Thursday, February 5, 2015

Allen vs Brampton Game Preview, Dell Wins in Worcester & More

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Beast in the first of back to back games tonight (6:00 pm CST) at the Powerade Centre in Brampton. It will pit the the team leading the ECHL standings (Allen has 64 points) against the team that is last in the ECHL standings (Brampton has 28 points). By almost any statistical measure Allen should win both games in Brampton. Tonight will be the fourth meeting between these two teams this year. Allen has won the three previous games (all played in Allen) by scores of 9-2, 4-1, and 6-0.

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

Points: Allen (64) - Brampton (28)
Winning Percentage: Allen (.780) - Brampton (.341)
Goals For: Allen (173) - Brampton (96)
Goals Allowed: Allen (110) - Brampton (161)
Goal Differential: Allen (+63) - Brampton (-65)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+199) - Brampton (-292)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Brampton is ranked #28.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.22). Brampton is #28 (2.34).
Allen is ranked #4 in average goals allowed (2.68). Brampton is #28 (3.93).

- Special teams will most likely be a key to the game especially with Allen leading the league in average penalty minutes per game (22.63). Allen has a better overall power play and penalty kill than Brampton and if you look at home and road stats the Americans have an even bigger advantage. At home Brampton is ranked #20 (15.3%) on the power play and #22 (81.0%) on the penalty kill. On the road Allen is #2 (23.2%) on the power play and #1 (92.1%) on the penalty kill.

- As is often said, on paper it looks like Allen should win both of these games easily but the games aren't played on paper. After losing three of their last five games 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.


- With 17 skaters on the trip one player will sit out for tonight's game and that will be Kyle Follmer who has a slight injury. Josef Fojtik will be back in the lineup. The back up goalie will be Josh Trimberger who made the trip with the team.

- This is the only trip Allen makes to Brampton this year and with the new division alignment and Brampton moving to the Eastern Conference next year, it may be the last trip for quite some time. Interestingly, Brampton makes two more trips to Allen for just one game each visit. In total for the season Brampton will make four trips to Allen and play just five games.

- Most of the Allen players come from cold climates so the weather in Brampton is something they grew up with but equipment manager, Rusty Aldridge, is a Texan and summed up the weather as a true Texan, "Dad gum it's cold." How cold is it? The low this morning was 0 degrees and the high today will be 11 degrees.

- Usually the Brampton games have plenty of friends and family attending but this year not so many players are from the area. Would assume Jesse Messier, Justin Baker and Jamie Schaafsma who are from the area will have plenty of support from family and friends.

- The on ice officials for the game are referee Jason Faist (#16) and linesmen Mike Hamilton (#80) and Jason Finley (#53).

-  Chad Costello has an assist in twelve straight games dating back to December 20th. Gary Steffes has at least one goal in six of the last seven games.

- Aaron Dell and Spencer Asuchak were both in the lineup last night as the Worcester Sharks defeated Lehigh Valley 4-3. Aaron made 30 saves to get his second straight win for the Sharks. The game was not as close as the score with Lehigh Valley scoring two goals in the last 1:27 of the game with the last goal coming with 1.3 seconds left. Dell has now played in seven games for Worcester this season and has a GAA of 1.95 and a save percentage of .917. The game was Asuchak's first with the Sharks and he had no points, was even on plus/minus and had one penalty. Worcester plays at Norfolk on Friday and Saturday.

Aaron Dell got his second straight win for Worcester last night

- Some Allen fans may be hoping Worcester doesn't make the playoffs as that would mean the likelihood of some contracted players being sent to Allen for the playoffs. Worcester got off to a poor start this season and was out of the playoff picture but have been one of the best teams in the AHL recently. They have won 11 of 13 games and with the win last night moved into the playoff picture. They are now seventh in points in the conference with eight teams making the playoffs.

- Jack Combs scored his first goal in Sweden on Tuesday. It was his second game played. Jack did not score in his first game, then sat out a game as a healthy scratch and then played and scored on Tuesday.

DID YOU KNOW: Brett Lyon is closing in on the all time single season penalty minute record for the Allen Americans. It will the the third straight year to set the record. Here are the record holders going back to the first year.

2009-2010: Brandon Straub (185 minutes)
2012-2013: Garrett Clarke (223 minutes)
2013-2014: Garrett Klotz (257 minutes)
2014-2015: Brett Lyon (???????? currently at 226 minutes)

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