Friday, December 19, 2014

Allen vs Wichita Game Preview, Hanson To Worcester, Schwartz to Allen Player Profile

Worcester assigns Rylan Schwartz to Allen - will be in lineup  tonight

With five days off between home games the Allen Americans are just finishing one of their longest breaks of the season and will start an all too familiar Steven Brothers round robin this weekend and next weekend. This weekend it is Wichita (H), Tulsa (H) and Tulsa (A). Next weekend it is Tulsa (H), Wichita (A), Tulsa (A). Tonight's meeting with Wichita will the be the first time the Thunder have been to the Allen Event Center (AEC) this year and they are the last of the Central Division teams to visit Allen. The two teams have meet three times this season, all in Wichita, with Allen winning on October 25 (5-3) and November 15 (3-2) while Wichita came out on top in their last meeting on November 29 (3-1). The 3-1 loss to the Thunder was significant as it is the only time all year Allen has been held to fewer than two goals, the top line did not have a point and it is the only game all year Jack Combs has not had at least one point as he has a point in 20 of 21 games. If you want a prediction look for the top line to have a good night tonight as they should be motivated.


- As with most teams they play Allen has a distinct advantage in many statistical categories from overall record (Allen 16-4-0-1, Wichita 11-10-1-3) to record in last ten games (Allen 8-1-0-1, Wichita (5-4-0-1) to goal differential (Allen +42, Wichita -1). Here are some of the other statistical comparisons between the Americans and the Thunder.
Goals Scored - Allen 95, Wichita 68
Goals Allowed - Allen 53, Wichita 69
Average Goals Per Game - Allen 4.52, Wichita 2.72
Average Goals Allowed - Allen 2.52, Wichita 2.76
Power Play Percentage - Allen 19.4%, Wichita 18.6%
Penalty Kill Percentage - Allen 88.9%, Wichita 86.5%
Average Penalty Minutes - Allen 21.86, Wichita 20.08
Plus/Minus - Allen  +158, Wichita -27

- Allen wins close to 90% of their games when they score the first goal and have outscored their opponents 26-14 in the first period. Combine this with the fact that the first period is by far the worst for Wichita as the have been outscored by their opponents 24-16 in the first period and you may have a key to the game. If Allen doesn't score the first goal no need to worry as their best scoring period is the second. The Americans have scored more goals in the second period (40) than any other team in the league while only allowing 21 goals in the second period.

- The top three goal scorers for Allen are Combs (17), Steffes (16) and Costello (12). The top three goal scorers for Wichita are Danick Gauthier (12), Ian Lowe (7), and Kenton Miller (7).

- Allen has four defensemen that have scored more points than the top scoring Wichita defenseman who is Mike Wilson with eleven points. The four are Young (15 points), Tyler Ludwig (14), Aaron Gens (14), and Justin Baker (13).

- Allen will be without Greger Hanson who was loaned to Worcester (AHL) yesterday and should be in the line up when they play at Manchester tonight. Greger has been assigned #8. In return, Worcester sent Rylan Schwartz to Allen, (see details below). Schwartz will be in the line up tonight and play on on the Steffes, Schaafsma line. If that happens look for Tommy Daniels to come up with a creative name for a line with three guys whose last name begins with "S" like the triple S line. I know, not too creative. Tommy will have something better or maybe you can send along some suggestions.

- Brett Lyon will not play tonight as this will be the last game he will miss because of his three game suspension. He will be eligible to be back in the line up tomorrow night against Tulsa.

- Wichita has won their last two games led by goaltender Tim Boron who allowed only one goal in the two games. Wichita beat Tulsa 2-1 on Wednesday and Rapid City 5-0 last Saturday.


Rylan is the middle child of Rick and Carol Schwartz and is from a hockey playing family who hails from the very small community of Wilcox, Saskatchewan (population just over 300) which is best known for being the home of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, a well respected private, coeducational college prep school with an outstanding hockey program. Rylan and his siblings all went to high school at Notre Dame and played college hockey.  Rylan and his younger brother Jaden, both attended Colorado College and were stars on the hockey team. Jaden, who was a first round draft choice (#14 overall) of the St. Louis Blues in 2010 left college after two years to play in the NHL. He is the third leading scorer for the St. Louis Blues this year with twenty seven points (11 goals, 16 assists) in thirty one games. Rylan's older sister, Mandi, played hockey at Yale University but in December 2008, her junior year at Yale she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. After a long battle with cancer Mandi died in April, 2011 at the age of 23. (See story at the bottom of the page).

Rylan finished his collegiate career in 2013 and signed a two year, two way (NHL/AHL) free agent contract with the San Jose Sharks. He was assigned to the Sharks AHL affiliate in Worcester and has been playing there until he was assigned to Allen yesterday.  Without a doubt Rylan will probably  arrive in Allen against his wishes, disappointed at being assigned to an ECHL team, and not wanting to be here. But hopefully, all of that disappointment and frustration will be turned into positive energy and he will get things going playing with a great team on a great line. If all goes well, he will be back in Worcester chasing his dream. He can be sure he will get a warm welcome from the Allen fans while he is with the Americans. Rylan has been successful wherever he has played. His resume is littered with accolades from all-rookie teams to league MVP's, to all academic teams. In the 2012-2013 season with Colorado College he led the NCAA in points with 53.

Rylan's scouting reports include the following comments:
- Rylan is adept at both setting up plays and finishing plays
- He is a top face off man, play maker and clutch scorer
- He possesses great vision, hands, and can make some of the nicest tape to tape passes you will see
- He is remarkably strong on his skates for his size and uses his stick effectively in all three zones
- An effective penalty killer

Here is Rylan's information courtesy of hockeydb:

Rylan Schwartz

Center -- shoots L
Born Jan 8 1990 -- Wilcox, SASK
[24 yrs. ago]
Height 5.10 -- Weight 205
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2006-07 Notre Dame Hounds SJHL 9 6 4 10 0

2007-08 Notre Dame Hounds SJHL 56 29 34 63 83

2008-09 Notre Dame Hounds SJHL 48 39 49 88 54

2009-10 Colorado College WCHA 39 6 22 28 24

2010-11 Colorado College WCHA 41 10 28 38 61

2011-12 Colorado College WCHA 35 23 17 40 47

2012-13 Colorado College WCHA 41 20 33 53 35

2012-13 Worcester Sharks AHL 7 1 3 4 6 1 ----------
2013-14 Worcester Sharks AHL 73 5 13 18 25 -16 ----------
2014-15 Worcester Sharks* AHL 19 0 5 5 4 -1

2014-15 Allen Americans ECHL Statistics Unavailable

DID YOU KNOW: Rylan Schwartz and Brian McMillin were teammates in college at Colorado College. Rylan was a freshman when Brian was a senior.

While researching information about Rylan Schwartz it was interesting to find out about his younger brother who is a star with the St. Louis Blues but the more compelling story was to read about his sister Mandi. I read many articles about her story and most would make a tear well up in your eye but this one really got to me. It was written by David Whitley of Fox Sports and published January 21, 2014. If you are on Facebook you are invited to like "The Mandi Schwartz Foundation" page.

NHL team's special tribute honors memory of Mandi Schwartz

David Whitley

FOX Sports

JAN 21, 2014 1:31p ET

Yale Athletics
The St. Louis Blues will travel to New Haven to honor the memory of Jaden Schwartz's sister, Mandi.
The St. Louis Blues could be spending their off-day in New York City on Friday. It's not as if there's nothing to do around there.
Instead, they'll board a bus and make a 160-mile round trip to New Haven, Conn. It's for a woman they'll never meet and a teammate who never thought he'd have so much company.
“I was pretty shocked,” Jaden Schwartz said.
He's a 21-year-old left wing with a great future and a lasting ache in his heart. Schwartz's sister, Mandi, died of leukemia three years ago. She was a hockey player at Yale, where it's safe to say she lives on in ways she never imagined.
There's a foundation in her name and an Upper Deck trading card with her face on it. About 20 people probably wouldn't be alive today if not for her. And on Friday, there's the annual “White Out For Mandi.”
The Bulldogs' goal is to beat Brown and raise awareness for an old teammate's cause. Yale has been staging White Outs since Mandi died. The games have been relatively successful, but the 3,500 seats at Ingalls Rink have never been filled.
“Girls hockey doesn't have a big fan base,” said Carol Schwartz, Mandi's mother. “When we're planning (the game), we're always wondering how to get more people involved and what we can do better.”
Enter the Blues.
They play the Rangers Thursday night and the Islanders on Saturday. Friday would normally be a practice day, then players would be free to relax and enjoy the city.
Jaden noticed the dates and asked if he could make a side trip to Yale. The Blues were amenable, though the thought of Jaden making the trip alone bothered his mother.
“We were going to invite one of his friends to help him through the day,” Carol said. “It's not easy for him. It might stir emotions, so we wanted a buddy to come with him.”
Their son has that classic hockey stoicism and didn't want to be a disruption. He mentioned his plans to a couple of teammates. They mentioned it to a few more.
General Manager Doug Armstrong figured why not send everybody? He bounced the idea off a couple of team leaders.
“That's an automatic,” they told him.
Now the Blues will bus to New Haven and hold a 3 p.m. practice that will be open to the public. They'll go out for a team dinner, then return to Ingalls for the first part of the White Out before heading back to New York City.
“It's such a wholesome, family thing to do,” said Aleca Hughes, a former Yale captain who started the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. “In pro sports, that isn't always the first thing people think about. We're all just wowed.”
The goal is to help the cause, though the experience might also help the Blues.
“We lead, I don't want to say sheltered lives, but the life of a pro athlete is different,” Armstrong said. “We go around in chartered planes and stay at Ritz-Carltons. This just reinforces how fortunate we all are. What the Schwartz family had to go through is unthinkable.”
When St. Louis drafted Schwartz in the first round of the 2010 draft, it should have been one of the happiest days of his life. He was four years younger than Mandi, which made her the family's best hockey player for longer than he'd like to admit.
They were usually joined by the middle kid, Rylan, who now plays for Worcester in the American Hockey League. They'd fire shots at each other on the ice behind their home in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, a speck of a town on the Canadian Plains.
Mandi was as good at academics as she was at hockey. Yale was 2,000 miles away, but it was Yale.
“Everybody knows that Yale is pretty prestigious school,” Jaden said. “She spent a lot of time doing homework and had her ups and downs, but she loved it. She loved hockey and was always excited to play there.”
She was two years older than Hughes, who became one of her line-mates and best friends. Hughes had a couple of brothers who played high school hockey.
Mandi mentioned her brothers did the same, but she didn't go into great detail. Hughes didn't know how good Jaden and Rylan were until she stumbled across their names in a hockey scouting magazine.
“Holy crap!” she said.
Mandi wasn't much for bragging. She was good at being the first player in the weight room in the morning and the last off the ice in the afternoon.
She became unusually fatigued a couple of months into her junior year. One test led to another, and she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

She had to leave school for treatment. Her teammates gathered in her dorm room to help her pack.
“She was the one smiling and confident,” Hughes said. “She was always so positive and had such conviction.”
Mandi spent 130 days in various hospitals, and they thought the cancer was licked. She returned to Yale too weak to play, but she would still beat everybody into the weight room and cheer louder than anyone.
Then the cancer returned. Her best chance of survival was a stem-cell transplant. Failing with that, doctors hoped to find suitable stem cells from umbilical-cord donors.
Mandi's German/Russian/Ukrainian bloodline made a match difficult. The search became a crusade at Yale and the hockey community. Students organized donor drives. Thousands of people got their cheeks swabbed for DNA samples and put into the donor registry. If they didn't match Mandi, maybe they'd match somebody else.
“I never thought I was all that popular,” she said of all the hubbub.
A direct stem-cell match was never found. Doctors eventually transplanted the cells from a donor cord in September of 2010.
After months of hope and suspense in a Seattle hospital, the cancer flared again. There was nothing to do except drive back to Wilcox and hope for a miracle.
Meanwhile, Jaden's career was blossoming, but the good times were never as happy as they should have been. He played for the Canadian team in the World Junior Championship until he broke his ankle. That's one reason the Canadians finished second to the U.S.
Jaden flew home and draped his silver medal around Mandi's neck. Whatever pain he felt was usually kept inside.
“They're a very stoic family,” Armstrong said. “They're prairie people. They put their heads down and forge ahead. Life shows them something good and something bad and they deal with them the same.”
Mandi died April 3, 2011. As trite as it is to say she lives on, that's obvious at Yale. Now, her brother will experience that firsthand.
“It’ll be mixed emotions,” Jaden said. “It’ll be hard, to be honest. But I’m excited to see Yale and the rink where she spent a lot of time.”
He's never been to Yale, which was founded in 1701. One permanent feature was added a couple of years ago in the women's hockey locker room. It's Mandi's locker, with her No. 17 jersey still hanging there.
Jaden will get a look at that. He'll see the public unveiling of her trading card. It's part of Upper Deck's “Heroic Inspirations” series, and some feature a swatch from one of her game-worn uniforms.
“People loved her and cared so much,” Carol said. “The card people said when they were looking for an inspirational female, her name just kept coming up. It's amazing.”
What's amazing is the Mandi Ripple Effect. Somewhere in Europe, there's a 42-year-old man who has probably never heard of Mandi Schwartz or White Outs or even Yale University. But three years ago, a field hockey player named Lexi Adams had a conversation with a freshman football player named John Oppenheimer.
She'd registered as a donor during the previous year's Mandi drive. A match was found, and she donated her stem cells.
Adams talked Oppenheimer into getting his cheek swabbed. Last year, a match was found and Oppenheimer twice donated stem cells.
Due to privacy laws, all Oppenheimer knows is the man lives in Europe and had leukemia. The reason he's alive today is easy enough to trace.
Yale officials said 21 such matches have been found since the drives began. All because of a girl who never knew she was so popular. Keeping that alive is why people around New Haven will put on white shirts this Friday and head to Ingalls Rink.
It's why Mandi's brother will drive up from New York to help put on a show. And it's why his hockey brothers will be at his side.
Said Jaden: “It means more to me than they'll ever know.”

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