It seems like each week at this time of the season the importance of upcoming games is emphasized. That is certainly true for the three games against Wichita this weekend. There is no question the Allen Americans have struggled recently as they have seen their lead for the fourth seed in the Western Conference shrink from 11 points just a couple of weeks ago to two points today. While the focus has been on Tulsa catching Allen, the fact is there are now several teams in the hunt for the fourth seed. Here is a list of those closest to Allen for the fourth seed showing points and games remaining:
63 points - Allen (19 games remaining)
62 points - Idaho (18 games)
61 points - Tulsa (21 games)
57 points - Cincinnati (21 games)
- For those that think it is just a matter of time before the Americans are passed for the fourth seed, keep the following facts in mind. The schedule works to Allen's advantage with 13 of their remaining 19 games at home. Compare that to Tulsa who plays 15 of their 21 remaining games on the road. Both teams have a much better home record than road record.
- Allen has a realistic opportunity to get six points this weekend but it will not be easy. Even though the Americans have a perfect 8-0 record against Wichita this season, the games have been close including two being decided in overtime. In the last six games the margin of victory was one or two goals.
- Here is a breakdown of the 19 games remaining for Allen. This list includes the number of games left which each team (from most to least), the opponents winning percentage and Allen's season record against each team.
Win % Head to Head Record
Missouri: 6 games (4 home 2 away) .833 1-4
Wichita: 5 games (4 home 1 away) .311 8-0
Evansville: 3 games (3 home 0 away) .450 0-0
Tulsa: 2 games (1 home 1 away) .598 5-6-1-1
Colorado: 1 game (0 home 1 away) .529 3-3
Alaska: 1 game (1 home 0 away) .433 1-2
Rapid City: 1 game (0 away 1 home) .452 3-0
- The best news for Allen fans concerning this weekend is the possibility that there will be a full roster available to coach Martinson. I will attend practice today and get an update but it is possible you could see as many as six players in the line up at the Allen Event Center on Saturday and Sunday who did not play in the last home game on February 6. Vincent Arseneau, Spencer Asuchak, Riley Gill, Reid Halabi, Eric Roy and Reggie Traccitto.
- Eric Roy is back with Allen but before he arrived he signed a SPC (Standard Players Contract) with Lake Erie (AHL). When players like Eric, who are free agents, get loaned to an AHL team they sign a PTO (Professional Try-out Contract) which is good for 25 games. If the team offers a player an SPC they then control their AHL rights. The contract can be a one-way contract which means the player is paid the same whether they are in the AHL or ECHL or the contract can be a two-way contract which stipulates the players salary is dependent upon the league in which the player is assigned. Don't know this for fact but would assume Eric signed a two-way contract. What signing an SPC with Lake Erie means for Eric and Allen is quite significant. Lake Erie now makes the call if and when Eric goes back to Lake Erie. It is no longer the case that Allen is loaning Eric, it will now be Lake Erie recalling him. Allen still owns Roy's ECHL rights so if Lake Erie decides to assign Eric to the ECHL it must be to Allen unless coach Martinson agrees to a different assignment. Because Eric is now on an AHL contract, Allen is only responsible for $525 per week of his salary. Lake Erie pays the rest. It is a big step for Eric to get an AHL contract and it says Lake Erie sees a bright future for him.
- It is a big week for birthdays for Allen Americans past and present. Jonathan Lessard turned 25 yesterday. Aaron Gens is 29 tomorrow. Anthony Maiani is 27 tomorrow and Brian McMillin is 28 on Friday. Happy Birthday to all!
- The South Carolina Stingrays were a team that had a poor start last season but came on strong at the end to be a major factor in the playoffs. Just noticed South Carolina has the best record in the ECHL over their last ten games at 8-1-1-0. They are second in the South Division, four points behind Florida, but are coming on strong. Definitely a team to keep an eye on.
- I had a suggestion from a reader that it would be nice to have a section of the blog devoted to answering questions posed by those who follow the blog. I have given this some thought and will certainly give it a try. Will call this "QUESTION OF THE DAY" and it will added at the bottom of the blog just before the "DID YOU KNOW" section. In order to make this work I am asking for your help by asking the questions. You can send the questions through social media (either public or private messages), put them in the comments at the end of the blog, send me an email or text message or catch me at a game. The questions can range from what happens on the ice, to rules and policies, to personal information (within reason) about the team or individual players. I am going to try and use video as much as possible to record the answers so make the questions fun as well as serious. Not sure if I can make this a daily event but if there are enough questions I will do my best.
DID YOU KNOW: The playoff MVP's for Allen's three championships were Brain McMillin (2013), Jamie Schaafsma (2014) and Greger Hanson (2015). Did you know there are many other players with ties to Allen that won Playoff MVP awards. Here is a list.
2013 - Riley Gill was the ECHL playoff MVP as the Reading Royals won the Kelly Cup
2011 - Scott Howes was ECHL playoff MVP as the Alaska Aces won the Kelly Cup
2009 - Jason Deitsch was CHL playoff MVP as the Texas Brahmas won the Ray Miron Cup
2007 - Steve Silverthorn won the ECHL playoff MVP as the Idaho Steelheads won the Kelly Cup
2003 - Kevin Colley won the ECHL playoff MVP as the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies won the Kelly Cup