The Allen Americans arrived safe and sound in Arizona yesterday as did new goalie Mark Guggenberger. Tommy Daniels flew from Dallas to Phoenix (avoiding that long bus ride) and met Mark at the airport for the trip to Prescott Valley. Guggenberger will make his first start for Allen tonight and will be wearing #1. There are a lot of subplots to this game and series which will be interesting to follow.
- Allen comes into the game having lost their last two games while Arizona is riding a five game winning streak. The Sundogs will be motivated to show the defending champs they are a team to be reckoned with.
- Keep an eye on Garrett Clarke early in the game. I have always gotten the sense their is some bad blood the way he left the team after they took care of him at the end of last season. He likes to chirp a lot and will want to show his toughness to his new teammates. One can never predict these things but one of the subplots in the game will be Clarke versus ????? in a fight. And it is certainly possible this game could be one of those ugly ones.
- Allen has an advantage on special teams as their power play is 4th (19.6%) while the Sundogs are 8th (13.2%). If you look at power play stats at home for Arizona it is very telling. They have only scored two power play goals at home on 36 opportunities or 5.6%. On the penalty kill Allen is 2nd (86.9%) and Arizona is 4th (83.85%). Hesitant to say special teams is an advantage because the last time I pointed this out (Saturday) the Tulsa Oilers score five goals in four power play opportunities. Things should hold closer to form in this series.
- It will be interesting to see the line combinations tonight as coach Martinson tries to have all lines clicking. With Fox, Hanson & Snowden all contributing the last couple of games lots of flexibility for who plays together on the top two lines.
- Goals scored also favors the Americans. Allen ranks 2nd in the league in goals scored (59) while Arizona is dead last with only 37 goals scored. The Americans are averaging 3.69 goals per game while the Sundogs are averaging only 2.47.
- Another thing to watch for tonight is who gets the penalty kill ice time now that Corey Tamblyn has been waived and what are the penalty kill combinations.
- If you want to listen to the game on your smartphone the TuneIn radio application may be up and running sometime this weekend. Tommy Daniels has been working with Hot 107.3 to get this operational and was hopeful it would be working sometime this weekend.
- Brett Skinner, who was released by the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) last week has signed with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).
- Here is the CHL publicity on the three game series between Arizona and Allen:
The Arizona Sundogs (6-8-1) continue to find their way into the win
column beating the Quad City Mallards (5-3-3) in a pair of shootouts
this past weekend, both by a 3-2 score. The Sundogs have won five
straight games, all by one goal, and have played in six straight
one-goal contests. On the season, the Sundogs lead the league with 10
one-goal games (5-4-1). This week, Arizona will have a tough test in
their effort to extend their win streak with the Allen Americans
(10-5-1) coming to town for three straight games (Wednesday, Friday and
- Here is part of a story written by Doyle Woody of the Anchorage Dalily News concerning Mark Guggenberger's departure from the Alaska Aces.
The Alaska Aces have suspended goaltender Mark Guggenberger after he
left the ECHL team and signed with the Allen Americans of the Central
Hockey League in a move that reduced the Aces to a single active goalie
as they begin an eight-game, 20-day road trip.
"He just jumped
ship, abandoned the team,'' Aces coach Rob Murray said by cellphone from
Colorado. "He felt he wasn't going to get enough of a shot here, so he
went back to the Central League.''
Guggenberger, 24, was a
second-team All-ECHL pick for the Aces last season and two seasons ago
was the CHL's Most Outstanding Goaltender and Rookie of the Year for the
By suspending Guggenberger, the Aces retain his
ECHL rights for the remainder of the season. Another ECHL team cannot
employ Guggenberger without making a deal with the Aces.
Guggenberger faced something of a logjam in the crease with the Aces
because Alaska is in its first season as an affiliate of the NHL's
Calgary Flames and American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat. The Flames
have rotated three different goaltenders through the Aces, all of them
under NHL contract.
Those goaltenders gained No. 1 status and
presumably relegated Guggenberger to back-up duty. Still, because of a
recent NHL trade that involved Olivier Roy, and also because of other
circumstances, Guggenberger's six starts are most among the four
different goalies who have played in Alaska's first 14 games. "With the Abbotsford affiliation and the impending return of Gerald
Coleman, (Guggenberger) felt it was a good time to go somewhere else,''
DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have had a former Alaska Aces player on their team the last four years:
2013-2014 - Mark Guggenberger
2012-2013 - Scott Howes*
2011-2012 - James Reid
2010- 2011 - Judd Blackwater
*And remember Scott Howes played with the Aces in 2010-2011 when they won the ECHL Championship (Kelly Cup) and he was the Kelly Cup MVP.