Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Practice Update, Costello Named All-Star Starter, My All-Star Views Have Changed & More

Turns out having a week off between games has been fortunate timing for the Allen Americans for a variety of reasons. Time to heal is always welcome this time of year for players that have been out a while and still aren't ready (Aaron Gens & Kale Kerbashian) and those that are day to day (Harrison Ruopp & Derek Mathers). The flu bug has hit the team recently so some players missed practice because they are sick. Another player had a death in the family and is on bereavement leave. One player was added to the mix yesterday as newly acquired defensemen Miles Liberati participated in his first practice.

- The bottom line is 15 players participated in practice yesterday and as expected everyone was worked much harder than the Monday Funday. The hard work was worth it because the players were rewarded with a day off today (Wednesday). A day off in the middle of a week when you haven't played a game is a rarity so it is a nice break for the guys.

- Coach Martinson had some extra help at practice yesterday as power skating coach, Luke Chilcott was working with the team on drills to improve skating mechanics. Luke, as well as both of his parents were figure skating champions in Great Britain and are well known coaches in the DFW area. The Allen Americans are fortunate to have Luke help out as his schedule permits. Through his work with the Americans, Luke has been hired by the San Jose Sharks organization. He flies to San Jose a couple of times a month to work with the San Jose players.

Luke Chilcott

Luke represented Great Britain in the world championships in 2011-2012 in Nice, France.

Luke working on skating mechanics with the team - photo by Dianne Webster

- After Luke finished his work with the team, coach Martinson did a lot of two on two and three on three drills with very little rest time between. He then finished up with a three on three scrimmage playing across the ice from one blue line to the end boards. You know it has been a good workout when the hardest working players who are in the best shape come off the ice saying they are tired.

- It is way to early to know what the lineup will look like against Indy this weekend with the day to day players and who knows if anyone else will get the flu. Under normal circumstances you would expect both goalies to get a start. With the way the team has been playing you almost expect Martinson will be getting some calls from AHL teams that need players. Another thing to remember is Allen has one veteran spot open since Tristan King was traded so coach Martinson has the flexibility to add depth to the team along with veteran presence if he can find the right fit.

- Riley has been selected the ECHL Goalie of the Month for December. Would have to put that in the no contest category as Riley had a monster month. Here are the details:


- Congratulations to Chad Costello who was selected yesterday as a starter for the ECHL All-Star game which will be played on January 18. It is hard to believe but the most prolific ECHL scorer of his era has not been to an ECHL All-Star game. There is an easy explanation as in his two ECHL MVP seasons (2011-12 & 2015-16) there was no All-Star game. In 2012-13 Chad spent most of the season in the AHL. In 2013-14 he was injured. Ironically, in Chad's best season in the ECHL when he scored 125 points (2014-15) he was beat out as a starter for the All-Star game by his best friend and teammate, Jack Combs. It was hard to quibble with Combs' selection because at the time he led the ECHL in goals (21) and points (52) in just 30 games. The sad part was the one player per team rule kept Chad off the team. The other two starting forwards had 36 points (13 goals 23 assists) and 28 points (9 goals 19 assists). Chad was second in the league in scoring (behind Combs) and first in assists with 49 points (17 goals 32 assists). He led the league in plus/minus (+24), had been player of the week and player of the month as well as plus performer of the month. To make matters worse Combs left the team a few days after the starters were announced to head overseas to play in Sweden so Allen ended up with no players at the 2015 All-Star game in Orlando.

- The past is all water under the bridge at this point and Chad is just grateful he was voted in as a starter. As Chad said in the press release announcing his selection, "It's a great honor to be named a starter and be able to represent the Allen Americans and our great fans."

- Here are the All-Star starters. Congrats to everyone.

G - Jamie  Phillips, Tulsa Oilers (26 games, 18-7-1, 2.52 GAA, .919 save percentage)
D - Justin Agosta, Manchester Monarchs - 26 games, 21 points (6 goals 15 assists)
D - Jacob Mac Donald, Toledo Walleye - 30 games, 26 points (7 goals 19 assists)
F - Chad Costello, Allen Americans - 35 games, 56 points (18 goals 38 assists)
F - Peter Sivak, Alaska Aces - 30 games, 45 points (24 goals 21 assists)
F - Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne Komets - 29 games, 45 points (19 goals 26 assists)

- Because the All-Star game is a showcase for young prospects the only older players on the team will be a couple of the starters. Costello should be able to avoid the "gramps" moniker because he will be second oldest member of the team at 30. Peter Sivak takes the old age honor at 34.

-  You may have seen some of the banter on social media yesterday about the inequities of the All-Star game. Have to admit I was pretty hard on the ECHL that first year when Costello didn't make the team. My views have changed over the last three years for the following reasons.

1. Teams have to bid on sponsoring the All-Star game and they take on a big financial risk. The ECHL is not a league flush with money that can put on an extravaganza like the NHL. In three of the last six years (2012, 2014, 2016) there was no All-Star game because no team wanted to host the event. When a team steps up to host they should be applauded. Yes it would be nice to have the two conferences play each other and have twice as many All-Stars but it is not financially feasible.

2. The ECHL decided a long time ago they wanted the All-Star game to be a showcase for prospects. While that means a lot of experienced/veteran players don't participate there will be scouts on hand from most higher level professional organizations. The game will be televised live on the NHL Networks. This gives the ECHL much needed publicity.

3. Each ECHL team has a player selected as a starter, reserve or alternate. Does it mean the best 27 players are selected? Of course not, but each team has involvement and again that is good for the league as a whole. There are flaws with All-star selections in all sports. I applaud the ECHL for selecting representatives from all teams. 

When all is said and done there is plenty to find fault with but it is nice that the ECHL has an All-Star game this year and gives players the chance to participate and be recognized. It will also provide some much need publicity for the league. A special thanks to the Adirondack Thunder organization for stepping up and taking on all of the extra work to make the All-Star game happen.

DID YOU KNOW: To answer the most asked question of the week, yes Riley Gill was hooked up with tickets to the Cotton Bowl to see his Western Michigan Broncos take on the Wisconsin Badgers. Riley said it was a great game despite the 24-16 Broncos loss. The game wasn't decide until late in the fourth quarter on a Western Michigan turnover. Despite the loss Western Michigan had a dream season finishing 13-1. 


  1. I'm so happy for Chad! And for Riley for Goalie of the Month. I was disappointed for all the Broncos fans but like you said, what a season anyway! Thanks as always for your great blog. So much info!

  2. While Riley’s Broncos lost their football bowl game his old hockey team won the GLI at Joe Louis last Friday beating my Michigan Tech Huskies by a score of 1 -0 in overtime. An absolutely fantastic game, except for maybe the score. Last season for the Joe, it was great to wish the girl goodbye.