|Greger Hanson played in his first AHL game last night - photo by scenebykimberly.com|
The Allen Americans take on the Brampton Beast tonight (Saturday) at the Allen Event Center (AEC) and for the second time in a week the scheduling guru is smiling upon the Americans as they got to rest yesterday while the Beast had to play last night (lost to Tulsa 4-1) and then travel to Allen.
With the loss in Tulsa combined with Rapid City winning in Missouri (5-2) the Beast fell back to last place in the Central Division with a record of 7-10-1-0 compared to Allen's record of 15-4-0-1. Despite being in last place Brampton has been playing better hockey recently as they are 5-5 in their last ten games. They have been hurt by having their top scorer early in the season, Tyler Donati, out with an injury since November 16.
For the Americans to be successful tonight they need to keep playing aggressive offensively but not take risks. As coach Martinson always says don't try to manufacture plays that are not there. When Allen plays team defense they are a difficult team to beat.
Allen has the edge is most statistical categories so if they play smart and stay out of the penalty box they should come away with a victory.
ALLEN VS BRAMPTON STATISTICAL COMPARISON:
- Allen is #1 in the ECHL in goals scored averaging 4.45 per game. Brampton is dead last at #28 averaging just 2.39 goals per game.
- Allen is #3 in goals allowed at 2.65 while Brampton is #27 in goals allowed at 3.78.
- The goals scored and goals allowed translates into a huge disparity in goal differential. Allen has scored 89 goals and allowed 53 goals for a league leading +36 in goal differential. Brampton has scored 43 goals and allowed 68 for a goal differential of -25 which is the worst in the ECHL.
- Special teams are always a key to victory and with Allen being one of the most penalized teams in the league with an average of 22.15 minutes per game compared to just 13.94 minutes per game for Brampton it could make this game interesting. Despite their poor record Brampton has one of the best penalty kill units in the league. Allen is ranked #1 at 88.6% but Brampton is not far behind at #4 at 86.9%. And if you just look at road and home penalty kill percentages Brampton has the better record. At home Allen's penalty kill percentage is 84.8% but on the road Brampton has killed 93.3%. Advantage Brampton.
- On the power play Allen is successful 17.9% of the time at home while Brampton is at 13% on the road. Advantage Allen. Bottom line is whoever wins the special teams battle will most likely win the game.
- Allen has four players (Combs, Costello, Hanson, Steffes) in the top 25 in scoring in the ECHL including Combs at #1 and Costello at #2. Brampton's top scorer (Chad Painchaud) is 75th in the league in scoring.
- You see the same thing if you look at scoring by defensemen as Allen has four (Young, Baker, Tyler Ludwig, Gens) in the top twenty in scoring by defensemen in the ECHL. Brampton's top scoring defenseman is Matthew Maione who is 60th in the league.
- Aaron Dell will start in goal for Allen after returning from Worcester (AHL) on Wednesday where he had a GAA of 1.72 and save percentage of .917 in five games for the Sharks. Riley Gill has been put on the reserve list so the back up goalie will be Raphael Girard.
- Greger Hanson will not play tonight as he has been loaned to the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL). Greger played in his first AHL game last night as Oklahoma City lost to Grand Rapids by a score of 5-2. Wearing #34, Greger's box score was all zeros except for a two minute penalty. On a night when most of his teammates were in the minus category on plus/minus having a zero in that category as Hanson did was a positive. The two teams play again tonight in Oklahoma City so Greger should have another chance to get his first AHL goal. According to social media the Barons had several guys out sick which required them to bring in players for this weekend so most likely Greger's stay in Oklahoma will be a short one but you never know. It is a great opportunity for him to show what he can do, which may lead to additional AHL opportunities in the future. Greger was in training camp with Oklahoma City this year.
- Spencer Asuchak has now played three games for the Providence Bruins (AHL) and they have won all three games. Spencer has one goal, two assists, is a +5, has eight shots on goal and nine penalty minutes (one fight) in the three games he has played. The Bruins play at home tonight (Portland) and tomorrow afternoon (Manchester).
- Allen was the only Central Division team not in action last night. In addition to Tulsa beating Brampton, Daniel Tetrault score the first goal of the game on a power play in the Rapid City win over Missouri and Quad City beat Wichita 3-1. With Tulsa and Quad City winning the Central Division standings have tightened up. Allen still leads with 31 points with Tulsa in second with 29 points and Quad City in third with 23 points. However, Allen has four games in hand over Tulsa and two over Quad City.
DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans are on pace to score the most points in team history. In the 2010-2011 season the Americans led the CHL with 97 points in 66 games or 1.47 points per game. This year Allen leads their conference with 31 points in 20 games or 1.55 points per game. At that pace they will have 102 points in 66 games and by the end of the ECHL season (72 games) would have 112 points.