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.


  1. Hello Barry,
    I see Allen called up a guy from the SPHL. Are there team affiliations between the ECHL and the SPHL and how often does a guy from the SPHL get called up?

  2. Kevin, there are no formal affiliations between the SPHL & ECHL but players go back and forth get quite frequently. In the last 30 days there were over 20 player transactions between the SPHL and ECHL.