The Allen Americans have their work cut out for them tonight (6:30 pm CST) as they take on the number one team in the Eastern Conference, the Florida Everblades. Florida is coming off of two wins (7-2 & 5-2) against Orlando while Allen is coming off of two losses (4-0 & 5-1) at the hands of the Wichita Thunder.
- Allen's roster will be bolstered by the expected return to the lineup of Dyson Stevenson and Greger Hanson. Stevenson is coming off an injury while Hanson was released from his PTO (professional try out) by the San Diego Gulls (AHL) yesterday. It is also possible Zach Hall will be in the lineup as he is listed as day to day.
- Here are the current stats comparing Allen and Florida:
Team Record 25-15-2-1 (53 points) 27-8-1-2 (57 points)
Division Ranking 1st - Mountain 1st -South
Conference Ranking 2nd - Western 1st -South
League Ranking 4th 2nd
Last Game 5-1 Loss (Wichita ) 5-2 Win (Orlando)
Goals For 158 139
Goals Against 124 105
Power Play 18.7% (35/187) 14.8% (21/142)
Penalty Kill 84.1% (33/207) 85.5% (21/148)
Most PIM Mathers (163) Gogol (98)
Leading Scorers: Costello (23-49-72) O'Donnell (26-20-46)
Hanson (20-25-45) Harris (15-27-42)
- Here is how Allen and Florida rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.43) - Florida 8th (14.84)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 4th (3.67) - Florida 5th (3.66)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 6th (2.88) - Florida 2nd (2.76)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 11th (32.47) - Florida 2nd (35.47)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 24th (34.38) - Florida 6th (29.24)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 10th (18.7%) - Florida 19th (14.8%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 11th (84.1%) - Florida 5th (85.8%)
- A couple of things stand out when you look at the stats above. Allen and Florida are evenly matched as both are at the top of the ECHL in goals scored and goals allowed. Florida has the advantage in shots as they take more per game than Allen and allow fewer than Allen. Allen has the advantage on the power play as 22% of the Americans goals come from the power play versus 15% for Florida.
- A good start is so critical to success for the Americans. When Allen scores first their record is 18-2-1-1. When they don't score first their record is 7-13-1-0. Allen has given up the first goal in five of the last six games. Here are some stats that are even more striking about the importance of a good start for the Americans:
15-2-1-1 - Allen's record when leading after the first period
1-13-1-0- Allen's record when trailing after the first period
In the odd stat category the Americans have not lost a game all season when tied after the first period as they are a perfect 9-0-0-0.
- Allen should be aware of the shorthanded goal tonight. The Americans have given up six shorthanded goals on the road this season which is the most in the league. Florida has scored five shorthanded goals at home which is third in the league.
- The ECHL's number two and three goals scorers will be going head to head tonight. Florida's Brendan O'Donnell is #2 with 26 goals and Allen's Chad Costello is #3 with 23 goals.
- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrew Bruggeman
(#25) and linesmen James Johnstone (#37) and Billy Gubelman (#36).
- The San Jose Sharks made a trade yesterday sending forward Tommy Wingels to Ottawa for two forwards (Buddy Robinson & Zach Stortini) and a seventh round draft choice. Robinson and Stortini were immediately assigned to the Barracuda. The Barracuda now have 15 forwards on their roster. Haven't had a chance to talk to coach Martinson about the trade but I expect Bryan Moore could be sent back to Allen after the Barracuda game tonight. It is possible Jake Marchment could also be assigned to Allen. Stay tuned.
- If you recall last year the Evansville IceMen franchise was unable to come to lease terms with the city of Evansville and were planning to move to Owensboro, Kentucky which is only 40 miles away. That plan never got off the ground and the team suspended operations for the 2016-17 season. Yesterday it was reported the team has now been sold to a group from Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville and Reno, Nevada have often been mentioned as cities that have groups interested in establishing an ECHL franchise that would begin play in the fall of 2018. Here is a link to the story: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/sports/reports-minor-league-hockey-team-sold-to-jacksonville-group/392344699
DID YOU KNOW: The game tonight will be the first meeting ever between Allen and Florida. The Everblades were founded in 1998 and have missed the playoffs only once in team history (2013-14). They have been to the Kelly Cup finals three times, winning in 2012. The team is based in Estero which is near Fort Myers. The Everblades are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) and Charlotte Checkers (AHL). Florida plays in Germain Arena which opened in 1998 and has a capacity of 7186. Here are a couple of pictures of the arena.