Friday, January 1, 2016

Allen vs Missouri Game Preview, Three Birthday Boys & Team Sin Bin Launches New Website

Happy New Year everyone. The Allen Americans will have a big task today as they welcome in the new year by taking on the league leading Missouri Mavericks this afternoon (4:10 CST) at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena (formerly the Independence Events Center). The good news is Allen had a day of rest yesterday while the Mavericks had to play last night. The bad news is Missouri trounced Wichita last night, out shooting the Thunder 35-15 on the way to a 7-1 victory. The Mavericks have a perfect 12-0-0-0 record at home this season.

The game this afternoon will be the fourth of 11 meetings between Allen and Missouri this season. In the previous three games the results were as follows:

October 31 - Allen wins at home 2-1 on goals by Chad Costello and Jonathan Parker
November 17 - Missouri wins at home 4-1, out shooting Allen 42-18
December 26 - Allen loses at home 3-1 but out shoots the Mavericks 33-23

To give you an idea of the task at hand for the Americans is this fact. Since Allen beat Missouri on October 31, the Mavericks have won 19 of 20 games.

- Here is how Allen and Missouri match up:

                                    ALLEN                              MISSOURI

Team Record:             18-12-1-0 (37 points)          24-3-0-1 (49 points)
Division Ranking:        2nd Central                        1st Central
Conference Ranking:  4th Western                        1st Western
League Ranking:        11th                                     1st
Last Game:                 4-3 Win (Wichita)                7-1 Win (Wichita)
Goals For:                   92                                        99
Goals Against:            91                                        48
Power Play:                20.3% (26/128)                    19.3% (21/109)
Penalty Kill:                84.6% (19/123)                     83.7% (15/92)
Leading Scorers:        Costello (12-30-42)              Barnes (13-17-30)

-  Here is how Allen and Missouri rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (18.71) - Missouri 27th (10.00)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 13th (2.97) - Missouri 1st (3.54)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 16th (2.94) - Missouri 1st (1.71)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 24th (27.52) - Missouri 8th (30.89)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 19th (30.58) - Missouri 2nd (25.64)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 5th (20.3%) - Missouri 9th (19.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 8th (84.6%) - Missouri 12th (83.7%)

- The stats above show why the Americans will have their work cut out for them if they want to win. Allen has trouble generating shots (ranked 25th) while Missouri doesn't allow many shots (ranked 2nd). Missouri allows 1.23 goals per game less than Allen and scores a half a goal more per game than Allen. When you play a team like Missouri that scores the most goals in the league and allows the fewest goals in the league it is a tall task. Another way to look at this is goal differential. Allen has scored 92 goals and allowed 91 for a goal differential of +1. Missouri has scored 99 goals and allowed 48 for a goal differential of +51.

- Special teams are always important but when you have two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to penalties, it could be the deciding factor in the game. Allen has over twice as many penalty minutes (580) as Missouri (280). Allen has taken 36 major penalties (mostly for fighting) while Missouri has taken just eight. This disparity has not shown up in the three games these teams have played against each other. Allen has 48 penalty minutes while the Mavericks have 51 penalty minutes. Allen is 1-11 (9.1%) on the power play and Missouri is 1-12 (8.3%).  If either team can get an advantage on special teams it might make the difference in the game.

- Missouri has continued their outstanding play despite losing several of their top players to AHL call ups (Jesse Root, Kellen Jones, Josh Holmstrom, Parker Milner, Kyle Burroughs).  Allen has suffered a string of injuries to key players (Joel Rumpel, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Vincent Arseneau, Tristan King). In addition Greger Hanson and Daniel Doremus have been called up to San Jose (AHL) and Justin Baker and Ian Schultz  have quit the team. So no excuses for either team today, you play with the roster you currently have.

- Riley Gill will be in goal for Allen with Joel Rumpel still out with an injury. Missouri has two goalies that have shared the workload evenly. Josh Robinson is ranked #2 in the ECHL with a GAA of 1.61 and Parker Milner is ranked #3 with a GAA of 167. Milner was recently recalled by Bridgeport (AHL) so Robinson should be in goal for the Mavericks after holding Wichita to just one goal last night.

- If you watch the game on ECHL TV this afternoon there are a few jersey numbers you need to remember. Nolan Descoteaux wears #6 rather than the #7 he wore in his first stint with the Americans. Casey Thrush is wearing the #11 and Jarod Palmer is wearing #19.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Corey Chipperfield (#5) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Erik Contino (#92). 


- It is a special day for goalie Riley Gill not because of him starting in goal this afternoon but because he is a New Year's Day baby. Riley turns 31 today. His teammates might start calling him "gramps" as Riley is now the oldest player on the roster. Happy Birthday Riley.

- Two other January 1st birthdays are former Allen player (2011-2012) Josh Hepditch and current Wichita Thunder broadcaster Jason Mals.  Happy birthday guys.

- Since joining the ECHL Allen's overall record against Missouri is 9-2-1-0 and in Missouri their record is 4-1-0-0.

- If you haven't discovered "Team Sin Bin" you need to check out their new website that just launched last night. I am proud to say I am part of this group of writers that is a one stop shop for all minor league hockey news and information. Check out the new and improved website at

- With Missouri beating Wichita last night and Tulsa beating Rapid City (2-1) the hopes for three Central Division teams making the playoffs continues to progress. If the playoffs were to start today the Central Division would have three teams make it.  Here are the current standings:
49 points - Missouri
37 points - Allen
31 points - Tulsa
18 points - Wichita

DID YOU KNOW: Mentioned this stat concerning Allen and Missouri last week but it is worth repeating. If either one of these teams is leading after the second period it is time to turn out the lights as the party is over. They are a combined 34-0 when leading after the second period.

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