Friday, December 20, 2013

Must Win Weekend, Howes To Play, IR, Thanks To Players

Stopped by practice yesterday and it is much the same refrain as has been heard all month. With only having games on the weekend for the past three weeks, by the time Thursday rolls around everyone has had enough practice and is ready for a game. As fans we tend to make individual games or series of games more important then they really are so I will continue that approach and say these two games with Brampton are much more important than they may seem by looking at the schedule or the standings. By any empirical measure this team has underperformed compared to the quality of talent that has been assembled.  They started out great in October and did not have a loss in the first eight games going 7-0-1. Since early November however the record is 6-8-1. To make matters worse the home record this year is only 4-4-2. If results don't improve, at some point the coaching staff will make a decision major roster moves need to be made to turn this around and compete for a championship. It is for this reason a sweep of Brampton is very important. Allen has the talent to get it done, all they have to do is use that talent to its fullest on the ice. As I saw on social media today, all the coaches ask is the players bring their head, their legs and their heart to the ice.

- Americans lines from practice were: Lessard-Lavoie-Bootland, Hanson-Asuchak-Fox, and Snowden-Kerbashian-Schaafsma.

- As usual with a 20 man roster two players will be on IR for the game. A decision on this does not have to be made until this afternoon. Jarret Lukin will definitely be on IR. The pregame roster on the CHL web site shows Garrett Klotz as the second IR player but this could change before game time.

- Scott Howes is in town with the Beast, practiced yesterday and plans to play tonight. He hasn't played in a game for a long time so there may be some rust on him. Just as a reminder one year ago on this weekend the Americans played on Friday & Saturday, both games went to overtime and they both ended with a score of 3-2. Allen lost to Missouri on Friday (in Missouri) and won against Wichita at home on Saturday. Here is how dominant Scott was in those two games:
Friday (3-2 OT loss) - Scott scored both Allen goals. He got the first goal of the game on the power play and tied the score on an extra attacker goal with just over a minute left in regulation.
Saturday (3-2 OT win) - Scott scored two of the three goals for the Americans including the tying goal in the third period and the game winning goal in overtime. 
Rust or no rust this guy is scary and always performs well at the AEC. He will be wearing #27, not the familiar #13 he normally wears. It should be fun to watch him.

- Look for bigger crowds at the AEC this weekend inspite of it being a big weekend for Allen High School football. Advanced sales have been good so hopefully both nights should be in the 4000-5000 range.

- If you remember training camp the Americans had two rookie goalies, Eric Levine and Phil Cook in camp. They both ended up on the Peoria Rivermen (SPHL) roster for a period of time. Phil Cook just signed a contract with the Cardiff Devils (Great Britain) of the EIHL. Eric Levine is the starting goalie for the Rivermen.

- One of the many benefits of minor pro hockey is the access to the players and coaches. I have said many times how cooperative everyone associated with the Allen Americans has been to me in writing my blog. Their involvement in the community has been so apparent during the holidays. Whether it is visiting schools, delivering teddy bears, corporate sponsor appearances, radio shows, fan club activities, or just taking the time to chat with fans after a game these guys have been great. Hats off, stick tap, thanks to all of the players and staff for all of their community and fan activities.

DID YOU KNOW: I highlighted this in a couple of different ways already this week but it deserves another mention with Scott Howes playing tonight. I hope he gets a great reception because when he was called up to the AHL last year the Allen fans never had a chance to say goodbye and thank you. Did you know Scott Howes goal scoring pace (.95 per game) in Allen was higher than any other player in professional hockey including the NHL. By the way, second on the list was Colton Yellow Horn who scored .75 goals per game when he played for the Ontario Reign of the ECHL.

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