17 for the game and 31-9 in the final two periods and win the special teams battle with two power play goals you should win the game. The difference between aggressive play and gambling is a fine line and all too often Allen got caught on odd man rushes and the puck would end up in the net. The goalie play was only average and the combination of odd man rushes and average goalie play spelled defeat for the Americans.

Allen will be back in action tonight as they take on the Tulsa Oilers on Star Wars Night with puck drop at 7:05 p.m.


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- I don't normally go into the locker room after the game but I did tonight. You can have puck possession for 70% of the game and give up odd man rushes and two on ones and lose. That is what we did tonight and that was the difference in the game. Extremely frustrating!

- A couple of times we took a two on one break and then tried to lay down in front of the puck and start swimming around and let them saucer a pass to a guy all alone in front of the net. There is no other way to describe it than it is bad defensive play on way too many odd man rushes.

- We found a new way to lose the game in overtime by not changing and then trying to lay down in front of the puck and letting the guy take to puck to the net. It was extremely frustrating.

- The nice part of the night is we got back in the game after being down 4-0 and we got a point. We didn't quit and that is the positive you take out of this loss.

- The only thing we can do is go over some of the odd man rushes we are giving up and figure out how to play a two on one better. There was one bad goal from the corner but we served up three or four great scoring opportunities to Missouri.

- Because we have guys up in the AHL our good players have to be our good players and that didn't happen tonight. This last month of the season is an opportunity for guys to show they can play and be here for the playoffs but if we continue to play like we did tonight we are not going to go too far in the playoffs. 

- Their goalie saw a lot of our shots tonight. All to often our guys when they go to the front of the net  step to the side when the shot is taken. We practice this every day. We need more guys in front of the net screening the goalie so he doesn't see the shot.

- Tanner Eberle looked good tonight especially when you consider he spent all day just getting to Allen. He missed the first period because he didn't arrive in time. He can score goals but is tough and can hit and fight. I am interested in seeing how he plays tomorrow night when he gets a full night sleep.

- Vincent Arseneau is a mean, hard guy to play against who finishes checks and goes to the net. That is what we have been missing the last month as we have not been hard enough to play against. He is a guy that can hit, score and make plays. I like him a lot.

- Tyler Ludwig and Riley Gill were both hurt on the same play in Tulsa on Wednesday. They will both be out of the line up for a while.

- I am expecting to get two players here in the next few days. Worcester is the best team I have dealt with as it relates to an affiliation and they are looking to help us. I am planning to take the best 23 guys I can take on the playoff roster.

- I promise one way or another we will be better come playoff time than we are right now.


OTHER COMMENTS

- As mentioned by coach Martinson, Allen signed Tanner Eberle yesterday after he completed his junior career with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. Though he has good offensive numbers it is Eberle's physical style that earned him an invite to the Montreal Canadiens  prospects camp in 2013. Despite his lack of size, Eberle's speed and ability to hit have made him an effective two-way player. Here is his info courtesy of hockeydb:

Tanner Eberle

Left Wing -- shoots R
Born Jan 12 1994 -- Regina, SASK
[21 yrs. ago]
Height 5.11 -- Weight 184 
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2010-11 Flin Flon Bombers SJHL 4 0 0 0 2




2010-11 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 6 0 1 1 0 -2




2011-12 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 66 10 18 28 82 14 14 0 4 4 6
2012-13 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 65 15 21 36 77 -10




2013-14 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 70 22 29 51 148 -23




2014-15 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 63 33 23 56 99 5




2014-15 Allen Americans ECHL 1 1 0 1 0 0

Tanner Eberle scored his first pro goal in his first pro game - photo scenebykimberly.com


- Two former Allen Americans had hat tricks last night. Jack Combs playing his first game for Cincinnati since being claimed on waivers from Missouri had a pure hat trick scoring the first three goals for the Cyclones as they beat Evansville 4-2. Judd Blackwater also had a hat trick to lead his Ontario Reign team to a 5-1 win over Bakersfield.

- South Carolina extend their winning streak to 23 games beating a very good Toledo team in Toledo with another come from behind win. The Stingrays scored three goals in the last eight minutes of the game to take a 5-3 win. South Carolina will try for number 24 tonight as they play in Indy.

- After having a goal disallowed in his first game with Milwaukee, Gary Steffes had a goal last night as Milwaukee lost to the Chicago Wolves 8-4. The two teams play again tonight.

- Aaron Dell was in goal as the Worcester Sharks beat Springfield last night 6-3. With the win Worcester passed Springfield for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Worcester plays St. John's tonight at home.

- In other Central Division action last night Rapid City beat Brampton  6-3 and Quad City shutout Wichita 4-0. Here is the update for the final three playoff spots:
75 points: Rapid City (6 games remaining)
73 points: Quad City (5 games remaining)
70 points: Tulsa (8 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (7 games remaining)
Tonight Tulsa plays in Allen, Wichita plays in Missouri with Rapid City and Quad City idle.


- No official word yet from the team on the first two playoff dates but from all of the talk at the AEC from unofficial sources the first two home dates will be April 14 &15. Would assume getting all the appropriate approvals for starting the playoffs a day early takes some time and things could change but sounds like those will be the dates.



ALLEN VS TULSA GAME PREVIEW

- The game tonight will be the sixteenth meeting between Allen and Tulsa this season with Allen holding a record of 10-4-0-1 against the Oliers. Allen has beaten Tulsa twice in the last week (8-2 & 3-1).


- Here is a statistical comparison:
Team Record: Allen (42-14-6-3) - Tulsa (33-27-1-3)
Points: Allen (93) - Tulsa (70)
League Rank: Allen (4th) - Tulsa (16th)
Goals For: Allen (260) - Tulsa (224)
Goals Against: Allen (190) - Tulsa (221)
Goal Differential: Allen (+70) - Tulsa (+3)
Team Plus/minus: Allen (+242) - Tulsa (+63)
Power Play %: Allen (19.3% at home) - Tulsa (17.4% on the road)
Penalty Kill %: Allen (85.7% at home) - Tulsa (83.3% on the road)
Team PIM's Per Game: Allen (22.89) - Tulsa (19.14)
Record Last 5 Games: Allen (3-2) - Tulsa (3-2)



- The leading scorer for Allen against Tulsa is Chad Costello who has twenty six points (12 goals 14 assists) in the 15 games. T.J. Caig  leads the way for the Oilers with eighteen points (7 goals 11 assists).


- J.P. Anderson will be in goal for Allen.


- The referee scheduled for the game tonight is the same as last night, Chris Pitoscia.



DID YOU KNOW: With their overtime loss last night Allen is now 2-6 in overtimes and 2-3 in shoot outs for a combined record of 4-9 in games not decided in regulation. The Americans .308 win percentage in these games ranks them #26 in the ECHL.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Americans Go For 9-0, Allen vs Missouri Game Preview, NHL & AHL Trickle Down Has Big Impact

It is game day in Allen and it would be easy to look at the standings and draw the conclusion the game tonight against the Missouri Mavericks has little meaning. Missouri is just playing out the season trying to avoid falling to last place in the Central Division. With an eight point lead over last place Brampton the Mavericks seem destined for sixth place however their last three games of the season are against Brampton so anything can happen.

Allen has already clinched the Central Division title and home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Yes they are looking to improve their overall ECHL standing but you wonder if they will be extra motivated tonight.

If asked (which I did earlier in the year) both coaches would say this is just another game on the schedule and we just try to win every game. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are many subplots to this game but probably the most important one is Allen looking for a perfect record against Missouri. The Americans are 8-0 against the Mavericks and 9-0 sounds much better than 1-8. For first year head coach Richard Matvichuk, who helped Allen to back to back championships the last two years and has had a miserable season in Missouri, getting a win in Allen in this last meeting of the year would be a small but important consolation prize.


ALLEN VS MISSOURI TEAM COMPARISON

- There are a lot of stats you can look at to compare these teams from Allen being 8-0 against Missouri this year, to their records over the last ten games (Allen 5-4-1-0, Missouri 3-5-1-1)  to the overall records (Allen 42-14-5-3, Missouri 23-33-4-3). Don't think anyone would have predicted Allen would have a 39 point lead in the standings when these two teams met for the last time this season.

- Allen is ranked #1 in the ECHL in goals scored per game at 4.00 while Missouri is #26 at 2.54. In goals allowed Allen is #8 at 2.89 and Missouri is #19 at 3.25.

- Here are some other stats:
Points: Allen (92) - Missouri (53)
League Rank: Allen (4th) - Missouri (24th)
Goals For: Allen (256) - Missouri (160)
Goals Against: Allen (185) - Missouri (205)
Goal Differential: Allen (+71) - Missouri (-45)
Team Plus/minus: Allen (+256) - Missouri (-167)
Power Play %: Allen (20.3% - Missouri (12.7%)
Penalty Kill %: Allen (86.1) - Missouri (83.2%)
Team PIM's Per Game: Allen (22.97) - Missouri (19.22)
Record Last 5 Games: Allen (3-2) - Missouri (1-4)


- Special teams will most likely play a key role in the game tonight and Allen has a big edge in special teams play. If you look at overall percentages Allen is ranked #3 on the power play and #3 on the penalty kill while Missouri is #28 on the power play and #13 on the penalty kill.  At home Allen is ranked #13 on the power play at 18.8%. Missouri has the #26 ranked power play on the road at only 12.7%. If you look at the penalty kill Allen is #9 in the ECHL at home (85.5%) and Missouri is #20 on the road at 80.0%. In the eight head to head games Allen is 7-42 (16.7%) on power play opportunities while Missouri has scored just one power play goal in 40 power play opportunities. That is right, Missouri has just power play goal on Allen all year going 1-40. Advantage Allen.
 
 
-  There is a lot of scoring missing from when Allen played Missouri earlier in the season.  If you look at the head to head games with the Mavericks the leading scorer is Chad Costello who has 17 points in the eight games against Missouri. However the #2 scorer against the Mavericks this season (Gary Steffes - 13 points), #3 scorer Jack Combs (10 points) and #6 scorer Ian Schultz (5 points) will not be in the Allen lineup tonight. With the loss of all this firepower it will be important for the Americans to think defense first which they have done against Missouri in the past. Here are the goals scored by the Mavericks in the eight games against Allen this year. 1,0,2,1,3,1,2,3.


- Another concern for Allen is injuries as they were already playing with less than a full lineup in Tulsa on Wednesday and had a couple of players injured in that game which could impact the game tonight. Haven't had a chance to touch base with coach Martinson so don't want to speculate about who will be in and who will be out of the lineup tonight but there will be some changes.


- Bottom line is Allen would seem to have a big advantage going into the game tonight. After all, they have won eight in a row against Missouri outscoring them 33-13 in those eight games. The winning formula remains the same and that is out work Missouri, be aggressive but don't gamble, get back defensively to avoid odd man rushes and take advantage of being the better team on special teams. You can throw what has happened in the past out the window as these are different teams, with different players that will be highly motivated for different reasons. And you can be assured the most motivated of all for a victory tonight will be the two head coaches even though "it is just another game."


- The on ice officials scheduled tonight are referee Chris Pitoscia (#3) and linesmen Alex Black (#60) and Mike Anderson (#0).



OTHER COMMENTS

-  Rapid City beat Brampton last night 7-2 to take over sole possession of second place in the Central Division. You might think the outcome of the game was expected given where the two teams are in the standing but last place Brampton has given the Rush fits this year. In what was some strange scheduling the first six times these teams played were in Rapid City where Brampton won five of the six games including back to back 5-0 shutouts. Last night was the first time they have played in Brampton and it looks like Rapid City might prefer to play the Beast on the road. They will play again tonight and Sunday. By the way Kale Kerbashian had the first two goals for Rapid City last night, ended the game with three points, was a +5, and was named the #1 star of the game. That is what you would call a good night at the office.

- It is getting to be that time of year where ECHL rosters change a lot and teams fortunes can turn quickly based on the players they get assigned from their AHL affiliates. The old "trickle down" can make a huge difference. Riley Gill and Aaron Gens played in Reading last year and were the #1 seed going into the playoffs and played the #8 seed (Fort Wayne) who had several AHL players assigned. Fort Wayne ended up defeating Reading in the first round four games to one. ECHL teams that have NHL and AHL affiliates who don't make the playoffs can be at an advantage when it comes to getting players assigned. So how are things looking for the teams Allen is affiliated with? Worcester currently sits in ninth place in the AHL Eastern Conference and out of the playoffs by just one point but they have three games in hand over eighth place Springfield. Worcester plays at Springfield tonight.  While not yet eliminated mathematically in the NHL playoff picture the San Jose Sharks will not make the playoffs. This all points to Allen getting some good players assigned for the playoff run.


-  If the playoffs started today Allen would be playing Tulsa and Wichita would miss the playoffs. Here is the update on the four teams battling for three playoff spots:
73 points: Rapid City (7 games remaining)
71 points: Quad City (6 games remaining)
70 points: Tulsa (8 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (8 games remaining)
Tonight Rapid City plays in Brampton, Wichita plays in Quad City and Tulsa is idle.


- If you are a gambler you might pick tonight for the South Carolina 22 game win streak to end. They take on the Toledo Walleye who have won all three games they have played against the Stingrays this year. The game tonight will be played in Toledo. The three games Toledo won earlier in the season were all played in South Carolina. Given Toledo has the best winning percentage (.746) in the ECHL you have to like their chances at home tonight against South Carolina.



DID YOU KNOW: Many fans consider the 2010-2011 Allen Americans team the best ever assembled even though they lost in the third round of the playoffs. It is difficult to compare that team to the 2014-2015 team because it is different times and different leagues. There is no doubt this years team has more all around offense and has blown away most offensive records.  The 2010-2011 team ended up with 97 points in the 66 game season which was the best record in the CHL. The most points the 2014-2015 team can earn in 66 games (if they win the next two games) is 96 points. Do regular season points predict playoff success. Not really as last year's championship team had the fewest regular season points (83) in the Americans five year history.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Combs Claimed by Cincinnati, Waiver Process, Military Night Jersey

As weird as it was in Tulsa last night you might have thought is was a full moon rather than a tornado warning as the Allen Americans defeated the Tulsa Oilers by a score of 3-1 before 4508 fans who braved the severe storms to attend the game. How weird was the game? To start with the game was delayed an hour because of a tornado warning as everyone was evacuated to the lower level of the BOK Center. The game itself started out with a shorthanded goal, then there was a scoreboard malfunction, a controversial goal because a player might have been let out of the penalty box early, and a goal that bounced off the goalie and a player's visor into the net.

At the end of the night Allen had beaten Tulsa for the second straight game and won three games in a row for the first time since January 19.

Spencer Asuchak got things rolling for Allen in the first period with what has become a specialty for him, the shorthanded goal. Spencer led the CHL in shorthanded goal last year and last night got his second in the 20 games he has played for Allen this year. Asuchak took the puck away from the Tulsa defenseman, skated in all alone and snappped a a shot past the goalie on the blocker side. It was his ninth goal of the season.

Greger Hanson got his 23rd goal of the season in the second period to make the score 2-0. Newly assigned forward Vincent Arseneau came out of the penalty box, raced down the wing, got the puck off the backboards and centered a pass to Hanson who put it in the net. This all took place when the scoreboard was not working and the Tulsa coach and players protested Arseneau was let out of the penalty box early but the referee ruled it was a good goal.

Tulsa scored late in the second period to close the gap to 2-1 but could not score again. Allen got an insurance goal in the third period on another strange play. Patrik Valcak sent the puck toward the Tulsa crease where it deflected off Oiler goalie Kevin Carr and then bounced off the visor of Garrett Clarke into the goal. Clarke got credit for his third goal of the season.

J.P. Anderson replaced Riley Gill in goal for the third period and given the fact the game was close (2-1) you would assume Gill sustained and injury that caused the switch. Hope it is nothing serious.


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- It was nice to get a win tonight. It is always frustrating to spend so much time traveling for just one game if you don't come away with a win. This makes the trip worthwhile. With three wins in a row it is great to be back on a little winning streak.

- We played a solid defensive game tonight and that is how we will have to play as we head into the playoffs.

- Our penalty kill was great going 5-5 but our power play was weak going 0-4.

- Both goalies played well tonight which it what we need if we are to make a run here at the end of the season.

- We had some injuries tonight and will have to see what we have when we get home. 


OTHER COMMENTS

- Goal scorers get goals because they take shots and last night was a perfect example. Asuchak and Hanson each had a goal as they combined for 16 of the 27 shots Allen had in the game.

- Greger Hanson had the game winning goal which was his eighth of the season. It ties him for the league lead in game winning goals with five other players including teammate Gary Steffes.

- Speaking of Steffes, he played his first game for Milwaukee (AHL) last night as the Admirals lost to San Antonio in a shoot out after having a 3-0 lead going into the third period. Saw a report that Gary got a lot of ice time, had three good shots on goal, and had a goal disallowed because of a player in the crease. Milwaukee's next game is Friday at home against Chicago.

- South Carolina extended their winning streak to 22 games last night with a 4-3 shootout win over Cincinnati. It was the second game in a row the Stingrays have won in a shootout with both coming against Cincinnati. Last night South Carolina tied the score with 70 seconds remaining in regulation and won the game in the eight round of the shootout.

- Jack Combs, who was waived by Missouri on Tuesday, has been claimed by Cincinnati.  Have had several questions about how the waiver process works so here is the short version of the process. When a player goes on waivers, teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET the following day to submit a claim. The waiver claim order is based on reverse order of percentage points (i.e., the team with the lowest points percentage has first priority and the team with the highest points percentage has 28th priority). The order is updated each Monday, however, if a team successfully submits a claim during the week, they slide to the back of the order until the order is reset the next Monday.

- April 3rd is Military Appreciation Night and the Americans will be wearing a specialty jersey that will be auctioned off after the game. The team store will also have these jerseys for sale. Here is a mock up of the jersey.
Military Appreciation Night Specialty Jersey Mock Up


- Have had numerous questions about the dates for the first playoff games in Allen. The Allen Event Center (AEC) has several events scheduled in April that makes it difficult to pin down playoff dates. It is important to start the playoffs at home so starting on the road is not a viable option. The league rule is the playoffs cannot start before April 15 so special permission would have to be received from the ECHL and PHPA to start the playoffs earlier than the 15th. April 15th is an open date at the AEC so that date is certain but pinning down the second date has been a challenge. I know the team is working hard to get the dates firmed up and publicized so there should be an announcement any day.

- Also heard the first draft of the schedule for next season has already been provided to all ECHL teams. Still a lot of work to be done before the schedule is finalized but it will be out much earlier than it ever was in the CHL. Best estimate is the final schedule will be available sometime in May.

- If you did not see it on the transaction list Garrett Klotz was claimed by the Wichita Thunder on Tuesday. Should make the last two games the Americans play in Wichita (April 1st & 11th) interesting.

- In other Central Division action last night Quad City beat Wichita 5-3. Here is an update on the race for the playoffs:
71 points: Rapid City (8 games remaining)
71 points: Quad City (6 games remaining)
70 points: Tulsa (8 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (8 games remaining)

- Here is how the battle for the best overall record in the ECHL stands:
95 points: Florida (8 games remaining)
94 points: Toledo (9 games remaining)
93 points: Idaho (6 games remaining)
92 points: Allen (8 games remaining)
92 points: Fort Wayne (8 games remaining)
88 points: Reading (8 games remaining)
87 points: South Carolina (7 games remaining)


DID YOU KNOW: With 64 games played in the 2014-2015 season this Allen team has already set single season records for almost every offensive category. There are two categories however that have not been broken. Spencer Asuchak still holds the single season record for shorthanded goals at five which he set last year and Bruce Graham still has the record for the most game winning goals at nine which he set in 2009-2010.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview, Steffes Loaned to Milwaukee, Arseneau Assigned to Allen, Combs Update

A lot has happened concerning the Allen roster over the last twenty four hours but no matter what is happening with individual players the most important thing is getting ready for a game tonight in Tulsa against the Oilers.

- The game tonight will be the fifteenth meeting between Allen and Tulsa but only the third since December 28th. After playing twelve times in the first two months of the season these teams have played only twice in the last three months. The most recent meeting was the Allen 8-2 win at home on Sunday. After tonight Allen and Tulsa will close out the seventeen game season series with a game in Allen on Saturday and the finale back in Tulsa next Tuesday.


- Despite the 8-2 lopsided loss to the Americans on Sunday Tulsa has been playing some great hockey recently. They have won their last three home games allowing just one goal in each of the three games while scoring fifteen goals of their own. 


- For Allen the game tonight will be a chance to build on the momentum of winning their last two games after struggling for almost two months. A win tonight would be the first three game win streak since January 19. 


- In the fourteen previous games Allen is 9-4-0-1 against Tulsa. On the road in Tulsa the Americans are 4-1-0-1.


- Here is a statistical comparison:
Team Record: Allen (41-14-5-3) - Tulsa (33-26-1-3)
Points: Allen (90) - Tulsa (70)
League Rank: Allen (4th) - Tulsa (13th)
Goals For: Allen (253) - Tulsa (223)
Goals Against: Allen (184) - Tulsa (218)
Goal Differential: Allen (+69) - Tulsa (+5)
Team Plus/minus: Allen (+247) - Tulsa (+73)
Power Play %: Allen (21.9% on the road) - Tulsa (13.8% at home)
Penalty Kill %: Allen (86.1% on the road) - Tulsa (77.6% at home)
Team PIM's Per Game: Allen (23.0) - Tulsa (19.1)
Record Last 5 Games: Allen (2-3) - Tulsa (4-1)



- The leading scorer for Allen against Tulsa is Chad Costello who has twenty six points (12 goals 14 assists) in the 14 games. T.J. Caig who scored both Tulsa goals on Sunday leads the way for the Oilers with eighteen points (7 goals 11 assists).


- The referee for the game tonight is Zac Blazic (#9) who is very familiar to Allen fans from his many years in the CHL.


ROSTER CHANGES

Josef Fojtik - Josef was not claimed off waivers by any teams so he will be flying back to Europe today. Had the chance to get to know Josef a little bit in the short time he was in Allen and he is a great guy. He had an excellent shot and might have been the fastest skater on the team but things just didn't work out for him. Wish him the best of luck.

Tony Turgeon - Had lots of questions why the San Antonio Rampage would send a player to Allen rather than their ECHL affiliate which is Cincinnati. This actually happens quite frequently and in Turgeon's case this is being called a conditioning assignment. He was sent to Allen as it is close and he will be able to get some ice time. Don't know how long the assignment will last but would not expect it to be long term.




Vincent Arseneau assigned to Allen by Worcester played for Indy earlier this year

Vincent Arseneau - Arseneau was assigned to Allen by Worcester yesterday and has already arrived and will play tonight. The plan is to start the game with Vincent on left wing with Valcak and Costello. Arseneau was recently acquired by Worcester in a trade with Manchester. Coach Martinson pushed Worcester to trade for Arseneau and give him an opportunity based on what he saw when Vincent was with Denver and played against Allen last year. To quote Martinson, "Arseneau is the most intimidating fore-checker we have played against in my three years in Allen. He hits hard and he likes to hit."

Here his info courtesy of hockeydb:

Vincent Arseneau

Left Wing -- shoots L
Born Mar 26 1992 -- Iles-de-la-Madeleine, PQ
[22 yrs. ago]
Height 6.02 -- Weight 200
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2008-09 Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 64 2 5 7 95 -13 4 0 0 0 12
2009-10 Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 62 11 9 20 162 -27 5 0 3 3 13
2010-11 Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL 61 19 20 39 165 9 4 0 0 0 8
2011-12 Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 57 4 11 15 104 4 11 4 2 6 25
2012-13 Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 50 16 11 27 106 -16 ----------
2012-13 Lake Erie Monsters AHL 11 0 1 1 35 -2 ----------
2013-14 Lake Erie Monsters AHL 13 0 0 0 60 -2 ----------
2013-14 Denver Cutthroats CHL 47 24 13 37 120 9 16 2 2 4 23
2014-15 Manchester Monarchs* AHL Statistics Unavailable




2014-15 Ontario Reign* ECHL 17 1 1 2 62 -2




2014-15 Indy Fuel* ECHL 20 8 4 12 70 2




2014-15 Worcester Sharks* AHL 2 0 0 0 2 0



Gary Steffes - Gary Steffes has been loaned to the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) and flew to Milwaukee last night. He will be in the line up tonight when Milwaukee takes on the San Antonio Rampage. The Admirals have had numerous injuries as has their NHL affiliate Nashville. Steffes was signed to a PTO after Nashville called up rookie Kevin Fiala for the first time. Fiala was Nashville's first round draft choice this past year. What a great opportunity for Gary and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Not only is he the run away leader in goals scored in the ECHL, he is a hard worker, plays both ends of the ice and will be great in the locker room. Found this assessment of Gary's coming to Milwaukee at admiralsroundtable.com:

"What will the Admirals forward lines end up being tonight and how will all these recent shots get converted into actual goals? Perhaps recent PTO signing Gary Steffes could help. It is his first chance in the AHL since the 2012-13 season and he has exploded for 73 points (44 goals, 29 assists) in the ECHL this season. Steffes has tallied 16 points (9 goals, 7 assists) in 10 games in the month of March alone. What I like about the Steffes signing is that it is a short term solution to the current Nashville Predators injury bug that has taken two of the Admirals more active offensive skill players. While Steffes might not be a Kevin Fiala or Viktor Arvidsson he is also not Fiala or Arvidsson. He hasn’t had the proper chance to really prove himself at the AHL level and this could be the icing on the cake for Steffes in an ECHL season that has been massive from him. He’ll be eager to please the Admirals and hungry to earn an AHL spot here, there, or anywhere and the Admirals are the possible launch pad for him to do that. He could only be here for a few games or more. Who knows. But he is here now and that’s more AHL daylight than he’s seen in a long time. Can his play translate with the Admirals? We’ll just have to wait and see."

Good luck Gary Steffes!



JACK COMBS

You have most likely heard by now that Missouri waived Jack Combs yesterday so the waiver process has started again and another team or teams will claim him today. If you follow social media or message boards you undoubtedly have heard all sides of this issue and at this point no minds will be changed. The teams that claim Jack have every right to do so and Jack has every right to say where he wants to play. Both sides will make the decisions that they see is the best for them. With that said, here is some old and maybe some new information for everyone to consider.

- Allen waived Combs on February 14 as it was the ONLY possible way they could get him back to Allen. Coach Martinson had worked out an agreement with Stockton before Jack was waived and both teams were aware of what would transpire. Won't go into all of the rules but it was possible but unlikely that all the teams that had claimed Combs would rescind their claims and he could then be immediatley traded back to Allen which Stockton had agreed to do. By the time the trade deadline came around (March 12) all but two teams had rescinded their claims so that effort fell short.

- The next step in the process, which Stockton also had agreed to with Allen, is Stockton would waive Combs after the trade deadline. Combs had made it clear to all ECHL teams his interest was to get back to the team he had signed with at the beginning of the season and he was not interested in playing anywhere but Allen.

- Many fans don't understand why it is even remotely possible that Jack would fall to Allen in the waiver process given the Americans have the fourth best record in the league. There are several reasons why teams would pass on what is arguably the best player in the league.

- Jack's salary when he was put on waivers by Stockton was $1700 per week so that is what teams that claim him will have to pay. Just for clarification that does not mean Jack's salary was $1700 when he was with Allen as that is not the case. All it means is when he was waived by Stockton his salary was $1700 per week. With a weekly salary cap of $12,200 for twenty players $1700 is what three players would make on average. There is no way most teams would want to pay that much, even if they could afford it, to one player when their star players are making around $1000 per week.

- Jack is a veteran so any team that claims him would have to have a veteran spot open or would have to release a veteran. Teams at the vet limit (four vets) would be reluctant to release a vet that had been with the team all year.

- Some teams will make a decision that they do not want a player in their locker room if they don't want to the there. It is not good for the locker room and most likely the player would not perform as well in an environment they don't want to be in.

- Jack Combs has consistently said he is only interested in playing in Allen but he is well aware of the rules that allow other teams to claim him. Contrary to what many believe, he has not refused to report and won't refuse to report to any team that claims him. He will let it be known he does not want to report but when a team provides an airline ticket he will be on the way. He has not missed a days pay yet and has no plans to do so in the future.

- From what I understand teams can not talk to Combs before they put in a waiver claim so here is a scenario that may very well play out over the next couple of weeks. A team claims Jack and talks to him to tell him all of the great things about the team but says they can't pay him $1700 a week and asks if he is willing to come for less money. Jack reiterates he has no interest in playing for any team other than Allen and he is unwilling to take a pay cut. It costs the team a days pay ($250) to talk to Jack. After they talk to him they decide it is not worth it and they place Jack on waivers and the whole process starts again.

The bottom line is Jack Combs has every right to ask teams not to claim him and articulate that he only wants to play in Allen. Teams have every right to claim him against his wishes and do what is in their best interest. And fans have the right to call him spoiled, uniformed, and say he created this problem so he should keep quiet and go play for the team that claims him. Other fans can have the opinion he should be allowed to go back to the team he was signed with and wants to play for.

There are no right or wrong answers as everyone is acting in their own self interest. Hopefully this helped clarify two points. The first is Jack Combs wants to play in Allen and has made that clear to every team in the ECHL but he will report to any team that claims him and fulfills his contract requirements. The second point is most teams will decide not to claim Combs as it is not in their self interest to do so even if it means he might end up back in Allen. Missouri didn't waive Combs because he refused to report, they didn't waive him because they struck some deal with Allen or any other ECHL team. The Mavericks waived Combs because they decided it was not in their best interest to have him report.


DID YOU KNOW: It is possible Jack Combs could be claimed and released several more times before the last day to place players on waivers which is April 11 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back to Practice, Fojtik Released, Tony Turgeon Assigned By Rampage, & Who Worcester May Assign

- The reward for a great 8-2 victory on Sunday was a day off on Monday for the Allen Americans and what a nice day to have the day off with sunny skies and highs in the 70's. Whether it was time spent golfing, fishing, playing laser tag, going to the park with the children, spending time with the family, running errands or relaxing and playing video games it was a day away from the rink. The team will be back at practice today preparing for the game with Tulsa tomorrow (Wednesday). As is always the case the team will leave tomorrow at around 1:00 p.m. for the 230 mile trip to Tulsa and return to Allen right after the game.

- Josef Fojtik was released by the team yesterday. Since arriving in Allen in January along with Patrik Valcak (they were playing together in Poland) Josef played in 25 games and had seven points (4 goals 3 assists) and was a -7.

- To replace Fojtik, Allen has been assigned defenseman/left wing Tony Turgeon by the San Antonio Rampage (AHL). He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the NHL Florida Panthers in 2013. He is currently under a one year AHL contract with the Rampage. Known more for his knack of being physical and aggressive than scoring he will most likely be playing up front for the Americans.  Here is the info on Turgeon from hockeydb:

Tony Turgeon

Defense -- shoots L
Born Sep 21 1989 -- Grand Forks, ND
[25 yrs. ago]
Height 6.04 -- Weight 228
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2007-08 Bismarck Bobcats NAHL 53 2 3 5 30 -20




2008-09 Bismarck Bobcats NAHL 48 6 4 10 124 16




2009-10 Waterloo Black Hawks USHL 28 0 0 0 113 -4 ----------
2010-11 U. of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA 15 0 2 2 44




2011-12 U. of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA 26 0 2 2 63




2012-13 U. of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA 21 0 2 2 62




2013-14 San Antonio Rampage AHL 5 0 0 0 21 -1 ----------
2013-14 Cincinnati Cyclones ECHL 13 0 2 2 59 1 ----------
2014-15 San Antonio Rampage* AHL 16 0 1 1 46 -1




2014-15 Cincinnati Cyclones* ECHL 5 0 0 0 0 -2



Tony Turgeon has been assigned to Allen by the San Antonio Rampage

- Had the chance to listen to Tulsa coach Bruce Ramsay talk about the upcoming game on his coaches show last night. He talked about how poorly the Oilers played in the 8-2 loss to Allen on Sunday but was confident if Tulsa played their system they would be successful on Wednesday when Allen plays in Tulsa. He did indicate he would spend some time at practice focusing on how to stop or slow down Gary Steffes and Chad Costello. Ramsay talked about the Oilers giving Costello too much time and space on Sunday and how he will make you pay if he has time and space.


- Coach Martinson has talked frequently at the post game press conferences recently that as soon as the Worcester Sharks get some players healthy he expects they will assign a forward to Allen. Have no information from the team on who might be assigned but if you look at the Worcester roster it is easy to come up with some potential candidates. There are four forwards currently in Worcester that have spent time in the ECHL this year that could be assigned to Allen. Rylan Schwartz played 22 games in Allen, Trevor Parkes played 39 games in Greenville, Chris Crane played 37 games in Missouri, and Vincent Arseneau played 17 games in Ontario and 20 games in Indy. Would expect any players assigned to Allen by Worcester would come from this group. UPDATE: Vincent Arseneau has been assigned to Allen.


- Former Allen American Garrett Klotz, who is the all time single season penalty minute record holder for Allen (257 minutes) was released yesterday by the Indy Fuel. 


- Found this bracket on the ECHL web site which is the "if the playoffs started today" bracket. It is obvious with how close the teams are in the Central Division this is a long way from being decided but it is still interesting.

NORTH DIVISION


1. vs. 4.
5-1-0 vs. WHL in 2014-15 1-4-1 vs. TOL in 2014-15

2. vs. 3.
8-6-0 vs. KAL in 2014-15 6-7-1 vs. FW in 2014-15



EAST DIVISION


1.
vs.
4.

8-3-1 vs. ORL in 2014-15


4-6-2 vs. FLA in 2014-15










2.
vs.
3.

2-1-0 vs. SC in 2014-15


1-2-0 vs. REA in 2014-15



CENTRAL DIVISION


1.
vs.
4.

3-2-0 vs. QC in 2014-15


2-3-0 vs. ALN in 2014-15










2.
vs.
3.

7-4-1 vs. TUL in 2014-15


5-6-1 vs. RC in 2014-15



PACIFIC DIVISION


1.
vs.
4.

4-3-2 vs. UTA in 2014-15


5-3-1 vs. IDH in 2014-15










2.
vs.
3.

7-5-1 vs. ONT in 2014-15


6-4-3 vs. COL in 2014-15




DID YOU KNOW: The Alaska Aces have won the Brabham Cup, given for the best regular season record, each of the last four years and went on to win the Kelly Cup twice (2010-2011 & 2013-2014).