Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Schedule Sweet Spot, Comparing Seasons, Importance of Good Starts, Dueling Dell Blogs

The Allen Americans are in a sweet spot in their schedule having eight straight games at home over a 22 day period. They had six days without a game last week and four days this week. Even on the days where the team has practice the players have the afternoons free. With highs in the 70's this week the players will be reminded how great it is to play hockey in Allen in the winter. I know there are some fishing trips, golf outings and trips to the playground in the works.

- The Americans have now past the halfway point of the season having played 37 of 72 games. Thought it would be interesting to look at a couple of key statistics to see how the team is doing this season compared to the last two seasons that ended up with Kelly Cup championships. Here are the stats after 37 games comparing the last three seasons:

                                2016-17             2015-16               2014-15             

Points:                        46                        44                       59                       
Goals Scored:            139                       94                      157                     
Goals Allowed:           101                      105                     96                      
Shots on Goal:           1219                    1026                   1220 
It is interesting that despite what was a very slow start this season at the halfway point the Americans are ahead of last season in every stat and significantly ahead in goals scored and shots. In 2014-15 Allen finished with 106 points which was second in the league. In 2015-16 they finished with 89 points which was sixth in the league. Today Allen has 46 points which is tied for third in the league. Allen is on pace to have the exact same number of points (89) as last season. 

- Each morning when I am looking through ECHL stats something about Chad Costello comes up. This morning was the fact that Chad has 12 assists in the last five games. That is more assists in 10 days than everyone else on the team has all year with the exception of Hanson (20) and Asuchak (15). Chad gets so many assists he typically ends up with more assists than anyone else in the league has total points. Right now Costello has 42 assists and 62 points. He has more assists than all but three players in the league have points.

- Getting off to a good start has been critical to the improved play by the Allen Americans. In their first 19 games they scored first six times. In the Americans last 19 games they have scored first 15 times. Allen wins 86% of the points when they score first. Here is another way to depict the importance of Allen not trailing in a hockey game and it is very telling. This is Allen's record this season when:

Leading after 1st period:  13-2-1-1
Leading after 2nd period:  16-1-0-1
Tied after 1st period: 8-0-0-0
Tied after 2nd period: 5-0-1-0
Trailing after 1st period:  1-11-0-0
Trailing after 2nd period: 1-12-0-0

- The Dallas Cowboys first playoff game could not have been scheduled at a worse time for Allen Americans fans. The Cowboys kickoff is at 3:40 pm on Sunday and the puck drop for the Allen vs Missouri game is 4:05 pm. Would imagine there will be a sparse crowd at the AEC Sunday afternoon.

- Every Allen Americans fan has a special attachment to Aaron and Kelly Dell. Aaron was a big part of Allen's first championship in 2013 and is one of only two players (Jordie Benn the other) that have played in Allen to make it to the NHL. Aaron is a laid back kind of guy with a wry wit while Kelly is really funny. Kelly has had a blog for three years but recently Aaron started a blog. Here is Aaron's first blog post and Kelly's latest edition. Kelly is the clear winner in the battle of the dueling blogs as her latest is very funny even though it is all about Aaron. Check them out. It is Aaron's "World's Okayest Blog" vs Kelly's "Crazy Pucking World."  Here is the link to Aaron's blog: https://www.nhl.com/sharks/news/worlds-okayest-blog---shutouts-and-nicknames/c-285373352 and here is the link to Kelly's blog: http://crazypuckingworld.blogspot.com/

DID YOU KNOW: Three players dominate the Allen Americans all time offensive categories. Chad Costello is #1 in points (290), #1 in assists (205) and #2 in goals (85). Bruce Graham is #1 in goals (97),  #2 in points (235), and #2 in assists (138). Greger Hanson is #3 in points (194), #3 in goals (83) and #4 in assists (111). The only other player to crack the top three is Tyler Ludwig who is #3 in assists (121). 

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