After an optional day of practice on Monday, it was a full practice yesterday for the Allen Americans as they prepare for three games in three days this weekend on the road. I would describe the practice as more intense than usual from the words imparted by coach Martinson to the entire group at the start of practice, to some of the puck battle drills, to the defensive drills, to the wind sprints to close out the practice. From an untrained eye like myself, you get the sense that the approach to the games this weekend will be a little different from a coaching perspective than in the recent past. Preventing goals will have to be a higher priority for the entire team and the veterans will have to lead the way.
- My guess on the lines for the weekend:
- The Americans play at Missouri on Friday and at
Tulsa on Saturday and Sunday. Games against division rivals always carry
extra meaning and at this time of the season it is even more so. The
Americans have a losing record against Missouri (1-3) and Tulsa (5-6)
and almost half of their remaining games (11 of 25) are against these
two teams. Allen will have to improve their performance against the
Mavericks and Oilers or they run the risk of falling to third place in
the Central Division.
- Some good news for the Americans, Riley Gill is ready to play after sitting out since January 17 with an injury.
Allen traded back up goalie Peter Di Salvo to the Adirondack Thunder on Monday for future considerations. Look for Gill to get a start at some point this weekend.
- The only race left in the Central Division is for second place between Allen (61 points) and Tulsa (55 points). Tulsa has played two fewer games than Allen. Tulsa had the chance to close the gap to four points last night but the Missouri Mavericks did the Americans a favor by beating the Oilers 3-0. Tulsa plays last place Evansville at home on Friday and if they win while Allen visits first place Missouri and loses, it would set up quite the battle for second place between Allen and Tulsa on Saturday and Sunday. Depending on the outcome of the games this weekend, Allen could head home after the game on Sunday with as much as a 12 point lead over Tulsa or they could be tied for second place.
- The Central Division has the best and worst teams in the ECHL. The point differential between Missouri (81 points) and Wichita (30 points) has now grown to 51 points. In the five other ECHL divisions the point differential between first and last place teams is 23 points (North), 22 points (East), 19 points (West), 18 points (Midwest) and 17 points (South).
- Had a couple of interesting comments and questions about the blog post yesterday on ECHL attendance. One suggested it would be a better methodology to eliminate the teams that didn't play in both years when comparing year over year average attendance. By eliminating Ontario, Bakersfield and Stockton from last year and Manchester, Norfolk, and Adirondack from this year when computing average attendance it has the effect of lowering the average last year and raising the average this year. By using this methodology the ECHL average attendance in 2014-15 was 4461 and the average this season is 4334. Still a decrease of 127 per game but far less than the 348 per game if you include the six teams that didn't play both seasons.
- Another reader asked if it was possible to look at attendance as a percentage of arena capacity. Doing that computation is a little more difficult but ask and you shall receive. The only caveat is the arena capacities come from Wikipedia and may be incomplete or inaccurate so there is very likely some errors in this list but it was fun to take a quick and dirty look at ECHL attendance by percent of arena capacity. I know some of the bigger arenas cover the second level and rarely have them open so the arena capacity is over stated. Found some interesting information when going through this exercise. The two largest arenas in the ECHL are in Orlando (17,353) and Tulsa (17,096) and the two smallest are in Elmira (3784) and Adirondack (4794). There are nine ECHL arenas with a capacity above 10,000 and nine with capacities below 6000. Here is the list from the highest percent to the lowest. The first number in parentheses after the location is the average attendance this season (from echl.com) and the second number is the arena capacity (from Wikipedia).
95% Toledo (7038 - 7389)
93% Colorado (4901- 5289)
87% Missouri (5054 - 5800)
82% Idaho (4124 - 5002)
74% Allen (4641 - 6275)
74% Elmira (2818 - 3784)
73% Rapid City (3750 - 5132)
72% Fort Wayne (7541 - 10,480)
69% Florida (4969 - 7186)
62% Indy (3890 - 6300)
58% Alaska (3633 - 6290)
56% Brampton (2797 - 5000)
50% Adirondack (2407 - 4794)
50% Reading (3561 - 7160)
49% Utah (4975 - 10,100)
49% Wheeling (2631 - 5406)
46% Evansville (4184 - 9000)
45% Manchester (4422 - 9852)
44% Quad City (4084 - 9200)
43% Atlanta (4891 - 11,355)
43% Kalamazoo (2219 - 5113)
41% Norfolk (3597 - 8701)
35% Orlando (6007 - 17,353)
35% South Carolina (3709 - 10,537)
33% Wichita (4427 - 13,450)
32% Tulsa (5521 - 17.096)
30% Cincinnati (4376 - 14,453)
24% Greenville (3240 - 13,707)
DID YOU KNOW: The Colorado Eagles must hold the record for consecutive sellouts in minor pro hockey. The Eagles sold out in 400 straight games spanning back to their CHL days. That streak came to an end after their season opener this season.