Saturday, November 5, 2016

Allen vs Alaska Game Preview

The Allen Americans have just three home games the entire month of November and two of them are tonight (7:05 pm) and Sunday afternoon (4:05 pm) against the Alaska Aces. The rest of the month the Americans will play 10 games on the road including two trips out west and just one (Rapid City on 11/20) at home.

- Given the lackluster start by the Americans who are 4-4, the opportunity to have four practices this week and two home games this weekend may be just what the doctor ordered to get things turned around before heading back on the road.

- Despite having several players unavailable tonight due to injury, coach Martinson has a full roster because of recent assignments from San Jose. Riley Gill, Tristan King, Mike Gunn, Kale Kerbashian and Kyle Nueber are all out with injuries. Dyson Stevenson missed the last two road games but was practicing yesterday. Allen fans will get the opportunity to see Matt Willows and Jake Marchment for the first time tonight at the Allen Event Center (AEC). They were both assigned last week by San Jose while Allen was on the road. In addition, according to AHL transactions, Adam Helewka, a fourth round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks, has been reassigned to Allen and should be in the lineup tonight. Helewka is just returning from a surgical procedure and is expected to be a mainstay in the San Jose Barracuda's lineup this season. He is in Allen for a short term rehab assignment.

- When it is all sorted out there will be two forwards sitting out tonight as healthy scratches. Coach Martinson has said there will be times this season when players are assigned from San Jose that Allen will have too many good players and someone will have to sit out. Tonight is one of those games.

- Jamie Murray will start in goal and with Gill unavailable the team will have an EBUG (emergency back up goalie) on the bench.

- Thus far the Americans have been a tale of two teams with a 3-1 record at home and a 1-3 record on the road. Nothing illustrates this more than the penalty kill stats. Allen has not allowed a power play goal at home having killed off all 26 opportunities. On the road they have allowed five power play goals in just 14 opportunities (64.3%).

- Two areas of emphasis at practice this week were overall defensive play and the power play.  The home power play is 2-18 (11.1%) while the road power play is 0-15. This team is too talented to have such poor results on the power play. Look for them to break out of this slump against Alaska.

Here is how Allen and Alaska match up:

                                  ALLEN                                ALASKA

Team Record              4-4-0-0 (8 points)                3-2-0-0 (6 points)
Division Ranking         4th - Mountain                    5th - Mountain
Conference Ranking   9th - Western                     11th - Western
League Ranking         14th                                     20th
Home Record             3-1-0-0                                2-1-0-0
Road Record             1-3-0-0                                 1-1-0-0
Last Game                 5-3 L (Kalamazoo)               5-4 W (Rapid City)
Goals For                   27                                        17
Goals Against            26                                        16
Power Play                6.1%% (2/33)                      0.0% (0/13)
Penalty Kill                 87.5% (5/40)                      78.9% (4/19)
Most PIM's                 Mathers (26)                       Hunt (28)
Leading Scorer          Costello (2-9-11)                 Perfetto (4-4-8)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 4th (19.63) - Alaska 2nd (20.20)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 12th (3.38) - Alaska 10th (3.40)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 21st (3.25) - Alaska 18th (3.20)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 2nd (36.00) - Alaska 4th (35.80)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 26th (37.00) - Alaska 5th (28.20)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 23rd (6.1%) - Alaska 27th (0.0%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 6th (87.5%) - Alaska 23th (78.9%)

- Special teams are always a key to victory but looking at the stats above it is particularly true given how these teams have performed thus far this season. They both take a lot of penalties and they both have struggled on the power play.

- Another key in the game is who scores the first goal. In the eight games Allen has played thus far this season, the team that has scored first has won all eight times.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Kenny Anderson (#16) and linesmen Aaron Schacht (#31) and Rick Rivera (#59).


- The best way to look at the Mountain Division standings this early in the season is by percentage because of the discrepancy in games played. Alaska has played just five games while Rapid City has already played 10 games. Here is how the division ranks based on winning percentage. Remember, the playoff format this season has the top four teams making the playoffs with the first two rounds within the division.
.625 - Utah
.611 - Colorado
.600 - Alaska
.500 - Idaho
.500 - Allen
.313 - Missouri
.250 - Rapid City

- Don't forget the Americans "Adopt a Player" program kicks off after the game tonight with a live auction. It is a great way to get to know the players on a personal level and be involved with the team throughout the season. Here are the details:

- Allen has averaged 3707 fans per game for the first four home games. Last season the average attendance after four home games was 4175. 

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have won the last two Kelly Cups, however, if you look at recent history the most successful ECHL franchise has been the Alaska Aces. Since 2006 Alaska has won the Kelly Cup three times (2006, 2011, 2014) and finished runner up in 2009.

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