Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tulsa Defeats Allen 5-2, Game Recap, Martinson's Comments, Today's Game Preview & More

One of the trademarks of the 2015-16 Allen Americans has been inconsistent play and last night was a perfect example as they lost to the Tulsa Oiler 5-2 before a crowd of 6024 at the BOK Center. The game was almost the opposite of the 7-1 Allen victory over Tulsa on Friday night. The Americans got off to a slow start, gave up an early goal, were out shot in the first period 16-9, and trailed at the end of the first period 1-0. Tulsa scored two more goals in the second period to take what turned out to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead. To their credit, the Americans fought back in the third period on goals by Chad Costello (18) and Gary Steffes (14) to make the score 3-2, but Tulsa scored just 37 seconds after Allen got their second goal to put the game away. The Oilers added an empty net goal to make the final score 5-2.

The Oilers and Americans meet again this afternoon (4:05) at the Allen Event Center (AEC) to finish their four game series. The home team has won the first three games, so the Americans need a win this afternoon to split the series. If Tulsa can pull off a victory at the AEC this afternoon they well climb within seven points of Allen in the standings and don't forget the Oilers have played five fewer games than the Americans.



STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- We just didn't play greasy enough tonight. We talk all the time about getting shots on goal with traffic in front and that is really important when you play a goalie like Carr.

- We got caught too many times on defense in our own zone standing around watching while they were  moving their feet and skating.

- They scored a couple of times on cycling plays, we need to defend those better.

- Nikita Jevpalovs will play on Sunday and then head back to San Jose. He could have returned with the Barracuda but wanted to stay and play on Sunday. That will give him three games in Allen and makes it possible he could return before the end of the season and for the playoffs. He needs to play in five regular season games to be eligible for the playoffs.

- Tristan King was injured in the game on Friday and his status is day to day. Hopefully he will be back in the line up next weekend.


OTHER COMMENTS

- Allen has always struggled against Tulsa goalie Kevin Carr, especially when playing in Tulsa. When Chad Costello scored at the 3:57 mark in the third period last night, it was the first Allen goal scored on Carr at home in over 111 minutes. It hasn't been easy for Allen at the AEC either despite the four goals Carr allowed on Friday in just 36 minutes. In Carr's two prior starts in Allen before Friday he allowed just one goal in each game.

- Allen has the second best power play percentage in the ECHL at 21.7% but has struggled against Tulsa. In the 10 head to head games against Tulsa this season, Allen is 5-37 (13.5%) and in the three games this week is 1-8 (12.5%).

- Chad Costello scored his 18th goal of the season last night and is now tied for fifth in goals scored in the ECHL. Chad is first in assists (44) and has 12 more assists than any other player in the league. That adds up to 62 points which leads the league by 14 points. You hear all the time that Chad should shoot more but the idea he doesn't shoot much is kind of a myth. Because Chad has the puck so much it might appear he never shoots, but he has 128 shots which leads the team. Only one other players has as many as 100 shots (Gary Steffes - 101). Chad is also in the top ten in the ECHL in shots.

- The first three games of this four game series with Tulsa have been very calm for two teams toward the top of the ECHL penalty chart. Combined, these two teams average 33.15 penalty minutes per game. In the first three games of this series they have averaged just 14 minutes per game. That equates to only 3.5 penalties per game by each team. It will be interesting to see how the game today is played. Usually when teams play four games in a row, things get a little chippy. However, with Reid Halabi injured and Dyson Stevenson being told not to fight, the fisticuffs will probably be limited.

- Have had many questions about how you say Nikita Jevpalovs name and you certainly hear it pronounced in a variety of ways. When the San Jose Sharks signed Jevpalovs to his NHL contract they included this phonetic spelling in the press release, (YEFF-pell-uhvs). If you can get the first syllable correct and say "YEFF" instead of the anglicized "JEFF" you should be home free or you can take the easy way out and just call him Nikita.


GAME PREVIEW

Here is an updated statistical comparison between Allen and Tulsa:


                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record              25-16-2-1(53 points)             20-15-2-2 (44 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         3rd - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        9th - Western
League Ranking         9th                                        18th
Last Game                  5-2 L (Tulsa)                         5-2 W (Allen)
Goals For                   132                                      108
Goals Against             125                                       99
Power Play                 21.7% (36/166)                     12.6% (18/143)
Penalty Kill                 85.6% (25/174)                      83.4% (26/157)
Leading Scorer          Costello  (18-44-62)                DeSalvo (11-21-32)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson - 78                       Clark - 115


-  Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (17.00) - Tulsa 5th (16.15)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 8th (3.00) - Tulsa 19th (2.77)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (2.84) - Tulsa 7th (2.54)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 25th (27.86) - Tulsa 26th (27.85)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (30.25) - Tulsa 4th (27.64)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (21.7%) - Tulsa 27th (12.6%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 7th (85.6%) - Tulsa 15th (83.4%)

- Allen and Tulsa are two of the worst teams in the league in generating shots on goal. Shots on goal don't necessarily predict game winners but the last six times Allen and Tulsa have played, the team with the most shots on goal won the game.

- Allen has scored the first goal in only half of their games this season (22-44) but have won over 80% of the games when they score first. Sure would be nice to get off to a quick start with the first goal this afternoon.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Kenny Anderson (#16) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Eric Contino (#92). This is the same crew that worked the game last night in Tulsa.


OTHER COMMENTS

- To no surprise Missouri beat Wichita last night for their 12th straight win over the Thunder this season. It was the 34th win of the season for the Mavericks who now have a nine point lead in the ECHL overall standings and a 17 point lead in the Central Division over Allen. If they keep up their current pace Missouri will end up with 123 points this season. The all time record is 116 points.

- If Tulsa beats Allen today in regulation time they will pass the Americans for second place in the Central Division in winning percentage.

- AHL Report - Eric Roy had a power play assist last night for Lake Erie but it was in a losing cause as they lost to Texas 3-2. Jack Combs had no points but was a +1 as his Hartford team won. Spencer Asuchak did not play for Chicago as he has missed the last three games due an infection on his stomach. Daniel Doremus played and had an assist and was a +1 as San Jose beat San Antonio 4-3. Aaron Dell was in goal for San Jose and stopped 23 of 26 shots to pick up the win.
 

DID YOU KNOW: Allen will play Tulsa 15 times this season (6 home 9 away). Thus far they have played 10 times (4 home 6 away) and the Americans record is 4-6. Allen is 2-2 at home and 2-4 in Tulsa. In their four wins the Americans have scored 4, 3, 4, 7 goals. In the six losses Allen has scored 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 2 goals.




Saturday, January 30, 2016

Allen Plays Best Game of the Season, Beats Tulsa 7-1, Martinson's Comments & Post Game Skate Pics

"We love these post game skates with dad" - photo by Dianne Webster

"Sweet goal tonight Courts" - photo by Dianne Webster

Hey mom, I got a pro to tie my skates - photo by Dianne Webster

Heard from his parents this boy is in love with Joel Rumpel - photo by Dianne Webster

Gary being Gary making hockey fans forever - photo by Dianne Webster


The 5043 fans at the Allen Event Center last night witnessed the best game of the year by the Allen Americans as they beat a good Tulsa Oiler team by a score of 7-1. It was the largest margin of victory for the Americans all season. After a scoreless first period in which Allen had numerous quality scoring chances and out shot Tulsa 16-5 the floodgates opened. Allen scored four goals in the second period and three in the third to take a 7-0 lead before Tulsa spoiled the shutout for goalie Joel Rumpel.

There were pretty goals, greasy goals, goals off the rush, goals from the point, tip in goals, odd man rush goals, power play goals and any other type of goal you can think of. Goal scorers for Allen were in order: Hanson (8), Costello (17), Makowski (7), King (7), Hanson (9), Jevpalovs (1) and Courtnall (4).

Whether you attended the game, watched it on ECHL TV, listened to the live stream broadcast, or missed it altogether go to the ECHL website (ECHL Rewind section) and take a look at all seven goals for some real enjoyment. Here is the website: http://www.echl.com/

- It wasn't just the explosive offense that made the game the best of the year for the Americans. They played excellent team defense and had great goalie play from Joel Rumpel who stopped 19 of 20 shots before coach Martinson inserted recently acquired goalie Peter Di Salvo into the game for the last 6:37.

Joel Rumpel was golden in the MeiGray Golden Goalie Jersey - photo by scenebykimberly


- Allen won the special teams battle holding the Oilers scoreless on three power play opportunities including a five on three in the first period. The Americans were 1-5 on the power play but had numerous quality chances.

- The team will leave at 1:00 pm for the trip to Tulsa (230 miles) and a rematch with the Oilers tonight (7:05 pm).


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- We had more skill in the lineup tonight and that was a big part of the win. All three guys we added to the lineup tonight (Makowski, King, Jevpalovs) had goals.

- I thought we worked hard, played hard and had good pace. With 11 forwards and just five defensemen we were able to play four lines a lot and that enables you to pick up the pace and that helped.

- Some of the things we worked on in practice and talked about made us better in the game.

- The power play was good put we still need more traffic in front of the net when we shoot. Too often the forwards were standing around the perimeter when shots were taken.

- We will go back to six defensemen for the game tomorrow. Because we went with 11 forwards in the game tonight we should have good legs for the game tomorrow night.


OTHER COMMENTS

- There are several reasons the Americans won 7-1 last night after being shut out by Tulsa 2-0 on Tuesday. They had some rest after playing four games in five days, they worked harder and they added offense to the lineup with the addition of Tristan King, David Makowski and Nikita Jevpalovs. But after talking to coach Martinson and several players after the game the most important factor may have been some subtle adjustments that were made in how and where they attacked the Oilers.

- You know it is a good night when 13 of 16 skaters score a point in the game. That is what you call balanced scoring. There were three players with three points (Costello, Hanson, Pierro-Zabotel).

- It was great to see Nikita Jevpalovs get a goal in his first game with Allen. He had several other quality opportunities as well. The goal he scored was a goal scorers goal as he had his stick on the ice looking for the shot from the point and made a perfect deflection. He is a talented young player and will only be with the Americans for another day or two with the AHL All-Star break coming up. However, there is a chance he could be back later in the season and during the playoffs. What a great addition he would be if that happens.

- If the Americans can keep up the intensity they exhibited last night, get 30 shots on goal and take advantage of their special teams play they will be in good shape against Tulsa tonight.

- With the win last night over Tulsa the Americans extended their lead over the Oilers to 11 points but gained no ground on Missouri who beat Wichita 2-1. The Central Division is the only division in the ECHL which has so much disparity in points from top to bottom. Missouri now leads last place Wichita by 40 points. The leads the first place team has over the last place team in the other five divisions ranges from 15-21 points. Here are the Central Division standings with games played in parentheses:
68 points:  Missouri (40 games)
53 points:  Allen (43 games)
42 points:  Tulsa (38 games)
28 points:  Wichita ( 44 games)

- It was a goal scoring frenzy around the ECHL last night. In addition to Allen's 7-1 win, Kalamazoo beat Quad City 6-5, Norfolk beat South Carolina 8-2 and  Indy beat Evansville 7-3. League wide the ECHL average for goals scored in a game is 2.84. The 14 winning teams last night averaged 4.71 goals.

- Here are some more shots of the game and from the post game skate with fans. Seeing the players interact with the young fans and their young ones is the best and everything is better after a 7-1 win. Sorry about all of the post game photos but they are all so cute I couldn't resist.

Costello faked a slap shot and then went top shelf to score - photo by scenebykimberly.com
Tristan King returned to the lineup and got this great backhand goal - photo by Lauren Lyssy

Nikita Jevpalovs with a goal & #3 star tosses a puck to a young fan - photo by Lauren Lyssy

Joel Rumpel signs for a young fan - photo by Lauren Lyssy

 

DID YOU KNOW: Many times it seems like Allen has struggled this year but everything is relative. There are only five teams in the 28 team league with a better winning percentage than the Americans. Here is the list:
.850     Missouri
.726     Florida
.700     Adirondack
.678     Manchester
.675     Toledo
.616     Allen



 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview, Roster Changes Include Nikita Jevpalovs, Halabi Plays Hurt Story & More

It is game day in Allen as the Americans start a three games in three days series for the third straight weekend. This weekend you can throw in a little travel to go along with the three games. All three games are against the Tulsa Oilers with the game tonight in Allen, Saturday in Tulsa and Sunday back in Allen.

 Roster changes for both teams since Tulsa beat Allen 2-0 on Tuesday favors the Americans. Here is the list:

Aaron Harstad - The Oilers defenseman, who is under contract with the Manitoba Moose (AHL) and was a seventh round pick of the the Winnipeg Jets in the 2011 NHL draft, was recalled by Manitoba on Wednesday. In 14 games with Tulsa, Harstad had eight points, 14 penalty minutes and was a +11.

David Makowski - The Allen defenseman returns to the line up tonight after serving a one game suspension on Tuesday. A key part of the Americans power play, David has the fourth best points per game average in the ECHL among defensemen.

Tristan King - According to coach Martinson, King will be activated today and be in the line up tonight after missing several games with an injury. Tristan last played on December 27.

Nikita  Jevpalovs - Pronounced (YEFF-pell-uhvs), this big bodied forward showed up on the AHL transactions yesterday as being loaned to Allen by the San Jose Sharks. Nikita is currently playing for the San Jose Barracuda. Since the Barracuda has been in Texas this week playing the Texas Stars on Wednesday and the San Antonio Rampage tonight and Saturday, it was both easy and inexpensive to get Jevpalovs to Allen. He could play a couple of games for Allen and hook back up with the Barracuda before they leave Texas. The AHL All-Star break starts this weekend so after their game with San Antonio on Saturday, San Jose doesn't play again until February 5th. Expect to see Jevpalovs in the line up for Allen tonight wearing #24. Nikita is a 21 year old rookie who signed a free agent NHL deal with San Jose a little over a year ago. He is from Latvia and has extensive experience playing in the World Cup for his country. Last season he played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and totaled 100 points (49 goals 51 assists). He has struggled scoring in his rookie season with the Barracuda with just two goals and eight assists in 37 games. Here is a description of Nikita's style from the news release when he signed his NHL deal. "He is an attacking Latvian wing with a relentless motor. Makes good puck decisions and never seems to stop moving and working. Is patient and displays good hands, and passes. Good in traffic and in close."

Nikita Jevpalovs will be in the line up for Allen tonight


- Bottom line is Allen adds three offensive weapons and Tulsa loses one of their best defensemen to the AHL. It all favors the Americans if it they can generate more shots on goal which has been an Achilles heel recently.

- One player you won't see in the line up tonight is Reid Halabi. As a matter of fact he will be out of the line up for a few weeks. Reid is the Allen tough guy in more than one respect. Reid was hit with a puck a couple of weeks ago and could hardly walk after the game. He had an x-ray which was negative but his ankle was slow to heal despite wearing a walking boot. According to coach Martinson, despite his injury, he told the coach he wanted to play last week when Wichita was in town and put Erick Lizon back in the line up after a suspension. Reid said he was good to go for a fight if Wichita wanted to start something. Sure enough Reid fought Wichita's Paxton Leroux and despite giving up five inches to Leroux, Reid held his own. As coach Martinson said at his post game press conference, "If I would have put him out again after the fight he would have fought again but I could tell from watching him on the bench he could barely sit still because his foot was so sore and he had his skate loosened up." Since playing against Wichita last week Reid's ankle has not improved so the team sent him to get an MRI and that revealed he had a hairline fracture all along and played the game with Wichita and had the fight with a broken ankle. Now that is a tough guy who went above and beyond the call of duty. I am sure that earned Reid a lot of respect in the locker room.

- The game tonight against Tulsa will be the ninth of 15 games these teams will play this season. The Americans record against the Oilers in the previous eight games is 3-5. In addition to the typical comparison between the teams, thought it would be interesting to look at averages based on the eight head to head match ups. Here are the results:
                             
                                    ALLEN          TULSA                  
Goals:                            1.88              3.00
Shots:                            23.13            28.75
Power Play %                13.3%           14.7%
Penalties:                       6.38              5.88
Penalty Minutes:            16.38            15.75



- Here is the regular comparison between Allen and Tulsa:

                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record              24-15-2-1(51 points)             19-14-2-2 (42 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         3rd - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        8th - Western
League Ranking         9th                                        17th
Last Game                  2-0 L (Tulsa)                         2-0 W (Allen)
Goals For                   123                                      102
Goals Against             119                                       90
Power Play                 22.0% (35/159)                     13.1% (18/137)
Penalty Kill                 85.1% (25/168)                      83.3% (25/150)
Leading Scorer          Costello  (16-42-58)                DeSalvo (11-20-31)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson - 74                       Clark - 113


-  Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (17.48) - Tulsa 5th (16.59)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 12th (2.93) - Tulsa 18th (2.76)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (2.83) - Tulsa 5th (2.43)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (27.69) - Tulsa 25th (27.92)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 16th (30.43) - Tulsa 4th (27.43)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (22.0%) - Tulsa 26th (13/1%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 8th (85.1%) - Tulsa 16th (83.3%)

- Special teams will most certainly play a role in the game tonight. If you look at the ECHL stats, Allen has a big advantage with a much better overall power play percentage than Tulsa (22.0% to 13.1%).  If you look at Allen's home power play percentage (19.7%) versus Tulsa's road power play percentage (8.4%) the advantage is even bigger. However, if you look at the eight head to head games between these teams, Tulsa is at 14.7% on the power play compared to Allen at 13.3%.

- Both of these teams have trouble getting shots on goal with Allen ranked #26 in the league and Tulsa #25. They both average just under 28 shots per game. But head to head Tulsa has a big advantage averaging almost 29 shots per game compared to Allen's 23. I know coach Martinson has made some adjustments for this game so hopefully the adjustments along with the addition of Makowski, King and Jevpalovs will generate more shots.


 - Officials scheduled for the game are referee Mike Sheehan (#11) and linesmen Alex Black (#63) and Brian Bull (#49).

- If you see a couple of different looking jerseys being worn by Chad Costello and Joel Rumpel tonight it is part of a program sponsored by the ECHL and The MeiGray Group. Fans had the opportunity to vote on ECHL.com for one member of each team to be selected to the 2015-16 fantasy team. The winning player from each team will wear a special ECHL Fantasy Jersey at a home game. Chad Costello was the winner from Allen and will wear the specialty jersey tonight. A goaltender is also selected from each team in what is called the MeiGray Golden Goalie Program. Joel Rumpel will be wearing the "Golden Goalie" jersey tonight. The game worn jerseys will be available for bid through The MeiGray group starting March 3rd running through March 24.

Chad & Joel checking out the specialty jerseys they will wear tonight - photo by Dianne Webster


DID YOU KNOW: Since joining the ECHL, Allen's overall record against Tulsa is 15-9-0-1. They are 7-5 at home against the Oilers and 8-4-0-1 in Tulsa.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Practice Update, Steven Bros. Really Do Like Wichita Best, GoPro NHL Deal & Video, Makowski Scoring Prowess

In the last half of January, the Americans play 10 games in 16 days. The last three weekends of the month call for three games in three days and Allen is currently in the midst of playing Tulsa four games in a row. Throw in some travel, an All-Star break and you can see there is little time for practice. Here is the schedule from January 22 - February 6.

January 22 - same day travel to Wichita, Allen wins 4-3 in OT
January 23 - game in Wichita, Allen wins 3-1, travel to Allen after the game, arrive home 4:30 am
January 24 - afternoon home game against Wichita, Allen wins 5-4
January 25 - day off for players, no practice
January 26 - same day travel to Tulsa, Allen loses 2-0, arrive back in Allen 2:00 am
January 27 - no formal practice, optional practice for most, mandatory for some, no coaches 
January 28 - PRACTICE
January 29 - home game against Tulsa
January 30 - same day travel to Tulsa and return
January 31 - home afternoon game against Tulsa
February 1 - All-Star break, players off
February 2 - All-Star break, players off
February 3 - All Star break, players off
February 4 - PRACTICE
February 5 - home game Utah
February 6 - home game Wichita

- Not much time to work on those things coach Martinson has identified as areas in need of improvement. Two practices in 16 days.

- I stopped by the optional practice yesterday. It was optional for most players but mandatory for those players that have not been playing at all or have not been playing much in recent games. I counted 13 in attendance and they did some drills and also had some fun. There were no coaches involved.

- Photographer Dianne Webster was also practicing her hockey photography and here are a few of her shots from practice.


Is it the "evil eye" or "peace be with you" from goalie Peter Di Salvo

Looks like a David Makowski goal

Hockey's version of shirts and skins

Lots of smiles and smirks on optional practice days


- Ran across a couple of stories about the Steven brothers, who own the Allen Americans, that you might find interesting. This first one was written by Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle and talks about the ECHL being okay with three franchises (Wichita, Tulsa, Allen) being owned by the same owners. There are quotes from  ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna and Rodney Steven. The article covers a lot of territory and provides some historical background. Steven also makes it clear that Wichita is his favorite of the three teams. When Allen or Tulsa are playing in Wichita, Rodney is cheering for the Thunder. Steve Martinson is also quoted in the article. Check it out: http://www.kansas.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/bob-lutz/article56644688.html

- This second story is about the re-purposing of Kemper Arena in Kansas City. Kemper Arena was built in 1972 with a capacity of 19,500 and over the years has been home to an NHL franchise (Kansas City Scouts), a NBA franchise (Kansas City Kings), as well as many other professional hockey, soccer, football and basketball teams.  This story was written by Lynn Horsley of the Kansas City Star. The city wants to transfer ownership of the arena to a private group after the public bonds are paid off in April. The Steven brothers are one of two groups that have submitted proposals for the arena. Here is the story: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/development/article56604328.html 

- Finally, here is a story about a renewed partnership between GoPro, the NHL, and the NHLPA which is an attempt to deliver hockey fans the behind the scenes look at the game. Sounds like the 11 part "NHL After Dark" series will be fun to watch. If you haven't read this story or looked at the video that is included, take the time to do so. Here is the link: https://gopro.com/news/gopro-back-on-the-ice-with-nhl-nhlpa-partnership


DID YOU KNOW: David Makowski is only ranked #31 in the ECHL in points by a defenseman because he has missed 17 games. However, if you look at average points per game he is ranked #4 in the league. Here are the top four in average points per game. You will notice three of the four have played for the Allen Americans. In case you were wondering about Eric Roy, who is now in the AHL, he had an average points per game while in Allen of .706.

1.00 - Matt Register (Matt is with Atlanta and played in Allen in 2011-12)
.731 - Drew Daniels (Drew is with Fort Wayne and played in Allen in 2012-13)
.729 - Mathew Maione (Mathew is with Wheeling but started the year in Brampton)
.720 - David Makowski

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tulsa Shuts Out Allen 2-0, Martinson's Post Game Comments, Crane is ECHL Player of the Week & More

The Allen Americans were shutout 2-0 by the Tulsa Oilers last night before an announced crowd of 3687 at the BOK Center. The Americans were out hustled, out worked, out played, out shot (43-25) and out scored by the Oilers. In defense of the Americans, it was their fourth game in five days which is a rare occurrence even in AA hockey.

- The one bright spot for Allen was the play of goalie Joel Rumpel who was peppered with 43 shots and saved 41. That computes to a save percentage of .953. For his effort, Joel was named the #3 star of the game.

- Tulsa won the special teams battle scoring a power play goal while holding Allen scoreless in their only power play opportunity. It is noteworthy that Allen was called for five penalties while Tulsa had just one penalty.

- With the win, Tulsa is now nine points behind second place Allen in the Central Division standings with five games in hand. If you look at win percentage, Allen is at .607 and Tulsa is at .568. With three games this weekend (Allen Friday, Tulsa Saturday, Allen Sunday) it is possible Tulsa could pass Allen in win percentage before the week is over.


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- We need to get back to basics and will work on that at practice this week.

- This was our fourth game in five days after playing three games in three days against Wichita. That made for a tough game tonight. I expect we will be much better on Friday at home.

- We need to get more traffic in front of their goalie. If we want to be successful we need to get more shots on goal and more traffic in front.

- We will spend time at practice to create a better five man attack for the weekend.

- Our forwards have been weak defensively and it cost us tonight.

- I am not sure why we aren't getting more power plays the last few games. Tonight was another example where we were called for five penalties versus one for Tulsa.


OTHER COMMENTS

- Allen has the #2 ranked power play in the ECHL but has not had much chance to utilize that advantage recently. The Americans had just one power play opportunity last night and in their last three games have had a total of just five power play chances while their opponents have had 14 power play opportunities.

- Including the shut out last night, the Americans have scored zero or one goal 12 times this season. Check "Did You Know" below for the historical perspective.

- Allen has an 11-8 record against Central Division teams but that includes being 7-0 against last place Wichita. The Americans have a losing record against Missouri (1-3) and Tulsa (3-5).

- Congrats to Chris Crane who was selected as the ECHL Player of the Week yesterday. Chris had eight points (5 goals 3 assists) last week in four games, including a game winner and a shorthanded goal, to lead Allen to a 3-0-1-0 record. The ultimate team player, Chris gave credit to others. Here is his quote from the Americans press release. "I want to thank my teammates for a great week, I couldn't have done it without them. I'm looking forward to the second half of the season and defending the Kelly Cup. My experience with San Jose earlier this year has really helped me to develop my game and working under Coach Martinson on a daily basis has really helped me grow as a hockey player."

Chris Crane, ECHL Player of the Week, discusses a win with Maurice Fitzgerald - photo by Lauren Lyssy



DID YOU KNOW:  The Allen Americans have played 42 games this year and have scored zero or one goal 12 times. At that pace they will end the season with 20 games with zero or one goal. Here is the number of games Allen has scored zero or one goal in each season in their history. The struggle the  team has had scoring goals this season is evident in this data.
2015-16     12 (thru 42 games)
2014-15     6
2013-14     4
2012-13     9
2011-12     10
2010-11     6
2009-10     13


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview, Meet New Allen Goalie Peter Di Salvo, Makowski Suspended, Roster Changes

The most familiar foe on the schedule for the Allen Americans is the Tulsa Oilers. These teams play 15 times (six home, nine away) this season. Game number eight of this 15 game series is tonight in Tulsa. The Americans play their next four games against the Oilers. Tonight in Tulsa, Friday in Allen, Saturday back in Tulsa and Sunday in Allen. The team will leave at 1:00 pm for the 230 mile bus trip to Tulsa and return right after the game.


Even though these teams play 15 times this season, they have played just once in the last two months. It will be a good test for both teams to see how they have progressed since last playing each other. With Missouri destined to win the Central Division and Wichita destined for last place, the only real battle left is to see who will finish second in the division. Allen currently has an 11 point lead over Tulsa but the Oilers have played five fewer games than the Americans. With eight points up for grabs this week Allen could have anywhere from a 19 point lead to a three point lead after the game on Sunday.

There are some interesting statistics if you look at the seven head to head games Allen and Tulsa have played this season. Tulsa has won four of the seven games. The visiting team has won the last four games. The last two times Tulsa has played in Allen, they defeated the Americans 3-1 (12/21) and 6-1 (11/21). The last two times Allen has played in Tulsa they have won 4-3 (11/22) and 3-2 (11/13).

- Here is a comparison between Allen and Tulsa:

                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record               24-14-2-1(51 points)             18-14-2-2 (40 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         3rd - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        9th - Western
League Ranking         10th                                      18th
Last Game                  5-4 W (Wichita)                    6-3 W (Missouri)
Goals For                   123                                      100
Goals Against             117                                       90
Power Play                 22.2% (35/158)                     12.9% (17/132)
Penalty Kill                 85.3% (24/163)                      83.2% (25/149)
Leading Scorer           Costello  (16-42-58)               Desalvo (10-20-30)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson - 74                       Clark - 113


-  Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (17.66) - Tulsa 4th (17.00)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 7th (3.00) - Tulsa 16th (2.78)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 14th (2.85) - Tulsa 6th (2.50)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 25th (27.76 - Tulsa 26th (27.50)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (30.12) - Tulsa 5th (27.50)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (22.2%) - Tulsa 26th (12.9%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 9th (85.3%) - Tulsa 17th (83.2%)

-  A couple of keys to victory for Allen are getting shots on goal and winning the special teams battle. The Americans are ranked #25th in the league in shots on goal at 27.76 per game but against Tulsa it has been even worse. Only once has Allen had 30 shots on goal against the Oilers and the last four times these teams have played, Allen's shot totals were 20, 24, 20 &17.  Allen is going to have to do better if they expect to win tonight. With Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Greger Hanson back in the lineup Allen should be able to increase the shots on goal.

- Tulsa's overall power play percentage is one of the worst in the ECHL ranked #26 at 12.9%. However, if you look at home and away power plays it is a very different story. On the road, Tulsa is dead last at 8.4% but at home they are ranked #8 at 20.4%. Allen still has the advantage with the best road power play in the league (24.4%) but they will be missing a key component of the power play tonight. Point man David Makowski has been suspended for one game and will miss the game. Makowski was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct on Sunday for a slash to the jaw of a Wichita's Paxton Leroux.

- The Allen roster will have a different look tonight. In addition to Makowski's suspension, Reid Halabi and Tristan King will not play. Jacob Poe and Casey Thrush, who did not play on Sunday, will be back in the line up. 

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Chris Pontes (#2) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Eric Contino (#92).

- Allen has a new back up goalie as they have brought in Peter Di Salvo. The official transaction shows a trade from Colorado. The Eagles released Di Salvo on December 26 only to re-sign him this week and deal him to Allen. The immigration process for a player that is traded is much easier than when an ECHL team signs a player that has been released, so that is why he was re-signed and then traded. The Americans did the same thing when Garrett Clarke went to Rapid City and when they acquired Reid Halabi from Fort Wayne. Basically a professional courtesy to save time and money.

Peter Di Salvo


- Di Salvo is a third year pro who has spent most of his career in the SPHL. He is signed with the Mississippi River Kings and in 14 games this year he has a GAA of 2.12 and a save percentage of .932. He has had two previous call ups to the ECHL this season with Colorado and Fort Wayne.

Allen back up goalie Peter Di Salvo gets acquainted with goalie coach Thomas Speer - photo by Dianne Webster


Here is a Mississippi River Kings video from a little over a year ago that provides some background on Peter:




Below are Peter's statistics courtesy of hockeydb:

Peter Di Salvo

Goalie -- shoots R
Born Nov 14 1990 -- Oakville, ONT
[25 yrs. ago]
Height 6.00 -- Weight 196
RS Goalie Stats PO Scoring
Season Team Lge GP A PIM Min GA EN SO GAA W L T Svs Pct GP A PIM
2006-07 Sarnia Sting OHL 6 0 0 190 16 1 0 5.05 0 3 0 87 0.845 ---
2007-08 Sarnia Sting OHL 7 0 0 379 16 2 0 2.53 3 3 0 136 0.895 ---
2007-08 Barrie Colts OHL 13 0 0 720 37 2 0 3.08 4 7 0 362 0.907 ---
2008-09 Barrie Colts OHL 34 1 2 1948 92 3 3 2.83 15 13 4 1038 0.919 4 0 0
2009-10 Barrie Colts OHL 50 3 6 2784 127 1 2 2.74 38 6 1 1366 0.915 7 0 2
2010-11 Barrie Colts OHL 20 1 0 1137 93 2 0 4.91 2 17 1 674 0.879 ---
2010-11 Oshawa Generals OHL 36 2 4 2122 110 2 1 3.11 22 8 5 1123 0.911 10 0 0
2011-12 Acadia University AUS 9 0 0 476 23 0 0 2.90 5 2 0 182 0.888


2012-13 Acadia University AUS 23 0 4












2013-14 Pensacola Ice Flyers SPHL 17 0 15 991 39 0 0 2.36 11 5 1 510 0.929 ---
2014-15 Mississippi RiverKings SPHL 30 0 0 1680 66 0 2 2.36 19 8 0 774 0.921 5 0 2
2015-16 Mississippi RiverKings SPHL 14 0 2 848 30 0 1 2.12 9 3 2 411 0.932


2015-16 Colorado Eagles ECHL 2 0 0 118 6 1 0 3.06 1 1 0 49 0.891


 DID YOU KNOW: On December 16th in Colorado, Peter Di Salvo was the starting goalie for the Colorado Eagles when they played the Allen Americans. Di Salvo stopped 27 of 28 shots to lead Colorado to a 3-1 win over the Americans. For his effort Peter was selected the #1 star of the game.



Monday, January 25, 2016

Allen Sweeps Wichita, Game Recap, Martinson's Comments, The Game In Pictures & More

The Allen Americans beat the Wichita Thunder 5-4 on Sunday before a small afternoon crowd of 3554 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The Americans swept the three game weekend series against the Thunder. Allen improved to 7-0 against Wichita this season and still have to play them six more times.

The game was very different than the Allen wins on Friday and Saturday. There were more goals (9), more penalty minutes (61) and more fighting majors (6) than in any of the seven games Allen and Wichita have played this season.

Goal scorers for Allen were Costello (16), Crane (11), Courtnall (3), Stevenson (5) and Steffes (12).  Allen had to come from behind twice (1-0 & 2-1) and then took a 4-2 lead before allowing Wichita to comeback and tie the score 4-4 with less than five minutes left in the game. The game winner came with 3:16 left in the game when Gary Steffes scored a shorthanded goal.

Allen has quietly scored points in seven straight games (5-0-1-1), closed the gap to first place Missouri who still has a commanding 13 point lead, and widened their second place lead over Tulsa to 11 points (Tulsa has played five fewer games).  The Americans next four games are against the Oilers (two home, two away) and these four games will go a long way in deciding if Tulsa can challenge Allen for second place in the Central Division.



STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- I thought we made some great plays tonight and created a lot of opportunities. Crane's goal was beautiful with his drive to the outside while he was being held.

- The first period was terrible as we ended up with just two shots on goal. We spent too much time trying to pass the puck to guys that were covered instead of shooting the puck and go for the rebound.

- We picked it up after the first period and obviously that was a big play by Hanson and Steffes on the shorthanded goal after the two goals we had to witness by Wichita to tie the game 4-4.

- Now we have to get ready for Tulsa as those are four really big games coming up with them. I expect King will be back by the weekend. I could probably play him on Tuesday but it is better he gets some skating in during practice so will wait for the weekend.

- I put Riley Gill on the 21 day injured reserve effective to the date of his injury (1/17). He will be eligible to return for our trip to Alaska.

- We now have a back up goalie, who just arrived today from the SPHL, by the name of Peter Di Salvo. I always believe in playing percentages and I didn't believe the percentages were in our favor to go two and a half months with one goalie. After going with just Gill for six weeks when Rumpel was hurt I decided we needed a back up goalie.

- I am not sure if Makowski will get a suspension. I will ask the league to look at that entire shift because a lot went on before the penalty call.


OTHER COMMENTS

- It is no coincidence the Americans have had two shorthanded goals this weekend and Greger Hanson had an assist on both of them. Hanson owns the single season shorthanded goal record (shared with Spencer Asuchak) for Allen as he had five shorthanded goals last season in just 55 games. Greger turns the penalty kill into an offensive weapon and the shorthanded goals scored by Crane on Friday and Steffes last night are directly attributable to Hanson's aggressiveness when he kills penalties.

- Reid Halabi had his first fight since arriving in Allen and acquitted himself quite well against Thunder tough guy, Paxton Leroux. Halabi gave away five inches to the much taller Leroux but he is always fighting guys that are bigger than him.

- There were several great plays that led to goals last night. Aaron Gens made a super pass to Chad Costello to put him in alone for his power play goal. Crane's goal was a great individual effort,  J.P. Lafontaine made a great pass on the Dyson Stevenson goal and Greger Hanson made a great play on the Steffes shorty. Take the time to go to the ECHL website and watch the video highlights which include all of the goals and the three fights along with the call of Tommy Daniels. You can find the highlights under the "ECHL REWIND" section. Here is the website: http://www.echl.com/

-  David Makowski's scoring streak (six games) ended last night but Chad Costello had a goal to extend his scoring streak to seven games. Chad has scored in 11 of the last 12 games and in the last 12 games has 21 points (5 goals 16 assists). Chris Crane has a four game goal streak and in those four games he has eight points (5 goals 3 assists).

- Had a question about why there are now 75 second timeouts during the game. I checked with one of the off ice officials and was told the ECHL dictates the timeouts during each period and the teams have been given the choice of three 60 second timeouts or two 75 second times outs. The Americans chose the 75 second timeouts.

- Here are some photos of the game courtesy of our great photographers:

Chad Costello power play goal - photo by Lauren Lyssy

Reid Halabi lands a punch

Guys on the bench cheering on Reid Halabi on fight night - photo by Lauren Lyssy


Wichita captain Ian Lowe was checked into the Allen bench - photo by Lauren Lyssy

Another view of the Costello goal - photo by Dianne Webster

Cris Crane with the snipe - photo by Dianne Webster

Synchronized defense, a group effort - photo by Dianne Webster
Wichita's Logan Nelson scores 1st goal of the game - photo by scenebykimberly.com

Logan Nelson with his second goal - photo by scenebykimberly.com


DID YOU KNOW: With just two shots in the first period last night, Allen has tied the ECHL record for the second fewest shots in a period this season. Allen also holds the #1 spot as they are the only team in the ECHL that has been held to one shot in a period this season. That happened back on December 13 in the first period against Idaho.




Sunday, January 24, 2016

Allen Beats Wichita 3-1, Martinson's Post Game Comments, RV Road Trip, Today's Game Preview

 The Allen Americans beat Wichita last night 3-1 before a big crowd of 6062 at Intrust Bank Arena. After three straight games that went to overtime/shootout, the Americans win a game in regulation time. Allen would get on the scoreboard first when Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored his 10th goal of the season. Casey won a face off right back to Aaron Gens on the point who took a shot and Casey was at the net to put in the rebound.

Wichita would tie the score 1-1 at the 4:45 mark of the second period on a power play goal. It was the first power play goal Allen had allowed Wichita all season. The Americans had killed 19 straight penalties over five games. Wichita's power play is now 1-22 (4.5%) on the season against the Americans.

For the second straight game, coach Steve Martinson changed up the line combinations in the third period and it paid off. Last night he put Greger Hanson with Crane and Costello to start the third period and they answered with the go ahead goal. It was a great play from Costello to Hanson in the corner who passed it to a wide open Crane in front of the net. Crane buried the puck for his tenth goal. 

Greger Hanson finished the scoring with an empty net goal with 14 seconds remaining in the game. It was Hanson's seventh goal of the season. Chad Costello could have scored the goal but passed to Hanson who carried the puck to the goal mouth before tapping it in. 

The Americans boarded "Big Red" immediately following the game for the 360 mile trip back to Allen. They arrive home around 4:00 am and will be back on the ice for the third game against Wichita at 4:05 pm. Another weekend with three games in less than 48 hours.


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS.

- It is easy on the coach when you play the same team three times in a row. All I did tonight before the game was meet with the forwards to go over some adjustments from the game last night.

- I put Hanson with Crane and Costello in the third period just to try and get something going. Luckily it  worked out and they came up with the go ahead goal.

- I thought Hanson was pretty dynamic tonight. He created a lot of opportunities and led the team in shots.

- Rumpel made a lot of quality stops tonight. I thought he could have been the #1 star of the game. 

- I have signed a backup goalie who should arrive in Allen tomorrow. If all goes as planned he will arrive in time for the game. He is coming from the SPHL and has a good record.

- It is great to get four points on the road but it is just as important to come out strong tomorrow. We need to take advantage of all these games against teams in our own division.


OTHER COMMENTS

- It has been quite a weekend thus far for Chris Crane. On Friday night he had two goals including a shorthanded goal and the game tying goal. Last night he had the game winning goal.

- Greger Hanson was the #1 star of the game and has had a big impact on the Allen offense. He had a goal and an assist in both games in Wichita and accounted for 16 of the 67 shots on goal taken by Allen  in the two games. That is 24% of the team shots.

- David Makowski and Chad Costello both extended their scoring streaks which now stand at six games. With two assists last night, Costello now has 58 points (15 goals 43 assists) and a 15 point lead in the ECHL scoring race.  

- The Missouri Mavericks finally lost at home after winning 14 straight. They lost to the Tulsa Oilers 6-3 and it was not a typical Missouri game. The Mavericks had a 3-1 lead early in the third period and then gave up five unanswered goals. It was the most goals Missouri has allowed all season. The Mavericks are still way out in front of the ECHL standings but have lost two of their last three games.

- I had a blast joining Tommy Daniels on his radio broadcast last night. I mentioned this during the broadcast but it is a marvel to watch Tommy work. On the road when he flies solo he is like a one man band. At home, Tommy and Maurice Fitzgerald make it seem easy when you listen to them. I can tell you from first hand experience it isn't easy. Allen is lucky to have that duo at all home games. It was a lot of fun spending the game next to Tommy, trying to live tweet for the first time and interviewing Matt Harding from Team Sin Bin between periods. All I can say is there were lots of rookie mistakes. Thanks to everyone who left me words of encouragement, they were greatly appreciated.

- A special thanks to Mike Holum for inviting me along with Lee Hastings, Paul Reichert and Jonathan Virnig to join him in his recently acquired RV for a quick road trip to Wichita. It turned out to be a great game and the 720 mile trip provided for some great conversation. Arrived home at 4:00 am.


GAME PREVIEW

- The Americans have a chance to sweep Wichita this afternoon and win their third straight game. They have not had a three game win streak since early December. Wichita has played Allen tough at the Allen Event Center (AEC). Since joining the ECHL the Americans are 11-1-0-2 against the Thunder in games played in Wichita. However, Wichita has the edge at the AEC with a 5-4 record. Beware the trap game.

- Here are the updated stats with last night's game included:


                                     ALLEN                               WICHITA

Team Record              23-14-2-1 (49 points)             9-24-4-4 (26 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         4th - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        14th - Western
League Ranking         9th                                        28th
Home Record             9-6-2-1                                 5-10-2-3
Road Record             14-8-0-0                                4-14-2-1
Last Ten Games         6-2-1-1                                  2-4-3-1
Last Game                 4-3 W (Wichita)                       4-3 L (Allen)
Goals For                  118                                       80
Goals Against            113                                        140
Power Play                21.7% (34/157)                      9.3% (15/161)
Penalty Kill                 85.4% (23/158)                      83.2% (32/190)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson (74)                       Milan (61)
Leading Scorer          Costello (15-43-58)                 Lowe (7-14-21)



-  Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (17.10) - Wichita 10th (14.83)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 9th (2.95) - Wichita 28th (1.95)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 15th (2.83) - Wichita 27th (3.41)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 25th (27.83) - Wichita 27th (26.39)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (30.23) - Wichita 19th (30.80)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (21.7%) - Wichita 28th (9.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 9th (85.4%) - Wichita 18th (83.2%)

- Allen is now 6-0 against Wichita this year and they will play seven more times. Here are the cumulative totals for the six head to head games:
                         Allen                 Wichita
Goals                22                         11
Shots                 199                       203
Power Play       8-30 (26.7%)       1-22 (4.5%)
Penalties           37                         43
PIM's                96                         110

- Even though last night was the first time in six games Allen didn't score a power play goal against Wichita and it was the first time the Thunder had scored a power play goal against Allen, the Americans have a huge advantage on special teams. They need to use that to their favor this afternoon.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andy Howard (#2) and linesmen Rick Rivera (#59) and Eric Contino (#92). Howard was the referee in Wichita last night so just like the players, he is going to be tired.



DID YOU KNOW: Allen has always been a good road team and this year is no different. The Americans road record now stands at 14-8-0-0 while at home their record is 9-6-2-1. In the seven year history of the team Allen has 141 road wins and 137 home wins.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Allen Beats Wichita 4-3 in OT, Game Recap, Martinson Post Game Comments, Tonight's Preview

For Allen fans the game last night was deja vu all over again but the roles were reversed. For the third straight game, the Americans were tied with their opponent after regulation time, for the third straight game the team that took a lead 2-0 lost the game, and for the third straight game the final score was 4-3. After taking 2-0 leads in their last two games (against Cincinnati) only to end up losing, last night the Americans wisely spotted Wichita a 2-0 lead and then came back and won the game in overtime.

If you are coach Martinson there were a lot of things not to like about the game but anytime you can get two points on the road after being down 2-0 is a good night. Here are the positives from the 4-3 overtime win.

- Allen continued to dominate Wichita on special teams. After giving up the first two goals to the Thunder, the Americans mounted a comeback with their special teams. A power play goal by Greger Hanson (6) and a shorthanded goal by Chris Crane (8) tied the score 2-2 at the 15:00 mark of the second period.

- Allen was perfect on the penalty kill (0-3) and has not allowed Wichita a power play goal in any of the five games they have played this season (0-17).

- After trailing 3-2 at the end of the second period the Americans scored quickly in the third period on a goal by Chris Crane (9). Crane was maybe the hardest working guy on the ice last night. 

- Rick Pinkston got the game winner at the 1:42 mark of overtime on a great pass from Gary Steffes. Pinkston has just two goals this season but has the flair for the dramatic. His other goal was a shorthanded goal against Rapid City back in November.

- Allen came into this game ranked #26 in the league in average shots on goal (27.53). They had 41 shots on goal last night. Greger Hanson only scored one goal but had an amazing 11 shots.

- Joel Rumpel came up big time and time again as Wichita had a number of quality shots.

The teams meet again tonight (7:05) and I will be at the game. Will be spending some time with Tommy Daniels on his radio broadcast, hope to try live tweeting for the first time, and hope to meet a few Wichita fans who read the blog or are active on social media. If any Wichita fans see an old fat guy in blue jeans, carrying a burnt orange and gray back pack, please stop me and say hi. Would love to meet you.


STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- The goals that Wichita scored were tough to watch. There was too much thinking about scoring and not enough thought into defending.

- It is tough on Rumpel when we have our guys in front of the net but we don't pick up the opponents in the slot.

- We made a bad change on their third goal which created a four on two for them.

- The power play was a bit off  but we did manage to get one power play goal and the shorthanded goal by Crane was big.

- You could see the impact of having Hanson back in the lineup. We had 41 shots on goal and Hanson had  11.

- We had a lot of chances right in front of their net. I look for a better game tomorrow night.


OTHER COMMENTS

- Not much change from yesterday but for you stat geeks here is the updated info with last night's game included:

-  Here is a comparison between Allen and Wichita:

                                     ALLEN                               WICHITA

Team Record              22-14-2-1 (47 points)             9-23-4-4 (26 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         4th - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        14th - Western
League Ranking         9th                                        28th
Home Record             9-6-2-1                                 5-9-2-3
Road Record             13-8-0-0                                4-14-2-1
Last Ten Games         6-2-1-1                                  2-4-3-1
Last Game                 4-3 W (Wichita)                       4-3 L (Allen)
Goals For                  115                                        79
Goals Against            112                                        137
Power Play                22.1% (34/154)                      9.0% (14/156)
Penalty Kill                 85.6% (22/153)                      82.9% (32/187)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson (74)                       Milan (59)
Leading Scorer          Costello (15-41-56)                 Lowe (6-14-20)



-  Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (17.10) - Wichita 11th (14.88)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 9th (2.95) - Wichita 28th (1.98)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 15th (2.87) - Wichita 27th (3.43)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 24th (27.87) - Wichita 27th (26.35)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (30.28) - Wichita 20th (30.93)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (22.1%) - Wichita 28th (9.0%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 8th (85.6%) - Wichita 19th (82.9%)

- It was great to see so many players with multi-point games. Steffes, Costello, Hanson and Crane all had two points.

- David Makowski had an assist last night to keep his scoring streak alive and has now scored in six straight games and nine of his last ten. In the last ten games David has 13 points (3 goals 10 assists).

- With two assists last night Chad Costello has also scored in nine of the last ten games (4 goals 14 assists). He has a five game scoring streak.

- The keys to the game tonight include continuing the special teams dominance and cutting down on the defensive lapses that gave Wichita so many quality shots last night. The Americans need to keep up the pressure exhibited on offense that led to 41 shots.. If Allen can accomplish these three goals they should be able to get a regulation win for the first time in four games.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andy Howard (#2) and linesmen Chuck Schamel (#97) and Eric Contino (#92).


DID YOU KNOW: There are only four players on the current Allen roster who have a positive plus/minus and it is mostly the young guys. Here is the list:
+6   Danny Federico
+5  Greger Hanson
+3  Rick Pinkston
+1  David Makowski

Friday, January 22, 2016

Allen vs Wichita Game Preview, King & Halabi Stay Home, Jagr Story, ECHL All-Star Game Revisited

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they travel to Intrust Bank Arena to take on the Wichita  Thunder tonight (7:05 pm CST). It will be same day travel for the game so the team climbed on Big Red this morning at 7:30 for the 360 mile trip to Wichita. That will allow them to check into the hotel at around 1:00 and go through their pregame routine. If this was a stand alone game, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would require the team to travel the day before the game but because there are back to back games in Wichita that is not the case.

Here is the section of the CBA that talks about travel. Incidentally, Tulsa is the only ECHL city that is fewer than 325 miles from Allen (230 miles).  "An overnight stay shall be required when the distance to be traveled one-way to a stand-alone game exceeds three hundred twenty-five (325) miles. The Member shall, whenever practical, for all other away games exceeding three hundred twenty-five (325) miles, either include a pre-game overnight stay or utilize a sleeper bus."


By almost any statistical comparison Allen should be the favorite to win the game tonight. The Americans are 4-0 against Wichita this season, have out scored them 15-7 and dominated on special teams. In the four games, Allen is 7-22 (31.8%) on the power play while Wichita is 0-14.


-  Here is a comparison between Allen and Wichita:

                                     ALLEN                               WICHITA

Team Record              21-14-2-1 (45 points)             9-23-3-4 (25 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         4th - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        14th - Western
League Ranking         9th                                        28th
Home Record             9-6-2-1                                 5-9-1-3
Road Record             12-8-0-0                                4-14-2-1
Last Ten Games         5-3-1-1                                  2-5-2-1
Last Game                 4-3 L (Cincinnati)                   3-2 L (Utah)
Goals For                  111                                        76
Goals Against            109                                        133
Power Play                22.1% (33/149)                      9.2% (14/153)
Penalty Kill                 85.3% (22/150)                      83.0% (31/182)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson (74)                       Milan (59)
Leading Scorer          Costello (15-39-54)                 Lowe (6-14-20)



-  Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (17.13) - Wichita 12th (14.74)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 11th (2.92) - Wichita 28th (1.95)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 15th (2.87) - Wichita 25th (3.41)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (27.53) - Wichita 27th (26.13)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (30.16) - Wichita 20th (30.67)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (22.1%) - Wichita 28th (9.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 9th (85.3%) - Wichita 18th (83.0%)

- Even though Allen is 4-0 against Wichita this year and have outscored the Thunder 15-7, Wichita has out shot Allen 140-132. These are two of the worst teams in the ECHL in getting shots on goal. Allen is going to have to generate more shots on goal to be successful.

- Allen has at least one power play goal in all four victories against Wichita while holding the Thunder scoreless on the power play. If the Americans can continue that domination they should win tonight.

- Tristan King and Reid Halabi did not make the trip to Wichita. Both have been dealing with injuries. With Greger Hanson back, there are still 10 forwards on the trip.

- If you are looking for who might be the hero tonight for Allen based on head to head scoring, bet on Chad Costello and David Makowski. In the four games against Wichita, Chad has nine points (4 goals 5 assists) and David has five points (2 goals 3 assists). Don't overlook Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Greger Hanson who have missed most of the games against Wichita but should be a factor tonight.

- Since joining the ECHL, Allen has played in Wichita 12 times and has a record of 9-1-0-2.
   
- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Korey Chipperfield (#12) and linesmen Chuck Schamel (#97) and Mitch Macpherson (#92).


OTHER COMMENTS

- The Tulsa Oilers are seven points behind Allen in the Central Division standings but have played four fewer games than the Americans. Tulsa has a difficult schedule over the next couple of weeks that will answer whether they can catch Allen for second place in the division or will be fighting for a playoff spot. In their next nine games Tulsa plays league leading Missouri three times, West Division leading Utah twice and Allen four times. The Oilers play in Missouri tonight and tomorrow night. Missouri has still not lost a home game and are now 13-0 at home.

- Chad Costello continues to dominate the ECHL in scoring. He has 54 points (15 goals 39 assists) and a 13 point lead in the scoring race. Chad also leads the ECHL in assists (39), power play assists (17) and power play points (22).

- Allen has played exactly half (18) of their home games for the season with the attendance averaging 4648 per game. That ranks the Americans ninth in attendance in the ECHL. Allen is averaging 552 more fans per game than last season which is the largest increase in the league.

- Came across this story written by David Hyde of the Sun Sentinel about Jaromir Jagr which talks about how is is still so good. Very interesting. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/florida-panthers/fl-hyde-panthers-column-0122-20160121-column.html


 DID YOU KNOW:  One year ago today was the ECHL All-Star game. If you recall, Allen had no players in the game as Jack Combs, who was selected as a starter, went to Europe. Steve Martinson was one of the coaches. Here is the post from one year ago. Interesting comment about Chris Crane who was with Missouri at the time.

- The ECHL All-Star game took place last night and it went as predicted with lots of shots on goal (98), lots of goals (12), few penalties (1) and an easy (after a slow first period start) All-Star team victory over the host Orlando Solar Bears with a final score of 8-4.

-  Had a chance to catch up with Steve Martinson this morning to get his thoughts on the game. Here is what he had to say.
"After the first period when we were trailing 1-0 we told the guys we had set an All-Star record for going an entire period without scoring a goal. The first period reminded me of our opening night game in Allen when Tulsa beat us 9-6 with a ton of odd man rushes.  Our goalie (Joe Cannata - Ontario Reign) was really good in the first period to keep the score close. We got going in the second period and finished off some plays. I have to admit it is different going a whole game without yelling at anyone. I was going to give our Central Division players a hard time but they all played really well. Chris Crane (Missouri Mavericks) was maybe the hardest working guy on the ice. Danick Gauthier (Wichita Thunder) made some strong plays and controlled the puck. I really enjoyed the entire experience. The Fan Fest on Tuesday night was unique and a lot of fun. It is thanks to all of the hard work by the Allen players that I was able to be a coach for the All-Star game. I want to thank them again for giving me this experience."