Sunday, December 7, 2014

Allen vs Missouri Preview, Matvichuk Returns, Update On Former Americans Players

Richard Matvichuk makes his first visit to Allen as Missouri head coach - photo by

The Missouri Mavericks are in town today to play the Allen Americans in a Sunday afternoon (4:05 pm) game in what everyone will say is just another game on the schedule but the reality is these two teams don't like each other, the coaches really want to beat each other, and the fans from both teams really want this win. It will be Richard Matvichuk's first visit to the Allen Event Center since becoming head coach of the Missouri Mavericks. Allen and Missouri have played twice this year, both in Missouri and Allen has won both games.

By almost all statistical comparisons Allen is the better team and should win this game. Add in the fact that Missouri played a game last night in Independence and had to spend the night traveling close to 500 miles to Allen while the Americans had the day to rest and slept in their own beds and it should be a recipe for two points for the Americans. The one statistic that counters all of this is Missouri is playing much better hockey recently and is currently on a three game win streak. Combine the better play and Richard Matvichuk's desire to win in Allen where he helped bring back to back championships to the Americans and you have the formula for an outstanding game. Allen gave up four goals in their shootout loss to Tulsa on Friday. They will have to play a better defensive game against the Mavericks if the want to come away with a victory. 


- Allen has an overall record of 13-4-0-1, Missouri is 9-9-0-0. In their last ten games Allen is 8-1-0-1 and Missouri is 5-5-0-0. Missouri does however, have a three game win streak while Allen lost their last game.

- The biggest contrast between Allen and Missouri is special teams play. Allen's power play is #7 in the ECHL at 20.5%. Missouri is dead last (#28) at 8.9%. Allen has the #1 penalty kill unit in the league at 89.1%. Missouri is #23 at 79.8%. Allen is tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals with five while Missouri is still looking for their first shorty of the season. This is a huge edge for Allen if they can make it work to their advantage.

- Goals scored and allowed is another big advantage for Allen. Allen has scored 78 goals and allowed 49 goals for a goal differential of +29 which is the best in the ECHL. Missouri has scored 44 goals and allowed 63 goals for a goal differential of -19 which is the worst in the league.

- Allen averages 4.33 goals per game which ranks then #2 in the ECHL. Missouri averages 2.44 goals per game which ranks them last (#28) in the league. Allen is #4 in goals allowed at 2.72 while Missouri is #22 at 3.50.

-  There should be plenty of special teams play in the game this afternoon as both of the teams take plenty of penalties. Allen is #3 with an average of 21.33 minutes per game and Missouri is #6 with an average of 20.56 minutes per game.

- Missouri doesn't have a single player in the top 40 in scoring in the ECHL. Sebastien Thinel leads Missouri with seventeen points (5 goals 12 assists). Allen has four players in the top 26 including the leagues top scorer in Jack Combs with 32 points and Chad Costello who is tied for third with 25 points.

- Allen has one of the highest scoring group of defensemen in the ECHL. As a group they have 57 points compared to the Missouri defensemen who have a total of 29 points.

- Allen has a team plus/minus of +94, Missouri is -40.

- Will say again that anyone that thinks this is just another game is kidding themselves as everyone involved from fans, players and coaches had this game marked on the calendar. Allen seems to have all of the statistical advantages and is well rested. Throw all of that out the window as this game shapes up the be a playoff type battle and should be fun to watch. Beware the upset.


Yesterday when writing about Alex Lavoie having five points in the last two games for the first place Florida Everblades thought it would be interesting to see how some of the other players from the past are doing. Here goes:

- Mike Berube (1 goal 8 assists) and Bruce Graham (9 goals 9 assists) are teammates in England (Nottingham) and may be headed to another championship. Their team is currently in third place but only one point out of first place in league standings. Bruce is an alternate captain on the team.

- Trevor Hendrikx (1 goals 6 assists) plays for Cardiff (Wales) and is one of, if not the most popular player on the team. He is an alternate captain and leads his team in penalty minutes. His team is tied for fourth place but is only four points out of first place. Trevor's only goal thus far came against his buddies Graham and Berube in a Cardiff win over Nottingham. The two teams have split four game thus far.

- Anthony Maiani (5 goals 13 assists) in 17 games is have a good year in Denmark but his team (Rungsted) is struggling and are in seventh place in a ten team league. Anthony leads his team in scoring.

- Scott Howes (8 goals 11 assists) also plays in Denmark (Esbjerg) and has played in only fourteen of the teams nineteen regular season games. Esjberg is in third place in a ten team league.

- Jonathan Lessard (8 goals 6 assists) had two goals last night as his Bakersfield Condors beat the Idaho Steelheads. He has scored in his last five games (4 goals 3 assists). His team is in third place in the ECHL Western Division just three points out of first place.

- Jarret Lukin (5 goals 6 assists), Kale Kerbashian (6 goals 9 assists) and Jim McKenzie (1 goal 5 assists) are teammates in Evansville where they play for former Allen coach Dwight Mullins. Jarret is an alternate captain on the team. Kale's fifteen points leads the team in scoring. Evansville is in fifth place in the very strong North Division of the ECHL, seven points out of the a  playoff spot.

- Garrett Klotz (1 goal 2 assists) plays for the expansion Indy Fuel coached by former Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman. Garrett is an alternate captain on the team. He does lead the team in penalty minutes but has only 43 minutes in eighteen games. He is not in the top 30 in the ECHL in penalty minutes. He has only fought in four games this year but that is most likely because nobody wants to fight him rather than his lack of willingness to fight. Evansville is arguably the worst team in the ECHL as they are tied for the lowest winning percentage at .350.

- Darryl Bootland (3 goals 4 assists)  is playing his usual role of agitator supreme for the Colorado Eagles. He leads his team in penalty minutes with 94 which ranks him #2 in the ECHL. He is also an alternate captain on the team. Colorado is currently in fourth place in the Pacific Division of the ECHL but that division is the tightest in the league as only nine points separate first from last place.

- Daniel Tetrault (3 goals 5 assists) plays for the Rapid City Rush and is another of the many players from last year's championship team that is an alternate captain. He scored a goal last night for the Rush in a losing cause as his team was beaten by Quad City 3-2. It has been a tough year thus far for Daniel and Rapid City. They are the team tied with Indy for the worst winning percentage in the ECHL at .350. They are in last place in the Central Division and are seven points out of a playoff spot.

- Bryan Pitton (GAA 1.57 Save % .947) is having a career year playing in Poland (KH Sanok). He leads the league in GAA and save percentage. His team is in third place in a ten team league just three points out of first place.

- Colton Yellow Horn (8 goals 20 assists) plays for the Nippon Paper Cranes in the Asia League. He has 28 points in 25 games and leads his team in scoring. His team is in second place in a nine team league but they are ten points out of first place.

- Spencer Asuchak just arrived in Providence (AHL) and has not played in a game yet. Providence plays at home today against Portland so maybe he will get his first chance today. Spencer will be wearing #23 for the Bruins. Incidentally the place where Providence plays is called the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

- Aaron Dell was in goal for both games this weekend as Worcester (AHL) took on the St. John's IceCaps. Aaron had a 20 shot shutout Friday night to get his first win since being called up to Worcester as the Sharks beat St. John's 1-0. Yesterday Dell was the losing goalie in a 3-2 St. John's win. Aaron has played in five games since his call up and has a GAA of 1.72 and save % of .917.

DID YOU KNOW: In the odd facts category Allen is 4-0 this year when being out shot by their opponent. Missouri is 9-9 on the year but is a perfect 7-0 in games decided by one goal.

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