*Please note while Barry's name remains at the bottom of this blog, he is on vacation and the information/views posted in his absence do not reflect Barry's views or the views of the Allen Americans organization.
This is not the Wizard of Oz but ECHL hockey, so no lions, no tigers but bears, the Grizzlies to be exact, will meet Allen tonight in West Valley, Utah at the Maverik Center. Please remember the puck drops at 8:05 Texas time. The Utah Grizzlies are 5th in the league in attendance averaging 5189 in 7 home games this season (Allen's average is 4659), so expect a large crowd. There have been two previous games played between these two teams, both in Utah, on Oct. 23rd and Oct. 24th. Allen won the first game, in overtime, by 6-5, and the second in regulation with the score of 4-2. After tonight's game, they will meet at the AEC for 2 more games, Dec.5th and Feb. 5th. Utah leads their division but is fourth in the Western Conference with 20 points and trails Allen by 4 points. Allen is second in their division and the Western Conference but Allen has played 2 more games(18) than Utah. Utah's AHL affiliate is is the San Diego Gulls and the NHL affiliate being the Anaheim Ducks.
- Both teams have almost the same record in the last 10 games. Utah is 6-3-1-0 and Allen is 7-3-0-0.
- Utah's home record is a paltry 2-4-1-0. (Their road record is 7-1-1-0)
- Allen continues to be undefeated when scoring first (10-0) and leading after one (6-0). Their record drops to 1-4 when trailing after 1. A strong starts continues to be the formula for success.
- Teams are very close in Goals For and Goals Against per game. The teams are tied at GF (3.06) but Allen has slight advantage in GA (2.78 vs. 2.81)
- Allen holds the advantage on special teams. Their power play is 14/82 (17.1%) and penalty kill is 9/69 (87.0%). Utah is 7/53 (3.2%) on the PP and 7/47 (85.1) on the PK. Utah has scored only 2 PPG on their home ice.
- Team leaders for Utah in points are Ryan Walters (15) and Matt Berry (13). Their goal leaders are Barry Almeida and Matt Berry with 7 each. Allen's Chad Costello leads in points (24) and Casey Pierro-Zabotel leads in goals with 7. Costello still leads the league in assists (18)
- Shots on Goal stats have Utah 4th in the league. Shots for (32.25/game) and 17 in shots against (29.61/game). As always, getting pucks to the net is important.
- Chad Costello will be looking to continue his league leading 9 game road streak in points and assists.
- In the plus/minus category, Allen is -4 as a team. Our team leader is Gregor Hansen at +7: Justin Baker is second at +6. Some suprises on the other side with Aaron Gens at -11, and Gary Steffes at -8!
Expect to see Utah's goalie Ryan Faragher in goal this time around. Faragher did not play in our previous meetings due to illness. Faragher is 1 win behind Allen's Joel Rumpel. Who will be in net tonight for Allen is unknown at the time of this writing, but one would imagine we would see the battle of the goalies either tonight or Saturday!
The referee for tonight's match is Andrew Wilk #(24)
Did you know: There are 3 teams without AHL/NHL affiliations - Colorado, Wichita, and Alaska. In the 28 team ECHL, these teams are ranked 21st, 24th, and 26th respectively, demonstrating just how important affiliations are in this league.