Friday, February 24, 2017

New Owner Press Conference Details, Allen vs Tulsa Game Preview, The Reading/Allen Connection

Jack Gulati addressing fans and media - photo by Dianne Webster

It was a very special day for the Allen Americans yesterday as Jack Gulati was introduced as the new owner of the team. It was a standing room only crowd that stopped by to attend the event. Jack Gulati will be a breath of fresh air for Allen and has already made decisions that are welcome. I am sure I will be talking about the details of the press conference over the next few days but here are a few highlights.

It was a standing room only crowd for the new owner press conference

- Big Red was not part of the sale of the team. The team will continue to use the bus through the end of the season but that will be the end of the line for Big Red in Allen. All that was said about next season is a transportation solution will have to be found. That does not necessarily mean the purchase of a new bus. The team could buy a bus, lease a bus and fly more. All Jack said is he will be working on a transportation solution.

- The concern about providing all necessary equipment for the players was clearly covered by Jack. He sees that as a top of the list item. That issue was so important to Jack he went to the Americans practice just prior to the press conference and personally told the players skates, sticks, tape etc. were a top priority and were being ordered. The picture below shows Jack addressing the team. The photo was prior to Gulati telling the team that their skates were on the way because as soon as he said that there were smiles and stick taps all around.

Jack Gulati addressing the team - photo by Dianne Webster

- Jack also addressed the possibility of local businessmen becoming minority owners of the team. Gulati has bought and sold over 40 businesses and is not an advocate of minority ownership. He does not foresee that happening in Allen.

- It was very clear watching Jack Gulati before, during and after the press conference he will be very engaging. Talk about working a room, he was a master. And you could tell he was enjoying every minute. He mentioned he plans on being in Allen about once a month and will time his visits around homestands. You will see him in the concourse talking to everyone. He plans to be in Allen for the next home games on March 17 & 18.


- It will be a long day for the team as they will take Big Red to Tulsa (230 miles), play the Oilers (7:05 pm puck drop) and then drive back to Allen.

- Allen plays Tulsa 14 times this season and the game tonight will be number 10. In the first nine games Allen is 6-3 against the Oilers. The last time the teams met was February 4 at the BOK Center. Tulsa won 8-5 and the game wasn't that close. The Oilers were leading 7-2 at the end of the second period. It was the game that Derek Mathers and Reid Halabi fought twice. There won't be any rematch tonight as Halabi is serving a four game suspension.

- It seems like feast or famine when it comes to the roster lately. It will be more like famine tonight. Greger Hanson has been loaned to an AHL team. It hasn't been announced yet so I won't mention the team. David Makowski will not play because of an injury. Look for Dyson Stevenson to take some shifts at defense since the team is down to five healthy defensemen. Riley Gill is expected to make the start in goal.

- Here is a match up between Allen and Tulsa:

                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record               34-17-3-2 (73 points)              25-26-5-0 (55 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Mountain                        4th - Central
Conference Ranking   3rd - Western                          9th - Western
League Ranking         4th                                           19th
Last Game                  3-2 Loss (Rapid City)               5-0 Win (Wichita)
Goals For                   219                                           161
Goals Against             166                                          174
Power Play                 21.8% (53/243)                        10.5% (23/219)
Penalty Kill                 83.8% (43/256)                         80.3% (46/233)
Most PIM's                 Mathers (217)                           Halabi (167)
Leading Scorer          Costello  (28-72-100)                Brewer (11-20-31)
                                   Hanson (30-35-56)                   Clark (15-12-27)         

-  Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.23) - Tulsa 7th (17.20)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 2nd (3.91) - Tulsa 21st (2.88)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 7th (2.96 ) - Tulsa 11th (3.11)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 14th (31.96) - Tulsa 3rd (34.39)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 22nd (34.45) - Tulsa 12th (30.79) 
Power Play Percentage: Allen 5th (21.8%) - Tulsa 27th (10.5%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 11th (83.8%) - Tulsa 22nd (80.3%)

- The stats above that jump out at you are on special teams where Tulsa is the worst in the league on the power play and one of the worst on the penalty kill. Allen has used special teams to their advantage against Tulsa. The 8-5 loss to Tulsa on February 4 was an exception as the Oliers were 3-8 on the power play while Allen was 0-6. However in the six previous games Allen was 11-21 (52.4%) while Tulsa was 3-21 (14.3%). If Allen is to win tonight they need to take advantage of their excellent power play.

- Allen has lost their last two games while Tulsa won their last game but if you look at the last 10 games Allen's record is 7-2-1-0 compared to Tulsa's record of 2-7-1-0.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrew Wilk (#24) and linesmen Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Erik Contino (#89).

DID YOU KNOW: Riley Gill is the most famous Reading Royals alumni having won the Kelly Cup in Reading in 2013 when he was named the playoff MVP.  Did you know there are six players on the current Allen roster that played for Jack Gulati in Reading. Here is the list:

Riley Gill - 2012-14
Aaron Gens - 2013-14
Josh Brittain - 2013-14
Derek Mathers - 2014-16
Zach Hall - 2016-17
Miles Liberati - 2016-17

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