Friday, November 21, 2014

Allen Americans vs Brampton Beast Weekend Preview

The Allen Americans saw their league lead disappear this week as Tulsa (14 points) and Quad City (13 points) won midweek games to leap frog Allen (12 points) who was idle. With two games against Brampton tonight (Friday) and Saturday it is an opportunity for the Americans to reclaim first place in the Central Division. After all, Brampton is dead last in the ECHL standings with just seven points and trails Allen in almost every statistical category. It would be a big mistake to look at the statistics and draw the conclusion Allen will sweep the two games against the Beast. The reason is Brampton has an excellent team and is playing much improved hockey. After starting the season 0-6 the Beast have won three straight games and now have the longest winning streak in the ECHL (tied with Allen and several other teams). So call it a trap game or a game where based on the standings it is easy to take lightly and beware the upset.

With that said Allen is coming off a great weekend themselves where they went 3-0 including two road victories and are playing much better defensive hockey. In three games last weekend Allen only allowed four goals. If Allen continues to play like they have been playing it should be a good weekend.

- As mentioned above Allen leads Brampton in most statistical categories from winning percentage (Allen .667. Brampton .389), to goals scored (Allen 34, Brampton 24), to goals allowed (Allen 28, Brampton 38) and of course points (Allen 12, Brampton 7).

- Brampton has a -14 goal differential (24 scored, 38 allowed) while Allen is a +6 (34 scored, 28 allowed). 

- Allen is ranked #4 in the ECHL averaging 3.78 goals per game, more than a goal per game than Brampton who is ranked #22 at 2.67 goals per game. Allen is ranked #15 in average goals allowed per game at 3.11 while Brampton is last in the league (#28) allowing an average of 4.22 goals per game.

- Brampton has really struggled in the first period of games as they have only scored three goals in the first period while allowing thirteen goals. With Allen's 5-0 record when scoring first, the first period could be critical to the outcome of the game.

- As always, special teams will be a key to victory this weekend. Allen has improved recently but still averages 19.56 penalty minutes per game and lead the league in the average number of minor penalties with 7.6 per game. Brampton averages just 15.22 penalty minutes per game and only 3.4 minor penalties per game. So based on averages Brampton will have four more power power play opportunities than Allen.

- Allen has a distinct advantage in both the power play and penalty kill. Allen is ranked #9 in the ECHL on the power play at 19.1% and Brampton is ranked #26 at 10.1%. On the penalty kill Allen is ranked #12 at 84% and Brampton is #25 at 79.3%.

- As always scoring for Allen can come from any of the three lines as thirteen different players have scored goals. Four players are scoring at a point per game or better. Combs, Costello, Schultz and Smith.

- Leading scorers for Brampton are Tyler Donati and Chad Painchaud who both have nine points in nine games.

- Jesse Messier is still on the 21 day injured reserve and Spencer Asuchak is day to day but everyone else is cleared to play. Riley Gill will start in goal, Asuchak is doubtful and there will be two scratches for the game.

DID YOU KNOW: Brampton's top scorers (Tyler Donati & Chad Painchaud) both played for Steve Martinson in the 2011-2012 season when he was the coach of the Chicago Express (ECHL). Donati also played for Martinson in Elmira (ECHL).

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