Sunday, June 7, 2015

Allen vs South Carolina Kelly Cup Game Four Preview

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the South Carolina Stingrays in game four of the Kelly Cup Finals with a 7:05 p.m EDT puck drop. Trailing in the series 2-1, to say this is a must win game for the Americans would be an understatement. The game will be played in North Charleston, South Carolina which like Allen is a northern suburb of a larger city (Charleston). Similar to Allen, the Stingrays play in a city owned facility (North Charleston Colisuem) which opened in 1993 and seats 10,537 for hockey. 

- If there is a single key to victory for Allen it would be finding a way to slow down the Stingrays top line of Wayne Simpson, Andrew Rowe and Derek DeBlois. They are ranked #1, #2, & #4 in playoff scoring and Simpson has already broken the single season playoff scoring record (34) that has stood for fifteen years. Simpson has 36 points, Rowe 32 points and DeBlois 26 points. A look at the first three games of the series proves this point. In game one this line had three of four goals and seven of ten points for South Carolina and the Stingrays won 4-3. In game two this line had no goals and just one assist and Allen won the game 5-2. Game three had the top line scoring three of four goals and seven of ten points again and the Stingrays won the game 4-1. It is easier said than done but if Allen is to be successful they must control the Stingrays top line and not let them dominate the game as they have done in the two South Carolina victories.

- Special teams are always a big key to any playoff game and based on the first three games in Allen the Americans are winning that battle. Allen is 3-10 on the power play while holding South Carolina to 0-9 on the power play. The question that arises is whether Allen can maintain that excellence on the road. The Americans have one of the worst road power plays in the playoffs having gone just 2-31 (6.5%) and their road penalty kill is 84.4% (7-45). In Allen's favor is the fact that South Carolina has only killed penalties at 77.8% at home during the playoffs allowing opponents to go 8-36 on the power play. 

- If you want a simple predictor of who will win the game all you have to do is watch for the first goal. Allen has won close to 90% of the games when they score the first goal with a record in the playoffs of 8-1. Unfortunately the first period has been the weakest for Allen as they have scored just 13 goals compared to 28 in the second period and 34 in the third period. 

- If you just look at their record in the playoffs you might conclude both teams will struggle in the game tonight. On the road Allen is 4-4 and at home South Carolina is 4-6. And if you are really grasping at statistical straws the Stingrays have lost game four in the first three rounds of the playoffs. Allen is 2-1 in game fours. 

- On the road in the playoffs Allen has scored 26 goals and allowed 29 goals. At home South Carolina has scored 30 goals but allowed 37 goals.

- It is no coincidence that the two teams in the Kelly Cup Finals are the most prolific scoring teams in the playoffs. Allen is #1 averaging 3.62 goals per game and South Carolina is #2 averaging 3.35 goals per game.

- Had the chance to exchange messages with coach Martinson as the team was leaving the rink after an early evening practice last night. Here are a few of his thoughts:
- A 7:05 p.m. game time start is a bonus for us after traveling all night on the bus
- We worked on some adjustments as we need to improve is some areas
- The key to success is we need everyone pulling on the rope!
- With this being such an important game the guys that are going well will get a lot of ice time

- The referees scheduled for the game tonight are Frederic Leblanc (#25) and Ryan Murphy (#10). The same pair worked game two in Allen which the Americans won 5-2. 

- If you didn't get a chance to follow along as Jamie Schaafsma took over the ECHL Twitter account last night in a live tweet session you missed an entertaining event. From the serious to the ridiculous, from fans near and far (The Netherlands), from teammates past (Booter Bootland) and present (Asuchak, Young, Clarke, Descoteaux, Tyler Ludwig). Here are a few examples of the hard hitting questions and answers:

Your favorite video games? Call of Duty & NHL 15

Do players get distracted during games? I would like to say we don't but that is why we have the Ice Angels.

Who has the manliest playoff beard? Aaron Gens, he looks like Gerard Butler from the movie 300.

What is your favorite food? Pizza & Sushi (not together)

How often do you shampoo your hair #greasy? (Asked by Nolan Descoteaux) Everyday with Head & Shoulders. I just made $500. #sponsored

Miracle on Ice or Mighty Ducks? Mighty Ducks!

How many corn dogs can you eat at one sitting? (Asked by Garrett Clarke) 79

How many pregame naps you take in the spare room looking into my eyes? (This question was asked by Booter Bootland as the Schaafsmas have the apartment the Bootlands used to occupy and yes there is a picture of Booter on the wall) The picture keeps my family out of that room!

What sport would you play other than hockey? Slo pitch if they had the pros.

Favorite type of poutine? KFC has the best.

DID YOU KNOW: While it seems the playoff attendance has been disappointing the ECHL average attendance in the playoffs has increased every year for the last five years. Of the sixteen teams that made the playoffs this year Allen is ranked #6 with an average attendance of 3348 and South Carolina is #14 with just 2678. Here is the average ECHL playoff attendance by year.


  1. Shut down SC's first line and we win. If SC shuts down Allen first line our other line still score. I really feel Allen has more depth, we just have to keep SC first line from scoring.
    GO RED

    1. I agree! I really think we can win this thing.