Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tulsa, Tulsa & More Tulsa, Game Preview and Statistics

- There is a George Strait song with the title, "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa" and have to say the bad thing from Allen's perspective is Tulsa is so close to Allen the teams play way too often. Thus far this season Allen has played fifteen games and five of them (33%) have been against Tulsa. Add three more games with Tulsa tonight (Tuesday), tomorrow and Friday and it will be eight of eighteen (45%) of all games played this season are against Tulsa. Another old country western song, "Take Me Back To Tulsa (Bob Wills) might be the Allen theme song as the Americans will make eight trips different trips to Tulsa this season and play only one game on all eight trips.

- The team will leave Allen around noon today for the trip to Tulsa and return immediately after the game. Tulsa is the only team in the ECHL that is close enough (225 miles) that an overnight stay is not required by the collective bargaining agreement.  

- Had a chance to touch base with Steve Martinson after practice yesterday and both Jesse Messier who hasn't played since November 1st and Brian McMillin who has missed the last two games are expected to be in the line up tonight. Tyler Ludwig is dinged up and was placed on reserve and will not play tonight.

- To start out look for Messier to play on a line with Steffes and Hanson with McMillin playing with Asuchak and Schaafsma. The top line (Costello, Schultz, Combs) will remain the same.

- Tulsa and Allen are the two best teams in the Central Division which makes these next three games very important in the standings. Tulsa has the most points (23 to 22) but Allen has the better winning percentage (.733 to .639). It should be some great hockey.

- As a refresher here are the results of the five games these two teams have played so far this season:
 October 24 - Tulsa trounces Allen in Allen 9-6 in the season opener. Greger Hanson has a hat trick in a losing cause.
November 8 - Allen wins 6-4 in Allen. Six different players score goals for Allen.
November 9 - Tulsa wins 3-1 in Allen. Jamie Schaafsma ties the score 2-2 at the 17:47 mark of the third period only to have Tulsa score the game winner a minute later at 18:54.
November 25 - The teams play in Tulsa and Allen wins 3-1. Gary Steffes is the #1 star.
November 27- After winning in Tulsa on the 25th Allen travels to Missouri on the 26th, wins 6-0 and  heads back to Tulsa for the Thanksgiving game. Allen beats Tulsa on Thanksgiving night 5-4 in a shootout for their eight straight victory.

You add it all up and Allen has won three of the five games. A more interesting statistic is the visiting team has won four of the five games thus far. Tulsa is 2-1 in Allen and Allen is 2-0 in Tulsa.

- Statistically Allen has the edge in most offensive categories with the most telling being goal differential. Allen is plus 23 as they have scored 62 goals and allowed 39 goals. Tulsa's goal differential is plus two as they have scored 67 goals but allowed 65 goals.

- Some other statistical comparisons with numbers and rank in the ECHL:
Average goals scored: Allen 4.13 (#2) - Tulsa 3.72 (#4)
Average goals allowed: Allen 2.60 (#5) - Tulsa 3.61 (#25)
Power play percentage: Allen 18.9% (#11) - Tulsa 13.9% (#21)
Penalty kill percentage: Allen 85.9% (#5) - Tulsa 84.1 (#11)
Average shots per game: Allen 33.2 (#4) - Tulsa 27.94 (#21)
Average shots allowed per game: Allen 29.07 (#12) - Tulsa 33.83 (#25)

- Both teams have been using just one goalie almost exclusively so all three games could be Riley Gill vs Kevin Carr. Rookie Kevin Carr leads the ECHL in wins with ten and has played in 16 of Tulsa's 18 games. Riley Gill has played in 13 of Allen's 15 games and has won nine games. Statistically Gill has the advantage in GAA (Gill 1.96 - Carr 2.87) and save percentage (Gill .934 - Carr .908.

- Players that score a point a game in hockey are like .300 hitters is baseball and are a definition of excellence. Allen currently has five players that are scoring a point a game (Combs, Costello, Steffes, Hanson, Schultz). Tulsa has three players scoring at least one point per game (Jon Booras, T.J. Caig, Adam Pleskach). Obviously these are the players to watch over the next three games.

- Tonight will be a quiet night in the ECHL with only two games being played, both in the Central Division. In addition to Allen at Tulsa the Quad City Mallards visit the Missouri Mavericks.

- Congratulations to Trevor Ludwig who shared the award for the best plus/minus in the ECHL for the month of November. Here is part of the press release issued by the ECHL:

Allen Americans defenseman Trevor Ludwig and Florida Everblades defenseman Mike Little are the AMI Graphics ECHL Plus Performers of the Month for November after sharing the league lead with a plus-minus rating of +12.

Ludwig was even or better in nine of his 11 games during the month, including posting a +4 rating in a 9-2 win against Brampton on Nov. 21. He was a +2 on two occasions - Nov. 8 against Tulsa and Nov. 16 against Rapid City.

The 29-year-old has four points (3g-1a) in 11 games this season and he is second in the league with his +12 rating. Ludwig has 20 points (6g-14a) in 60 career ECHL games with Allen and Idaho and he has added 18 points (4g-14a) in 144 career American Hockey League games with Houston, Syracuse, Norfolk, Texas, Manitoba and Iowa. A native of Rhinelander, Wis., Ludwig has 51 points (16g-35a) in 116 career games with Allen

DID YOU KNOW: The Tulsa Oilers won the very first Central Hockey League championship in 1993 after the league was revived and Allen won the last Central Hockey League championship in 2014. Tulsa has not won a championship since 1993.

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