Big Red and the Allen Americans are rolling down the highway this morning as they make their way to Rapid City, SD where they will play three games against the Rush on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The team left last night (8:00 pm) for the 1058 mile trip and should arrive later this afternoon. The forecast is for cold and light snow with lows in the single digits for tonight and tomorrow followed by a warming trend with highs in the 50's.
Zach Hall and Riley Gill were not on the bus as it pulled away from the Allen Event Center last night. Hall is on the 21 day injured reserve so his absence was expected. What I heard about Gill is he is sick and will join the team in Rapid City later in the week.
- It is inevitable that teams have ups and downs through the regular season and the goal is to be playing your best as you head into the playoffs. If you break down the Allen Americans season there are three different and distinct groups of games so far.
THE START - The Americans got off to the worst start since Steve Martinson arrived in Allen. After 19 games Allen was in last place in the division with a record of 8-11-0-0. The power play was ranked #26 at 7.8% and the penalty kill was #21 at 81.2%.
THE TURNAROUND - On November 29 Allen was involved in the only 1-0 overtime game in franchise history. The game ended on the third Allen breakaway of the overtime with 1:20
remaining. Greger Hanson made a great play, first stripping the puck
from a Tulsa player who was circling in the neutral zone during a line
change. Greger then skated up the left side and scored from his favorite spot in the left face off circle. Steve Martinson had this to say after the game, "Riley Gill was solid in goal and the defense did a great job in front
of him. It is time for us to start a streak."
Martinson was prophetic as the team started one of the most dominate streaks in team history. Starting with that 1-0 overtime win against Tulsa the Americans went on a tear that lasted through the end of December. Allen's record was 12-2-1-1 and they went from last place in the Mountain Division to first place. The Americans weren't just winning they were dominating. They had six shutouts while averaging close to five goals per game. The power play was close to 30% and the penalty kill almost 90%. The plus/minus for the month was +168.
THE MAINTENANCE - Since the beginning of January it seems like the team has plateaued. The record is still respectable at 9-3-1-1 but the team has struggled against some of the weaker teams in the league. Poor starts, come from behind wins and blowout losses happened all too frequently. Back to back losses to Wichita by scores of 4-0 and 5-1 and then the 8-5 shellacking by Tulsa on Saturday has the team playing mediocre hockey. In the last eight games the record is 4-3-0-1 and Allen has been outscored 30-28.
THE FINISH - The team has 23 games remaining (12 home 11 away). The next seven games are against last place teams (Rapid City & Indy) with a combined record of 29-52-8-2. Now is the time for Allen to start that drive for five. It is time for the team to start playing their best hockey and carry that momentum into the playoffs. Coach Martinson is a believer that you can't just turn things on when it comes playoff time. How the team plays over the next 23 games will be key to a deep layoff run.
- If you are on social media I am sure you saw this great story posted by the ECHL about Chad Costello. I post it here for those not on social media. I always like to point out something not mentioned in the story that in my mind is remarkable and that is Chad Costello has not missed a single game (regular season or playoffs) since joining the Allen Americans 242 games ago. It is also noteworthy that Chad is averaging 1.78 points per game this season which is higher than the 1.74 points per game when he scored 125 points in 2014-15. Finally, Chad already owns the #1 (125 points) and #2 (103 points) position on the Allen Americans single season points list. Chad has 87 points this season. With two more points (which will happen in Rapid City) Costello will pass Colton Yellow Horn and own the top three single season point records. Here is the link to the ECHL story about Chad: http://www.echl.com/costellos-vision-has-americans-focused-on-third-straight-kelly-cup-title
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
- It has been a
while since the statistical leaders have been included in the blog. Below are the team leaders in various statistical categories
with the league rank in parentheses:
87 - Chad Costello (1st)
52 - Greger Hanson (7th)
46 - Spencer Asuchak (17th)
24 - Chad Costello (5th)
24 - Greger Hanson (5th)
19 - Spencer Asuchak (21st)
63 - Chad Costello (1st)
28 - Greger Hanson (25th)
27 - Spencer Asuchak (28th)
+27 - Joel Chouinard (2nd)
+20 - David Makowski (12th)
+19 - Bryan Moore (13th)
206 - Derek Mathers (1st)
107 - Bryan Moore (14th)
93 - Tanner Eberle (21st)
Shots On Goal:
190 - Greger Hanson (3rd)
144 - Chad Costello (12th)
127 - Spencer Asuchak (34th)
Points By Defensemen:
33 - David Makowski (4th)
29 - Eric Roy (11th)
26 - Joel Chouinard (15th)
Riley Gill is ranked #1 in GAA (2.07), #1 in save percentage (.940) and #1 in shutouts (5).
- In addition to leading the ECHL in overall
points (87) and assists (63) Chad Costello is #1 in power play points (32), #1
in power play assists (26) and is #4 in game winning goals (6).
- Derek Mathers leads the
league in penalty minutes with 206 which is 32 more than second place.
Derek has 24 major penalties, second place has 15. According to the
website dropyourgloves.com Derek has 23 fights this season which is seven
more than anyone else in the league. He has not lost a fight all year but five have
been rated a draw.
- Greger Hanson is on pace for a
career year. He has 24 goals and 28 assists. The most
points, goals and assists Greger has ever had was in 2014-15 when he had
67 points, 31 goals and 36 assists. In addition to being #7 in the league in points (52), Greger is #2 in power play goals (9), #3 in shots (190), #1 in shootout goals (3)
Spencer Asuchak has never scored more than 21 goals in a season going
all the way back to his junior career. He already has 19 goals and is on
pace to finish the season with close to 30 goals. Spencer leads the ECHL with 10 power play goals. The fact that Spencer has been in Allen all season has certainly helped.
- Among ECHL defensemen David Makowski is #4 in points, #1 in power play assists (16) and #1 in power play points (19).
DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello has 87 points this season and currently leads the ECHL scoring race by 28 points. In the 29 year history of the ECHL the scoring champion has won the scoring
title by more than 20 points only five times. Chad may be on his way to accomplishing that feat three years in a row. Here are the five years where the ECHL scoring champion had
at least twenty more points than the runner up along with where Chad
currently fits in this season.
45 points - 2014-2015 (Chad Costello)
43 points - 1992-1993 (Trevor Jobe)
35 points - 1989-1990 (Bill McDougall)
28 points - 2016-2017 (Chad Costello) as of February 7
24 points - 1995-1996 (Hugo Belanger)
23 points - 2015-2016 (Chad Costello)