Thursday, March 31, 2016


*Please note: While Barry is on vacation, the views below do not reflect those of Barry or the Allen Americans Organization.

Well here we go again.  Allen meets the Mavericks in Independence for their last two regular season games.  Two big questions that have arisen are:  which Allen Americans team will show up on the ice, and which goalie is not on the bus?  We attended a couple of practices where we saw a very hard working team. Coach Martinson was emphasizing speed and defense in our end. All three goalies were at practice and stopping many pucks being hurled at them.  Now it is just a matter of wait and see who wants the points.  Hopefully it will be Allen. We can secure the #4 spot, with just a few more wins. The 5th seed is shaping up to be quite a battle between Colorado, Utah, and Cincinatti. If playoffs were to start today, we would be facing Colorado in the first round. 

Missouri still has the opportunity to set or tie ECHL records for most points in a season, most wins in a season, and most home wins in a season.  Hopefully Allen does not help them achieve these.

Expecting their third child is Chad Costello and his wife, delivery is expected today. 

A defenseman has been added to the Allen roster and will be making the trip to Missouri. Thomas Carr is 26 yrs old from Edmonton Alberta, 6 ft tall and weighs about 187 lbs.  Prior to joining the Allen Americans, Thomas played for the University of Alberta in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport).  Prior to the CIS he played for Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL (Western Hockey League). We will try and get a player profile for one of next weeks blogs.

Game Preview:
  • And again, we must score first and maintain the lead. as we did in the March 26th game.  That type of play will be hard to beat.
  • Puck possession, we must keep play in their end.  Letting the Mavericks have too much time in our end has proven disastrous. We need to keep the passing to a minimum and pepper their goalie.  It is amazing what happens when Allen actually shoots the puck.  
  • Avoid unnecessary penalties, MO has proven they can and will be dangerous on the power play.  While most statistics are about the same as our previous meeting, one noteworthy item is Allen's advantage on the power play,  (23.3% vs 18.6%), which could prove significant.
  • Chad Costello will be looking to extend his 14 game assist streak which is currently tied for 5th longest streak in ECHL history.  The ECHL record is 18. 
  • Maverick goalie Josh Robinson has been loaned to Stockton of the AHL, expect to see either Parker Milner or Steven Summerhays in net.

It is not known, at this time, if Trevor Ludwig, Mavs leading scorers Tyler Barnes or Andrew Courtney will be in the lineup for the Mavericks in this two game series, but we are sure that C.J. Ludwig will not as he is still serving his suspension.  MO boasts a 29-3-0-1 home record and will be all the more difficult to beat at home since Allen has a 17-14-1-2 record when on the road.  

Meet Kyle Neuber:  

On March 20th, Kyle signed with the Allen Americans.  He is 6'1" and weighs 250 lbs.  He was drafted by the Columbus Bluejackets in 2009 draft.  Kyle comes to the Americans after playing in the CIS.  Kyle has also played in the AHL playing 50 games with the Springfield Falcons in 2010-11 and Toronto Marlies in 2011-12.   His ECHL experience consists of 20 with the Reading Royals (2011-12).  

Kyle grew up in Ontario, primarily in Sarnia. Sarnia is just below the tip of Lake Huron 65 miles NE of Detroit.

Kyle Neuber (courtesy of

To go along with Kyle's bio we asked him the following questions:

Tell us a little about your family - my parents are still in Sarnia, My father is in the security business and my mother is an interior decorator.  I have an older sister who is currently teaching school in England.  My younger brother is a financial service representative.   

Did you have a pet growing up - always had dogs, usually golden retrievers, my parents just got a Yorkie mix, with a golden retriever as a playmate they are pretty adorable together.

Describe your training regimen - nothing formal, mainly stretching and maintenance to maintain flexibility.  

What is your favorite number - No real favorite, I wore 24 in juniors, and 39 in professional career, and 17 while playing in college.  I do like 39 the best since it was my number while playing in the AHL.

Do you have a nickname - Neubs

Hockey Hero - no one in particular, got to know some of the Ottawa Senators while living in the area.  

Earliest hockey memory - in the second grade I entered a shoot out and won at the Corel Centre in Ottawa at intermission of one of the Senators game.

Age started skating - 2 yrs.

What is your style of play - physical, hard on the puck, win a lot of battles

Favorite type of music - like most everything, currently listening to Pink Floyd

One thing people would be surprised to learn about you - I am educated, not just a fighter

What chore do you hate to do - folding clothes

What do you have of great value to you but little value to anyone else - my CIS championship ring  

Where is the most interesting place you have ever visited - Armstrong Canada, just north of Thunder Bay, went canoeing - beautiful scenery and a lot of wildlife

If you could be anything besides a pro hockey player what would you be - Professional baseball player 

Who is your number 1 fan - my parents : they have been supportive of me throughout my hockey career 

Favorite motto or saying  -  "If it's to be, it's up to me"

Favorite TV show - Breaking Bad

Do you know anyone on the team -  Reggie Traccitto and Riley Gill

What do you like to do away from the rink - golf and spectator sports, I follow the Toronto Blue Jays and the NFL.

What have you been told about the Allen fans - they are very supportive, and they provide excellent goodie bags for the bus (we explained that the goodie bags are courtesy of the Americans Fan Club)

How did you get to Allen - Coach Martinson contacted me directly.

The next blog will be Saturday.

Did you know:  In 2013 in a February game the Evansville Icemen managed to sneak past the Florida Everblades with 5-4 shoot-out victory.  The shoot-out lasted 21 rounds with a total of 42 shooters tying the ECHL record.  Remarkably, only 5 of those 42 shooters actually scored a goal.  

Monday, March 28, 2016


*Please note: While Barry is on vacation, the views below do not reflect those of Barry or the Allen Americans Organization.

Hope everyone had a great Easter.  It sure was one heck of a weekend with Allen splitting the results with Missouri.  Saturday was an exciting night to be in the stands at the AEC.  Allen came out hungry for a win and succeeded the task.  Not so hungry on Sunday as Allen served up Easter dinner for the Mavs.  Hopefully next weekend the hunger pangs we suffered on Saturday are not satisfied until after the 2nd game.  Missouri decided to let their 2 leading scorers and their team captain stay at home for these 2 match-ups, and it will be interesting to see who they put on the ice next weekend.  We have a week of practice and  I am sure Coach will be working hard to correct our mistakes.

Allen's newly acquired goalie, Jake Hildebrand, made his first 2 professional starts and what a start he had.  Jake made 78 saves on 82 shots for a GAA of 2.01 and a SV% of .951.  Welcome to Allen, Jake.

Jake Hildebrand (courtesy of

Chad Costello continued his league leading assist streak expanding it to 14 dating back to Feb. 16th.

Gary Steffes, one of Allen's hardest working players, scored his 20th goal in Saturday's game. And what a beautiful goal it was!

Former Allen American, Scott Howes picked up his first point in a Mavericks uniform with an assist in Sunday's game.

While it appears Allen should wind up with a 4th or 5th seed in the Western Conference, they have yet to secure a playoff spot.  With just a few more wins Allen can stay on top of Tulsa, Quad City, and Colorado,  regardless of the results of their remaining games.

With the Saturday Military Appreciation Night jersey auction there was no press conference. Below are the comments after Sunday's game.

Coach Martinson's Post-Game Comments: (Sunday)

  • We were out-skated; lost battles; and were weak on the back check.  
  • need to get in better shape, I don't like the weight of some of our players
  • anticipate a player or two to be sent down by the weekend
  • Jake Hildebrand did a great job in goal, most of the goals allowed were not his fault
  • I wanted to pull the goalie on the 5 on 3 power play but did not get a stoppage in play
  • we will not have 3 goalies on our playoff roster
  • I have been on the phone and I anticipate more players to be coming prior to the playoffs
  • we did not win battles against Mavs defensemen that were smaller than us
  • need to be more "greasy", need to win more battles 
  • hoping to get Nikita Jevpalovs back for at least 2 more games to be eligible for the playoffs, San Jose knows he needs 2 more games, 
  • need some additional speed to play on the Costello line
  • Kyle Neuber played well, fought a real tough guy tonight, he has made some good hits and made some good passes
  • played Reggie Traccitto some as forward in the third period, he played a lot as forward with Brampton
There will be no blog on Tuesday or Wednesday.  We hope to have Friday night's game preview and a player profile on Thursday.  However, this post will not be available until late afternoon on Thursday due to a prior commitment.

Did you know:  The decision to install higher plexiglass panels in all hockey arenas was taken after a player-spectator brawl in 1979.  After a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers, Mike Milbury of the Boston Bruins jumped over the glass, tore off a boisterous spectator's shoe and proceeded to beat him with it. His actions resulted in a 6 game suspension.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


 *Please note: While Barry is on vacation, the views below do not reflect those of Barry or the Allen Americans Organization.

With today being Easter Sunday, we want to wish all our readers a very Happy Easter.  Monday's blog will recap Saturday and Sunday's games.

(photo courtesy of Barry's Facebook gallery)

We all may recognize Barry Janssen in the stands, walking through the Allen Event Center, in the VIP room, or have heard him through our headsets with Tommy Daniels, but what do you know about him?  He was born in South Dakota but was raised and spent most of his life in Minnesota. We are all aware of his genuine love for hockey, but this did not start with the Americans.  Barry's passion started when he attended the University of Minnesota with NCAA hockey, and as a fan of the Minnesota North Stars. As most hockey fans in MN., he was devastated when the North Stars became the Dallas Stars.  Barry witnessed something that most of us can only read about: at that time, the only death attributed to an injury on the ice.  This was the death of Bill Masterton, MN North Star forward,  on 1/13/1968, which resulted from being checked; as he fell his head snapped back on the ice.

(Sadly at the writing of this blog, a referee from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, and linesman for the ECHL  - Oliver "Butch" Mousseaux has also passed on March 25, 2016, from a fall, smacking his head on the ice, during pre-game warm ups, in Grand Rapids MI on Friday, 3/18/16

Barry is married to Nancy and they have 2 children.  They relocated to Plano, Texas in 1994 and had not been following hockey until the inception of the Allen Americans.  They were two of the first season ticket holders in 2009 and have not looked back.  Barry considered himself just a fan until the 3rd year (2011-12) when he sparked interest where he lives in Heritage Ranch (an active adult resort community) and organized the Heritage Ranch Allen Americans Fan Club (different from the Allen Americans Fan Club which deals with support for the players and Allen American community).  Heritage Ranch Fan Club now boasts over 200 members.  Each year they host players, coaches and staff to talk about hockey, allow fans to get to know them, and conduct Hockey 101 class.   Barry is also a Vietnam War Veteran and secures tickets for the vets living in Heritage Ranch as part of the Allen Americans "Seats for Soldiers" program.

When Barry is not at hockey or writing the blog he spends a good part of time fishing and/or hunting in Canada, Minnesota, North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas. He is not a golfer, but as the Vice President of the fishing club at Heritage Ranch, he collects lost balls at the golf course in Heritage Ranch for cleaning, then sells them to help defray the costs of stocking their 13 acre lake with fish.

This may come as a complete surprise to you!  Barry and Nancy love to travel! (Whooda thunk it?)  They have concentrated their travel on nature and adventure which has taken them to (this is gonna be lengthy): Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Kenya, Tanzania, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Costa Rica, Panama, England, Ireland, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Easter Island, Galapagos Islands, Greenland, and Iceland.  One item on Barry's bucket list is to complete his quest of all 7 continents by going to Antarctica.  He will probably go solo (or with friends) as Nancy will not travel through the potentially dangerous weather of Drake's passage which is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

Barry also enjoys playing volleyball several times a week and tries to squeeze in bike riding on a regular basis.

In addition to Barry's bio, we asked him some of the following questions, and here are his responses:

What is your favorite music - not much of a music fan, but would have to say country

Favorite pizza topping - mushrooms and onion

Favorite CHL/ECHL uniform - the old Odessa Jackalopes and Quad City Mallards

Favorite Allen Americans rivalry - Would have to say Wichita and Missouri

Who do you text the most - Probably would be Coach Martinson

What is your least favorite chore - weeding the landscape

Related to hockey, what is your pet peeve - people who hear things then pass it on when they shouldn't, for example, when at the press conference, Marty will say he does not want something repeated and it leaves the room

What was your first car - '66 Chevy Chevelle;  bought it new, 3 speed on the column, could not drive a stick shift so getting it off the lot was a challenge

If you could have a superpower - enduring health

If you could attend a sporting event - definitely playoff game 7 that I missed last year

Favorite holiday - Memorial Day because I am usually fishing in Canada (not this year if we are in the playoffs, Barry!)

Favorite store - without a doubt, Cabella's

Ideal fishing foursome - Aaron Gens, Riley Gill, and Brian McMillin

Favorite place visited - Safari in Africa

What would you do if you were ECHL Commissioner for a day - try to balance the schedule so we are not playing the same teams in our division 13, 14, and 15 times.  Also, revisit the playoff seeding format.

Two things on your bucket list - visit Antarctica, South America for peacock bass fishing.

Most interesting place visited - Nepal; Himalayas

Most memorable interview - Darryl Bootland player profile

Funniest blog response  -  I asked "tell me something that your teammates don't know about you", Anthony Maiani told me he had a teddy bear collection in which I asked did he want me to put that in the blog and Maiani said yes.

Favorite blog post - One I reposted from Tulsa "Soldiers of Fortune" and I have to mention the two blogs of those who have passed, Chip Crail, and our bus driver Scott Alexander, those had large readership, both are meaningful to me.

Something no one knows about you - I went sky diving, rafted in the Grand Canyon, and went on a hot air balloon ride all in the same year, early 1990's.

Last, (courstesy of Paul Dolinar) if you could be a tree, what kind would you be  - an old tree

The success of this blog is evident when you realize it is has over 600,000 unique page views. These views are 80% from within the U.S.A., 10% from Canada, and there are regular readings from Germany, England, France, Sweden, Ukraine, and Russia to name a few.  Barry credits the encouragement of starting and success of the blog to Tommy Daniels and his advertisements during game time. These writers credit most of the success from the quality and substance of the material contained within.  Keep it going, Barry.

Did you know: Masterton's death sparked a long running debate in hockey about the merits of wearing helmets.  Despite several efforts to mandate their use, it was 11 years before the NHL made them compulsory for all new players beginning in the 1979-80 season.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Missouri Game Preview

*Please note: While Barry is on vacation, the views below do not reflect those of Barry or the Allen Americans Organization.

Tonight is the 7th Annual Military Appreciation Night which entitles anyone with a military ID to a special military discount.  After the game there will be a post game skate and specialty jersey auction.

Tomorrow's blog will feature a surprise interview.  We will cover Saturday and Sunday's game reviews on Monday.  Have a Happy Easter.

What is left to be said about the importance of gaining points against Missouri? As witnessed at the game on March 9th, when Allen plays a solid game they can certainly beat the Mavericks. The key will be to score early and often and NOT take their feet off the gas as Missouri has proven they will take advantage of every mistake made by opposing teams.

We all know that scoring first gives Allen an advantage, however, score after the first period is also significant. Allen has a 82.6 win percentage when leading after 1, the percentage drops to 48.0% when tied after 1, and 27.7% when trailing after 1.  MO. has a winning percentage in all three categories (86.0, 86.9 53.3 respectively).

Noteworthy personnel changes and other info since our last match-up.


  • Former American favorite Scott Howes will be returning to the AEC but in a Maverick's #9 jersey.  In two games with MO. he has 0 points and is a -2
  • The notorious Mav defenseman C. J. Ludwig received a 6 game suspension for an elbowing incident against Evansville on 3/25.  
  • According to social media, Trevor Ludwig was not on the bus to Allen, so if rumor is true, there will be no Ludwigs on the ice tonight
  • The Mavs clinched the Brabham cup with a 2-1 OT victory over Evansville last Wednesday night.  This gives them home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
  • Goalie Josh Robinson had his consecutive win streak snapped at 21 with a 4-2 loss to Quad City on 3/19
  • Players to watch: Tyler Barnes #7 (22 goals, 58 pts.), Andrew Courtney #27 (20 goals), Rocco Carzo #12 (51 pts).  Their active leader for penalty minutes is Darian Dzburzynski #47 (66 PIM)
  • Defenseman Jacob Poe was released on 3/25.  He remains eligible for waivers and we wish him the best of luck
  • Goalie Jake Hildebrand was signed to a Standard Player Contract on 3/24 and is scheduled to make his first start tonight.  Jake recently completed his collegiate career at Michigan State.  In 2014-15, Jake was Big 10 player of the year, and Goalie of the year. We will have a full player profile on Jake in one of next weeks posts.
  • Fan favorite Spencer Asuchak will be returning from his 6 game suspension resulting from his alleged "slew foot" of MO's Jesse Root during the game on 3/9.  We were able to find video of this offense but unfortunately could not download to this blog.  If you would to view it, it is on the E(CHL) Fan page, entry by Justin Barnes on 3/15/16 @2:15 pm. This post also includes video of the C.J. Ludwig clip of Aaron Gens.
  • Chad Costello continues his league leading 12 game assist streak.  Chad leads the league in points, assists, power play points, and power play assists.
  • Players to watch: Chad Costello #13 (23 goals, 91 pts.), Gary Steffes #12 (19 goals, 40 pts.),  Our player leading in penalty is Reid Halabi #19 (104 PIM).

Did you know:  ECHL Goaltenders Manon Rheaume and Erin Whitten became the first 2 women in men's professional hockey in the 1993-94 season.  Rheaume played for the Knoxville Cherokees and Whitten played for the Toledo Storm. That same year Whitten played 4 games for the Dallas Freeze of the CHL.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Off-Ice Officials - What They Do and Who They Are

There is a select group of individuals at every Allen Americans home game that serve an important role as off-ice officials. Every ECHL team has a similar group of dedicated individuals who have a love of hockey and are a vital part of the game. This story is about who they are and what they do.

The off-ice officials are group of 15 (mostly men) that have one thing in common and that is a love of hockey. They come from all over the DFW metroplex and have occupations as varied as criminal investigator, working for the Tollway Authority, fitness studio owner, several different IT positions, retired advertising salesman, family practice nursing staff, working for the IRS, owner of an auto transport business, and working in city government.

The guy responsible for all aspects of the off-ice officiating crew from recruitment, training, game assignments, game operations, coordinating with coaches and on-ice officials, problem resolution and anything else that comes up before during or after the game is a native Minnesotan named Keith Fastle.

Keith Fastle - Off-Ice officiating crew supervisor
 Keith grew up in Minneapolis playing pick-up hockey on the outdoor rinks in his neighborhood. He never played organized hockey as a kid. Hockey has always been in Keith's blood as his high school team went to the state tournament finals three consecutive years (1973-75). He attended the University of Minnesota and got to watch many future "miracle on ice" 1980 Olympians and NHL players (Bill Baker, Neal Broten, Steve Christoff, Mike Ramsey, Steve Janaszak, Buzz Schneider, Eric Strobel, Phil Verchota and of course coach Herb Brooks). Brooks led the University of Minnesota to NCAA championships in 1974, 1976 & 1979.

Keith moved to Texas in 1984 and started playing men's hockey in 1993. In the season of 1995-96 he started as an on-ice official through USA hockey and officiated for 15 years and did over 5000 hockey games. He began as an off-ice official with the Texas Tornado junior team in Frisco and transferred to the Allen Americans when they started seven years ago. Keith worked on the crew in Allen doing everything from recording shots, goal judge, clock, penalty box, and official scorer. Two years ago he took over as the crew chief of the Allen Americans off-ice crew.

Keith is responsible for recruiting the team. The core group has been around for a while but each year there is a need to find new officials. Keith uses his contacts through the hockey community and also reaches out to fans and others who might be interested. While many of the crew skate or have skated it is not a requirement to be an off-ice official. The best recruiting tool is word of mouth.

These are all volunteer positions so love of hockey is a must. The officials do get free tickets for use by their friends and family and free pizza is provided before each game.

On game day, Keith is responsible for scheduling game personnel to the various positions. Here is the list of jobs:

Clock operator
Penalty timekeeper
Home penalty box attendant
Visitor penalty box attendant
Goal judges (2)
Stats Input (2)
Official Scorers (2)
Plus/Minus (2)

The two stats input jobs entail inputting into the the ECHL software on a real time basis all of the information you see when looking at boxscores. These folks sit in the press box.

The plus/minus officials are responsible for tracking who was on the ice when a goal is scored. They also sit in the press box.

The spotter is an official who sits in the press box who has access to the ECHL TV feed and can go back and review plays to make sure everything is correct. 

The two official scorers sit in the stands (usually at the top of section 115) and manually track the movement of the puck so when a goal is scored it can be determined who was the goal scorer and who had the assists. They literally write down the player's number each time the puck moves from player to player. Here is what the official scorekeepers work papers look like.

Official scorers work paper for one period

With so many different jobs and a small staff to pull from, the key to success is most all of the crew can do multiple jobs. If there are not enough officials to cover all of the positions, multi-tasking takes over and some take on two jobs.

As the crew chief, Keith has several pre-game duties in addition to making all of the staff assignments. He meets with the on-ice officials as well as the visiting coach to brief them and answer any questions they may have.

When asked why he puts so much time and effort into a volunteer job while still trying to run the two businesses he owns, Keith didn't have to think; "To start with I love hockey, but first and foremost the best I get out of being the crew chief is the relationship and camaraderie with the crew. That is for sure number one. The second aspect is game day and at the end of the game when everything goes off without a hitch. The stats are correct, pointstreak (ECHL software) is correct and everybody had a good time. I can't get this done without the crew that always give me 100%."

There are certainly some less pleasant parts of the job. Keith has to get involved if any official violates the code of ethics which emphasizes the importance of being impartial. No cheering for the home team, no mingling of the job with players or booster club, no visiting other ECHL rinks and cheering for the Americans. Keith goes over all of these issues at a training session before the season starts but every once in a while has to deal with problems during the season. There are also issues that arise from players (goals or assists), goalies (shot totals) and coaches who are not happy with the official stats.

Tommy Daniels, Vice President of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Allen Americans is responsible for the off-ice crew and works closely with Keith. This is what Tommy had to say, "Keith Fastle is the best off-ice crew chief in the league as far as I am concerned. What distinguishes Keith is that he is a former long time on-ice official. Keith has been an official for many years and understands the rules. It is invaluable to have someone with his knowledge be in charge of the off-ice crew. The fact that the off-ice officials contribute their time as volunteers to help the Allen Americans is greatly appreciated. Some come from as far away as Tarrant county. They don't get paid and give up a lot of Friday and Saturday nights which shows how much they love the game."

Over the last couple of years I have gotten to know many of the off-ice officials as everyone meets in the press box prior to the game. Here is a little background on a few of them.

Tom Pease is a retired advertising salesman and the spirit of the off-ice officials. Don't think he has ever met someone that isn't a friend. He is known in the press box as the candyman, pastry chef and all around good guy. Tom loves to cook and is kind enough to bring desserts for the press box to every game. He specializes in all kinds of fudge (banana, peach, orange, cinnamon, marshmallow creme to name a few) but over the course of the year it is amazing at how many different types of fudge, brownies, cookies, and bars Tom has made.

Tom started his career as an off-ice official by literally being plucked out of the stands. When Tom and his wife Sharon were first married, they decided to get tickets to the Dallas Black Hawks who played at Fair Park. It just so happened their seats were located where the crew chief of the off-ice officials would walk by every game. He got to know Tom and one night asked if he would do him a favor and work the penalty box since he had a guy missing. The next night he asked if Tom could work the penalty box for the rest of the season. Tom asked what it paid and was told two tickets, free parking and a drink and he took the job. That was around 1970 and Tom has worked as an off-ice official ever since. Over the last forty plus years, Tom has worked for the Black Hawks, Dallas Freeze, Texas Tornado, Dallas Stars and Allen Americans. He still works for the Stars and you can often see him close up on the Stars TV broadcast as they have a camera in the penalty box. For the Americans, Tom usually is in the visitors penalty box but sometimes is the penalty timekeeper. It has always been a family affair for Tom and Sharon who has always accompanied him to games. Their son was a stick boy for the Dallas Freeze for two years when he was a youngster.

Tom Pease

Dave Major grew up in Buffalo, New York, so hockey was a big part of his life growing up. After a 20 year career as an accountant, Dave now owns and operates two Koko FitClub fitness studios.  One is located in Keller, the other in Southlake.

 Here is his Dave's story in his own words.

I don't remember how I became interested in hockey, but I can't remember a time when I wasn't a hockey fan.  No doubt it was the Buffalo Sabres that sparked my interest. 

One of my earliest memories is of a wooden Buffalo Sabres mini hockey stick that my parents bought for me.  I must have been 3 or 4 years old at the time.  The stick was just my size and I played hockey all over the house with it, usually pretending to be my favorite player, Gilbert Perreault.  As I got older, I would spend hours playing street hockey or pond hockey with neighborhood friends, or by myself in the basement of our house shooting tennis balls against the wall.  When the tennis ball came flying back at me, I went into goalie mode and tried to make the save.

As a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's, hockey didn't get the coverage that it does today - there simply was no such thing as an Internet or NHL Network.  But Buffalo is right on the US-Canadian border which meant our TV picked up a few Canadian TV channels.  So in addition to the Sabres games that were carried on local TV, I grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night.  I got to see a lot more hockey on TV than most during that time, and I watched and played as much hockey as I could.
My playing career spanned about 35 years.  I started playing organized hockey at age 6, which was the minimum age at the time.  Sadly, I peaked at about age 9 and my NHL dreams were over before I could shave.  But I carried on and kept playing competitively through high school, serving as team Captain during my senior year.  In college and beyond, I played in local Buffalo or Dallas area men's leagues and just recently hung up the skates for good a year or two ago.

Tommy Daniels is also from Buffalo, NY.  We actually met in the Dallas area while watching a Buffalo Bills NFL game.  We got together several years ago to watch a football or hockey game and I half jokingly asked Tommy how I could get a job opening and closing the penalty box door.  A few weeks later, I got a call from the then Off-Ice Crew Chief, Chris Ellsworth.  Chris said he got my name from Tommy and that the off-ice crew was short handed.  He asked if I would be willing to help out for a game or two as a goal judge.  I enthusiastically said yes, but thought my career was over before it really started.  During my second game, I erroneously turned the goal light on even though the puck never entered the net.  I felt terrible and wanted to crawl under the ice to hide.  I was certain Chris would not invite me back, but here I am 5 years later.  (Note - I've changed my goal judge technique and haven't prematurely turned the goal light on since!)

Over the years I have worked all of the off-ice official jobs, but most often serve as Official Scorer which is easily my favorite job to do. I enjoy the people who I get to work with on the off-ice crew.  We're from all kinds of backgrounds and all dedicated to the game of hockey.

Being an off-ice official also keeps me connected to a sport I'm passionate about.  Even though I'm not on the ice in the middle of the action, I very much feel like I am part of the game.

Dave Major

Todd Miller grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas and is a Senior Systems Administrator for the City of Plano. He became interested in hockey while he was stationed in San Diego in the Navy. He and his roommate would take in the San Diego Gulls games who at the time were coached by current Allen Americans coach Steve Martinson.

When Todd returned to the DFW area, he started playing hockey at the Duncanville StarsCenter. He is still playing but now plays in Allen. He got hooked up with the Allen Americans by becoming a season ticket holder. Todd started talking to one of the off-ice officials who introduced Todd to Keith Fastle. Todd didn't know Keith was the off-ice official crew chief but has known him since Todd played hockey in Duncanville where Keith would referee some of his games. After talking to Keith, he joined the crew.

Here is what Todd has to say about being an off-ice official.

This is my third season with the Americans and most of the time I am assigned as the visitor goal judge but some times I call shots on goal as well. I enjoy being an official because I am around the game that I love and still play. I am a big hockey fan.

I would like fans to know that while a goal judge's job may look easy, it is far from easy. There are times where it is really hard to see the puck under a bunch of players and the goalie. While the goal or no goal decision is ultimately with the referee, there are times they ask the goal judge what they saw.

Todd Miller

Gabriela (Gabbi) Baker is one of two females on the off-ice officiating crew. Here is her story in her own words.

I'm grew up in Plano, Texas. I studied Information Technology at the University of Oklahoma, and after spending two years in the field I decided it was a better hobby than career for me. I am currently in the medical field pursuing a career in Cardiovascular Surgery, I hope to be a board certified Surgeon within the next decade.
I have always been an overall sports fan, but growing up in Texas and having parents from the south did not give hockey a fair chance. It had always been interesting but I did not understand it nor did my friends or family. I went out on a whim and auditioned for the Allen Americans Ice Angels and was a part of the 2014-2015 team. After auditions we got thrown in to a Hockey 101 study session. I was hooked. Winning the Kelly Cup was definitely icing on the cake. 
This is my first season as an off-ice official and it has given me a whole new view at the game. I've learned so much from the crew who is made up of so many veteran players, former referees & linesman, and just over all fans of the game. From our side it is very much a statistical game and that is my forte. I am one of two in charge of live updating the ECHL application (pointstreak). I keep track of the shots on goal for both visiting and away teams. I track who, when and where for every shot on goal. This also includes goals, plus/minus, and assists on each goal.
Our job can get stressful and busy with everyone helping out and backing up to make sure we have everything correct. But we have a great crew, everyone gets along and we always have a good time. We come to the rink excited to watch some hockey.

Gabriela Baker

I learned a lot while putting together this story that was new to me. Here are a few examples.

- The official scorers (OS) are responsible for getting the lineups before the game. They watch warmups and record all players taking part in warmups. Five minutes after the completion of warmups the two OS's head to the locker rooms. While one waits outside, the other gets the lineup from the visiting coach. They then take that lineup to the home coach and get his lineup. Next they return to the visiting team's coach and give him the home team's lineup. The line up card is actually a four part form. The coaches each get a copy, the referee gets a copy, and there is a copy given to one of the interns to make copies to be distributed in the press box. In addition, the OS radios PA announcer Lee Hastings with the starting line up.

- All of the off-ice officials work as a team to try and make sure they get everything correct. Everyone is connected by radio and they work together to insure goals, assists, shots on goal and plus/minus are recorded accurately.

- When Tom Pease works the penalty box for the Dallas Stars, he takes the puck out of play at the first stoppage after each two minutes of play, after each goal and after each commercial time out.  Tom gets 15 pucks per period and stores them in a freezer in the penalty box. For the Americans, the only time the puck gets changed is when it goes out of play. He gets 15 pucks for the entire game and the pucks are stored in a bucket of ice.

- Goalies are really sensitive about the number of shots on goal that are recorded and sometimes challenge the number. A shot on goal is not any puck that would go in the goal if the goalie wasn't there. There is the concept of intent when crediting a shot on goal. For example, if a defenseman clears the puck down the ice and it happens to be on goal that is not considered intent so no shot on goal is recorded.

- If you see the off-ice officials walking around the Allen Event Center in their blue blazers with an ECHL patch, before or after a game or between periods, make sure to stop and thank them for volunteering their services. It is a critical and sometimes thankless job.

- If you would like to become a member of the off-ice crew they are always looking for help. The only qualifications you need is a love of hockey and the ability to be neutral in your actions. If you are too big of an Allen fan and can't resist jumping up and down after every goal you are not off-ice official material. As for pay it is not much different than in 1970 when Tom Pease started with the Dallas Black Hawks. A couple of tickets, free parking, a slice of pizza and a drink. The one difference is you get to sample one of Tom's many desserts that he so graciously provides each game.

- If you are interested in becoming an off-ice official contact Keith Fastle. His email is and his telephone number is 214-642-9542.

I want to thank Dianne Webster for taking the photos used in this story and also Mary Betz and Ted Hosterman for their help with the story.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

This 'N That or News You Might Be Able to Use

Today's post is called This 'N That because it will cover a bunch of unrelated topics from near and far:

- The Americans were back at practice yesterday preparing for what will be a critical four game series against the Missouri Mavericks over the next ten days. How they perform in those four games will go a long way to determine if Allen can retain the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

- The new college goalie, who was to arrive yesterday, is not arriving until today. As he did with Jamie Murray, expect coach Martinson to start the new goalie this weekend.

- Coach Martinson continues to work the phones trying to improve the roster and be prepared for any contingency that may arise between now and playoffs. He has to consider the impact of injured players, who will be assigned from San Jose, the availability of junior and college players and will players recalled by other AHL teams (Hanson) return. The playoff roster can expand by two players (20 active 4 reserve) but that has salary cap/budget/housing implications. The bottom line is General Manager Martinson may be busier than Coach Martinson over the next couple of weeks.

- Allen has a five point lead over Cincinnati and a six point lead over Utah for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Here is how the rest of the season breaks down for each team:

Allen (79 points) - The Americans have seven games remaining. Their next four games are against Missouri (2 home 2 away) and then they close out the season with three games against Evansville, all at home.

Cincinnati (74 points) - The Cyclones have nine games remaining with just three at home. They play Indy three times (1 home 2 road), Quad City twice on the road, Toledo twice (1 road 1 home), Fort Wayne once at home and Toledo once on the road.

Utah (73 points) - The Grizzlies have eight games remaining with five at home. They play Tulsa three times at home, then go to Idaho for one game, then return to play Alaska twice at home and then finish the season with two games in Rapid City.

- The Missouri Mavericks are within reach of many ECHL records including most points in a season. The Mavericks have 101 points with nine games remaining. The record for most points in a season is 116. A more likely record for Missouri to reach is most home wins in a season. The Mavericks have 27 home wins with five home games remaining. They need to win three of the five home games to tie the record of 30 which has been accomplished three different times.

- Jonathan Lessard who was part of the 2014 championship team in Allen was waived by Norfolk yesterday.

- This will be my last regular blog post for a while. Tomorrow I am  going to post a story about the off-ice officials and then I will be going on vacation for a couple of weeks, visiting the National Parks of Costa Rica. As in the past, Mary Betz & Ted Hosterman have graciously agreed to write the blog in my absence. It won't be every day, but you can count on game previews and recaps plus some special things they have up their sleeves. I will return in time for the start of playoffs. 

- Photographer Dianne Webster attends most practices and takes a lot of photos. Here are a few of my favorites from yesterday:

Riley Gill and goalie coach Thomas Speer were the last off the ice

Reggie Traccitto checking his "twigs"

Super fans Steve Blair (left) and Ed Bohnemann rarely miss practice

Guess Jacob Poe is camera shy

Poe, Miglio and Rumpel have a post practice chat

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Ed for today's question.

Q: What is the rule concerning the trapezoid behind the net? Can a goalie play the puck outside the trapezoid?
A: The trapezoid behind the net is called the "restricted area." It limits the area in which goaltenders can handle the puck. Goaltenders are allowed to handle the puck in this area behind the net, but they cannot handle the puck anywhere else behind the net.

photo courtesy of Dianne Webster

DID YOU KNOW:  Players must play a minimum of five (5) regular season ECHL games to be eligible for inclusion on the playoff roster. Furthermore, players on two way AHL contracts must have appeared in five (5) AHL regular season games, however, at the discretion of the ECHL team, up to two (2) AHL two-way contracted players may be exempt from this requirement. Veteran players on a two-way AHL contract must have appeared in at least 10 AHL regular season games. There are no exemptions permitted for these players. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Changes Are Coming, Comparing This Season to Last, Costello's Scoring Records Continue

With just seven games remaining in the regular season it is the time of year where it is difficult to be a fan especially if your team is going to make the playoffs and everyone realizes the roster needs to improve to make a deep run in the playoffs. I would put the Allen Americans in that category. The playoff roster will be different than the current roster and changes are inevitable. Players that you have watched all season are waived or left off the playoff roster. New players arrive from San Jose, college or juniors just in time to make the playoff roster. For fans that get attached to their favorite player it can be a rough time. It is the time of year when the saying about cheering for the name on the front of the jersey rather than the back of the jersey makes the most sense.

There is no question there is a gap between Missouri and the rest of the teams in the Western Conference so standing pat is not an alternative. From a fans' perspective it is difficult to see players go or be left off the playoff roster that have been with the team all season. However, coach Martinson's job is to win which means he will make whatever moves he feels gives the team the best chance to win. 

Playoff rosters are due on April 11, but players who are in  San Jose or with any other AHL teams must play five games in the ECHL to be playoff eligible. After the two games against Missouri this weekend the Americans will have just five games remaining. 

- I always find it interesting to compare stats between last season and this season. I am not sure it provides much insight because the league was structured so much differently last season. In 2014-15 there were just four divisions in the ECHL and Allen played almost all of their games against the teams that came over from the Central Hockey League. That most likely made it easier for the Americans to rack up points and stats. So with that stipulated, here is a comparison between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season.

Team Points - Allen currently has 79 points with seven games remaining. Last season with seven games remaining the Americans had 93 points. Incidentally, Allen finished the season strong last year going 6-0-0-1 in their last seven games.

Team Goals - Allen has scored 199 goals this season. Last season with seven games remaining Allen had scored 260 goals. Allen finished strong last year in the goal scoring department tallying 32 goals in their last seven games for an average of 4.57 goals per game.

 Team Shots - Allen has taken 1828 shots this season and converted on 10.8%. Last season with seven games remaining the Americans had taken 2119 shots and converted on 12.2%.

Penalty Minutes - Allen has taken 1100 penalty minutes this season for an average of 16.92 minutes per game. Last season Allen took 1644 penalty minutes for an average of 22.83 minutes per game.

Goals Allowed - This may be the most surprising statistic when comparing the two seasons. Allen has allowed 187 goals this season. Last season with seven games remaining Allen had allowed 190 goals.

Team plus/minus -  This may be the biggest difference between last season and this season. Allen finished at a +291 last season. With seven games remaining Allen's plus/minus is -39.

Chad Costello - Chad leads the ECHL in scoring by 24 points and is having another great season with 91 points (23 goals 68 assists). Last season with seven games remaining, Chad had 107 points (36 goals 71 assists). Last season Chad finished strong with 18 points (5 goals 13 assists) in the last seven games. It should be noted that Chad is on pace to end the season with more points than any ECHL leading scorer in the last five years other than his 125 points last season. He also has more assists than any other player in the league has total points.

Gary Steffes - Gary is the second leading scorer on the team this season just as he was last season. He has 40 points (19 goals 21 assists) in 62 games. Last season after 62 games Gary had 71 points (42 goals 27 assists). Gary had a career year last season scoring over twice as many goals as he has ever scored in season. His production this season is comparable to all of his other professional seasons other than last year.

- As the Americans enter the final seven games of the season, keep in mind there are roster changes on the way. All you have to do is look at when the following players played their first game for Allen last season to give you an idea of what is to come.

March 25 - Vincent Arseneau
March 31 - Konrad Abeltshauser
March 31- Joel Rumpel
April 1 -Dyson Stevenson
April 9 - Chris Crane

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Mary for today's question.

Q: Do referees suffer any consequences for bad calls?
A: The biggest consequence for a referee who has continued bad performance as determined by the league is not having his contract renewed. Referees get promoted based on their performance. I have had numerous discussions with CHL and ECHL officials over the years about evaluating referees performance and the one thing in common from all of them is fans and coaches aren't seen as the best judges of performance. I spent some time with Bryan Lewis, who had over 1000 NHL games as a referee including nine Stanley Cup Finals, when he was the Referee-in-Chief for the CHL. He was in Allen observing the on ice officiating crew and showed me the chart he used to evaluate the referee. There are numerous factors to being a good referee from skating, positioning, vision, control, and yes calling penalties.  

DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello now has a 24 point lead in the ECHL scoring race. Did you know in the 26 year history of the ECHL the scoring champion has won the scoring title by more than 20 points only four times and Chad set the all time record when he won the scoring title by 45 points last year. Here are the four times the ECHL scoring champion had at least twenty more points than the runner up along with where Chad currently fits in with 7 games remaining.

45 points - 2014-2015 (Chad Costello)
43 points - 1992-1993 (Trevor Jobe)
35 points - 1989-1990 (Bill McDougall)
24 points - 1995-1996 (Hugo Belanger)
24 points - 2015-2016 (Chad Costello)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tulsa Sweeps Allen With 4-3 Win, Martinson's Comments, New Goalie, New Ownership & More

With a favorable schedule, the last four weeks of the season was going to be the time to rack up some wins and solidify Allen's hold on the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The schedule seemed to be in the Americans favor with 11 of 14 games at home. Everything started as planned as Allen won the first three games beating Wichita twice and league leading Missouri once, but since then the wheels have started to come off. Four straight loses (Missouri, Alaska, Tulsa, Tulsa) has enabled the field to close the gap for the fourth seed. The Americans still have a five point lead over Cincinnati but have played two more games than the Cyclones. Allen has just seven games remaining in the regular season and things won't get an easier as the next four games for the Americans are against Missouri.

After losing in a shootout to Tulsa on Saturday, the Americans looked to bounce back against the Oilers Sunday afternoon in Allen. It wasn't to be as Tulsa built a 3-0 lead one minute into the second period and cruised to victory. Allen got themselves back in the game with two power play goals to close the gap to 3-2 at the second intermission. Allen killed off a couple of ill-advised penalties in the third period and had the chance to tie the score when they were on the power play late in the game. Instead they relinquished a shorthanded goal to make the score 4-2. Less than a minute later Allen got a goal to make the score 4-3 but could not get the equalizer with goalie Joel Rumpel on the bench for the final 77 seconds of the game.

Goal scorers for Allen were Casey Pierro-Zabotel (14),  Vincent Arseneau (11) and Gary Steffes (19). Chad Costello had an assist on the Pierro-Zabotel goal to extend his streak to 12 games for having at least one assist.

The Americans do not play again until they take on Missouri on Saturday and Sunday at the Allen Event Center.


- After getting two power play goals earlier in the game I thought the power play at the end of the game is what we needed to tie the score but instead we gave up a shorthanded goal.

- You can't use playing three games in three days as an excuse for poor play. Tulsa had to do the same thing and they traveled to Allen today.

- Yes, we have key players out of the lineup but Tulsa was missing guys as well. All teams are playing with guys out at this time of year. I thought our young guys played well (LaFontaine & Miglio) but we need more from our established guys.

- I have another goalie come in this week. He is a college kid.

- Kyle Neuber made a nice little pass on the Steffes goal. I am looking for him to go out and be a power guy, be physical, finish checks and chip in with some plays.

- How players are playing now is how I expect they will be in the playoffs. So the way some guys are playing I am not counting on them to help us in the playoffs.


Following courtesy of Kimberly Sauer:

Following courtesy of Lauren Lyssy:

Kyle Neuber

Following courtesy of Dianne Webster:


- Seven games into the favorable 14 game end of season schedule, the Allen Americans are 3-2-0-2. The remaining seven games are against just two opponents. The next four games are against Missouri with home games on March 26 & 27 followed by away games on April 1 & 2. Missouri has little to play for other than records and pride as they are 14 points better than any other team in the league. The Mavericks are 5-2 against Allen this season. Allen on the other hand should be highly motivated to show they can play with Missouri and also secure the fourth seed in the conference.

- After the four games with Missouri, the Americans close out the regular season with three games at home against Evansville on April 6, 8 & 9. It is most likely Evansville will arrive in Allen without any chance of making the playoffs. They are currently 11th in the conference, eight points out of the last playoff spot. They would have to jump three teams to make the playoffs. Add in the IceMen play seven of their final nine games on the road and the three games in Allen will be the last three games for the franchise as the team is moving to Owensboro, Kentucky in 2017-18 after going dark next season. If Allen needs points to clinch the fourth seed in the conference the three games against Evansville should give them that opportunity.

- It is tough seeing players like Chris Crane and Aaron Gens moving around the AEC on crutches and Justin Courtnall on the 21 day IR. The one good piece of news for Allen is Spencer Asuchak has completed his six game suspension and is chomping at the bit to get back in the lineup.

-  Coach Martinson mentioned in his post game press conference he was bringing in a college goalie this week. Can't imagine there will be three goalies on the roster for any length of time.

- Allen has the best special teams in the ECHL but didn't fare so well in the back to back losses to Tulsa this weekend. The Americans gave up three power play goals to Tulsa in ten opportunities and also surrendered a shorthanded goal. Allen slipped from the #1 ranked penalty kill unit to #3 at 86.5%.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I get this question at most every game so thought I would share my own views.

Q: Is there anything new on getting local ownership for the team?
A: I have heard from the famous "reliable sources" that there is local interest in buying the Allen Americans and there may be more than one group that has expressed interest. However, there is a big difference between interest and purchase. The first step is putting together a business plan and budget to see if pursuing the purchase is viable economically and determining the fair value of the franchise. Only after these steps are completed could a group approach the current owners to discuss a sale. There are a lot of moving parts but if you believe the rumors it is certainly a possibility the team could change hands but how probable it is has yet to be determined. It takes a willing buyer and a willing seller to make a deal and not sure that is in place yet. Stay tuned.

DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello has at least one assist in every game since February 26. That is a streak of 12 games. No other player has had a streak longer than 10 games in the last seven years. The only person to have a streak longer then Chad's current 12 game streak is Chad. Last season he had a 16 game assist scoring streak.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tulsa Beats Allen 3-2, Another Shootout Loss, Rumpel Returns, Kyle Neuber Arrives & More

For the second straight night Allen lost in a shootout. Last night the Americans lost to Tulsa 3-2 before a great crowd of 7689 at the BOK Center. The game epitomized the old saying of, I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out. There were eight fighting majors and seven roughing penalties doled out during the game and the teams combined for 70 minutes of penalties.

The number of penalties were just one phase of what was an unusual game to say the least. Here are a few others:

- The Americans had three goals disallowed during the game. Not sure of the exact circumstances about the calls as there was no public address explanation other than one call for goalie interference. On one of the disallowed goals the entire Allen team was celebrating, the goal light was on and yet the referee ruled no goal.
- Vincent Arseneau had two goals disallowed and it appeared the referee got both calls wrong. The first was a shot that went in the net and came right back out. If you watch the reaction of the players it is obvious that puck was in the net. For some reason the goal judge, who turned on the goal light, must have changed his mind when the referee consulted with him.  On Arseneau's second non-goal he was called for goalie interference and the replay clearly shows he was outside of the crease and did not interfere with the goalie. He was crosschecked into the goalie after the puck was already in the net.
- Allen had a 9-7 edge in shots on goal in the first period but neither team could score.
- Tulsa out shot Allen 19-9 in the second period, 10-5 in the third period and 4-1 in overtime for a game total of 41-24.
- Allen's league leading penalty kill gave up two power play goals (2-5) after giving up just five power play goals to Tulsa in the previous 13 games.
- It took seven rounds in the shootout before Tulsa's Ben Walker got the game winner.
- Tulsa scored the first goal of the game midway through the second period but Allen took a 2-1 lead on goals by Chad Costello (23) and Tristan King (11) only to have Tulsa tie the score at the 13:13 mark of the third period on their second power play goal.

- You can see the highlights (including the fights) by going to the Rewind Section at:

- Both teams will be in Allen for a rematch this afternoon with a puck drop at 4:05 pm. It will be the 15th and final time these teams meet in the regular season. It will also be the third game in less than 48 hours for both teams. It is the kind of game where conditioning and "want" trump skill.

- Steve Martinson's post game comments were primarily related to the officiating so won't post them here. The most aggravating of the calls was the ruling of no goal on the shot taken by Vincent Arseneau. On that goal Martinson could see the net move from the bench.


-  There will be some roster changes for the game this afternoon. Eric Roy did not make the trip to Tulsa after sustaining an upper body injury on Friday and is not expected to play today. Jamie Murray is headed back to school after playing great in his first four professional games. His results will show just one victory and two shootout losses but his GAA is 1.44 to go along with a .963 save percentage.

- Joel Rumpel was assigned to Allen yesterday by San Jose and will be in Allen for the game this afternoon. Joel played in two games during his first AHL call up. He had a win and an overtime loss. Look for Rumpel to get the start in goal this afternoon.

- According to coach Martinson you can expect to see his newly signed forward, Kyle Nueber, at the AEC this afternoon as he is flying in this morning. A final decision will be made once he arrives at the rink if he will be in the lineup, but Coach Martinson expects he will play.  Neuber, who is 6' 3' and weighs 250 pounds, just finished his collegiate career at the University of Guelph which is in Ontario.

- You can look at yesterday's blog post to get all of the statistical comparisons between Tulsa and Allen but wanted to point out the importance of special teams in the game today.  If you look at the ECHL stats, Allen has a big advantage with a much better overall power play percentage than Tulsa (21.2% to 13.2%).  If you look at Allen's home power play percentage (19.2%) versus Tulsa's road power play percentage (7.0%) the advantage is even greater. If you look at the 14 head to head games between these teams Allen is 7-48 (14.6%) on the power play and Tulsa is 7-49 (14.3%). Last night Tulsa won the special teams battle going 2-4 while Allen was 1-4. With the #1 power play in the ECHL and the #2 penalty kill it is imperative the Americans capitalize on this advantage this afternoon.

- Expect Tulsa to be a desperate team this afternoon as they are fighting for a playoff spot. They are currently on the outside looking in. They are ninth in the Western Conference standings but trail eighth place Quad City by just three points with two games in hand.

 - Officials scheduled for the game are referee Nic Leduc (#14) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Alex Black (#63). Puddifant was the referee last night in Allen.


- Despite losing to Alaska on Friday and Tulsa on Saturday, picking up a point in each game was crucial for Allen in the battle for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Allen has been able to maintain a six point lead in that race. Here are the current standings with games remaining:

79 points: Allen (8 games remaining)
73 points: Cincinnati (10 games)
73 points: Utah (8 games)
70 points: Colorado (9 games)
68 points: Quad City (10 games)

- Missouri lost to Wichita last night 4-2. It was their second straight regulation loss and the first time that has happened all season. With home ice advantage all but wrapped up throughout the playoffs not sure if the team is having a letdown or resting players or both. The Mavericks quest to set the all time ECHL record for most points in a season which seemed certain just a few games ago is now in jeopardy. Missouri needs 18 points in their last 10 games to eclipse the record of 116 points. The Mavericks are 5-3-1-1 in their last ten games.

- Allen is now 2-4 in shootouts this season after going 3-4 last season. The good news is there are no shootouts in the playoffs. The Americans were able to get two goals in the shootout last night (Arseneau & Steffes) but that was not enough. In their six shootouts this season Allen is 7-32 for a 21.9% success rate. That ranks them #25 in the league.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Have had today's question several times recently so thanks to all that have asked this question in various forms.

Q: I get so frustrated with the ECHL officials. Do any of them make it to the AHL or NHL?
A: Thanks to Joe Ernst, ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations, for tracking down the answer. "We have 27 former ECHL officials currently on the NHL staff. This year we also have 11 referees that split the year between the ECHL and AHL along with probably 25 linesmen who are both part time and full time."

DID YOU KNOW: Allen and Tulsa have played 14 times this season and the home team has won 10 of the 14 games. The home team has won the last seven times these teams have played each other. Hope it is number eight this afternoon.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Alaska Outlasts Allen 2-1, Martinson Comments, Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview & More

The Allen Americans lost to the Alaska Aces last night in a shootout by a score of 2-1 before a disappointed crowd of 5304 at the Allen Event Center (AEC). Allen has been the best team in the league at winning games when they score first but for the second straight game scoring first has led to defeat.

- Allen got on the scoreboard first at the 6:27 mark of the first period when Vincent Arseneau delivered a check in the corner and then headed for the net. Chad Costello fed him a perfect pass and Arseneau pocketed his 10th goal of the season. Alaska would even the score 1-1 two minutes later and that was the end of the scoring for the rest of the game until the Aces won in the fourth round of the shootout. 

- Allen was outplayed in the first period despite the even score. The Aces had a 14-7 edge in shots. The second period was scoreless but Alaska again had the better of the play and ended up out shooting the Americans 14-6 for a two period total of 28-13. Allen came on strong in the third period out shooting Alaska 14-10 but could not get the go ahead goal.

- Allen dominated the overtime period out shooting the Aces 8-3 and had many excellent scoring opportunities including what appeared to be the game winner as time expired. The officials ruled the puck had not crossed the goal line before time expired and it was off to a shootout for the fifth time this season.

- For being the second best team in the Western conference (by points) Allen has not fared well when games go beyond regulation time. The Americans are 3-3 in overtimes and 2-3 in shootouts. Last night in the shootout Allen missed all four of their attempts (Steffes, King, Costello & Pierro-Zabotel) before Alaska's Ben Lake was able to get the puck past Jamie Murray for the game winner.

- It was a tough loss for Murray who has been outstanding in his three appearances since joining the  Americans. His GAA is 1.26 and save percentage is .968. Look for Murray to be in goal again today in Tulsa and then he heads back to school (Babson College) to finish his education.

- The team will leave this afternoon (1:00 pm) for Tulsa to take on the Oilers who beat the Missouri Mavericks last night by a score of 3-2. The game was played in Tulsa.


- We didn't look very good in the shootout. I thought their goalie was really good in the third period. We had the better scoring chances in the third period and great chances in the overtime. We didn't do much in the first two periods.

- Chris Crane had season ending surgery today so that is a kicker for us.

- I have said this many times at this time of year. How you play now is how I assume you will play in the playoffs. I don't believe in the the theory of we will pick it up come playoff time. I make my playoff decisions based on how players are doing now.

- With all of the guys out of the lineup it provides an opportunity for other players to show what they can do and prove they belong on the playoff roster.

- The plans are to have Murray play in Tulsa on Saturday and then fly back to school on Sunday. He has school on Monday morning and there is snow in the forecast. We might be getting Rumpel back by Sunday.

- A couple of guys got dinged up (Roy & Traccitto) but they should be okay for tomorrow.


Following photos courtesy of Lauren Lyssy:

Following photos courtesy of Dianne Webster:

Following photos courtesy of


- Allen was 0-4 in the shootout last night. In their five shootout games this season they are now 5-25 (20.0%). They rank #26 in the ECHL in shootout percentage.

- Chad Costello assisted on the only Allen goal last night to extend his streak to 10 games going back to February 26. On the season Chad now has 88 points (22 goals 66 assists) and leads the ECHL in scoring by 21 points.

- The battle for the fourth seed in the Western Conference tightened a bit last night with Allen getting one point and Cincinnati getting two points. Here is the latest:
#4 Allen:          78 points with nine games remaining
#5 Cincinnati:  73 points with 10 games remaining
#6 Utah:           71 points with nine games remaining
#7 Colorado:    69 points with 10 games remaining
#8 Quad City:  66 points with 11 games remaining


- Allen takes on Tulsa tonight (7:05 pm) in Tulsa and tomorrow afternoon at the AEC (4:05 pm) in the last of 15 games these team will play each other this season. Thus far Allen is 5-6-1-1 against the Oilers. The last six times these teams have played each other the home team has won the game.

- Here is a comparison between Allen and Tulsa:

                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record              36-21-3-3(78 points)            29-25-3-2 (63 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Central                        3rd - Central
Conference Ranking   4th - Western                       9th - Western
League Ranking         8th                                        19th
Last 10 Games           7-2-0-1                                 3-7-0-0
Last Game                  2-1 L (Alaska)                      3-2 W (Missouri)
Goals For                   194                                       153
Goals Against             180                                       156
Power Play                 21.2% (51/241)                     12.6% (25/199)
Penalty Kill                 87.3% (32/251)                      84.1% (36/227)
Leading Scorer          Costello  (22-66-88)               DeSalvo (16-35-51)
Most PIM's                 Stevenson - 93                      Gagnon - 132

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 4th (16.65) - Tulsa 9th (15.10)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 10th (3.08) - Tulsa 24th (2.59)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (2.86) - Tulsa 7th (2.64)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (28.17) - Tulsa 27th (27.46)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 16th (30.54) - Tulsa 5th (27.63)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (21.2%) - Tulsa 26th (12.6%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 1st (87.3%) - Tulsa 15th (84.1%)

- Special teams will most certainly play a role in the game tonight. If you look at the ECHL stats, Allen has a big advantage with a much better overall power play percentage than Tulsa (21.2% to 12.6%).  If you look at Allen's road power play percentage (23.3%) versus Tulsa's home power play percentage (20.0%) the advantage is not as big. If you look at the 13 head to head games between these teams, they have both had the exact same number of power plays. Allen is 6-44 (13.6%) and Tulsa is 5-44 (11.4%)

- Both of these teams have trouble getting shots on goal with Allen ranked #26 in the league and Tulsa #27.

- Tulsa is desperately fighting for a playoff spot. They are currently on the outside looking in. They are ninth in the Western Conference standings but trail eighth place Quad City by just three points with two games in hand.

- Tulsa had lost seven games in a row before the big win at home last night against Missouri.
 - Officials scheduled for the game are referee Tyler Puddifant (#28) and linesmen Erik Contino (#92) and Chip Excell (#42). Puddifant was the referee last night in Allen.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Ben for today's question.

Q: How did the tradition of honoring the "three stars" at the end of a hockey game begin?
A: Three stars were first awarded in the 1936–37 NHL season as a means for Imperial Oil (Hockey Night in Canada's then new principal sponsor) to advertise its “Three Star” brand of gasoline. In addition, it was seen as a way to promote the game's best stars of the time. After the sponsorship ended in 1976, the tradition remained on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's flagship hockey show. The usage of three stars has since expanded greatly. All professional hockey teams (or radio/television broadcasts of those teams) in North America award three stars at the end of each game, and many amateur and collegiate leagues (or broadcasts of their games) do as well.

DID YOU KNOW:  In the last two months the Americans have played 27 games with a record of 15-7-2-3. However, if you eliminate the games against Wichita, the Americans record over the last two months is 6-7-2-3.