Friday, January 23, 2015

Allen vs Indy Preview, Dell Recalled to Worcester, Worcester Moving to San Jose, Indiana Farmers Coliseum

The weekend that everyone from players to fans to coaches had marked on the calendar when the ECHL schedule was published has finally arrived. An opportunity for the Allen Americans to play three teams outside the Central Division. Three games in less than 48 hours against three North Division teams (Indy, Toledo, Kalamazoo) who are all playing great hockey. The three teams combined have not lost a game in regulation in their last nineteen games.

- Indy has won four of their last five games which were all on the road. The only loss was in overtime. Toledo has won six of their last eight games with the two losses coming in overtime/shootout. Kalamazoo has won six straight games.

- Allen will be without the services of Aaron Dell who was recalled yesterday by the Worcester Sharks (AHL). The Americans will have Greger Hanson back in the line up as he is meeting the team in Indy after spending the last month in Worcester.
Aaron Dell has been recalled by Worcester


- A statistical comparison of Allen and Indy shows a huge advantage for Allen. Here are a few examples:

Points: Allen (59) - Indy (27)
Goals For: Allen (157) - Indy (95)
Goals Allowed: Allen (93) - Indy (136)
Goal Differential: Allen (+64) - Indy (-41)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+229) - Indy (-230)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Indy is ranked #25.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.36). Indy is #26 (2.50).
Allen is ranked #2 in average goals allowed (2.58). Indy is #25 (3.58).

- What the stats above don't show is recent success by Indy as they have a three game win streak and have won four of their last five games which were all on the road. Not to be outdone Allen is currently on a league leading nine game win streak.

- Special teams will be a key tonight and if the game is typical Allen will be on the penalty kill more than Indy. Allen leads the ECHL is average penalty minutes per game (23.19) while Indy is ranked #24 at just 13.29 minutes per game. Allen has been able to overcome giving up a lot of power plays because they have the #1 ranked road penalty kill unit in the ECHL which kills penalties at a rate of 90.8%. Allen's road power play is successful 23.8% of the time which is #2 in the league. At home Indy has a penalty kill percentage of  81.1% and power play percentage of 20.9%. Advanatge Allen.

- With Aaron Dell in Worcester look for Riley Gill to get the start in all three games this weekend. He thrives on a lot of work and that will certainly be the case with these three games. Riley has nineteen wins thus far which is second in the ECHL for most wins. Not sure who the back up goalie will be but often times in these situations if there is not enough time to get a goalie signed and to the road location a local goalie is signed for the night.

- Allen have five players that average over a point a game (Costello, Steffes, Schultz, Hanson, Schwartz). Indy has none.


- There will be quite a contingent of "super fans" cheering on the Americans on this road trip. They have promised to share some pictures so hopefully will have some Indy game pics for the post tomorrow. It is "Retro Rewind" night in Indy tonight with an appearance by the legendary Hanson  Brothers from the classic hockey film, "Slapshot." The first 1000 in attendance receive a pair of Indy Fuel Hanson Brothers glasses! Maybe a group picture with the glasses for the blog tomorrow.

- The move of the Worcester Sharks to San Jose was the subject of another article yesterday. This has been rumored for a while but it now seems to be an almost certainty that it will happen for the 2015-2016 season. The move is an unconventional one because according to reports the team will play in the same arena as their parent club, San Jose Sharks. Supposedly the "western strategy" details will be finalized at the AHL All-Star game executive meeting which takes place this weekend and an announcement could be forthcoming next week. What impact would this have on Allen's affiliation with the Sharks is unknown but with DFW airport so close and the numerous flights to California each day a continued affiliation is likely.

- Speaking of Worcester they are currently riding an eight game win streak and have vaulted themselves into the AHL playoff picture. They are currently tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings with eight teams making the playoffs. AHL teams that don't make the playoffs often send players to their ECHL affiliates which can make a big difference for the ECHL playoffs. Have had players tell me seeding in the playoffs can be deceiving as lower seeds with AHL players sent to help can be much better than higher seeds. It may be best for the Americans self interest if Worcester does not make the playoffs. 

DID YOU KNOW:  The Indy Fuel play in a hockey rink (Indiana Farmers Coliseum) that is on the Indiana State Fairgrounds and was built in 1939. In 2012 the entire complex underwent a 53 million dollar renovation and was turned into a modern arena with two levels of seating, an elevated concourse, state of the art sound system and 6000 new seats.  There are a few remnants of the old Coliseum, the oldest building still in use for professional hockey in North America, including the large windows around the building's perimeter and one section of the original wooden Coliseum seats in the building's southeast corner.
The Indy Fuel play at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum built in 1939 and newly renovated

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