Saturday, April 5, 2014

Practice Report, American's Fans in Brampton, Other Series Commence, Players From Ontario

- It is a long wait for Allen Americans fans as Allen will not play again until next Thursday in Brampton so will try to find some interesting things to cover over the next few days. I had the chance to spend a few minutes with Cain Franson, the only amateur signing by the Americans thus far, so will post some information about him tomorrow.

- One advantage of having a week off is the opportunity for some guys to get healthy again. At this time of year everyone is dealing with nagging injuries and are playing through them so some time off will certainly help. The flip side of the week off is any momentum from winning the first two games will disappear.

- Before practice started yesterday Kale Kerbashian and Trevor Ludwig were on the ice. It is so good to see Trevor starting the long process of recovery from the season ending cut on his arm. He was stick handling with a puck and obviously not looking like normal yet but he has already come a long way in a short period of time. For Kale, he is trying to stay in shape while his finger heals so he is ready to go when the second round of the playoffs come around.

- Trevor Hendrikx was practicing with the team yesterday for the first time since his injury so a decision on when he returns to the lineup will depend on his progress over the next week. Best case scenario is he plays on Thursday in Brampton.

- Because of ice time availability the team practiced yesterday and is off today (Saturday) so the guys had a rare Friday night to themselves and have an even rarer Saturday off. Time to spend with the family or take in one of the many events related to the Final Four or the NASCAR weekend. Saw a picture on social media of Lessard, Asuchak, Zion & Maiani at the Jason Aldean concert last night. Would guess there is some golf being played today as well.

- It will be interesting to see who might attend the games next week in Brampton with so many players having friends and family in the area. It is possible that a couple Toronto Maple Leafs players could stop by. Unfortunately the Maple Leafs are on the road or you could be assured that Cain Franson's brother Cody, who is a defenseman for Toronto or forward Tyler Bozak and a good friend of Anthony Maiani would be in attendance. As it is Toronto returns home after playing in Ottawa on Saturday night so the only possibility is the Sunday afternoon game. Would expect some of the former Allen Americans players will be on hand. Tyler Wooddisse (2009-2010)  and Tobias Whelan (2009-2011) both live in the area and may attend. You can be assured Tommy Daniels will have some interesting between periods guests on his radio broadcast.

- The other three playoff series kicked off last night and the home teams won all three games with Missouri defeating Arizona 5-3, Rapid City beat Quad City 5-1, and Tulsa won over Denver 4-3. Tulsa is the lower seed but has the first two games at home because of scheduling conflicts with the Arena.

- So much for low scoring, tight checking playoff games as the goals scored by the winning team in the five games played thus far in the playoffs were 7,5,5,4,5 for an average of over five goals per game.

- Rapid City lived up to its reputation as the best five on five team in the league. All five of their goals against Quad City came even strength. The line of  Scott Brannon, Scott Wray and Kyle Stroh frustrated the Mallards all night, combining for four of the five Rush goals. “My line, (Stroh) and (Brannon) had such a great game. They played simple playoff hockey up and down the wings, going to the net hard, making hits. Not pretty, but at the end of the day, it’s a win,” Wray said. Rapid City also lived up to its reputation of having the worst power play in the league going  0-3.

- It was a tough return to the Quad City line up for former Allen Americans player Jim McKenzie who has spent the last three months playing in the AHL. Jim was injured playing for the Wild so has not played for a while and has just returned to the line up. In the 5-1 loss last night Jim had one shot on goal and was a -4. You know he will excel as the series continues. The second game of the series is tonight.

- In the Missouri 5-3 win over Arizona special teams accounted for a 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game. A shorthanded goal and two power play goals by the best power play unit in the league spelled doom for the Sundogs. The second game of this series takes place Sunday evening.

- In the closest game of the night the #2 seed Denver Cutthroats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period only to have Tulsa come back to tie the game 2-2.  After trading goals in the second period Ryan Menei scored the game winner for the Oilers with 1:24 left in the game. These teams play again tonight in what is a key game in the young series.

- The ECHL is in its last week of regular season play and that is important for two reasons. If the Americans sign a emergency back up goaltender he will come from an ECHL team that does not make the playoffs. In addition, the second amateur player signed will most likely not be signed until after the ECHL playoff rosters are determined which is April 14th.

Courtesy CHL Memes

 DID YOU KNOW: There have been over 40 players from Ontario on the Allen Americans roster over the last five years and there are seven Ontario players on the playoff roster this year:
Bootland - Toronto
Hendrikx - Russell
Kerbashian - Thunder Bay
Pitton - Brampton
Schaafsma - Blenheim
Tarasuk - Thornhill
Zion - Nepean

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