Thursday, December 29, 2016

Allen Wins, Another Gill Shutout, Old Time Hockey Returns, Average Attendance by Pro League & More

It was the Riley Gill show in Wichita last night as the Allen Americans shutout the Thunder 5-0 before a disappointed crowd of 3615 at Intrust Bank Arena. The Americans were out shot in the game 42 -29 but Gill stopped all 42 Thunder shots. Any 42 save shutout is remarkable but Gill faced plenty of challenges last night including seven Wichita power plays, a double minor (four minute) power play, a penalty shot, a breakaway and a few odd man rushes. Definitely above and beyond the call of duty.

- Riley Gill has been the MVP of the team so far this season. He has carried the team when they were playing poorly and excelled when they play well. No goalie can be successful without good play in front of them and Gill would be the first to acknowledge that but Riley has been really special. Here are a few statistical examples that prove the point.

Leads the ECHL in GAA at 2.12
Leads the ECHL in save percentage at .938
Leads the ECHL in shutouts with five (no other goalie with more than two)
Has five shutouts in last 11 games
Has had back to back shutouts twice
Hasn't allowed a goal in 156:21
In first back to back shutouts went 150:01 without allowing a goal
Named ECHL goalie of the week back to back
Has won nine of his last 11 starts
Has won five straight road games

- Allen has been getting more balanced scoring recently. Coach Martinson emphasizes depth when putting together a roster and strives to have three lines that can score. Last night was a good example with nine different players getting points and 16 of 18 skaters being on the ice for at least one goal. The goal scorers were Tanner Eberle (5,6), David Makowski (2), Bryan Moore (7) and Zach Hall (2). Check out the video of all the goals, the fights, the penalty shot save and more at ECHL Rewind:

- A couple of very impressive streaks continued last night. David Makowski scored a goal and has now had at least one point in seven straight games. David has not had a minus game since returning to Allen (10 games) and is now +14. Bryan Moore scored a goal for the sixth straight game. That is the longest goal scoring streak in the ECHL this season.

- Tanner Eberle works hard every shift and has a great combination of speed and toughness. The hard work hasn't always paid off in the scoring column so it was good to see him get his first goal in over a month against Idaho in the last home game. The scoring touch was evident again last night as Tanner had two goals and an assist and was a +4.  For his effort Tanner was named the #2 star of the game (Gill was the #1 star).

- The Allen power play is in a mini slump after being almost unstoppable for a few games. The Americans went 10-18 in four games but have gone 0-9 the last two games including 0-4 last night. Allen still won the special teams battle because of an outstanding penalty kill. Wichita was 0-7 on the power play last night and in the five games against Allen this season the Thunder are now 1-33 (3.0%).

- The Americans will have a rare day off in Wichita today before they play again Friday night. It will be a rest and relaxation day for the team. It will probably go something like this. Sleep late, head to the rink for practice at 12:15, take the bus to the local mall for lunch, hang out at the mall and then back to the hotel for an afternoon nap.


- It was good to see a lot of guys on the score sheet tonight. We have three lines capable of scoring and the balanced scoring lately has really helped.

- Our power play didn't score any goals but considering we went four days without skating it was not too bad.

- Gill is a tank! Had to kill seven power plays, a penalty shot and a breakaway and he made it all look easy. His shutout tonight was after four days off and busing all day to get to Wichita. Unbelievable!

- It is good to see Tanner Eberle scoring. I know he has been frustrated. That first goal he scored was a rocket.


- With the win last night Allen is now in second place in the Mountain Division with 38 points just two points behind first place Colorado. The points are misleading because Allen has played more games (33) than any other team in the ECHL. Here are the Mountain Division standings ranked by winning percentage. Allen is slowly closing the gap but still in fourth place. The Mountain Division is the most competitive division in the ECHL. The first place team (Colorado) has the lowest winning percentage of any first place team and the last place team (Utah) has the highest winning percentage of any last place team. The gap between first and last place is 15 points in the Mountain Division. The gap is 23 points in the North Division, 23 points in the South Division and 28 points in the Central Division.

.690 - Colorado
.685 - Alaska
.583 - Idaho
.576 - Allen
.450 - Missouri
.431 - Rapid City
.417 - Utah

- Don't forget if you are attending the home game on Saturday it has an unusual 5:05 pm start time. It will be turn back the time this New Years Eve with the Allen Americans first annual Vintage Series New Years Eve Classic. It's "Old Time Hockey" for one night only in Allen featuring Americans throwback jerseys to be auctioned after the game, retro graphics and even a WWII siren replacing the goal horn. I had a chance to see the goal siren yesterday and it is the hand crank siren just like the old days. In talking to Tom Manning (Director, Game Operations) there will also be some special old time organ music to bring you back in the day. Should be a lot of fun.

-  It was announced yesterday Spencer Asuchak was selected as the ECHL Player of the Week. Spencer is no stranger to Player of the Week honors as in his rookie season with Allen (2013-14) he was the Central Hockey League's Player of the Week on January 27, 2014 and again on March 24, 2017. Check out this photo from his junior days with Prince George that was used in one of the Player of the Week stories back in 2014. 

Spencer Asuchak circa 2011

- Hockey is a big part of life for Steve Martinson and his family so if you head to Minnesota over the Christmas break to visit family of course you bring along your skates. Here is a picture of Steve's daughter Lily enjoying a little pond hockey in Minnesota. As you might imagine Lily is an outstanding young hockey player.

Lily Martinson - Minnesota pond hockey

DID YOU KNOW:  Ever wonder how the ECHL attendance compares to the other professional leagues. Here are the 2016-17 averages by league:

17,280 - NHL
5373 -   AHL
3979 -   ECHL
2636 -   SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League)
715   -   FHL (Federal Hockey League)


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