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.

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