Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Playoff Roster Details, Allen vs Brampton Preview, Pitton Brothers Go Head to Head

The Allen Americans start their pursuit of a second consecutive Presidents' Cup tonight, a feat that has not been completed since 2003 when the Mississippi RiverKings completed back to back championships. The first round opponent is the Brampton Beast who are looking to make a statement in their first year of operation.

3 Ludwig, Tyler  

6 Berube, Mike  

7 Tetrault, Daniel  

17 Tarasuk, Steven  

28 Zion, Jonathon  

42 Rouleau, Ross  

71 Hendrikx, Trevor  

9 McMillin, Brian  

12 Hanson, Greger  

16 Maiani, Anthony  

19 Lavoie, Alex  

21 Graham, Bruce  

22 Schaafsma, Jamie  

25 Klotz, Garrett  

26 Asuchak, Spencer  

27 Bootland, Darryl  

91 Lessard, Jonathan  

51 Franson, Cain

29 Pitton, Bryan  

30 Yanakeff, Willie  

      Injured Reserve
  18 Kerbashian, Kale

- The first thing you notice on this list is Dallas Ehrhardt is not included. Because of the CHL rules a team can only keep 20 professional players on the playoff roster plus two amateurs. It is always difficult when a player that has been on the team all year doesn't make the playoff roster. In the end Coach Martinson made the decision to go with the more the experienced defensemen. I am sure Dallas is disappointed as he had a great rookie season. Maybe Dallas can take some solace by looking at the experience of Brian McMillin who did not make the playoff roster in 2011 but continued to work hard and two years later in 2013 was the playoff MVP.

- Kale Kerbashian is in the injured reserve slot and will not be eligible to play in the first round of the playoffs.

- Trevor Hendrikx will not play in the first two games in Allen because of injury but will travel to Brampton with the team and should be in the lineup at some point in Brampton.

- Alex Lavoie will not play in the opening game against Brampton as he is still on loan to Oklahoma City and they also have a game tonight. The plan is Alex will play for Allen on Thursday night and then return to Oklahoma City and play for them on the weekend.

- A backup emergency goaltender is not included on the roster but they can be added at anytime. Look for that to happen in the next 10 days.

- Only one of the two amateur players allowed on the roster has been signed (Cain Franson). The second amateur can be signed at anytime and coach Martinson is hoping to wait until the ECHL playoff rosters are set (April 14) to sign the second amateur. This is a fluid situation because injuries could make an earlier signing necessary.

- With Lavoie in Oklahoma City and Hendrikx unable to play because of  injury it means the rest of the guys (18) will be on the ice tonight. If any other players are unable to go because of injury the team will play shorthanded. It also means amateur Cain Franson will see his first action in the game tonight.


- Allen and Brampton played six times during the regular season with each team winning three times. They were both 2-1 in their home rinks but the scores varied a lot. The one game Allen won in Brampton the score was 6-1 and the one game Brampton won in Allen the score was 6-2.

- Brampton had three shutouts this year and one of them was against Allen on November 10th when the Beast shutout the Americans by a score of 2-0.

- Jonathan Lessard had his lone hat trick of the year in a 6-1 victory over Brampton in Brampton on November 8th.

- These were two of the most penalized teams in the CHL during the regular season with Allen ranked #1 with 1498 minutes and Brampton #3 with 1341 minutes. In their six head to head games  Brampton lead in penalty minutes with 214 (36 minutes per game average) compared to Allen's 156 minutes (26 per game average).

- Penalty minutes typically go down during the playoffs but with the hard checking style both of these teams play you can expect plenty of power play time.

- Special teams as always will be a key factor in the outcome of the series. The regular season statistics may or may not be predictive of this series. On the power play in the regular season Allen finished #2 (20.65%) and Brampton #6 (17.75%). On the penalty kill Brampton was #5 (83.44%) and Allen was #7 (82.06%).

- Head to head (six games) Allen scored five goals in thirty seven opportunities (13.5%) while Brampton has six goals in thirty nine opportunities (15.3%).

-  These team have not played each other since the end of December and both teams are different as they enter the playoffs. For Brampton the addition of Scott Howes, who played in Allen last year, has made a big difference. Scott did play two games against Allen in December put they were his first two games with Brampton after he had not played for a long time. In thirtysix games with Brampton Scott has 45 points (26 goals 19 assists).

- For Allen Brian McMillin, Jonathan Zion, Anthony Maiani, Bruce Graham and Steve Tarasuk have all been added to the roster since they last played Brampton.


-  Former Americans player Jim McKenzie (2011-2013) has returned to Quad City for the playoffs after spending two months with the Iowa Wild (AHL).

- Former Americans player Garrett Clarke (2012 -2013) did not make the playoff roster for the Arizona Sundogs and put a message on social media he was headed home.

- Here is an interesting article from the CHL about Jason and Bryan Pitton who will face each other in the playoffs:

Pitton vs. Pitton

One series in the opening round of the 2014 CHL playoffs features the Allen Americans squaring off against the Brampton Beast in a battle of first to four wins. This will be no easy task for either team as they split the season series right down the middle with three wins a piece in six games played.
One unique circumstance this series presents should have the Pitton household up in arms for the next 10 days or so.  The brotherly duel features Allen’s Bryan Pitton and his older brother, Jason Pitton, of the Brampton Beast.  This could become a big story throughout the opening round of the playoffs as the two brothers are set to go head to head in the first round, starting Wednesday night in Allen. Although Bryan is playing for Allen this year, he will be both familiar and comfortable when travelling to Brampton as it is not only his hometown, but he also played three seasons of major junior in the same building the Beast call home.  The Pitton family are regular attendees of the Beast’s home games.  Jason and Bryan are Brampton, Ontario natives and have taken similar paths to the CHL. They both spent time playing major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), with Jason playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Guelph Storm. Bryan, interestingly, played for his hometown Brampton Battalion for three full seasons. Both Jason and Bryan are former National Hockey League (NHL) draft picks as well. The New York Islanders selected Jason with the 244th pick in the ‘04 draft. Bryan, on the other hand, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the 133rd overall pick in the ’06 draft. After their junior careers they both spent parts of their careers in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), American Hockey League (AHL) and in Europe, highlighted by being teammates during the 09/10, 10/11, and 12/13 seasons. This season, the two brothers have split apart and now find themselves as first round playoff opponents. This will be an interesting match up as Bryan of the Allen Americans have gotten the better of the Beast when Bryan has been in the crease. Bryan has started four of the six games between the two teams, going 3-1-0 while sporting a 2.25 goals against average to go along with a .913 save percentage.  On the other hand, against Allen, Jason has recorded a respectable four points (2-2=4) in six games. However, in the four games against brother, Jason only has managed one goal on 10 shots With Jason being Brampton’s top scoring forward his club will be looking to him to provide offense throughout their playoff push. Brampton’s success during the playoffs may heavily rely on Jason but to be successful, he’ll have to find a way to solve little brother.

Courtesy CHL Memes

Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have been in the playoffs all five years they have been in the CHL and have played their first playoff game at home all five years. In the past four years they are 2-2 in the first game of the playoffs.

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