The Allen Americans practice yesterday took place at the Community Rink as the main arena was set up for a Texas Revolution (arena football) game last night. All players participated in practice including Tyler Ludwig who participated in some of the skating drills before the full practice got underway. Spoke briefly to Tyler and he hopes to be medically cleared and ready to play for the second round. A reporter from the Allen Image Magazine was at practice talking to players and staff as he is working on a cover story for the magazine about the Allen Americans.
Spent a few minutes with coach Steve Martinson after practice to get his take on what is happening with the team. Here is what he had to say:
- We have tried to change things up in practice this week. With so much time off between the end of the first round and start of the second round we have tried some different drills and worked on different facets of the game. We even had players drawing up drills one day. It is important to try and keep that competitive edge without wearing the guys out.
- The team will take Saturday and Sunday off to relax and enjoy themselves and then we will hit it hard on Monday. The guys are having their team golf tournament this weekend and will be spending a lot of time together off the ice.
- Tanner Eberle's injury turned out to be more serious than originally thought so he will not be available for the rest of the playoffs. Since he did not play after returning from Bridgeport (AHL) and was never put on the playoff roster I still have two roster spots open for playoff eligible guys that are playing in the AHL. If Worcester loses in the first round of the AHL playoffs (they played their first game last night and lost) we could see one or both of these roster spots filled.
- It is always interesting to talk to coach Martinson because he lives and breathes hockey and knows the back story on everything that is happening from youth hockey to the NHL. You rarely go in his office when he is not on his laptop checking out a team or a player, reviewing video, or maintaining the numerous contacts he has throughout hockey.
- You may have seen messages on social media from some of the players about buying tickets for the second round playoff games. Everyone that works for the Americans becomes part of the sales staff during playoffs as getting the word out is critical. The games on May 1st & 2nd are crucial because they are rare weekend dates. Have had a couple of questions about all of the dates for the second round. The series will be 2-3-2 with the away dates depending on whether Rapid City or Quad City is the opponent. Here are the four home dates. All start times are 7:05 p.m. CDT.
Game 1 - Friday May 1st
Game 2 - Saturday May 2nd
Game 6 - Tuesday May 12th (if necessary)
Game 7 - Wednesday May 13th (if necessary)
- Speaking of Rapid City vs Quad City they played last night and Quad City came out on top by a score of 2-1 to even the series 2-2. The Mallards scored the winning goal on a power play with just over two minutes left in the game. This series has been a tight checking defensive battle from the first game. All four games have been won by just one goal and the teams have only scored 16 combined goals (eight each) in the four games. The Rush and the Mallards play again tonight in Quad City and then return to Rapid City for games six and seven on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- In other action around the ECHL last night Kalamazoo beat Fort Wayne 4-3 to avoid elimination. Fort Wayne leads the series 3-1. Utah beat Idaho 4-1 to tie that series 2-2 and Colorado beat Ontario to take a 3-2 lead in that series.
- The ECHL will release the complete 2015-2016 schedule at 2 p.m. ET on Monday. Will Allen be headed to Alaska and if so when? How many times will the Americans visit Colorado? All the answers will be public on Monday.
- The Worcester Sharks who are the #7 seed in the AHL Eastern Conference opened up the playoffs with a 4-1 loss to the Hershey Bears (#2 seed) last night. In the AHL the first round is a best of five and the first two games are in Worcester with the final three in Hershey. Aaron Dell was in goal for Worcester and the game was much closer than the score would indicate. A Worcester player took a five minute major penalty and game misconduct penalty for checking from behind at the 17:17 mark of the third period with the score tied 1-1. Hershey scored power play goals at 17:39, 19:03 and 19:30 (empty net) to make the final score 4-1. Game two is tonight in Worcester. If you are interested the three games in Hershey will be next Wednesday (April 29), Friday (May 1) and Sunday (May 3).
- There are six games in the ECHL tonight but only one (Fort Wayne at Kalamazoo) is a close out game.
DID YOU KNOW: The South Carolina Stingrays hold the ECHL record for most playoff appearances as this year is their 21st appearance. The Stingrays have only missed the playoffs one year (2007) since 1994.