Friday, December 2, 2016

Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview, Will Makowski Return & More

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on Tulsa tonight (7:05 pm) at the Allen Event Center (AEC) in the first of back to back games against the Oilers. It will be three games in five days between Tulsa and Allen as the Americans defeated the Oilers on Wednesday in Tulsa.

- The game tonight will be the fourth against Tulsa who the Americans will play a total of 14 times (7 home 7 away) this season. In their first meeting on October 25, Allen out shot the Oilers 44-26 but lost the game 3-2. In their second meeting Allen came back from a 2-0 first period deficit, out shot Tulsa 42-35 and won the game in overtime on an Eric Roy goal. This past Wednesday it was a 1-0 overtime win for Allen on a great play by Greger Hanson, who got the game winning goal and outstanding goaltending by Riley Gill. All three previous games were played in Tulsa.

- Tulsa arrives in Allen leading the Central Division, the Western Conference and the league wide standings with 30 points.

- Allen has fared well against the league leading Oilers though all of the games have been very close. The Americans 2-1 record versus Tulsa includes two overtime wins. In the three previous games Allen has the edge in goals (7-6) and has out shot the Oilers 116-87.

- Here is a match up between Allen and Tulsa:

                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record               10-11-0-0 (20 points)              14-5-2-0 (30 points)
Division Ranking         4th - Mountain                         1st - Central
Conference Ranking   8th - Western                          1st - Western
League Ranking         14th                                         1st
Last Game                  1-0 Win (Missouri)                   2-1 Loss (Allen)
Goals For                    61                                            66
Goals Against             66                                            57
Power Play                 8.2% (7/85)                              8.9% (7/79)
Penalty Kill                 82.6% (16/92)                          76.0% (18/75)
Leading Scorer          Costello  (6-20-26)                   Pleskach (10-6-16)
Most PIM's                 Mathers (100)                          Clark (57)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (18.24) - Tulsa 11th (14.10)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 19th (2.90) - Tulsa 16th (3.14)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (3.14) - Tulsa 7th (2.71)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 9th (33.67) - Tulsa 5th (34.05)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 20th (33.33) - Tulsa 14th (31.19) 
Power Play Percentage: Allen 26th (8.2%) - Tulsa 25th (8.9%)
Penalty Kill Percentage; Allen 16th (82.6%) - Tulsa 26th (76.0%)

- Special teams should play a big role in the game tonight if either team can score on the power play. It will be a battle of the worst with both teams in single digits in power play percentage. In their first three meetings  neither team scored a power play goal as Allen was 0-11 and Tulsa was 0-13. The Americans had a key power play goal to beat the Missouri Mavericks 1-0 on Wednesday. That may just jump start an under performing power play.

- Riley Gill will be in goal again as the Americans await the return of Jamie Murray who is with the San Jose Barracuda. With Gill's back to back shutouts this week he is climbing up the ECHL goalie stats. Riley is #9 in GAA (2.43), #3 in save percentage (.929), #4 in saves (379) and #1 in shutouts (2).

- Fatigue could be a factor for Allen as they will be playing four games in five days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) with 1000 miles of travel thrown in for good measure. They will have to count on the home crowd to help provide energy.

- If you were wondering about the other never ending key to a hockey game which is scoring the first goal these teams are a combined 16-2-1-0 when scoring first. The problem for Allen is they have only scored the first goal in 8 of their 21 games but they have a record of 7-1 in those eight games. The Americans have scored first in their last two games. 

- Allen has had balanced scoring when playing Tulsa. The Americans have seven goals against the Oilers in the three previous games and six different players have scored.

- Adam Pleskach was placed on reserve by Tulsa yesterday and may miss the game tonight because of injury. That would be a big loss for Tulsa as Pleskach is the Oilers leading scorer and always gives the Americans trouble.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Korey Chipperfield (#5) and linesmen Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Aaron Schacht (#31).


- Joel Chouinard scored his first goal of the season in Missouri on Wednesday. It was a power play goal that earned Allen a 1-0 victory. Joel has 10 assist to go along with his one goal. He quietly goes about his business and has proven to be the best defenseman on the team. One stat stands out when looking at Chouinard's season. He is a +12 which places him fifth in the league in plus/minus which is quite an accomplishment for a player on a team with a record below .500.  Another way to state how well Joel has played is he has a +12 in plus/minus and the rest of the team combined is -9.

- You may have seen on social media yesterday that David Makowski has parted ways with his Hungarian team. He was one of the players protected by the Americans so they hold his ECHL rights. The team has not confirmed his return but there is little doubt he will be back in Allen soon. If he returns, David could provide a boost to the power play unit. Last season he was the second leading power play point scorer (3 goal 12 assists) trailing only Chad Costello.

- Allen has only two power play goals at home in 33 opportunities for a home power play percentage of 6.5%. Tulsa has scored only one power play goal on the road in 22 opportunities which is 4.5%. This can't continue for either of these teams. One of them will break out this weekend.

DID YOU KNOW: According to the website the Allen Americans are one of the younger teams in the ECHL. The average age of the roster is 24.73 years. The oldest team is the Brampton Beast (26.23) and the youngest team is the Wichita Thunder (23.74).

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