The Allen Americans take on the Idaho Steelheads tonight (8:10 Allen time) leading the best of seven series 2-1. If the Americans win, they take a commanding 3-1 series lead with the opportunity to end the series on Saturday night in Boise. If they lose tonight and the Steelheads tie the series 2-2 it will be a dogfight to the end and the series will return to Allen no matter what the outcome on Saturday.
- If past is prologue, which it is not, Allen has an excellent chance tonight. Under coach Martinson, Allen has played game four on the road nine times and has a record of 6-3. And don't forget Idaho is now 3-7 in their last 10 playoff games at home.
- Maybe a better group of stats to look at are the totals of the three games Allen and Idaho have played thus far in the playoffs. Allen has the edge in goals scored (7-5), shots (101-84) and on the power play (4-11 vs 2-9). Idaho has taken more penalties (20-18) and has more penalty minutes (49-45). These stats all point to Allen having an excellent chance tonight.
- Finally, if you look at how Allen and Idaho compare with the other teams in the playoffs, the Americans have an excellent chance tonight. Here is how Allen and Idaho rank among the 16 playoff teams in some
statistical categories considering just the playoff game results:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 8th (15.00) - Idaho 4th (16.33)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 12th (2.33) - Idaho 16th (1.67)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 1st (1.67) - Idaho 5th (2.33)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 2nd (33.67) - Idaho 11th (28.00)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 6th (28.00) - Idaho 15th (33,67)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 1st (26.4%) - Idaho 3rd (22.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 14th (77.8%) - Idaho 16th (63.6%)
- The most striking of the stats above is how poorly both teams have done killing penalties in this series. In the regular season these were two of the best penalty killing units in the league. Idaho was ranked #2 at 86.5% and Allen was ranked #3 at 86.4%. Penalty killing will most likely be a key in the game tonight.
- Idaho has five players who have two points in the series and their five goals have come from five different player. Chad Costello leads Allen with five points, all assists. Gary Steffes and Casey Pierro-Zabotel lead in goals scored with two.
- It is always interesting looking at statistics in a game preview but the most important factor in determining who will win most playoff games is which team works the hardest. The team that is victorious tonight will be the team with the most "will" and "want" and let's hope that is the Americans. Playing desperate is a big motivator and you can be assured the Steelheads will be playing desperate.
- Referees scheduled for the game are Kenny Anderson (#16) and Peter
Tarnaris (#23) who were also the referees on Wednesday. Linesmen will be Scott DeBaugh (#67) and Ryan Nevins
- The local paper (Idaho Statesman) had this headline for the game tonight, "Idaho Steelheads back on thin ice: Host Game 4 on Friday" so no bulletin board material like the "Greedy Steelheads want home sweep" the other day. The article about the game tonight is short and sweet. You can check it out here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/sports/nhl/idaho-steelheads/article73275982.html
- You can join fellow Allen fans at watch parties this weekend which will be attended by players (Aaron Gens & Joel Rumpel) and some of the Ice Angels. Here are the details: http://allenamericans.com/gens-rumpel-and-the-ice-angels-to-host-watching-parties-this-weekend/
- It is great to have all three San Jose affiliated teams (Sharks, Barracuda, Americans) in the playoffs and they all play tonight. The Sharks have a 3-1 series lead and can eliminate the Kings tonight in Los Angeles. The Barracuda start their playoffs tonight at home against the Ontario Reign. The AHL playoffs are best of five in the first round and the series is 2-3. Ontario is the #1 seed in the division and the Barracuda are the #4 seed.
- There were just two ECHL playoff games last night and they both ended with 3-2 scores. South Carolina beat Kalamzoo at home to take a 3-1 series lead. Kalamazoo took a too many men on the ice penalty in the last minute of the game and the Stingrays scored the game winner 13 seconds into the power play. In the other game, #6 seed Utah beat #3 seed Colorado and has a 2-1 series lead.
- It will be a busy weekend around the ECHL with five games scheduled tonight, six on Saturday and three on Sunday. It is possible that the entire second round field could be set over the weekend however it is highly unlikely. South Carolina and Missouri are both playing two games with big series leads and should send their opponents (Kalamazoo & Quad City) on vacation.
- The road teams lost both games last night but still have a record of 17-11 so far in the playoffs.
DID YOU KNOW: The youngest player on the Americans roster is not one of the guys who recently completed their college eligibility and were signed by Allen (Jake Hildebrand, Kyle Neuber, Thomas Carr, Jordan Rowley). The youngest player is Eric Roy who was born October 24, 1994. The oldest player is Chad Costello whose birth date is July 22, 1986.