Saturday, February 28, 2015

Allen vs Brampton Game Preview, "Red Army" Movie Review, Dell Wins Again in Worcester

It is game day in Allen as the Americans take on the Brampton Beast at 7:05 pm following the 6th Annual Police vs Fire game which starts at 5:05 pm. Brampton has to be doubly disappointed having lost in Wichita last night 4-1 and then arriving in Allen after spending all night on the bus only to find snow and cold. You can be sure they assumed it would be nice Texas weather when the schedule had them visiting Allen the last day of February. If it is any consolation it is 28 degrees this morning in Allen and 0 degrees in Brampton.

The game tonight will pit the the team leading the ECHL standings (Allen has 78 points) against the team that is #26 in the ECHL standings (Brampton has 36 points). By almost any statistical measure Allen should win the game. Tonight will be the sixth meeting between these two teams this year. Allen has won the five previous games by scores of 9-2, 4-1, 6-0 (in Allen) and 5-2, 5-1 in Brampton.

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

Points: Allen (78) - Brampton (36)
Winning Percentage: Allen (.750) - Brampton (.346)
Goals For: Allen (214) - Brampton (129)
Goals Allowed: Allen (146) - Brampton (201)
Goal Differential: Allen (+68) - Brampton (-72)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+232) - Brampton (-341)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Brampton is ranked #26.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.12). Brampton is #28 (2.48).
Allen is ranked #7 in average goals allowed (2.81). Brampton is #27 (3.87).

- Special teams will most likely be a key to the game especially with Allen leading the league in average penalty minutes per game (22.98). Allen has a better overall power play (#4 in the ECHL) and penalty kill (#2 in the ECHL) than Brampton but if you look at home and road stats the Americans advantage is not as great. At home Allen is ranked #14 (17.7%) on the power play and #6 (86.8%) on the penalty kill. On the road Brampton is #17 (15.9%) on the power play and #23 (80.2%) on the penalty kill.

- J.P. Anderson will start in goal for the Americans.

- As is often said, on paper it looks like Allen should win this game rather easily but the game isn't played on paper. After losing five straight games at home the Americans need to get back to the basics of being aggressive without cheating, finish checks, avoid odd man rushes, get the puck in deep, avoid blue line turnovers, be more concerned about winning the game than scoring points and stay out of the penalty box. Easier said than done.

- If you are looking for a player to watch from Brampton it would be #10 Chad Painchaud who is another player that has played for Steve Martinson in the past (Chicago Express 2011-2012). Chad has a goal in the last three Brampton games, has 14 goals in the month of Febraury including two hat tricks and one game when he scored four goals. He was also named ECHL player of the week two weeks ago.

- The next point Chad Costello scores will make him the Allen Americans all time single season record holder for points along with Colton Yellow Horn (88 points). Chad has had multi point games in six of the eleven games Allen has played in February.

- Gary Steffes has either no goals or two goals in all eleven games in February. He has had two goals in two of the Americans last four games.

- Costello (87), Steffes (57), Hanson (40), and Schaafsma (38) are the top four point scorers on the current Allen roster. Defensemen occupy the next four spots with Gens (37), Baker (33), Young (32) and Tyler Ludwig (30).


- In the four team battle for the final three playoff spots in the Central Division Quad City, Wichita and Tulsa won last night. The only team that lost was Rapid City who lost to Tulsa in overtime. The race remains tight as only four points separate second place Quad City from fifth place Rapid City.

- With the loss in Wichita last night Brampton became the first team in the Central Division to be mathematically eliminated from catching the Allen Americans for first place.

- Ian Schultz (Iowa) won last night 2-1 over Lake Erie. Ian's line score was all zeros except he had three shots on goal. Iowa plays Lake Erie again tonight.

- Spencer Asuchak (Providence) won last night over Norfolk 2-1. Spencer's line score was all zeros except he had one shot on goal. Providence plays Norfolk again tonight.

-  Worcester beat St. John's 6-3 and both Rylan Schwartz and Aaron Dell played a role in the win. Rylan had three shots, scored a goal and was a plus one. Aaron Dell gave up two early goals but only one the rest of the way and none in the third period to record his eight win for Worcester. Worcester plays St. John's again tonight.

- If you like hockey related movies you might want to check out the documentary film "Red Army" which just opened at the Angelika in Dallas and Cinemark in west Plano. It is the story of the Soviet Union's famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its players and it has received excellent reviews. With Red Army you get  a portrait of the opposing team from the "Miracle on Ice" which reviewers say is just as spirited, enthralling and ultimately inspiring. The "Miracle on Ice" might have been sold as a clash of civilizations, but Red Army provides a valuable new lens on the event, one that takes into account the private struggles and triumphs of extraordinarily gifted athletes who happened to intersect with some of the most electrifying political events of the 20th century. The movie is in Russian with subtitles.

 - South Carolina won their 12th straight game last night and now has the second longest winning streak in the ECHL this year trailing only the 14 game win streak by Reading which ended earlier this month.

Happy birthday to Allen assistant coach and leap year (February 29) baby Erik Adams who celebrates his 35th birthday today.

- The Police vs Fire specialty jerseys worn by the Allen Americans tonight will be auctioned off immediately following the game.

DID YOU KNOW:  The Allen Americans current five game home losing streak is the longest since Allen lost seven straight home games in the January/February slump of 2013 on the way to their first championship.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend Prep, Is Allen the Best Team in the ECHL?, Ruskowski Quotes on Inconsistency, San Diego Gulls

After a quick but successful trip to Quad City the Allen Americans return to practice today in preparation for taking on the Brampton Beast (Saturday) and then traveling to play the Wichita Thunder (Sunday). Allen will be the more rested team on Saturday as Brampton is in Wichita tonight (Friday) and will travel to Allen after the game. On Sunday Wichita will be the more rested team as they are off on Saturday when Allen is playing Brampton and then traveling to Wichita. I plan on attending practice today and will report back tomorrow.

- With everything relatively quiet wanted to share a few things that you might find interesting. This first one is part of a weekly ECHL update written by Jeffery Lutz from the Wichita Eagle talking about the Allen Americans. Just for clarification the story mentions Toledo and Ontario own victories over Allen. Allen beat Toledo in their only meeting and split two games with Ontario. Here is part of Lutz's ECHL Update.

Allen is the best team in the league this season – but which league? The Americans have feasted on former Central Hockey League competition, leading an ECHL Central Division that includes six former CHL opponents by 18 points. Allen, though, is 2-3 against teams outside of the division.
It’s a small-enough sample size to prevent conclusions, and all five games were played on the road. But it prompts thoughts on how Allen matches up with the league’s top holdovers such as Toledo and Ontario, which own victories over Allen. “Some of those teams, like Ontario, are loaded with (American Hockey League)-, NHL-contracted guys, which helps a lot in the salary cap,” Allen coach Steve Martinson said. “Typically, those teams just have a little bit more depth. The good players are the good players. If you’re a top player in the CHL ... a lot of the ECHL scoring leaders came from the CHL.” The Americans are built similarly to the best ECHL mainstays. Allen has survived defections and callups to five top scorers that could have crippled other teams. Allen, which won the last two CHL championships, reloads with players not in as much danger of being promoted, such as Chad Costello and Gary Steffes. Four players have played all 51 Allen games, giving the Americans stability in a season of uncertainty. “You have to have some guys that are playing for you that aren’t looking to be called up,” Martinson said. “I always say that if a guy is good enough to be called up, he’s going to get called up. I’ve had teams where I lost three, four players in the first month of the season for the rest of the year, and it can really change your season. It can kill you.” It’s useless, at least now, for Allen to think about inter-division teams. They don’t have any remaining on their schedule and they won’t face any in the postseason before they win two series against Central Division teams. Martinson can’t be sure if his team’s current solid footing will exist in two months, either. “What your roster is in October, what it is in December, February, and then April, I don’t put much into that,” Martinson said. “ ... ECHL rosters fluctuate so much. Playing the teams outside of our division, sometimes it’s about what your roster looks like that week. At least it does for us, because there has been a lot of fluctuation.”

- This next one was written by Steve Tappa who writes for the Dispatch-Argus at Steve was talking to Quad City coach Terry Ruskowski about a subject that is near and dear to the hearts of many Central Division coaches and that is inconsistent play by their team. The Ruskowski quotes reflect what most coaches feel this time of the year as playoffs approach. Here are some coach Ruskowski quotes from the Steve Tappa story.

"What concerns me is we're consistently inconsistent. That's why we win two here, lose two there and haven't put together a big winning streak."

"We've proven we can play excellent. Sometimes we only play well. But, too often, we also have those kinds of games where we don't play very well at all. That's disappointing."

"If we're getting beat playing well that's one thing. But for some reason, we haven't been able to break out of that bottom gear. We keep falling back into bad habits.''

"I don't know this team half the time. When we play our systems, and play hard and play physical, it's a thing of beauty."

"I hope we can find some help soon from the major juniors and CIS (Canadian college) guys whose teams didn't make the playoffs. We need some help. We need to get on a roll.''

"Every game is crucial, but especially now. The playoff race is on and every game means something. Our players have to understand they can't focus on the big picture, though. We have to focus on every shift. If you take care of the little details, that will add up to big results.''

- The Anaheim Ducks revealed this past week that their AHL affiliate in San Diego will be called the San Diego Gulls. The new logo pays homage to the legacy of the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) Gulls who played in San Diego from 1995-2003. The logo features the Ducks color palette and other design elements, including the Ducks trademark windswept font. A touch of the signature Gulls blue was added to the Ducks color palette to embrace the hockey history and tradition of the community. The clubs new colors are orange, black, and blue. Steve Martinson had more to do with the San Diego Gulls WCHL legacy than any other person. He played and/or coached in San Diego for twelve years. Martinson was the head coach of the Gulls for eight years in the WCHL before they moved to the ECHL. In those eight years he won five championships.

The new AHL team in San Diego pays homage to the WCHL San Diego Gulls

- You may have seen the Toledo Walleye beat Gwinnett 12-0 last weekend which set a franchise record for most goals and was the largest margin of victory in an ECHL game since 2008. The largest margin of victory in the history of the ECHL was set on October 27, 1993 when the Greensboro Monarchs beat the Huntington (West Virginia) Blizzard 15-0.

- Over the last ten games the best team in the Central Division is Rapid City (7-3-0-0) and the worst team is the Missouri Mavericks (3-6-1-0).

- It is always interesting to track the players that have played in Allen this year that are now playing in the AHL. All of the teams with Allen players on the roster are in action tonight. Let's hope Ian Schultz (Iowa), Spencer Asuchak (Providence), Aaron Dell (Worcester), and Rylan Schwartz (Worcester) are all in the line up and have great games.

DID YOU KNOW: The Anaheim Ducks had a fan vote to help determine the name of the AHL franchise that will play in San Diego next year. Here are the results:

63% - San Diego Gulls
15% - San Diego Admirals
11% - San Diego Mighty Ducks
3%  -  San Diego Ducklings
8%  -  Other

Read more here:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Allen Beats Quad 4-2, Game Recap, Martinson Post Game Comments, Lyon Traded for Tarasuk & More

The Allen Americans won their fourth straight road game and sixth of the last seven last night defeating the Quad City Mallards by a score of 4-2 before a crowd of 2175 at a snowy iWireless Center in Moline, IL. The Americans got the victory while attaining only one of the "keys to victory" stated in the game preview yesterday. Key number one was to get off to a fast start and that didn't happen. Quad City got the first two goals of the game and took at 2-0 lead into the locker room after the first period. It was the eighth time in the last nine games Allen has given up the first goal of the game to their opponent. Key number two was win the special teams battle and that didn't happen. Both of the Mallards goals came on the power play as they were 2-5 on the night. Key number three was get more shots on goal than Quad City and than didn't happen. Quad City out shot Allen 37-31 including 14-7 in the third period.

The one key to victory that Allen did deliver on was getting traffic to the net. The end result was a well deserved come from behind win for the Americans. After trailing 2-0 at the end of the first period the comeback started when Tyler Barr got his second goal of the season at the 2:45 mark of the second period. Chad Costello evened the score midway through the second period on the power play with his 27 goal of the season. The teams headed to the locker room after the second period with the score tied 2-2.

Allen had a great opportunity to take the lead early in the third period when Quad City was given a five minute major penalty. The Mallards were able to kill off the penalty and the momentum was definitely in their favor until Chad Costello got loose for a breakaway and deked the goalie for the game winning goal at 9:35 of the third period. Kyle Follmer scored fourth goal at the 17:50 mark to put the game away for Allen.

Quad City coach Terry Ruskowski was not happy with the officiating according to an article in the Quad City Times written by Bobby Metcalf. Riley Gill was given a minor slashing penalty on a play the Mallards thought should have been a major penalty. According to the article Ruskowski talked to referee Kenny Anderson following the altercation but wasn't given much explanation. "He said it wasn't worth the penalty," Ruskowski said. "He skated away. There was no harm done, so it wasn't a penalty. Something's got to be done. This is ridiculous."

Referee Anderson didn't make things better after giving Mallards forward Paxton Leroux a game misconduct for being an aggressor after an altercation with Garrett Clarke. Clarke and Leroux were in a physical matchup away from the play early in the third period before Leroux knocked Clarke down with one punch. Clarke lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off but would return later in the game. 

Ruskowski said he couldn't see the hit but plans on sending clips of both instances into the league office. It is nice to see someone besides coach Martinson upset with the officiating and sending clips to the league office.


- It was another tough start for us giving up two goals in the first period. Quad City capitalized on mistakes we made on the penalty kill for two power play goals. 

- The goal by Tyler Barr early in the second period was big. It not only got us back in the game but it was a goal we got by getting traffic to the net which we have not been doing a lot lately. 

- We had three goals with traffic to the net which was the key to the comeback. We missed on a lot of good plays as well.

- Patrik Valcak was good tonight with three assists. He is getting more comfortable and starting to make plays. He is also excellent on faceoffs. (Valcak was named the #2 star of the game)


- Chad Costello continues his assault on the Allen Americans record book. With his two goals last night he now has 87 points to lead the ECHL scoring race by 28 points. Chad already has the Allen single season record for assists and is now just one point from tying the points record of 88 held by Colton Yellow Horn. Chad has 28 goals on the season which places him fifth all time in goals scored.

- You have probably heard by now that Brett Lyon was traded yesterday to the Brampton Beast for defenseman Steve Tarasuk. Tarasuk was with Allen last year during the playoffs and is a puck moving defenseman that is familiar with Martinson's system. It will be the fourth team this season for Tarasuk who started in Italy ( 7 games) then signed with Missouri (10 games) and then signed with Brampton (16 games) before being traded to Allen. According to coach Martinson, Lyon was expendable because Allen had two players (Clarke the other) who played a similar style and when Tyler Barr was signed to be a more traditional tough guy Lyon was the player that was traded. 

- Since Brampton is on the way to Allen for a game on Saturday Tarasuk will load his stuff on the bus and hitch a ride to Allen with the Beast. Lyon and Tarasuk will just switch locker rooms on Saturday.

- The 6th Annual "Battle of the Badges" charity game is Saturday between the Allen Police and Fire Departments. Game time is 5:05 pm so come early and watch what has been an entertaining game in the past. The Police vs Fire game will be followed by Allen vs Brampton at 7:05. One ticket gets you into both games.

- Jack Combs played his first game for Stockton last night as the Thunder lost to Utah 4-1. Jack, who is wearing #91 for Stockton, had no points and three shots on goal.

- If Aaron Dell had enough minutes played in the AHL to qualify for the leader board (Aaron has played 761 minutes and you need 1020 to qualify) he would have the second best GAA in the AHL at 1.81 and the fourth best save percentage in the AHL at .931. 

- With injuries, loans and call ups to the AHL you can see ECHL teams change dramatically overnight and a team that was struggling is all of a sudden unbeatable. South Carolina is a good example as they lost nine of ten games and then went on a ten game winning streak. They have the longest current winning streak in the ECHL. South Carolina is only two games away from the longest winning streak in the league all year. 

- Happy birthday to Brian McMillin who turns 27 today. Brian is working hard rehabilitating his broken kneecap and looking forward to getting back in the line up. 

DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello currently leads the ECHL in scoring with 87 points and has a 28 point lead over second place. In the last twelve years the largest margin of victory in the ECHL scoring race has been 16 points. Also, you have to go back to 2009-2010 to find an ECHL leading scorer with more than 100 points. Here are the leading scorers by year.

2014-2015: 87 points - Chad Costello (only 52 games)
2013-2014: 88 points - Brandon Marino
2012-2013: 89 points - Roy Mathieu
2011-2012: 85 points - Dustin Gazley
2010-2011: 94 points - Justin Donati
2009-2010: 114 points - Tyler Donati

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Allen vs Quad City Game Preview, The Haunted Hotel, Wednesday is WinnerNight, Combs Plays Tonight

It is game day for the Allen Americans as the one game road trip takes place tonight against the Quad City Mallards. Nothing like driving 800 miles on the bus through marginal wintertime weather, playing one game and then driving 800 miles back home. Welcome to life in minor pro hockey.

The game tonight will be the third of five games between these teams this year. Allen returns to Quad City in ten days (March 6 & 7) for the final two regular season games against the Mallards.

- In their two prior meetings which were both in Allen they split.  On December 10th Allen won 5-2 in a game the Americans outshot the Mallards 40-27. The game was most memorable because it was the night Jack Combs had four goals. Quad City won at the AEC just ten days ago beating Allen 2-1 while out shooting the Americans 34-26.

-  Here is a statistical comparison of Allen and Quad City:

Points: Allen (76) - Quad City (58)
Goals For: Allen (210) - Quad City (154)
Goals Allowed: Allen (144) - Quad City (140)
Goal Differential: Allen (+66) - Quad City (+14)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+217) - Quad City (+25)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Quad City is ranked #12.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.12). Quad City is #13 (2.96).
Allen is ranked #7 in average goals allowed (2.82). Quad City is #5 (2.69).

- Allen's record is 35-10-3-3 compared to Quad City at 26-20-4-2. In their last ten games Allen is 5-3-1-1 while Quad City is 5-5-0-0.

- Allen has a small advantage on special teams when you look at overall stats but when you look at the home and away stats the Allen advantage is substantial. On the road Allen is #2 on the power play at 22.7% and #1 on the penalty kill at 90.2%. Quad City at home is #20 on the power play at 15.7% and #4 on the penalty kill at 88.3%.

- Allen is obviously a very skilled offensive team and that shows up even when they are on the penalty kill. The Americans have the top penalty kill unit in the ECHL and are second in the league in short handed goals with ten. Quad City has only three shorthanded goals all year and just one at home.

- Allen is the much more penalized team especially when it comes to minor penalties. Allen averages almost seven minor penalties per game compared to Quad City who averages just over five per game. Since these minor penalties most often result in a man advantage it will be important that the Americans avoid getting a bunch of stick penalties.

- Quad City has only one player (Mario Lamoureux) scoring at a point a game clip. Allen has three players averaging a point a game (Costello, Steffes, Hanson). Allen has four defensemen (Gens, Young, Baker, Tyler Ludwig)  in the top twelve in the league in scoring by defensemen, Quad City has none.

- The key to victory tonight will be to get off to a good start which has not been the case recently for Allen. They have scored the first goal only once in the last eight games. In the last game against Quad City just ten days ago the Mallards outshot Allen in the first period 17-3. In addition to a fast start and more shots on goal the Americans need to get traffic in front of the net and pick up one of those dirty goals. This has been an area of emphasis by coach Martinson this week. Finally,  the Americans need to take advantage of having the better special teams.

- The Americans have been struggling recently but that has been primarily at home where they have lost five games in a row. The road has been another story as Allen has won three in a row on the road and five of the last six. This road trip may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.

- After a two game rest Riley Gill will be back in goal for the Americans tonight.

- The on ice officials for tonight are referee Kenny Anderson (#16),  linesmen Ryan Madsen (#57) and Patrick Richardson (#82).


- In the only action in the ECHL last night Missouri erased an early 2-0 deficit to beat Rapid City 3-2 and keep their playoff hopes alive. With 21 games left to play the Mavericks are ten points out of the fourth playoff spot.

- Not much action in the AHL last night but Ian Schultz (Iowa Wild) had a good game in a losing cause. Iowa was beaten by Grand Rapids by a score of 6-2. Ian had an assist and was a +1 for the game.

- Jack Combs has been activated from reserve by the Stockton Thunder and will be in the line up when the Thunder take on the Utah Grizzlies tonight in Utah. As mentioned yesterday there is still chance, however slim, Jack could return to Allen. This could happen all the way up to the trade deadline which is March 12.

- I have been asked numerous times what and where is "Quad City" so here is the short answer: The cities that make up the Quad Cities are in Illinois and Iowa and they all border the Mississippi River. The four cities that have been called the Quad Cities since the early 1960s are Davenport, Iowa and the Illinois cities of Moline, Rock Island, and East Moline. Bettendorf, Iowa grew large enough in the 1970s to be included, but the name change to the Quint Cities never caught on. The hockey games are played at the iWireless Center which is in Moline but the team stays across the river at a hotel in Bettendorf that is well worn and supposedly haunted. After almost 15 hours on the road, no matter how creepy or quirky the Lodge Hotel might seem to players, it is a welcome sight. On the other side of the Mississippi River in Bettendorf, Iowa, the Lodge was built in the early 1970s but feels a century older. From the outside it appears modeled on the Disney Tower of Terror ride. Inside, the decor looks like it is from the mind of a manic German hunter, replete with mounted animal heads, carved wooden bears, huge fireplaces, dark wood paneling and countless large oil portraits; the type with eyes that follow a visitor around the room. I have heard  some of the players, so unnerved at being watched,  cover the paintings in their rooms with bathroom towels. Broadcaster Tommy Daniels is convinced the place is haunted. I've heard one player say, “I’ve got the Mona Lisa in my room,” of some anonymous framed baroness on his wall. “She’s got one eye looking at you and one eye looking for you.”

The Lodge Hotel

DID YOU KNOW: Wednesday games have been good to Allen this year as they are 5-1 on Wednesday and the only loss was a shootout loss. They have scored at least five goals in every Wednesday game. In the six Wednesday games this season the Americans have outscored their opponents 31-15. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Individual & Team Statistics, Former Players Update, What 4 Players from 1st Team Still Playing Pro Hockey?

- It was a quiet night around the ECHL and AHL last night with just one game on tap yesterday and that game started at 11:00 am to accommodate the attendees. The last place Brampton Beast beat the second place Quad City Mallards 5-2 before the first sellout crowd (5020) in team history. It was a "Beast School Promotion"  where corporate sponsors bought tickets and donated them to area school children. With the Quad City loss Allen maintains the 18 point lead they have in the Central Division. Allen is on the way to Quad City where they will play the Mallards Wednesday night. Quad City actually had the shorter trip as they had to travel 649 miles to get home from Brampton while Allen's trip to Quad City is 790 miles.

- Happy Birthday to Aaron Gens who turns 28 today and Anthony Maiani who is 26.

-Thought today would be a good day to to take a look at individual and teams statistics to see what might have changed given the struggles Allen has encountered over the last month. The Americans still lead the ECHL in points (76) and winning percentage (.745).


- When you consider there are 28 teams in the ECHL, if a player is in the top fifteen in any statistical category that is quite impressive so to see the numerous categories that are dominated by Allen players is amazing. Will try to illustrate this below by listing the top three players on the team with their stat and then where they rank in the league in that stat. I have included Jack Combs as there is a chance he could return to Allen.

Points - Costello 85 (#1), Steffes 57 (#5), Combs 56 (#7)
Goals - Steffes 35 (#1), Costello 26 (#3), Combs 22 (#11)
Assists - Costello 59 (#1), Combs 34 (#7), Gens 29 (#22)
Power Play Goals - Steffes 14 (#1), Schultz 7 (#7), Tyler Ludwig 6 (#19)
Power Play Assists - Costello 20 (#1),  Gens 12 (#7), Combs 11 (#13)
Shorthanded Goals - Hanson 4 (#1), Six tied with one
Game Winning Goals -  Steffes 7 (#3), Combs 6 (#4), Hanson 5 (#(9)
Penalty Minutes - Lyon 256 (#1), Gens 166 (#9), Clarke 132 (#18)
Plus/Minus - Costello +30 (#2), Hanson & Steffes +25 (#4)
Shots On Goal - Steffes 186 (#5), Costello 167 (#9), Schaafsma 137 (#44)
Points By Defenseman - Gens 36 (#2), Baker 33 (#5), Young 32 (#7)
GAA - Gill 2.61 (#15)
Save Percentage - Gill .913 (#10)
Goalie Wins - Gill 25 (#1)
Minutes Played - Gill 2205 (#2)

- Allen defensemen dominate the statistics for defensemen. They occupy four of the top twelve spots in scoring by defensemen with Gens (#2), Baker (#5), Young (#7), and Tyler Ludwig (#12). No other team has more than two in the top sixteen. Tyler Ludwig is #2 in goals scored (13) and #3 in power play goals (6), Aaron Gens #2 is assists (29) and power play assists (12), Gens is #2 in penalty minutes (166), Justin Baker is #3 in shooting percentage (15.7%), and Gens is #3 in plus/minus (+23).


If you somehow combined all team statistics Allen would come out on top. Here is how the Americans rank in the 28 team ECHL in some of the statistical categories. The first number is Allen's number and the second number is how they rank in the ECHL.

Win Percentage - .745 (#1)
Points - 76 (#1) 
Average Goals For - 4.12 (#1)
Average Goals Against - 2.82 (#7)
Average Shot For - 32.84 (#2)
Average Shots Against - 30.00 (#18)
Power Play Percentage - 20.2% (#4)
Penalty Kill Percentage - 88.4% (#1)
Average Penalty Minutes - 23.00 (#2)
Win % When Scoring First - .839 (#7)
Longest Winning Streak - 9 games (#4)
Longest Home Winning Steak - 11 games (#1)
Team Plus/Minus -  +217 (#2) 
Goal Differential -  +66 (#2)
Home Wins - 19 (#1)
Road Wins - 16 (#4)

- There are some stats where Allen is close to the bottom of the league. Penalty shots is one of those stats as Allen is 0-2 on penalty shots (Combs & Schaafsma) and in the only penalty shot against the Americans, Missouri scored a goal. Allen is ranked #23 (.333) when games go to overtime as they are 4-6.  Allen ranks #23 in shoot out attempts at 25% (7-28). The Americans rank #17 in attendance with an average of 4019.


Haven't taken a look at how some of the former Allen Americans players are doing for a while so here is the latest:

- Mike Berube (1 goal 12 assists) and Bruce Graham (15 goals 19 assists) are teammates in England (Nottingham Panthers). Bruce missed some time recently with a broken foot but is now back in the lineup. Nottingham is currently in fourth place in the league standings. Bruce is an alternate captain on the team. Bruce and Whitney Graham are expecting their third child.

- Trevor Hendrikx (4 goals 10 assists) plays for Cardiff (Wales) and is one of, if not the most popular player on the team. He is an alternate captain for the Devils. His team is tied for second place in the standings only three points out of first place. Trevor leads the team in penalty minutes with 162.

- Anthony Maiani (9 goals 32 assists) with 41 points in 35 games is having a good year in Denmark but his team (Rungsted) is struggling and is in seventh place in the ten team league. Anthony leads his team in scoring.

- Scott Howes (25 goals 20 assists) has 45 points in 28 games and also plays in Denmark (Esbjerg). Scott leads his team in goals. Esjberg is in fourth place in the ten team league.

- Jonathan Lessard  has played in 39 games (12 goals 14 assists) for the Bakersfield Condors this year.  He has been hot recently having six points in his last four games (3 goals 3 assists). Bakersfield is in sixth place in the ECHL Western Division and in danger of not making the playoffs.

- Jarret Lukin (10 goals 16 assists) and Jim McKenzie (4 goals 11 assists) are teammates in Evansville where they were playing for former Allen coach Dwight Mullins until he was fired and replaced by Al Sims. Jarret is an alternate captain on the team. It has been a tough year for Evansville as they have the worst record and fewest points in the entire league.

- Kale Kerbashian started the year with Evansville but was traded to Rapid City at the end of January where he has thrived and has been a big part of the Rapid City resurgence in the standings. Kale had 28 points in 37 games in Evansville. Since he has arrived in Rapid City he has played in 10 games and has 13 points (5 goals 8 assists). He has scored in nine of the ten games with the Rush.

- Garrett Klotz (1 goal 2 assists) plays for the expansion Indy Fuel coached by former Missouri Mavericks coach Scott Hillman. Garrett is an alternate captain on the team. It has been a difficult year for Klotz with injuries as he has only played in 26 games and is ranked #98 in the ECHL in penalty minutes after leading the CHL in PIM's last year with 257. His team is in sixth place in the North Division standings but are in the thick of the battle for a playoff spot.

- Darryl Bootland (15 goals 10 assists) is playing his usual role of agitator supreme for the Colorado Eagles. He has 195 penalty minutes which ranks him #4 in the ECHL. He is also an alternate captain on the team. Booter started out the season slow in the scoring department but has been leading the team recently. He has twelve goals in the last fifteen games including three game winners.  Colorado is currently leading the Pacific Division of the ECHL and will be a team to be reckoned with come playoff time.

- Daniel Tetrault (6 goals 18 assists) plays for the Rapid City Rush and is another of the many players from last year's championship team that is an alternate captain. A true warrior who has been a leader everywhere he has played. One of the oldest players in the league yet a real "Ironman" as Daniel has not missed a game in the last two years. After spending the majority of the season in sixth or seventh place in the Central Division, Rapid City is now playing the best hockey in the Division and are in a playoff spot. The Rush are 8-2 in their last ten games.

- Bryan Pitton (GAA 1.84 Save % .935) is having a great year playing in Poland (KH Sanok). He ranks second in the league in GAA and save percentage. Josef Fojtik and Patrik Valcak played in this league before joining Allen and say Pitton's team is the best team in the league. The Polish league has a long drawn out playoff.

- Colton Yellow Horn (21 goals 38 assists) plays for the Nippon Paper Cranes in the Asia League. He has 59 points in 47 games and leads his team in scoring. His team is in sixth place in a nine team league.

- Alex Lavoie is one of the best players on one of the best teams in the ECHL playing for the Florida Everblades. Alex is not scoring at the pace he did last year when he had 76 points in 60 games for the Allen Americans and was named the CHL Rookie of the Year. Alex is the third leading scorer on the Everblades team with thirty seven points (12 goals 25 assists) in forty four games. One of the reasons for the drop off in points is that is appears Alex is not getting the power play time in Florida that he did in Allen.

- Austin Smith only played nine games for Allen this year before leaving to play in Germany for the Ravensburg Towerstars. The Dallas native has played in 27 games for Ravensburg  and has 39 points (22 goals 17 assists) and was selected to the league's all-star team. His team is in fifth place in a fourteen team league.

DID YOU KNOW: There were 36 different players on the Allen Americans roster in the inaugural season of 2009-2010. Only four of them are still playing professional hockey.
Jordie Benn - Dallas Stars (NHL)
Bruce Graham - Nottingham Panthers (EIHL)
Jarret Lukin - Evansville IceMen (ECHL)
Colton Yellow Horn - Nippon Paper Cranes (Asia League)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tulsa Beats Allen 3-1, Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Combs May Return, Dell Has Another Shutout

The Allen Americans lost last night to the Tulsa Oilers 3-1 before a crowd of 4048 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). It was the fifth straight home defeat for the Americans and one where the team played good defensively but the highest scoring team in the ECHL had trouble putting the puck in the net. Tulsa took the lead midway through the first period on a power play goal but Allen answered right back just 92 seconds later as Jamie Schaafsma scored his 12th goal of the season on a great passing play from Gary Steffes and Chad Costello. That was the extent of the scoring for the rest of the first period and the entire second period. Before the puck dropped in the third period coach Steve Martinson was given a game misconduct as he was questioning the officials about the call they made to eject Aaron Gens on an aggressor penalty in the second period.

Tulsa took the lead 2-1 at the 6:21 mark of the third period when Tulsa winger Tom Mele won the race for the puck on the left wing and somehow fired a shot past Allen goalie JP Anderson from a very sharp angle. That proved to be the game winner. Despite out shooting Tulsa 14-5 in the third period Allen could not make the comeback fans have become accustomed to over the last few games. An empty net goal by Tulsa made the final score 3-1.

The Americans will practice at the AEC this morning and leave this evening for Quad City (790 miles) where they will take on the Mallards on Wednesday.

Here are the video highlights from the game:


Coach Martinson's post game comments are below but have to say how lucky Allen is the have him as a coach. Not talking about his eight championships or back to back championships in Allen but his willingness to always take the time to meet with the media and season ticket holders and stay as long is it takes for everyone to ask their questions. Last night was a perfect example as his team lost a tough game, it was the fifth home loss in a row, he was thrown out of the game and the press conference was not at the AEC so it required a walk through pouring rain. He could have easily said he was not going have a press conference but he didn't. As he always does whether there are 10 or 100 people in the audience, he stayed until every question was asked, was open and honest with his answers and provided some real insight into what his job entails both on and off the ice. Everything that is talked about at the post game press conference is not posted here on the blog so I encourage all season ticket holders to attend. You will definitely find them informative, insightful and entertaining.

Here are the comments:

- I thought we played well defensively but we had to kill way too many penalties. It seemed like the referee often times didn't see the first violation but saw the retaliation which is always frustrating. We need to be smarter and not retaliate especially since we are not scoring a lot of goals right now.

- I was actually ejected by the linesman after questioning the Gens call in the second period. After I looked at the tape between periods it didn't meet the definition of an aggressor that would result in a game misconduct penalty. Gens didn't continue fighting or punching he just didn't let go of the guy. I don't think that meets the definition of an aggressor. I will go over some of these calls with the league office to get clarification but as I said we just need to be smarter and not retaliate. We can't kill seven or eight penalties a game and expect to win.

- I sat there by myself for a little bit in the third period and then I went to a suite where my son was sitting by himself watching the game. I have never done that before. So we watched the game together and talked about what was happening on the ice.

- With so many guys up in the AHL right now it is a chance for other guys to step up and show they can play and contribute. We can't have the Costello line scoring all of the goals. Everyone will still have to earn their ice time. At some point we will get some guys back whether it is next week or next month so now is the time for the players to show they can contribute.

- College and junior guys are starting to become available and you have to remember the rules are different in the ECHL as the playoff roster can be up to 24 players. Twenty will count against the salary cap and then four on reserve. In addition to to the college and junior players there will be contracted players from our affiliates to consider when playoff time comes so there will be a lot of players in the mix. It is a busy time of year both on and off the ice.

- A couple of things that were apparent to me from watching up in suite in the third period was we turned the puck over way too many times at the blue line and their goalie was seeing all of the shots we took. We score some pretty goals with the skill we have on this team but sometimes you you have to jam the net, get screens and have traffic. We have some guys that the only way they will stay in the line up is go the the net and get in the tough areas and they didn't do that tonight.

- I thought goalie JP Anderson was good in goal tonight. He was really good on a couple of the Tulsa power plays. Obviously, I am sure he would like to have that second goal back when they scored from a sharp angle. I don't know why goalies go down on that play rather than stand up and hug the post but they all do it. Other than that I thought he played a solid game.

- We will have a light practice tomorrow and will definitely work on screening the goalie (which we do all of the time) and then we will leave for Quad tomorrow night (Monday) at 6:00 or 7:00. I prefer to leave after dinner so we don't have to waste time on the road.

- Jack Combs has reported to Stockton who claimed him on waivers. There is still a chance he could end up back in Allen before the trade deadline on March 12. Some things have to happen to make that possible (some teams will have to rescind their waiver claims) but I am cautiously optimistic.


- Even though Allen still has a big lead (18 points) in the Central Division the dominance they showed earlier in the season has certainly slipped away. In the fifteen games over the last month they actually have a losing record winning only seven times.

- One of the problems lately for Allen has been getting off to a slow start. They have scored the first goal only one time in the last eight games.

- As is usually the case special teams was a key to victory last night. Tulsa's  first goal was on the power play as they went 1-7 while Allen was 0-3.

- Chad Costello had an assist (his 59th) and sets a new single season record for Allen each time he gets an assist. He also increased his ECHL scoring lead to 26 points.

- Despite playing in close to 20 fewer games than most ahead of him Jack Combs is still 7th in the ECHL scoring race with 56 points. Jack is reporting to Stockton so look for him to start making his way back up the scoring chart soon. Wouldn't be surprised to see him finish second in the ECHL scoring race behind Chad Costello.

- Aaron Dell continued his great play for Worcester last night recording another shutout (his third) while make 24 saves as the Sharks beat Manchester 3-0. Saw a tweet which said that Aaron now holds the all time Worcester record for GAA for goalies with at least ten games. His career GAA in Worcester is now at 1.81. You would think Dell is just one injury or one call away from making it to the NHL. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

- Had several Allen fans tell me how much they appreciated the video posted yesterday of the speech by Gary Steffes at the prayer breakfast in Bakersfield last year and how impressed they were with this young man. He is definitely a warrior on the ice doing whatever is necessary to help his team win. You could not find more of a gentleman off the ice who is both kind and considerate.  As you would expect he did an outstanding job with the meet-n-greet talking to fans after the Faith and Family game last night.

Win or Lose Gary Steffes & Aaron Gens give thanks after the game - photo by

 - I met a young man named Ben at the game last night who reads this blog but also has a blog of his own on Instagram which is "Allen Americans Hockey." If you are on Instagram give Ben a follow as he would appreciate it. He was so proud that Kyle Follmer and Nicole Schaafsma were following him so hopefully you can help him get some more followers.

DID YOU KNOW: In the ECHL this season the team that has scored the first goal has won 75% of the games. The Allen Americans win 84% of the games when they score first.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview & Gary Steffes Talks Faith, Family & Hockey

It is game day in Allen as the Americans take on the Tulsa Oilers at 4:05 CST in the 6th annual Faith & Family game at the Allen Event Center. The game will include a special pre and post game meet-n-greet with Gary Steffes who in addition to playing professional hockey is the National Director of Campus Ministries for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  A 2012-13 nominee for the CHL’s Man of the Year Award,  Gary works specifically with FCA Hockey, a group that travels the world sharing the gospel through hockey camps and clinics. Gary has been involved with FCA Hockey since 2010, spending the off season working in the Minneapolis area and traveling to events all over the US and the world.  He has traveled to Erzurum, Turkey twice and Torre Pellice, Italy to do events.

Here is a video of a speech Gary gave as the keynote speaker at a prayer breakfast when he was playing for Bakersfield last year. With today being the annual Faith & Family game I thought it would be a good day to post this video that I first saw when Gary signed in Allen last summer. In it he talks about his faith, his ministry with FCA and how his faith and hockey fit together. I encourage you to listen to the entire 18 minutes as Gary among other things explains how it makes sense that he has this strong faith but may just get a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist & fight) this afternoon. 


- After a steady diet of games against Tulsa early in the season (12 of Allen's first 27 games) it has been almost two months since these two teams have played each other. Allen is fresh off a great come from behind overtime win in Missouri Friday night. Tulsa has won four straight road games including a 7-4 win in Wichita last night. The Oilers traveled through the night (361 miles) to arrive in Allen and will have a short turnaround with the early (4:05) puck drop this afternoon.

- Allen has won eight of the previous twelve games against Tulsa but if you remember the series did not start out well for the Americans. Tulsa beat Allen 9-6 in the home opener and won two of the first three games in Allen. Since that time Allen is 7-2 against the Oilers.

- There are a lot of stats you can look at to compare these teams from Allen being 8-4 against Tulsa this year, to their records over the last ten games (Allen 5-3-1-1, Tulsa 6-4-0-0)  to the overall records (Allen 35-9-3-3, Tulsa 25-23-1-3).

- Here is an overall statistical comparison of Allen and Tulsa:

Points: Allen (76) - Tulsa (54)
Goals For: Allen (209) - Tulsa (184)
Goals Allowed: Allen (141) - Tulsa (187)
Goal Differential: Allen (+68) - Tulsa (-3)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+223) - Tulsa (-61)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Tulsa is ranked #17.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.18). Tulsa is #6 (3.54).
Allen is ranked #7 in average goals allowed (2.82). Tulsa is #25 (3.60).

- Special teams is almost always the key to victory and Allen has a big edge if you look at overall stats. Tulsa actually has better penalty kill and power play percentages on the road than they do at home so the difference is not so great when you look at home vs road special team stats. On the road Tulsa is ranked #14 on the power play at 16.8%. Allen has the #13 ranked power play at home at  18.2%. If you look at the penalty kill Allen is #5 in the ECHL at home (86.8%)% and Tulsa is #12 on the road at 83.2%.

- JP Anderson is expected to be in goal for the Americans starting his second game for Allen. Riley Gill will be the back up. Greger Hanson has returned from Oklahoma City (AHL) and will be back in the line up. One player will have to sit out as a healthy scratch.

- Players that score a point a game in hockey are like .300 hitters is baseball and are a definition of excellence. There will be six of these players on the ice today, three from each team. For Allen  Costello, Steffes, & Hanson and for Tulsa Jon Booras, Drew Fisher & Adam Pleskach. Obviously these are the players to keep an eye on today.

- If you didn't like the way the game was called Friday night when Allen played Missouri you may not like the way the game will be called today as the same referee (Stephen Thompson #27) has been assigned.


-  Allen's Riley Gill and Tulsa's Kevin Carr are are both workhorses for their teams. It is possible neither will play today with Gill getting a breather after playing in 13 consecutive games and Carr having played last night and then having a short turnaround for the game this afternoon. Gill leads the ECHL in wins with 25 and Carr leads the ECHL in shootout wins (5). Gill is #1 in minutes played (2205) and Carr is #2 (2187). In saves Carr is #1 (1020) and Gill is #2 (1010). It would be nice to see them go head to head but unlikely to happen today.

- Spencer Asuchak and Ian Schultz both played last night. Asuchak (Providence) lost 2-0 with Spencer being credited with two shots on goal. Schultz (Iowa) won 4-2. Ian had four shots and five penalty minutes (a fight) in the game. Schultz fought Rich Clune who finished fifth in penalty minutes in the NHL in 2012-2013 when he played for the Nashville Predators.

- With the results last night in the Central Division (Rapid City 4-3 over Missouri & Tulsa 7-4 over Wichita) it is looking more and more like the only race left to decide is which of four teams doesn't make the playoffs. Mathematically anything is possible as teams still have between 19 and 23 games left to play but it is becoming more and more apparent that Allen will win the division (they have a 20 point lead) and Brampton and Missouri will not make the playoffs. That leaves Quad City, Wichita, Rapid City, and Tulsa battling for three playoff spots. They are only separated by two points in the standings. It should be quite the battle coming down the stretch and it may come down to the last game of the season. Here are the opponents for the last game of the season for the four teams.
Rapid City at Allen (April 10)
Wichita at home vs Allen (April 11)
Quad City at home vs Tulsa (April 11)
Tulsa at Quad City (April 11)

DID YOU KNOW: March is a critical month in hockey as all leagues have their trade deadlines in March & the ECHL Recall/Assignment deadline is in March:
March 2 - NHL Trade Deadline (3:00 PM EST)
March 9 - AHL Trade Deadline (3:00 PM EST)
March 11 - ECHL Recall/Assignment Deadline (11:59 PM Local Time)
March 12 - ECHL Trade Deadline (3:00 PM EST)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Allen Beats Missouri in OT, Game Recap, Martinson's Comments, Video Highlights & More

If the moniker of "comeback kids" or "cardiac kids" ever fit it would be recently with the Allen Americans. For the third time in their last four games the Allen Americans overcame a two goal deficit late in the third period to send a game to overtime. Last night the victim was Missouri who seemingly had the game in hand when they took a 3-1 lead at the 7:55 mark of the third period. It was at that point the two guys you would expect to take over did exactly that. One of coach Martinson's frequent quotes is when it comes to crunch time "your best players have to be your best players"  which Gary Steffes and Chad Costello proved once again last night. Steffes had a pure hat trick (the official ECHL box score is incorrect) with Costello assisting on all three goals. Gary scored a power play goal at the 11:53 mark, the tying goal at 17:15 of the third period and won the game at 2:12 of the overtime period.

Allen improved their record against Missouri to 8-0 overall and 4-0 at the Independence Events Center. It was the last regular season game for these teams in Missouri and it had to be a bitter pill to swallow. An indication of how disappointing the loss was to Missouri coach Richard Matvichuk is according to a story written by Bill Althus who covers the Mavericks, "Matvichuk chose not to talk with the media following Friday night's loss." Missouri will have one more opportunity to get a win against Allen when they meet for the ninth and final time this season at the Allen Event Center on March 27.


- Another great comeback tonight after getting behind 3-1 in the third period and it was nice to get that overtime goal for the victory.

- We were close to having the game turn into a donnybrook after Ryley Grantham cross checked Chad Costello in the head.

- The roughing call Grantham took for clipping the bench midway through the third period was the critical turning point for us. We scored on that power play and were off to the races. The tying goal was technically not a power play goal as we scored just as the penalty expired but we made them pay for the late penalties they took as that was the difference in the game.

- I am so proud of Gary Steffes and Chad Costello. Gary leads the league in goals by a wide margin and will end up doubling the most goals he has ever scored as a pro. Costello is undoubtedly the comeback player of the year leading the ECHL scoring race by 25 points. He has to be very happy with rebounding to be the top player in the league again. Gary and Chad are having great years and what makes it special for me is they committed to playing in Allen before they knew we were moving to the ECHL.

- With so many players up in the AHL we had lots of guys getting more ice time. I thought Jesse Messier had a strong two way game tonight.

- I thought JP Anderson had a strong game in goal. We were not good defending on a couple of the Missouri goals.


- I have said this before but it bears repeating that the Missouri Maverick do an outstanding job in putting out game highlights. It is great quality video which includes the highlights with replays. And they get this out very quickly after the game. This is a "best practice" the other teams in the Central Division could learn from. Here are the video highlights from last night courtesy of the Missouri Mavericks.

- With his hat trick last night Gary Steffes now has 36 goals which leads the ECHL by nine. He is still on pace to get 50 goals. Gary is also now the Allen Americans all time single season record holder for goals scored having surpassed Nino Musitelli and Bruce Graham who set the record of 34 goals in the 2010-2011 season.

- With the win over Missouri, Allen extended their lead in the Central Division standings to 20 points with 22 games remaining in the regular season as second place Quad City and third place Wichita both lost. Once again only four points separates second place Quad City from fifth place Tulsa.

- It was a quiet night for Allen players recently loaned to the ECHL. Ian Schultz and the Iowa Wild had the night off, Spencer Asuchak was a healthy scratch for Providence as they beat Lehigh Valley 5-1 and Greger Hanson was a healthy scratch for Oklahoma City as the beat Adirondack 4-3 in overtime. The one bright spot was Aaron Dell who was once again in goal for Worcester as they beat Norfolk 5-2. Aaron is now 5-1-1 since being called up and for the twelve games he has played for Worcester this year his GAA is 1.97 and save percentage is .926. Looks like Aaron might be in Worcester for the remainder of the season.

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans are 8-0 against the Missouri Mavericks this year in large part because of outstanding special teams play on the penalty kill. The Mavericks finally scored a power play goal last night which was the first one in eight games. Missouri is now 1-40 (2.5%) against the Allen penalty kill unit this year.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Allen vs Missouri Game Preview, Why It Is Not Just Another Game & The Allen Ironmen

It is Friday night, it is hockey night, coaches, players and some fans would say it is just the 50th game of the 72 game ECHL regular season, NOT!  It is Allen vs Missouri, Martinson vs Matvichuk, a team Allen has owned this year (7-0),  a team Allen beat on the way to the 2013 championship, and yes, even a goalie fined for tripping "Mac" the Mavericks mascot.

Even with all of the past history of this rivalry you might think it would be diminished by the fact Allen is the #1 ranked team in the ECHL standings with 74 points and Missouri is 32 points back with just 42 points which ranks them #24 in the league. Nothing could be further from the truth as both Allen and Missouri have plenty of reasons to want the game tonight. Here are a few of them:

- Missouri is fighting just to make the playoffs and this home game will be critical after a four game losing streak on the road.

- Allen is trying to right the ship after losing their fourth straight home game on Wednesday.

- This will be last time Missouri plays Allen at home and they are yet to win a game. The Mavericks are 0-7 overall and 0-3 at home against the Americans.

- Allen will want to show they are the better team inspite of having a vastly different roster from the team that has gone 7-0 against the Mavericks this year. There are five players (Dell, Asuchak, Hanson, Schultz, Schwartz) from the Allen roster who are currently playing in the AHL and of course Jack Combs who had ten points in five games against Missouri is no longer with the team.

- Coach Matvichuk (as well as the other coaches) had their heads shaved because the team played well in the last home stand winning five of seven games. He will want that great play at home to continue.

- Allen will start JP Anderson, who was just assigned by San Jose to Allen yesterday from the Worcester Sharks. The Americans will want to put in a good defensive effort to support Anderson and avoid a high scoring game which has been the case recently. Riley Gill has been given a much needed break and is not with the team. Josh Trimberger is the back up goalie.

- These teams don't like each other based on all of the past history and Missouri is sick and tired of losing to Allen and will do anything to win this game. It will be hard fought, there will be plenty of tough guys on the ice from both teams willing to chirp and challenge. It should be interesting.


- There are a lot of stats you can look at to compare these teams from Allen being 7-0 against Missouri this year, to their records over the last ten games (Allen 5-3-1-1, Missouri 4-6-0-0)  to the overall records (Allen 34-8-3-3, Missouri 19-25-2-2).

- Allen is ranked #1 in the ECHL in goals scored per game at 4.18 while Missouri is #26 at 2.56. In goals allowed Allen is #6 at 2.82 and Missouri is #21 at 3.23.

- 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 23.0%. Missouri has the #26 ranked power play at home at only 11.4%. If you look at the penalty kill Allen is #1 in the ECHL on the road at 90.6% and Missouri is #9 at home at 86.1%. In the seven head to head games Allen is 6-36 (16.7%) on power play opportunities while Missouri is scoreless in 34 power play opportunities. That is right, Missouri has not scored a power play goal on Allen all year going 0-34. Advantage Allen.

- With the loss of  firepower having five guys in the AHL and no Combs it will be extremely important for the Americans to think defense first which they have done against Missouri in the past. Here are the goals scored by the Mavericks in the seven games against Allen this year. 1,0,2,1,3,1,2.

-  There is a lot of scoring missing from when Allen played Missouri earlier in the season but the two top scorers will be in the lineup tonight. Chad Costello has 14 points in the seven games against the Mavericks this year and Gary Steffes has a total of seven goals against the Mavericks having scored a goal in six of the seven games.

-  With all of the players loaned to the AHL it gives more ice time and opportunity to players like Jesse Messier and Nolan Descoteaux who were healthy scratches on Wednesday and Tyler Barr who just joined the team from the SPHL.

- Don't be surprised if you see one or two of the high scoring defensemen taking shifts at forward tonight. Since coach Martinson has not been happy with all of the odd man rushes and breakaways that have resulted in goals he may look to play some defensemen at forward because it appears to him they would like to be forwards. The team already has forwards that have played defense (Clarke, Follmer, Schaafsma). Martinson thinks he could flip some high risk players for more defensive ones and probably still have plenty of goals to win the game.

- Bottom line is Allen would seem to have a big advantage going into the game tonight. After all, they have won seven in a row against Missouri outscoring them 29-10 in those seven games. The winning formula remains the same and that is out work Missouri, be aggressive but don't gamble, get back defensively to avoid odd man rushes and take advantage of being the better team on special teams. You can throw what has happened in the past out the window as these are different teams, with different players that will both be highly motivated for different reasons.


-  Ian Schultz played his second game for the Iowa Wild (AHL) last night  and they lost for the second time. Keep in mind Iowa is the worst team in the AHL by ten points and they have lost seven games in a row in including 4-1 and 4-2 in the two games Ian has played. His totals for the two games was 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 penalty minutes,  3 shots and 0 plus/minus. What is disguised in all of those zeros is the fact Schultz played great defensively in the two games. He was one of only two players that did not have a negative plus/minus for the two games.

- It will be an extra busy night tonight for Allen fans as in addition to watching or listening to the Allen vs Missouri game everyone will be tracking several AHL games as Providence (Asuchak) takes on Leigh Valley, Worcester (Dell & Schwartz) takes on Norfolk and Oklahoma City (Hanson) plays Adirondack. Good luck boys!

- Former Allen American Kale Kerbashian (2012-2014) has continued his torrid scoring pace having at least one point in every game he has played for Rapid City since being traded by Evansville. Kale has the longest current points streak in the ECHL. He has scored in ten straight games dating back to January 17.  

- Nothing new on the Jack Combs situation. As of yesterday he had not agreed to report to the Stockton Thunder who currently hold his rights.

- Was reminded by a post on social media from Tommy Daniels that I forgot to mention yesterday when talking about single season records that Chad Costello has already surpassed the Allen Americans all time single season record for assists. Chad recorded his 55th & 56th assists of the season on Wednesday against Wichita to break the record of 55 assists set by Colton Yellow Horn in 2010-2011. Can't even imagine what this record will look like by the end of the season with Chad breaking it in just 49 games.

- The on ice officials tonight will be referee Stephen Thomson (#27), linesmen Russ Coll (#39)  and Chip Excell (#42).

DID YOU KNOW:  Haven't given an "attaboy" to the Allen Ironmen for a while, those that have played in all of the games thus far (49) which is a difficult feat. There are still four of them and they deserve recognition. Congrats to Ironmen Chad Costello, Aaron Gens, Jamie Schaafsma and Gary Steffes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Allen Loses 6-5 Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Asuchak & Hanson Loaned, New Goalie Arrives

The good news is the Allen Americans staged a great comeback last night scoring two goals in the third period including the game tying goal with less than a second (.9) remaining in the game. The bad news is the Allen Americans had to comeback from a two goal deficit after allowing Wichita five goals in two and a half periods of hockey. Wichita prevailed in a shootout to make the final score 6-5 in front of an announced crowd of 3538 at the Allen Event Center.

The game followed what has been a familiar pattern lately against Wichita with Allen giving up an early goal, battling back to take the lead and then trading goals with the game ending up in overtime. The last three games against Wichita were not decided in regulation with the visiting team winning all three games. Allen has come back from 5-3 deficits in the last two games with the Thunder with both going to a shootout which they split.

Gary Steffes had two goals for Allen including the tying goal with .9 left in the game. Gary now has 33 goals to lead the ECHL and is one goal away from tying the all time single season goal scoring record for the Americans jointly held by Nino Musitelli and Bruce Graham.

The other goal scorers last night were Justin Baker (8), Chad Costello (25), and Greger Hanson (17).


- I am not very happy with that comeback. I thought we should have shot the puck more in the shootout as that is how we had success against then before.

- Five goals against is unacceptable for us. We are going to loan two more players to the American League tomorrow and I basically told the guys if we can't figure out a way to play better defensively I am going to have to make some moves. We are not going to win going forward and especially in the playoffs giving up these kind of plays, giving up odd man rushes, breakaways, taking stupid penalties and allowing power play goals. Something has to change.

- Greger Hanson is going to Oklahoma City (AHL) tomorrow but will return for the game on Sunday. Spencer Asuchak is heading back to Providence (AHL) and who knows when he will return. With Ian Schultz in Iowa (AHL) we have three scorers on loan so it is unlikely we will be getting five goals a game so we need to make a commitment to defense if we expect to win.

- These young guys come to Allen to do well and get loaned and their hard work has paid off. It might hurt in the short run but it will help us in the long run.

- San Jose is assigning a goalie to us and he will be here and will start the game on Friday. Gill needs a break both mentally and physically from how our team is playing in front of him right now with all of the breakaways and odd man rushes.

- Patrik Valcak was good on faceoffs and good down low considering he has only been able to hold his stick for a week. He hasn't had a full practice with us yet because of the schedule. I think he will be a good player for us.

- We will only have 16 skaters for the game on Friday so everyone will play. Barr will be on the trip and I will move Clarke back to forward. We will get Hanson back for Sunday so if we don't get anyone hurt there will be one healthy scratch on Sunday.

- I have no idea how long Schultz and Asuchak will be gone. It depends on how they do, how the team is doing and what the team needs. I learned a long time ago it is not predictable. I have loaned guys to the AHL for a day and they were in the NHL a year later. I never saw them again after a one day loan.

- We will have a practice tomorrow before we leave for Missouri.

- Kevin Colley (former Arizona coach) who has been helping out this year in practice and behind the bench went home for a couple of weeks but is now back in town and will be back with us on Sunday.


- Greger Hanson scored the only goal for Allen in the shootout on a great move in the fifth round to keep Allen's hopes alive. Wichita got the game winner in the seventh round.

Greger Hanson had the only shootout goal for Allen on a sweet move -

- With all of the skill players on the Allen team you would think overtimes/shootouts would play into their strength. Not the case as with the loss last night the Americans have a record of 3-6 in overtime/shootout games and in shootouts are 2-3. They have one of the worst shootout stats in the league ranked #22 having scored on only seven of twenty eight attempts.

- The loss last night was the fourth home loss in a row. The Americans haven't lost four games at home since late November and early December of 2013.

- Tommy Daniels mentioned on his broadcast last night that the Gary Steffes goal with .9 seconds remaining in the game was the latest a goal has been scored by the Americans in team history.

- With a goal and two assists in the game last night Chad Costello now has 81 points to lead the ECHL by a hard to believe 22 points. Chad has more assists (56) than every other player in the league except one has points.

- Allen has given up 25 goals in the last six games (4.17 average) and has a record of 5-3-1-1 in the last ten games.

- With all the doom and gloom lately if you look at the glass half full instead of half empty the Allen Americans have played 21 games since the first of the year and have gotten points in 17 of them. That's right, only four regulation losses in 21 games. And with just 23 games remaining in the regular season the Americans still have an 18 point lead in the standings.

Allen has scored points in 17 of 21 games since January 1st

- Rapid City beat Missouri for the second night in a row last night to put the Mavericks deeper in a hole for a playoff spot. Missouri has now lost four games in a row and is in sixth place in the standings, nine points behind fifth place Rapid City and ten points behind fourth place Tulsa.

DID YOU KNOW: Riley Gill should finally get a rest tomorrow night but has already logged 2205 minutes in goal this year. If he plays in just six of the remaining twenty three games he will break the all time single season minutes played record of 2561 set by Chris Whitley in the first year of the franchise (2009-2010).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Allen vs Wichita Game Preview, Schultz Loaned To Iowa, Barr Returns, Lineup Changes & More

If you like hard nosed hockey where you see players finishing checks, plenty of chirping, a lot of scrums and most likely some fights the game tonight between the Allen Americans and Wichita Thunder should be right in your wheelhouse. These two teams have already played each other ten times with seven more to go. Tonight's game will be the third time they have played in the last five days and in hockey familiarity breeds contempt. They are the two most penalized teams in the ECHL (Wichita #1, Allen #2) with a combined average of over 45 penalty minutes per game. In the last four games against each other they have averaged 73 penalty minutes per game.

Despite all of the time spent in the penalty box the games between Allen and Wichita have been close. In their ten prior meetings this season the margin of victory was one goal six times and two goals three times. Two of the games were won in overtime and two in shootouts. Allen has won six of the ten prior meetings including four of the last five.

With ten prior games to consider, head to head statistics are a good predictor of how well Allen and Wichita match up. With the margin of victory one or two goals in nine of the ten games (Allen beat Wichita 8-2 in the one exception) it is amazing how close the numbers are. Here are the cumulative numbers for all ten games.

Goals: Allen (39) - Wichita (31)  and if you exclude the one blowout Allen (31) Wichita (29)
Shots on Goal: Allen (296) - Wichita (298)
Penalty Minutes: Allen (234) - Wichita (237)

It is easy to make a prediction on the game tonight if you look at past results. It should be a hard fought game, lots of penalties by both teams, shots on goal in the 30's by both teams, special teams will make the difference, the margin of victory will be one or two goals and the game could end up in overtime. This blog is horrible at predictions so maybe the best bet is to predict a blowout.

- Here is an overall statistical comparison of Allen and Wichita:

Points: Allen (73) - Wichita (53)
Goals For: Allen (200) - Wichita (141)
Goals Allowed: Allen (132) - Wichita (152)
Goal Differential: Allen (+68) - Wichita (-11)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+213) - Wichita (-34)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Wichita is ranked #13.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.17). Wichita is #15 (2.94).
Allen is ranked #5 in average goals allowed (2.75). Wichita is #19 (3.17).

- Special teams is almost always the key to victory and Allen has the edge in this department. If you look at the head to head matchups in the ten games played this season Allen has gone 12-60 (20%) on the power play and 6-48  (87.5%) on the penalty kill.  More broadly at home Allen is ranked #16  (18.4%) on the power play and #5 (87.5%) on the penalty kill. On the road Wichita is #25 (11.7%) on the power play and #17 (81.5%) on the penalty kill.

- Allen has the best home record in the ECHL with a record of 19-4-2-0. Wichita has struggled on the road with a record of 11-11-2-2.

- Riley Gill will start in goal for the thirteenth consecutive game for Allen. Josh Trimberger will be the back up goalie.

- Haven't verified these with coach Martinson but the plan was for several roster changes for the game tonight. Ian Schultz was loaned to the Iowa Wild (AHL) yesterday so he is out. Tyler Barr has been called up from the Louisana IceGators (SPHL) and should be in the lineup. Josef Fojtik and Patrik Valcak are expected to play. If all of these changes do happen it would require two healthy scratches from the roster for the game tonight.


- With only four games scheduled last night around the ECHL there was not much action but former Allen players were front and center in a couple of the games. Jonathan Lessard scored the first goal of the game in the first period, had a fight in the second period and an assist on the game winning goal with less than two minutes left in the third period as Bakersfield beat Alaska 3-2. Jonathan's Gordie Howe hat trick earned him the #2 star of the game.

- It was an Allen Americans reunion last night in Rapid City as the Rush took a 4-0 lead on their way to an easy 5-2 win over the Missouri Mavericks. In addition to coach Matvichuk, former Allen players on the Mavericks team include Charles Lachance, Scott Langdon and Ryley Grantham. Playing for Rapid City are Dallas Ehrhardt, Kale Kerbashian and Daniel Tetrault. Here are a few highlights:
1. Kerbashian scored the first goal of the game, assisted on the second and was named #2 star.
2. Daniel Tetrault led all players with a +3 on the night
3. Ryley Grantham had 31 penalty minutes including a game misconduct after his third fighting major
4. Grantham and Ehrhardt fought twice in the third period.
5. Kerbashian had a double minor for roughing
6. Lachance had a fighting major
7. Grantham's first fight was one second into the game. His third fight was with ten seconds left in the game.
8. Five of the six former Allen Americans took penalties (Scott Langdon the exception) and they accounted for 16 of the 28 penalties called in the game and six of the ten fighting majors.

- Happy Birthday to Greger Hanson who turned 27 yesterday. Two more birthdays next week with Aaron Gens turning 28 on Tuesday (2/24) and Brian McMillin turning 27 on Thursday (2/26).

-  Allen surpassed the 100,000 mark in attendance on Monday and has drawn 100,920 in 25 home games for an average of 4037. There is still time to improve but the 4037 is the lowest average since the 2010-2011 season when Allen averaged 3986.

- A blast from the CHL past for the game tonight as Jake Brenk is the assigned referee for the game. Yes, the referee who single handed tried to clean up the foul language by hockey players in the CHL. Here are a couple of memes for old times sake.

DID YOU KNOW: There are six teams in the Western Conference with over 1000 penalty minutes (Allen, Wichita, Tulsa, Colorado, Ontario, Stockton) but only one in the Eastern Conference (Elmira). There are three teams in the Eastern Conference with less than 600 penalty minutes (Toledo, Reading, Orlando) but none in the Western Conference.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Allen Loses To Quad City 2-1, Game Recap, Martinson Post Game Comments, Combs Details, Valcak In

Spencer Asuchak (#26) celebrates his game tying goal in the 2nd period - photo by Lauren Lyssy

Sometimes when a team loses a game as the Allen Americans did last night to the Quad City Mallards by a score of 2-1 before a crowd of 3385 at the Allen Event Center you just have to tip your hat to the winning team. It wasn't about poor play, odd man rushes, breakaways,  bad goaltending or referee calls, it was one team playing better than the other team. Mallard coach, Terry Ruskowski felt his team had the fresher legs (they did not play on Sunday when Allen was playing in Wichita) which contributed to the fast start by the Mallards as they outshot Allen 17-3 in the first period. Despite the big shot advantage Quad City could only get one puck behind goalie Riley Gill who was starting his twelfth consecutive game in goal and third in three nights for Allen. The Americans out played and out shot the Mallards in the second and third periods. Spencer Asuchak got the equalizer at the 6:06 mark of the second period but that was the only goal Allen could get past Mallard goalie Parker Milner who has the second best GAA (2.12) and save percentage (.929) in the ECHL. Kevin Baker got the game winner for Quad City early in the third period.

Allen has one day to rest before they take on the Wichita Thunder Wednesday night. It should be a hard fought game as it will be the third time in five days the teams have played each other. 


- We didn't have any legs in the first period and it looked like we were dead and then we had some good shifts in the second period and got going. I thought we outplayed them in the second and third period. We made a bad play on the game winning goal in the third period when we didn't cover their best scorer, Kevin Baker, on a three on three. It was a matter of not communicating and not reading the play correctly.

- Their goalie was good tonight and I thought the Mallards played hard and defended hard so I give them credit as they came to Allen and played a solid game. I also give our players credit as they were dead in the first but came back and played hard. You don't like to make excuses but we played three games in three days and they had the day off yesterday and it looked like that tonight. Even at the end after we pulled the goalie we just missed a pass that would have been a great opportunity. We barely missed on a lot of passes during the game which is a sign of fatigue.

- There were a lot of variables that went into me waiving Jack Combs. I could have traded him but by the time I knew he was returning there was very little time (a matter of hours) to make a trade and it was impossible to get equal value in a trade.  By waiving Jack it created many different options for us with Stockton claiming him on waivers. There is slight possibility he could come back to us and other options where we could get a player in the future depending on what happens with Jack. That is about all I can say about it at this time.

- Things are day to day on getting a goalie from our AHL affiliate in Worcester. They have three goalies and they will not keep three goalies when everyone is healthy. If we don't get a goalie from Worcester soon I will look to sign a goalie. I took some risk because we would be in trouble if Gill got hurt but I didn't want to bring in a goalie and then release him when we got someone from Worcester. That issue should be resolved one way or another soon. If we do get a goalie from Worcester it may not be Aaron Dell as he has started the last six games for the Sharks.

- Patrik Valcak should be in the line up on Wednesday and he will play with Josef Fojtik so I can see how they play together. They played well together in Europe so we will see what they bring. I am also bringing in another forward tomorrow.

- We will have a little stronger line up than we have now going down the stretch and into the playoffs but we have a team right now that can be counted on to win in the playoffs.

- Conditioning may have caught up with us a little bit tonight. With all of the crazy travel and games lately we went six days out of ten without getting on the ice. The extra rest might help us down the road but conditioning might have been impacted in the short run.


- With the loss the Allen lead in the Central Division over second place Quad City has been reduced to 17 points.

- The info below is part of a story written by Scott Linesburgh, who is a staff writer for in Stockton, which has some additional information relating to Jack Combs. The bottom line on this transaction still has to play out. The options depend on many variables but include a scenario where Combs could end up in Allen, Stockton, some other ECHL team or not playing the rest of the season in the ECHL. Stay tuned. Here is the info from Scott's story.

The Stockton Thunder announced it had claimed forward Jack Combs off waivers from the Allen Americans. Some interesting twists led to Combs becoming available, but he technically is with the Thunder and coach Rich Kromm will contact him to see if he wants to play in Stockton. Combs most recently played in Europe. "I understand he came back to the United States last night,” Kromm said. “I just need a talk to the kid and see if he wants to come. The whole thing is a bit complicated.” Combs, 27, was leading the ECHL in scoring with 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists) in 32 games when he decided to leave the Americans on Jan. 13 and signed with the Swedish team IF Björklöven. Combs played just three games in Europe, and ECHL rules disallowed his immediate return to Allen. Instead of trading his rights, the Americans chose to put him on waivers with the hope they could make a deal with Stockton to get him back. But that scenario would only work if Stockton was the only team that claimed Combs, but a total of seven franchises put in claims. Kromm said every team would have to withdraw its claim for Stockton to be able to make a deal with Allen, an unlikely scenario.

- It is that time of year where players at all levels of hockey start to wear down and injuries occur. With all of the talent on the Allen Americans it is likely more players will get the opportunity to play in the AHL. Having key players loaned to AHL teams always hurts in the short run but really helps in recruiting when players know if they come to Allen they will be given an opportunity to make it to the AHL.

- Steve Martinson mentioned in his press conference last night he was bringing in a forward in time for the game with Wichita on Wednesday. With the bad blood between these teams, Wichita being the most penalized team in the league and the fact they are playing each other for the third time in five days you can assume the player being brought in is a tough guy. Have no inside information on who the player might be but the last time the Americans were in this situation with Wichita, coach Martinson brought in Tyler Barr from the Louisana Ice Gators (SPHL).

DID YOU KNOW: Last year the Allen Americans had one player called up the the AHL as Alex  Lavoie played seven games in Oklahoma City. This year with 24 games still remaining Allen has already had three players spend time in the AHL with 43 games played. This does not include Rylan Schwartz who started the year in Worcester, was sent to Allen for 22 games and has now returned to Worcester. Here are the details on the AHL call ups.
Aaron Dell - Worcester (11 games)
Spencer Asuchak -  Providence (15 games) & Worcester (3 games)
Greger Hanson - Worcester (11 games) & Oklahoma City (3 games)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Recap of 6-5 Allen Shootout Win, Martinson Comments, Allen vs Quad City Game Preview

If you watched or listened to the game last night you could find plenty of areas for improvement but in the end you found out why this is a championship caliber team. Allen made a great comeback to beat Wichita in a shootout 6-5 before a crowd of 7005 disappointed fans at the Intrust Bank Arena. After getting off to a great start and taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Tyler Ludwig (13) and Spencer Asuchak (5) the Americans surrendered four straight goals before Chad Costello cut the score to 4-2 at the 15:40 mark of the second period. The Thunder answered right back to take a 5-3 lead after the second period. At that point it did not look good for Allen as Wichita's record when leading after two periods was 15-0-1. Allen dominated the third period out shooting the Thunder 16-7 but with five minutes left in the game the score was still 5-3. The never say die Americans finally broke through at 15:34 with their fourth goal when Chad Costello found the back of the net with his 24th goal of the season. Allen tied the game 5-5 with just over a minute remaining in the game on Greger Hanson's sixteenth goal of the season.

The drama wasn't over as overtime/shootouts have not been kind to Allen this year as they were 2-5 going into the game. Both teams had good chances in the overtime but could not score. Thunder goalie Tim Boron saved the first four Allen shots in the shootout while Wichita scored one goal so going into the fifth round it was up to Ian Schultz to score to keep the Americans alive which he did. Riley Gill stopped the fifth round attempt by Wichita and it was sudden death. Both teams missed in the sixth round but in the seventh round Spencer Asuchak scored to give Allen the lead. Gill stoned the Thunder seventh round attempt and the celebration was on for the Americans.

After letting Wichita come back and win the game in overtime Saturday night in Allen it was great to return the favor in Wichita last night. No rest for the weary as Allen had to get on the bus right after the game and head back home where they will take on the Quad City Mallards at 7:05 tonight (Monday). According to Tommy Daniels the team ran into a winter storm in Oklahoma with heavy snow, then sleet with thunder and lightning and didn't arrive home until 4:00 AM.

- Touched base with Steve Martinson after the game but to be honest most of what he had to say is best left unsaid for fear of getting him in trouble with the league office. Will just say he had a different point of view on some of the calls made in the game. Martinson was also not interested in talking about the things that were not done well in the game after the great comeback and shootout win. He just wanted to give the players credit for the way they finished the game.


- Chad Costello had another multiple point night (his third in a row) with two goals and an assist and now has 78 points which leads the ECHL by nineteen points. He continues his assault on the Allen single season record book. His next point will put him in second place all time with only Colton Yellow Horn's 88 points left to pass. His assist last night was number 54 on the season and puts him within one of the all time single season record of 55 also held by Yellow Horn.

- With Wichita idle tonight a regulation win by Allen over Quad City will give Allen their largest point lead of the year as they will lead the Central Division by 21 points with 24 games remaining in the regular season.

- Allen has struggled defensively the last few game which will have to be tightened up going forward. They are one of the best teams in the league in goals allowed but have given up 17 goals in the last four games which is an average of 4.25. When you consider for the season Stockton is ranked #28 in goals allowed at 3.98 the American's 4.25 average over the last four games is not good.

- Part of the recent woes on defense is the penalty kill which has given up at least one goal in the last three games. Allen has won two of the last three games despite have a penalty kill percentage of just 79%.


- While Allen had a busy day on Sunday playing in Wichita and then returning home overnight the Quad City Mallards were enjoying a relaxing day off in Allen after winning in Tulsa on Friday night. They will definitely be the more rested team when they take on Allen tonight.

- This will be the second and last time for Quad City to visit the Allen Event Center (AEC) during the regular season this year. Allen still has three games to play in Quad City. Allen beat the Mallards in the one game they have played this year. It was December 10 at the AEC and the score was 5-2 in a game Allen outshot the Mallards 40-27. The game was most memorable because it was the night Jack Combs had four goals.

-  Here is a statistical comparison of Allen and Quad City:

Points: Allen (73) - Quad City (54)
Goals For: Allen (199) - Quad City (142)
Goals Allowed: Allen (130) - Quad City (125)
Goal Differential: Allen (+69) - Quad City (+17)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+218) - Quad City (-35)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Quad City is ranked #12.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.23). Quad City is #14 (2.96).
Allen is ranked #6 in average goals allowed (2.77). Quad City is #3 (2.60).

- Allen's record is 34-8-3-2 compared to Quad City at 24-18-4-2. In their last ten games Allen is 6-2-2-0 while Quad City is 6-4-0-0.

- Allen has an advantage on special teams on both the power play (Allen 21.0%, Quad City 17.6%) and penalty kill (Allen 88.9%, Quad City 85.7%).

- Allen is obviously a very skilled offensive team and that shows up even when they are on the penalty kill. The Americans have the top penalty kill unit in the ECHL and are second in the league in short handed goals with ten. Quad City has only one shorthanded goal all year and have yet to score a shorthanded goal on the road.

- Allen is the much more penalized team especially when it comes to minor penalties. Allen averages almost seven minor penalties per game compared to Quad City who averages just over five per game. Since these minor penalties most often result in a man advantage it will be important that the Americans avoid getting a bunch of stick penalties.

- Quad City has only one player (Mario Lamoureux) scoring at a point a game clip. Allen has three players averaging a point a game (Costello, Steffes, Hanson). Allen has four defensemen (Gens, Young, Baker, Tyler Ludwig)  in the top twelve in the league in scoring by defensemen, Quad City has none.

- Riley Gill will be in goal for Allen. It has been a real grind for Riley since Aaron Dell was recalled by Worcester on January 23. Tonight will be the twelfth game in a row Gill has been in goal including three games in the last three days and five games in seven days. Parker Milner has been carrying the bulk of the workload for Quad City. So far in February Milner has played in five games with a GAA of 1.43 and save percentage of .950. Gill has played in six games in February with a GAA of 3.12 and save percentage of .904.

- The referee tonight will be Zak Blazic (#9) and the linesmen will be Mike Anderson and Brian Bull.

DID YOU KNOW: Allen is 2-2 in shootouts this year and is just 6-21 (28.6%) in shoot out attempts this season. The heroes last night were Ian Schultz who is 1-2 in shootout attempts and Spencer Asuchak who is 1-1 as last night was his first attempt. Gary Steffes is the only Allen player with more than one shootout goal. He missed last night but is 2-4 on the season.