Saturday, January 10, 2015

Allen vs Missouri Game Preview, Combs In, Baker Out, New Tough Guy Arrives, Scott Alexander Remembered

It is game day in Allen as the Americans take on the Missouri Mavericks tonight in the first of back to back games this weekend. Allen comes into the game well rested as they have not played since Tuesday while Missouri played at home last night (lost to Evansville 4-1)  and had to travel all night (475 miles) to get to Allen.

The good news is Jack Combs is expected to be back in the line up after missing the last game with the flu. A couple of other players have not been feeling the best but no other player has been diagnosed with the flu. Garrett Clarke will be out serving his eight game suspension and Justin Baker is out with an upper body injury. So will the Americans be playing short handed again tonight? Not according to Coach Martinson when I had a chance to talk to him after practice on Friday. He was working on signing two players and have them in the line up tonight. He didn't mention any names but on the SPHL transactions from yesterday it shows tough guy Tyler Barr, from the Louisiana IceGators, being loaned to Allen. The 6' 2" 225 pound forward has ten fights in eighteen games this year. If a second player is signed it would most likely be someone available locally that can be in uniform on short notice. Missouri took some liberties on Tuesday knowing the Americans were playing shorthanded and wanted to stay out of the penalty box. Allen will be more than ready if the Mavericks try that approach tonight.

Missouri will arrive in Allen tired but angry. They have lost to Allen all four times the teams have played this year, they lost their sixth straight home game last night to Evansville who had won only one game since the end of November, and the Mavericks have lost eight of their last ten games. It is a formula for an upset for sure.

- Any statistical comparison between Allen and Missouri whether you look at head to head record, season long record, recent record, goals scored, goals allowed, goal differential, plus/minus, or special teams would show that Allen is the better team. That is precisely what makes the game tonight a concern.  

- Special teams have certainly been a key in Allen having a perfect 4-0 record against Missouri this year. The game winning goal in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Missouri was a power play goal and in the four games against the Mavericks this year the Americans have scored four power play goals. The Mavericks have yet to score a power play goal against Allen as they were 0-4 on Tuesday and in the four head to head games are now 0-19.


- Scotty Alexander, the Allen Americans long time bus driver who passed away in early December will be honored and remembered at the game tonight. His family will be in attendance, his son will be the veteran that is highlighted during the game and the Allen Americans Fan Club will be selling t-shirts with the proceeds going to Scotty's family. The Americans purposely planned this remembrance for when the Mavericks were in Allen as Missouri head coach, Richard Matvichuk was close to Scotty and had been friends with him from back in the 1990's when Richard was playing for the Dallas Stars and Scotty worked for the team. If you want to read the complete story about Scotty go the the archives to the right of this page and look up his story dated December 5, 2014.

- Here is the information from the fan club about the t-shirt sale:
We will be honoring Scotty Alexander, longtime bus driver of the Allen Americans, during Saturday’s game. A commemorative t-shirt will be available for $20 with all profits going to support Scotty’s family. Adult sizes of S, M, L, XL, XXL will be available.

Please stop by the table next to the customer service table to get your shirt or make a donation.
Fan club t-shirt design to raise funds in honor of Scotty Alexander

- For those that have been asking, the championship banner for 2013-2014 has arrived and will be put in the rafters soon. The team might put the banner on display in the concourse at an upcoming game to give fans a chance to take a picture with the banner before it is hung permanently in the rafters.

- With Missouri losing to Evansville (4-1) and Brampton losing to Elmira (4-1) last night the former CHL teams are now 3-14 against the older ECHL teams. Two more chance tonight as Brampton plays Reading and Wichita plays Evansville. It is just two weeks away from Allen getting their first chance as they play Indy (January 23), Toledo (January 24) and Kalamazoo (January 25).

- Congrats to coach Steve Martinson who was formally announced yesterday as one of the coaches for the upcoming ECHL All-Star game along with Florida coach Gregg Poss. Because the coaches are selected by winning percentage it has been known for some time Poss and Martinson would be the coaches. For Martinson it will be some tough logistics but at least it won't be on the bus. He will fly to Orlando on Tuesday (1/20), the All-Star game is Wednesday (1/21) and then on Thursday (1/22) he will fly from Orlando directly to Indianapolis to meet up with the Americans for their game with Indy on Friday (1/23). Being selected as one of only two All-Star coaches in a 28 team league is quite an honor, especially for the first year in the ECHL and is great publicity for Steve Martinson and the Allen Americans team.

- Have had a couple of questions about waiving a player who is under suspension and how the rule is applied in the ECHL. A player can be waived while they are suspended and continue to serve the suspension after they are waived. This is not the way the rule was applied in the CHL. So hypothetically a team could waive a player and then re-sign them after they had completed their suspension if they didn't get picked up by another team.

- If you haven't been following all of the recent news about the AHL establishing a presence in the West to be closer to their NHL teams things have been really heating up. Just this week it has been reported that the AHL Norfolk Admirals are "almost certainly" being purchased by the Anaheim Ducks and will be moved to San Diego. The NHL Calgary Flames released a statement on Friday saying they had an agreement in place (that still needs to be approved) to buy the ECHL franchise in Stockton with the intent of moving their AHL team, the Adirondack Flames (Glen Falls, NY) to Stockton. The Edmonton Oilers (NHL) bought the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) last year and announced in December they were ending their affiliation with Oklahoma City (AHL) so they are ready for the move west. Los Angeles already owns their own AHL affiliate (Manchester) and ECHL affiliate (Ontario Reign) so they are also ready. That leaves only San Jose with their AHL affiliate in Worcester to have an agreed solution but they are likely to join any effort to build an AHL West Division. If this all takes place for the 2015-2016 season it will have a big impact on where the ECHL franchises are located.

DID YOU KNOW: The last two times the ECHL All-Star game was held (2013 & 2011) it was the All-Stars vs the host team. The host teams did not fare well as in 2013 the All-Stars beat Colorado 7-3 and in 2011 the All-Stars beat Bakersfield 9-3. With the 2015 All-Star host being the Orlando Solar Bears who are in sixth place in their division it will probable be another beat down for the host team. More reason to push for a conference vs conference format in 2016.

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