Friday, January 16, 2015

Allen vs Wichita Game Preview, Who Are The New Euro Players, A Unique Hockey Rink

It seems like every weekend there are reasons to say the upcoming Allen Americans games are important and that is certainly the case with games against the Wichita Thunder tonight (Friday) and Saturday.  Here are a few of those reasons:
- Wichita has caused Allen fits as the teams have split the six games played this season.
- Wichita has won three of the last four games they have played against Allen.
- Allen has been held to one goal twice this season, both times by Wichita.
- Allen averages over 4 goals per game but has only 10 goals in the last five games against Wichita.
- Allen will be playing without ECHL leading scorer Jack Combs who left for Sweden.
- Wichita  is second in the Central Division standings (tied with Tulsa).


ALLEN VS WICHITA COMPARISON

- Allen comes into this game on a hot streak as they have won six straight games overall and their last seven home games. Wichita has lost three of their last five games.

- Allen is ranked #2 in goals scored per game at 4.18 with Wichita at #18 with an average of 2.86. They are much closer in goals allowed with Allen #3 at 2.58 and Wichita #7 with an average of 2.78.

- Special teams should play a big role in this series. Allen should have the edge on special teams as they have the #2 rated penalty kill unit in the ECHL. Wichita's power play on the road is one of the worst in the league, ranked #26 at 10.7%. Head to head in the six games played thus far Allen is 5-31 on the power play and Wichita is 2-25. Wichita has not scored a power play goal in Allen this year.

- These are two of the most penalized teams in the league with Allen #1 at 22.70 minutes per game and Wichita #7 at 19.22 minutes per game. Head to head they are each averaging just fifteen penalty minutes per game. If you are betting, taking the over on 15 penalty minutes per team would be a wise choice.

- Getting the first goal of the game is always important as Allen wins 90% of the games where they score first. Wichita is not quite as good but still wins 77.8% of the time they score the first goal.

- Another stat to keep an eye on during the game is shots on goal. Allen ranks #2 in shots on goal averaging 33.61 per game. Wichita is one of the best teams in the league in average shots allowed per game as the are ranked #3 at 27.03 per game. If the Americans can get at least 35 shots on goal they should win the game.



OTHER COMMENTS

- With the exception of Garrett Clarke who is still serving his suspension (until 1/24) everyone else should be in the line up tonight including Justin Baker. A few guys are nursing bumps, bruises, muscle strains, torn off fingernails, and illness but that is par for the course this time of year. 

- Allen is better prepared to deal with the tough play Wichita has exhibited in the past. Look for recently acquired Tyler Barr to make his presence known tonight.

- Have had numerous questions about the two forwards coach Martinson has signed from Europe as everyone is anxious to know who they are. I have put a self imposed rule on the blog this year to not disclose players names until the Allen Americans issue an official press release or say it is okay to release the names. For those of you that can't wait and are super sleuths you can figure this out on your own. With the information already shared in the post game press conferences (check the post from yesterday for all the details) it is known they play together in Europe, they are from the Czech Republic, and are both forwards. So all you have to do is go to eliteprospects.com and check out all of the rumored moves and you can solve the mystery. 

- Both Providence and Worcester are in action tonight so will have to see if Spencer Asuchak and Greger Hanson are in the line up for their team. They have both had games recently where they were healthy scratches. 

- In other ECHL action tonight Tulsa takes on the Florida Everblades again in Florida for the second of their two game series. Tulsa won the first game 6-5 in a shootout.

- Lots of ECHL players have made it to the NHL but going directly from an ECHL team to the NHL is unusual. That is what happened to goalie Mike Lee this week as he was called up to the Arizona Coyotes from the Gwinnett Gladiators. Mike if from the same small town in northern Minnesota as Brian McMillin. Roseau, Minnesota, population around 2600.


DID YOU KNOW: One of the most unique hockey rinks in the world is the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. It was built in 1989 and is the largest hemispherical building in the world. Shaped like a large white ball it has a diameter of 361 feet and an inner height of 279 feet. What you can also notice in the picture is the globe has two spherical gondolas, each able to accommodate up to 16 passengers, which travel along parallel tracks on the exterior of the globe to provide unobstructed views over Stockholm.

The Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden was built primarily for hockey



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