Friday, January 22, 2016

Allen vs Wichita Game Preview, King & Halabi Stay Home, Jagr Story, ECHL All-Star Game Revisited

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they travel to Intrust Bank Arena to take on the Wichita  Thunder tonight (7:05 pm CST). It will be same day travel for the game so the team climbed on Big Red this morning at 7:30 for the 360 mile trip to Wichita. That will allow them to check into the hotel at around 1:00 and go through their pregame routine. If this was a stand alone game, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would require the team to travel the day before the game but because there are back to back games in Wichita that is not the case.

Here is the section of the CBA that talks about travel. Incidentally, Tulsa is the only ECHL city that is fewer than 325 miles from Allen (230 miles).  "An overnight stay shall be required when the distance to be traveled one-way to a stand-alone game exceeds three hundred twenty-five (325) miles. The Member shall, whenever practical, for all other away games exceeding three hundred twenty-five (325) miles, either include a pre-game overnight stay or utilize a sleeper bus."

By almost any statistical comparison Allen should be the favorite to win the game tonight. The Americans are 4-0 against Wichita this season, have out scored them 15-7 and dominated on special teams. In the four games, Allen is 7-22 (31.8%) on the power play while Wichita is 0-14.

-  Here is a comparison between Allen and Wichita:

                                     ALLEN                               WICHITA

Team Record              21-14-2-1 (45 points)             9-23-3-4 (25 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                         4th - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                        14th - Western
League Ranking         9th                                        28th
Home Record             9-6-2-1                                 5-9-1-3
Road Record             12-8-0-0                                4-14-2-1
Last Ten Games         5-3-1-1                                  2-5-2-1
Last Game                 4-3 L (Cincinnati)                   3-2 L (Utah)
Goals For                  111                                        76
Goals Against            109                                        133
Power Play                22.1% (33/149)                      9.2% (14/153)
Penalty Kill                 85.3% (22/150)                      83.0% (31/182)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson (74)                       Milan (59)
Leading Scorer          Costello (15-39-54)                 Lowe (6-14-20)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (17.13) - Wichita 12th (14.74)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 11th (2.92) - Wichita 28th (1.95)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 15th (2.87) - Wichita 25th (3.41)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (27.53) - Wichita 27th (26.13)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 15th (30.16) - Wichita 20th (30.67)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (22.1%) - Wichita 28th (9.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 9th (85.3%) - Wichita 18th (83.0%)

- Even though Allen is 4-0 against Wichita this year and have outscored the Thunder 15-7, Wichita has out shot Allen 140-132. These are two of the worst teams in the ECHL in getting shots on goal. Allen is going to have to generate more shots on goal to be successful.

- Allen has at least one power play goal in all four victories against Wichita while holding the Thunder scoreless on the power play. If the Americans can continue that domination they should win tonight.

- Tristan King and Reid Halabi did not make the trip to Wichita. Both have been dealing with injuries. With Greger Hanson back, there are still 10 forwards on the trip.

- If you are looking for who might be the hero tonight for Allen based on head to head scoring, bet on Chad Costello and David Makowski. In the four games against Wichita, Chad has nine points (4 goals 5 assists) and David has five points (2 goals 3 assists). Don't overlook Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Greger Hanson who have missed most of the games against Wichita but should be a factor tonight.

- Since joining the ECHL, Allen has played in Wichita 12 times and has a record of 9-1-0-2.
- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Korey Chipperfield (#12) and linesmen Chuck Schamel (#97) and Mitch Macpherson (#92).


- The Tulsa Oilers are seven points behind Allen in the Central Division standings but have played four fewer games than the Americans. Tulsa has a difficult schedule over the next couple of weeks that will answer whether they can catch Allen for second place in the division or will be fighting for a playoff spot. In their next nine games Tulsa plays league leading Missouri three times, West Division leading Utah twice and Allen four times. The Oilers play in Missouri tonight and tomorrow night. Missouri has still not lost a home game and are now 13-0 at home.

- Chad Costello continues to dominate the ECHL in scoring. He has 54 points (15 goals 39 assists) and a 13 point lead in the scoring race. Chad also leads the ECHL in assists (39), power play assists (17) and power play points (22).

- Allen has played exactly half (18) of their home games for the season with the attendance averaging 4648 per game. That ranks the Americans ninth in attendance in the ECHL. Allen is averaging 552 more fans per game than last season which is the largest increase in the league.

- Came across this story written by David Hyde of the Sun Sentinel about Jaromir Jagr which talks about how is is still so good. Very interesting.

 DID YOU KNOW:  One year ago today was the ECHL All-Star game. If you recall, Allen had no players in the game as Jack Combs, who was selected as a starter, went to Europe. Steve Martinson was one of the coaches. Here is the post from one year ago. Interesting comment about Chris Crane who was with Missouri at the time.

- The ECHL All-Star game took place last night and it went as predicted with lots of shots on goal (98), lots of goals (12), few penalties (1) and an easy (after a slow first period start) All-Star team victory over the host Orlando Solar Bears with a final score of 8-4.

-  Had a chance to catch up with Steve Martinson this morning to get his thoughts on the game. Here is what he had to say.
"After the first period when we were trailing 1-0 we told the guys we had set an All-Star record for going an entire period without scoring a goal. The first period reminded me of our opening night game in Allen when Tulsa beat us 9-6 with a ton of odd man rushes.  Our goalie (Joe Cannata - Ontario Reign) was really good in the first period to keep the score close. We got going in the second period and finished off some plays. I have to admit it is different going a whole game without yelling at anyone. I was going to give our Central Division players a hard time but they all played really well. Chris Crane (Missouri Mavericks) was maybe the hardest working guy on the ice. Danick Gauthier (Wichita Thunder) made some strong plays and controlled the puck. I really enjoyed the entire experience. The Fan Fest on Tuesday night was unique and a lot of fun. It is thanks to all of the hard work by the Allen players that I was able to be a coach for the All-Star game. I want to thank them again for giving me this experience."


  1. Apropos of nothing, what sort of leverage are the ECHL and/or PHPA able to apply, when owners don't abide by their contractual agreements?

  2. Kale always seems to score on Allen. He was out some games against us last year and I believe early this year which helped. I always worry about Kale scoring on us.
    It is called a bus leage for a reason. I am reading 'Tales from a Bus League', stories from a minor league hockey player (ECHL, CHL), yep, the bus trips are not fun.

  3. Mike, there is a grievance process and the PHPA brings up issues all of the time. It is all done behind the scene but I know of travel, pay, and housing issues being resolved after the PHPA let management know they were in violation of the CBA. I also think sometimes players don't raise issues to the PHPA because they fear they will get released if they bring up an issue. In that case players work directly with management to resolve their problem.

  4. Kevin, Good point on Kerbashian. I remember him scoring a goal on his first shot of his first shift against Allen after being traded from Evansville to Rapid City. He has seven points (3 goals 4 assists) in six games since joining Wichita so he will be a factor in this series for sure.