|Team departed the AEC last night at 8:10 pm|
The biggest part of the hockey story for this morning is the marathon bus ride the Allen Americans are in the middle of that won't end until around 8:00 pm tonight. This 24 hour, 1400 mile trek is unique even for the guys that have traveled the minor league hockey circuits for many years. If you recall, when the Americans went to Brampton back in November they flew. So what is it like on the bus some call "Big Red" or as Nicole Schaafsma called it on social media, "The ol' girl is on route to Brampton!" And old she is. The bus is a 1998 Prevost that is pushing close to 1,000,000 miles traveled. The team bought the bus from a company in Nashville. Regular bus driver Scott Alexander will have a relief driver on board to give him a break after about ten hours of driving. The bus is mostly rows and rows of bunks (23 in total) and one couch. In the middle there is a little kitchen area with a fridge and microwave and a bathroom for #1 only. The fine for #2 on the bus is $50 and yes there is a designated fine enforcer. There is satellite TV on board but unless it has been added recently no wifi. The guys keep busy with smart phones, iPads, cards (Shnarps), movies, TV, conversation, and books both hardback and electronic.
|The bus has row and rows of bunks|
|The coaches quarters are separate and in the back of the bus|
|There is one couch/ sitting area on the bus.|
- The team will practice on Wednesday before they take on the Brampton Beast on Thursday evening with puck drop at 6:00 pm Allen time. I had a chance to talk to Coach Martinson briefly before the team left for Brampton and asked him the approach for the upcoming games and what would be the impact of the players having so many friends and family in attendance.
- The forward lines might be shuffled a bit to have three equally strong lines all of which are capable of scoring. Without having last change on the road this is the best approach. On defense,Trevor Hendrikx could see his first action since being injured March 1st.
- As for who will be cheering for the Americans it will be a large contingent led by Bryan Pitton's friends and family as Bryan is from Brampton. His family will be cheering for both teams as Bryan's brother Jason plays for the Beast. Had a chance to ask several of the players about friends and family attending and Darryl Bootland had 65 when Allen played Brampton during the regular season so he expects a big group. Both Jamie Schaafsma and his wife Nicole are from the area and will have a big group in attendance, there will be a contingent from the Montreal area as Jonathan Lessard's mom and grandmother as well as Alex Lavoie's mom, sister and friend will make the trip. Trevor Hendrikx has an uncle and nieces close by and will be at the games. And don't forget if there is a game on Sunday a couple of Toronto Maple Leafs may be in attendance. Anthony Maiani's good friend Tyler Bozak and Cain Franson's brother both play for the Maple Leafs. Toronto has their last game of the season Saturday night in Ottawa.
- Coach Martinson said the tendency when playing in the playoffs before family and friends is the players try and do too much. He will remind them to just play their game and everything will be fine.
- Congrats to Tyler Ludwig for being selected #1 star for the first week of the playoffs. The league’s top defenseman led the Americans offense with five points in their two wins over Brampton while carrying a +5. Ludwig quarterbacked the power play, scoring a pair of man advantage goals while adding an assist. Allen is the lone team up 2-0 after the first weekend of the post-season.
- The Central Hockey League will be examining whether or not Arizona Sundogs defenseman Matt McCready should get supplemental discipline as a result of his hit on Mavericks forward Andrew Courtney in game two of their series Sunday at Independence.
- There will be three games tomorrow night as Rapid City vs Quad City, Tulsa vs Denver, and Missouri vs Arizona will play the third game of their series. They are all tied at 1-1.
|Courtesy CHL Memes|
DID YOU KNOW: Special teams play a key role in the playoffs. Two teams have yet to score on the power play as Rapid City is 0-7 and Tulsa is 0-8. On the penalty kill two teams are at 100%. Denver has killed off all eight opportunities and Quad City has killed seven opportunities.