Monday, April 27, 2015

Former Allen Americans In ECHL Playoffs, Awards Arrive, Playoff Attendance Up, Golf Tournament

No, it is not PGA Q-School card winners, it is the Allen Americans team golf tournament

With five days still remaining before round two of the playoffs begin and the Allen Americans returning to practice today after a couple of days off thought it would be a good time to catch up with former Allen Americans players that are still in the ECHL playoffs to see how they are doing.

Darryl Bootland (2012-2014) - Booter and the Colorado Eagles are leading their first round series with Ontario 3-2 with games six and seven scheduled for Ontario tonight (Monday) and Tuesday. Bootland has two goals and two assists in the playoffs along with all of the other things he brings to the table like finishing checks, agitating and dropping the gloves. 

Judd Blackwater (2010-2011) - Judd only spent one year in Allen but it was a memorable one as his fight against Jim Jorgenson was one of the best of all time and Blackwater was a magician with the puck. Always remember someone describing Judd and his good friend and teammate Colton Yellow Horn as guys that could stick handle out of a telephone booth. Judd plays for the Ontario Reign and they have their backs against the wall trailing 3-2 against Colorado. At least the last two games of the series are in Ontario. Blackwater had 35 goals during the regular season and is the leading scorer for Ontario in the playoffs with six points (3 goals 3 assists).

Matt Register (2011-2012) - Matt also plays for Ontario and is the second leading scorer in the playoffs for the Reign as a defenseman with five points (2 goals 3 assists). Matt was playing in a men's league (Sylvan Lake Admirals) back home in Alberta when he was signed to his first pro contract by the Allen Americans part way through the 2011-2012 season. Pretty sure it was coach/advisor Bill McDonald who was responsible for finding Matt. I will always remember Bill telling me Matt was a good sized kid (6'2" 205) who could move the puck and score (when he signed he had 24 points in 18 games in Sylvan Lake as a defenseman) but he was so "green" they didn't know what they had. Bill used to say, "Matt is still used to driving to the rink with all of his equipment on, that is how little experience he has." Now everyone knows what Allen had at the time. Matt has developed into an all-star defenseman for the Reign and was selected as the ECHL's "Defenseman of the Year" last season and was runner-up this season.

Drew Daniels (2012-2013) - Another defenseman who played for Allen as a rookie right out of Northeastern University that has gotten better each year as a professional. Drew now plays for Fort Wayne and led the ECHL in plus/minus this year at +46 and was second in assists by a defensemen with 41 assists trailing only Aaron Gens who had 48. Fort Wayne has already advanced to the second round of the playoffs after dispatching Kalamazoo  4-1 in the first round. Drew has continued his great play in the playoffs with four points (2 goals 2 assists) in the first round to go with a +5.

- A trio of former Allen Americans are playing for Rapid City who also has their back to the wall trailing Quad City 3-2.  The Rush will have to win at home on Tuesday and Wednesday to advance. Kale Kerbashian (2012-2014), Daniel Tetrault (2013-2014) and Dallas Ehrhardt (2013-2014) knew nothing but championships while playing for Allen and are trying to bring that experience to Rapid City. They have all played in every playoff game thus far (five games). Here are their stats:
Kerbashian - two points (1 goal 1 assist)  and +2
Tetrault - one point (0 goals 1 assist) and -2
Ehrhardt - two points (0 goals 2 assists) and -1

- The most disappointing situation as it relates to former Allen players in the playoffs has to do with Alex Lavoie (2013-2014) who set rookie scoring records last year for Allen with 76 points (25 goals 51 assists) that may never be broken. Alex signed with the Florida Everblades this year and was the fourth leading scorer on the team during the regular season with 57 points (21 goals 36 assists). The Everblades won the East Division with 105 points. Alex is on the playoff roster but has been a healthy scratch in all five first round games. Florida leads Orlando 3-2 with game six and game seven (if necessary) at home tonight and Wednesday. Florida has a double AHL affiliation (Charlotte & Syracuse) so players being assigned to Florida by the AHL teams explains why Alex has not played. It has to be difficult to play all year with the team, be one of the leading scorers and then sit in the playoffs. It would be great to have Alex back in Allen next year if he is not resigned by Florida.


- The ECHL post season awards arrived this past week and it was quite a collection for the Americans. All the players named to the All- Rookie and 1st and 2nd All-ECHL teams, as well as all the individual award winners, receive a personalized crystal award. Here is a picture with the awards. Chad Costello was 1st team All-ECHL and won the scoring title and Sportsman Award. Aaron Gens and Gary Steffes were 2nd team All-ECHL. Justin Baker was on the ECHL All-Rookie team.

L to R Chad Costello, Aaron Gens, Gary Steffes, Justin Baker with their ECHL awards

- In the only action in the ECHL last night South Carolina beat Reading 4-3 in Reading to take a 3-2 lead in the series and head back home for game six and seven (if necessary). The win last night was the type of game fans became accustomed to during the Stingrays 23 game winning streak. They overcame three deficits and scored the game winner with just 81 seconds left in the game.

- With two weekend games and plenty of time to market games #1 & #2  wouldn't it be nice to have over 5000 in attendance on Friday & Saturday. Fans play a big part in getting the word out about the games. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to sell tickets so everyone needs to do their part. Discounted tickets are available through Ticketmaster with the promo code "SKATE."

- Allen has done quite well so far in playoff attendance. There have been 40 playoff games in the ECHL thus far and the average attendance is 3444. Allen is averaging 3848 which ranks them #6 in attendance with a chance to improve the average substantially this weekend.

DID YOU KNOW: The Central Hockey League historically had better attendance in the playoffs than the ECHL. Here is the comparison going back to the 2010 playoffs.

Year    CHL    ECHL
2010:  3669    3425
2011:  3777    2919
2012:  4427    3029
2013:  3629    3259
2014:  3309    3318

1 comment:

  1. Pretty decent attendance, considering all the Round 1 home games were weekdays.