The Americans take on the Missouri Mavericks tonight for the fourth time this season and former Allen coach Richard Matvichuk is still looking for the first win over his old team. Coaches and players keep saying it is just another game so you have to take them at their word but you can be assured the game tonight will be hard fought with lots of penalties if it follows the script of the prior games between these two teams. Allen has had their way with Missouri in their first three meetings winning 3-1 on November 14, 6-0 on November 26 and 6-2 in their most recent game on December 7th. Statistically Allen is the far better team but statistics don't win games and Allen needs to be prepared for a frustrated Mavericks team that would like nothing better than get back on the winning track by knocking off Steve Martinson and the back to back champions. There is no doubt Richard Matvichuk will have the team fired up for this game. The Americans will return to Allen right after the game in Independence and will play Missouri at the Allen Event Center on Saturday and Sunday. It should be an interesting three game series.
- There are a lot of stats you can look at to compare these teams from Allen being 3-0 against Missouri this year, to their records over the last ten games (Allen 7-1-1-1, Missouri 4-3-1-2) to the overall records (Allen 22-5-1-2, Missouri 14-14-1-2). Missouri has played better on the road than at home with a losing home record of 6-8-0-1.
- Allen is ranked #1 in the ECHL in goals scored per game at 4.30 while Missouri is #24 at 2.61. In goals allowed Allen is #4 at 2.67 and Missouri is #21 at 3.35.
- Special teams will most likely play a key role in the game tonight and Allen has a big edge in special teams play. On the road Allen has the second best power play in the league at 24.3%. Missouri has the second worst power play at home at only 9.4%. If you look at the penalty kill Allen is #2 in the ECHL on the road at 90.3% and Missouri is #21 at home at 80.7%. In their three head to head match ups Allen has three goals in fourteen power play opportunities while Missouri is scoreless in fifteen power play opportunities. Advantage Allen.
- Riley Gill has been in goal for all three wins against Missouri this year giving up only three goals in the three games including a 29 save 6-0 shutout in Missouri on November 26.
- Gary Steffes has four goals in the three games against Missouri and has scored in every game.
- Bottom line is Allen would seem to have a big advantage going into the game tonight. After all, they have won the last two times these teams have met by scores of 6-2 and 6-0. The winning formula remains the same and that is out work Missouri, be aggressive but don't gamble, get back defensively and avoid odd man rushes, and take advantage of being the better team on special teams. With tonight being the first of three straight games against the Mavericks it will be important to start off with a victory.
- For those waiting on the decision regarding the suspension of Garrett Clarke and wondering why an announcement has not been made by the ECHL the disciplinary hearing did not take place yesterday and has been rescheduled for Wednesday.
- The honors keep piling up for for Chad Costello the latest being named the ECHL player of the month for December. He had a monster month with twenty eight points (11 goals 17 assists) in thirteenth games. He was held scoreless in only one of the thirteenth games and had multiple point games nine times. He was a +14 for the month and finished December with the highest plus/minus in the ECHL (+24) for which he received another award (Plus Performer of the Month).
- The ECHL will be announcing the starters for the All-Star game on Wednesday and the reserves and alternates on Thursday. Can't help but believe it will end up being disappointing for Allen fans given how the team is selected. Let's hope it is a pleasant surprise. If both Jack Combs and Chad Costello are not All-Stars in this league the ECHL needs to re-examine the process.
- Have had a several questions recently about where to find certain information and the answer to almost all of the questions is you have to go to echl.com. If you haven't already done so, click on every tab on that site and you will find anything you need from tracking games in progress, to individual and team stats to historical archives. The most detailed and current statistical information is found under the "Stat" tab and when you click on that tab a drop down menu gives you several choice but the one with all of the information is "Daily Report" so check that out if you are not already aware of what is contained in the daily report.
- Despite a disappointing year thus far for the Missouri Mavericks they continue to have the best attendance of all seven former CHL teams that joined the ECHL this season. They are averaging 5111 per game which places them #6 in the ECHL. Attendance is down from last year (they ended the season at 5499) but still far ahead of the other six former CHL teams. Here is the average attendance by team:
5111 - Missouri
4688 - Tulsa
4366 - Wichita
4347 - ECHL Average Attendance
3974 - Allen
3926 - Quad City
3870 - Rapid City
2493 - Brampton
DID YOU KNOW: One of the toughest things to do in hockey is go all season without missing a game and become an "Ironman." Over the last five years only nine players have played every game of a season and there has been at least one Ironman in every season. In 2011-2012 only Jason Deitsch accomplished the feat and last year there were three (Asuchak, Tetrault, Berube) Ironmen. With 30 games played this year there are only six players that have played in all 30 games. With the longer season this year (72 games) it has become even more difficult to become an Ironman. Here are this year's potential Ironmen.
Jamie Schaafsma (Jamie was an Ironman in the 2012-2013 season)