- The game tonight will be number eight of the 14 games these teams will play against each other this season. Allen has a record of 6-0-1-0 in the first seven games. Despite the lopsided record Wichita gave the Americans all they could handle when they last met, one week ago in Allen. Wichita had leads of 1-0 and 2-1, out shot Allen 41-35 and were 3-7 on the power play. Allen came from behind and won the game 5-3 which included an empty net goal. Wichita acquitted themselves very well.
- Wichita arrives in Allen with a record of 2-7-1-0 over their last 10 games. They beat Missouri 7-5 in their last game which was last Saturday. Earlier this week it was announced that Alexis Loiseau, who led the Thunder in scoring and was selected to the ECHL All-Star team has left the team and signed to play in Germany.
- Allen hasn't lost a game in regulation since December 14 but will most likely be playing shorthanded tonight. Greger Hanson and Jake Marchment are still on assignments to the AHL. Dyson Stevenson, Riley Gill and Bryan Moore are all listed as day to day and may not play. It could be another of those games where you will see a defenseman (most likely Miles Liberati) taking shifts up front.
- There will be a new back up goalie if Gill is not ready to go. The Allen Americans have signed Peter Di Salvo who played three games in Allen last season and was in training camp this year. Here is a link from a blog post a year ago that provides some information about Di Salvo: http://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2016/01/allen-vs-tulsa-game-preview-meet-new.html
- Here are the current stats comparing Allen and Wichita:
Team Record 24-13-2-1 (51 points) 13-18-1-1 (28 points)
Division Ranking 1st - Mountain 6th - Central
Conference Ranking 2nd - Western 13th - Western
League Ranking 3rd 24th
Last Game 5-4 Loss (Missouri) 7-5 Win (Missouri)
Goals For 152 92
Goals Against 112 119
Power Play 19.3% (34/176) 16.1% (19-118)
Penalty Kill 84.6% (30/195) 82.7% (24/139)
Most PIM Mathers (158) Tesink (74)
Leading Scorers: Costello (22-47-69) Loiseau (16-13-29)
Asuchak (15-23-38) DeBlouw (5-11-16)
- Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.63) - Wichita 2nd (19.00)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 4th (3.80) - Wichita 23rd (2.79)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 3rd (2.80) - Wichita 22nd (3.61)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 9th (32.90) - Wichita 6th (33.00)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 21st (34.38) - Wichita 27th (37.06)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 8th (19.3%) - Wichita 15th (16.1%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 9th (84.6%) - Wichita 17th (82.7%)
- You can see from the stats above Allen and Wichita are the two most penalized teams in the ECHL. There is no love lost between these teams but they have played games with very few penalty minutes (26) and some with a lot of penalty minutes (136). Special teams will most likely play a big role in this game and the season long stats may not be a good indication of recent success. Wichita has recently added a couple of players (Zach O'Brien and Ryan Rupert) that have helped the power play. The Thunder are 5-12 (41.7%) on the power play in their last two games. If Dyson Stevenson is not in the line up tonight it means the player that logs the most penalty kill minutes is not killing penalties. Allen's power play has also been very good lately. In their three games last weekend the Americans power play was 5-16 (31.3%).
- In the seven head to head games this season Allen has outscored Wichita 36-10, but the Thunder has out shot the Americans 272 - 244. Each team is averaging just over 30 penalty minutes per game.
- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Stephen Thomson (#27) and linesmen Brian Bull (#49) and Lucas Bisbee (#72).
- I have heard that Allen will travel to Wichita Sunday morning rather than after the game on Saturday night due to budget constraints. Typically when there is a stand alone game in Wichita the team travels the day before the game. To make matters worse the Sunday game is a 4:05 pm start. The team will have to stop on the way for their pregame meal so the total travel time will approach six hours. It means an early departure from Allen Sunday morning after playing Saturday night. Certainly not the best way to take care of the team in my opinion.
- You may have seen in the media a charter bus carrying the Columbus Cottonmouths (SPHL) was involved in a rollover crash yesterday afternoon as they were traveling into Peoria to play the Rivermen this weekend. Most every hockey player can share some scary experiences from their time riding the bus including the Allen Americans who had their lives flash before their eyes while traveling through the mountains on Big Red in November. When Steve Martinson was in Elmira the team was in a bus accident where several players were injured and missed the rest of the season. Most of the Columbus players were treated and released from the hospital but a couple had to be extracted by cutting holes in the top of the bus. Everyone will be okay but there were some broken bones for a couple of those on the bus. Here is an article from the Peoria press with pictures and all of the details: http://www.pjstar.com/sports/20170119/rivermen-opponent-columbus-team-bus-in-i-74-rollover-accident
- Thanks to Tommy Daniels for the invite to participate in his " Inside the Allen Americans " radio show yesterday. If you didn't get a chance to listen when the show was broadcast last night you can go to the Allen Americans section at mixlr.com and listen at your leisure. When you go to the Allen Americans page you will see in the very bottom left corner of the page the "Showreel Items" button and if you click on that it will take you to the archived audio files. The top item should say "Inside the Allen Americans 1-19-17". The show is over an hour long so if you don't have the patience to listen to the entire show make sure to fast forward to the 24:20 point as that is the part when we talk to coach Steve Martinson and Spencer Asuchak.
- If you are not on social media you haven't seen some of the recent work photographer Dianne Webster has done by creating a way to install a camera in the net during games. Here is some video footage from the Missouri game.
- Don't forget to continue voting for the Team Sin Bin's Mid-Season Awards. The voting continues through Monday and you can vote more than once. All you need to do is go to thesinbin.net and click on "ECHL Mid-Season Awards Voting" to support the Allen Americans that were nominated. Encourage you friends to vote each day as well. Here are the Allen nominees:
MVP - Chad Costello
Best Goaltender - Riley Gill
Best Defensemen - Joel Chouinard
Coach of the Year - Steve Martinson
- Congrats to Scott Dyer who was the winner of the drawing for four loge tickets for the game tonight and to Jim Blair who was the first to answer the trivia question and won two tickets.
DID YOU KNOW: To win his tickets Jim Blair answered this trivia question. Name the player that scored and the date of the first goal in Allen Americans history, the player and date of the first hat trick in Allen history and the goalie and date of the second Allen shutout in history. Here are the correct answers:
Christian Gaudet scored the first goal in franchise history on October 16, 2009
Mike Willemsen scored the first hat trick in franchise history on November 19, 2009
Chris Whitley scored the second shutout in franchise history on November 21, 2009