Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Best December Ever, Accolades Keep Piling Up, Allen's ECHL #1's, Remembering Fours Years Ago Today

If you complied every stat in the book including offense, defense, goaltending and specials teams and looked at every month in the history of the Allen franchise there is little doubt Americans fans just witnessed the best month ever. There have been months where any single stat has been better but not when you average all the stats together.

As a reminder of just how good the team played in December, here are some of the highlights:

- 10-2-1-1 record including 5-0-1-0 on the road.
- Outscored their opponents 67-29 for a goal differential of +38.
- Averaged 4.78 goals per game
- Allowed 2.07 goals per game
- Power play percentage of 29.4%
- Penalty kill percentage of 89.2%
- Plus/minus total of +168. Went from one of the worst (-27) to first (+134) in one month
- Four shutouts outscoring opponents 23-0

- With the such a great month you would assume accolades would follow and they certainly have. Probably the best month ever for individual honors. Here is the list:

Riley Gill - ECHL Goalie of the Week (December 4th)
Riley Gill - ECHL Goalie of the Week (December 11th)
Riley Gill - ECHL Goalie of the Month (December)
Spencer Asuchak - ECHL Player of the Week (December 23)
Spencer Asuchak - PHPA Performer of the Month (December)
David Makowski - ECHL Plus Performer of the Month (December)
Chad Costello - ECHL All-Star game starter

- With so much individual recognition for the Allen players in December, it is probably not right to quibble about who was not selected but in my mind the stats don't lie and Greger Hanson deserved Player of the Week honors last week. I am sure it didn't help Greger that his teammate (Asuchak) had won the award the week prior and the league was probably thinking we can't keep giving all of these awards to Allen. Justin Crandall from Reading won Player of the Week and had great stats scoring two goals, added six assists and was a +6 as the Royals went 3-0 for the week. Hanson had five goals, added four assists and was a +6 as Allen went 3-0. Greger had the game winning goal in two of the three games, had five points in one game which is tied for the ECHL high for the season and he was a +5 in one of the games which also is tied for the league best this season. The only thing that maybe worked against Greger is his nine points came in two games and he was scoreless in the third, but if you look at his body of work for the week he definitely had the edge. Hanson was better in points (9-8) goals (5-2), shots (14-4) and game winning goals (2-0). The two players were tied in  plus/minus (6-6) and Crandall led in assists (6-4). I would think most unbiased observers would say Hanson had the better week.

- With the monster statistical month the Americans had in December several players have shot up the leader board in many statistical categories. Here is a list of the stats where an Allen player is ranked #1 in the ECHL. Given how the Americans started the season this is an impressive list and is statistical proof of how well the team played in December. Again, this is only those categories where  the player leads the ECHL.

Chad Costello - Points (56)
Chad Costello - Assists (38)
Chad Costello - Power play points (19)
Chad Costello - Power play assists (15)
Chad Costello - Road point scoring streak (7 games)
Chad Costello - Assists in one game (4)
Greger Hanson - Power play goals (7)
Greger Hanson - Shots on goal (152)
Greger Hanson - Most points in one game (5)
Greger Hanson - Highest plus/minus in one game (+5)
Greger Hanson - Scoring first goal of game (6)
Derek Mathers - Penalty minutes (149)
Derek Mathers - Major penalties (17)
Joel Chouinard - Plus/Minus (+24)
Bryan Moore - Consecutive games scoring a goal (6 games)
Riley Gill - GAA (2.12)
Riley Gill - Save percentage (.938)
Riley Gill - Shutouts (5)

DID YOU KNOW: One of the most memorable regular season games in team history took place on this date (January 5) four years ago. If you look at the score it appears uneventful as the Allen Americans beat the Rapid City Rush 5-4 at the Allen Event Center on a Saturday night before a crowd of 4710. Here are a few things that may jog your memory of that game.

- The first of five fights in the game took place at the opening puck drop as two heavyweights dropped the gloves. It was Allen's Kip Brennan vs Rapid City's Justin Sawyer.

- Before the second period was over four other Americans would drop the gloves including Ryley Grantham, Mike Berube, Garrett Clarke and the diminutive Anthony Maiani who fought a guy five inches taller and 50 pounds heavier. It was one of only two fights Anthony had in his entire career.

- Clarke and Rapid City's Justin Faryna were given game misconducts.

- Alec Martinez, who won a Stanley Cup the prior season with the Los Angeles Kings and was playing with Allen during the NHL lockout scored his only CHL goal in the game. It turned out to be his last of three games with Allen.

- After a penalty filled second period (74 minutes) there were just two minor penalties in the third period. Allen did one of their famous third period comebacks scoring three unanswered goals to take the victory 5-4. The third period goal scorers were Jason Deitsch, Anthony Maiani and the game winner by Jamie Schaafsma assisted by Brian McMillin and Kip Brennan.

- In addition to having one NHL player in the lineup that night (Alec Martinez) a future NHL player also played as Aaron Dell was the winning goalie.

- Talk about a team with some toughness the Allen lineup that night included Kip Brennan, Ryley Grantham, Darryl Bootland, Garrett Clarke and Mike Berube. This group has over 800 fights in their hockey careers.

- There were many highlights but the fight at the start of the game between Brennan and Sawyer was rated the best fight of the year in the CHL and there were 531 CHL fights that season in the 10 team league. It was a toe to toe heavyweight battle that went over a minute. Both landed plenty of punches and it was a close fight but most had Brennan as a slight winner. Check out Brian McMillin clearing out of the faceoff circle as soon as the puck is dropped for this prearranged bout. 

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