Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Cold At Home, Schedule for Week, Why Allen Is The Best, Lavoie, Ludwig, Asuchak, Klotz Set Records

Nothing like a 60 degree temperature drop in honor of the Allen Americans players getting a three day break from hockey. The plans for time at the pool or on the golf course will be replaced by some indoor activities. The annual "rookie party" is just one of the planned team activities. And it could be worse as the temps at home for most of the guys is a lot worse. It is 16 in Allen right now but in the player's hometowns they are almost all below zero:  Edmonton  -11 (Berube & Matvichuk), Moncton  -4 (Graham), Thunder Bay -22 (Kerbashian), Regina -11 (Klotz), Roseau  -22 (McMillin), & Ft. McMurray (Lukin) -33. Montreal and Toronto are at 0 and the warm spots are Spencer Asuchak's hometown of Kamloops, British Columbia where it is warmer than Allen at 22 degrees and Lidingo, Sweden where Greger Hanson's family is enjoying a balmy 40 degrees.

- The schedule for week has the players off today (Monday) and tomorrow, practice at the community rink at 10:00 am on Wednesday and Thursday, and departure for Kansas City after the Thursday practice for the game with Missouri on Friday night. Practices are open to the public so anyone can stop by and watch.

- The season is quickly coming to an end with just 13 games remaining before playoffs. Of those 13 games there are seven away games and six home games. The next six games are on the road as Allen plays three games in three nights the next two weekends on the road. This coming weekend it is at Missouri, St. Charles, & St. Charles and the following weekend at Rapid City, Rapid City & Denver. While Allen has six straight games on the road they will come home for a couple of days after the St. Charles game next Sunday before they leave for the Rapid City game the following Friday. The Americans then finish the season with six of seven games at home. 

- Home ice advantage has proven to be very important as Allen fans can attest to from the two seven game series last year in the playoffs. There is no time to take it easy and get ready for the playoffs. The rest of the month is going to be a real grind but each game is important in order to obtain the highest seed possible going into the playoffs. The next six road games will be crucial if Allen has any hope of repeating as Govenor's Cup (regular season) champions.

- With 13 games remaining in the season several players have already established single season franchise records:
 Alex Lavoie - Alex has already broken almost every scoring record in the books for an Allen  rookie and has a chance to break the overall franchise record for assists (55) and points (88), both held by Colton Yellow Horn. Lavoie currently has 46 assists and 70 points.
Tyler Ludwig - Tyler currently holds all scoring records for defensemen having just broken the last record he didn't have which was goals scored in a season. He still has a chance to beat his own record for points scored in a season (51) which he set last year. Tyler currently has 41 points.
Spencer Asuhchak - The all time leader in franchise history with four shorthanded goals in a season.
Garrett Klotz - With 216 penalty minutes it is only a matter of time before Klotz breaks the single season record set by Garrett Clarke last year at 223 minutes.

- You often hear debates about which franchise in the CHL is the best and there are certainly many criteria you could use to determine the best. If you are talking about team performance the best indicator to me is how they do on the ice. I decided to take a look at the last five years, since the Americans joined the CHL, to see which team has the most cumulative points. There are six teams that have been in the league since 2009-2010 when Allen joined the league. Here are the cumulative points (last five years)  taken from the CHL final regular season standings. Over the last five years it is clear that Allen has had the best team in the league.
426 - Allen
401 - Rapid City
380 - Missouri
324 - Wichita
315 - Tulsa
288 - Arizona

- Denver beat Rapid City last night by a score of 7-1 to climb into a tie for second place in the CHL standings with Allen. Denver beat Rapid City two out of three times over the weekend and outscored the Rush 15-4. The Cutthroats recently got AJ Gale back in the lineup after a call up to the AHL which lasted three months. If Gale doesn't get called up again this year, Denver will have a more balanced scoring attack that will be tough down the stretch. They already have the top two scorers in the league in Garret Bembridge (87 points) and Troy Schwab (81 points).

- The most improved team in the league this year is the Tulsa Oilers. With eleven games remaining they already have 61 points which is 12 more points than they had in the entire 66 game season last year. They have won ten of their last eleven games.

- Wichita had a huge crowd last night of 9010 as they lost to Arizona 3-1 in the battle for the eight and final playoff spot. With the loss they are now six points behind the Sundogs. The huge crowd can be attributed to free tickets being given away by a corporate sponsor for the upper bowl of the arena. The average attendance for the CHL has been slowly increasing and is now at 3603 which is still 100 per game lower than last year.

DID YOU KNOW: With 13 games remaining Alex Lavoie will be climbing up the Allen all time single season scoring list. Here is how he ranks:
88 points - Colton Yellow Horn (2010-2011)
79 points - Bruce Graham (2009-2010)
73 points - Justin Bowers (2009-2010)
73 points - Bruce Graham (2010-2011)
71 points - Nino Musitelli (2010-2011)
70 points - Alex Lavoie (2013-2014)

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