The Allen Americans play the Indy Fuel this afternoon (2:05 CDT) at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Allen will be the more rested team as they had the day off yesterday while Indy played Fort Wayne last night. Former Allen captain Jamie Schaafsma was the hero for Fort Wayne and did his old team a favor when he tied the score with just 35 seconds remaining in the game to force overtime and then got the game winning goal in the shootout. Jamie was obviously the #1 star of the game. The #2 star was also an Allen alum as Indy goalie Eric Levine stopped 38 of 40 shots to keep Indy in the game. Fort Wayne out shot Indy 41-29. The game didn't end until 10:17 pm local time and with the lost hour due to the start of daylight saving time it will be a short turnaround for Indy with the early start this afternoon.
- So the Americans enter the game this afternoon with a few advantages. They will have the fresher legs, they have been playing great hockey with four straight road wins and they are 5-0 against Indy this season. However, the only other time these teams played in Indy was way back on October 29 in a wild 7-6 overtime game that Allen had to comeback to win. Spencer Asuchak scored to tie the game with 47 seconds remaining and Chad Costello had the game winner 38 seconds into overtime.
- Head to head in the five previous games Allen and Indy have played, the Americans lead in goals (27-14) and shots (164-156). Allen is 4-12 (33.3%) on the power play while Indy is 3-17 (17.6%). Allen has taken 62 penalty minutes in the five games while Indy has taken 50. Penalty minutes are below average for both teams and way below average for Allen.
- Coach Martinson indicated before the trip with everyone healthy he would have to sit out two players each game but his plan was to sit out different players each game. Tanner Eberle and Travis Brown were the scratches in Missouri and should be back in the lineup this afternoon. A couple of players (Mathers & Chouinard) left the ice with injuries during the game in Missouri but both returned and are good to go according to Martinson. I would expect Mathers will be one of the players rested today. Stevenson will most likely move upfront and another forward in addition to Mathers will be scratched.
- Here are some stats comparing Allen and Indy:
Team Record 38-17-3-2 (81 points) 16-37-3-3 (38 points)
Division Ranking 2nd - Mountain 7th - Central
Conference Ranking 3rd - Western 14th - Western
League Ranking 3rd 26th
Last Game 3-2 Win (Missouri) 3-2 Loss (Fort Wayne)
Goals For 238 147
Goals Against 172 237
Power Play 22.1% (57/258) 14.2% (24/169)
Penalty Kill 84.4% (45/289) 83.0% (32/188)
Most PIM Mathers (238) Williams (115)
Leading Scorers: Costello (31-74-105) Shalla (27-23-50)
Hanson (30-37-67) Wideman (18-30-48)
- Here is how Allen and Indy rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.35) - Indy 21st (12.59)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 2nd (3.97) - Indy 26th (2.49)
Goals Allowed per Game: Allen 3rd (2.87) - Indy 27th (4.02)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 19th (31.50) - Indy 25th (29.17)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 22nd (34.67) - Indy 27th (37.00)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 5th (22.1%) - Indy 24th (14.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 6th (84.4%) - Indy 12th (83.0%)
What is obvious from the stats above is Allen is a much better team
than Indy. The Americans are ranked higher in every stat. Maybe the most telling stat is goal differential. Allen has
scored 238 goals and allowed 172 for a goal differential of +66. Indy
has scored 147 goals and allowed 237 for a goal differential of -90. All
Allen needs to do to win the game this afternoon is play their game. The team
needs to remember it is more important to win the game than to score. Be
aggressive but don't gamble and set up odd man rushes. Finish checks
but avoid the stick penalties. Make Indy pay if they take penalties with
what is a very potent power play. If you can't make a play don't turn
the puck over in the neutral zone, dump it in and forecheck.
Allen has the second highest shooting percentages in the ECHL as they
score on 12.5% of their shots. Indy has the third lowest shooting
percentages in the ECHL at 8.5%.
- If you are looking to predict who might have a big game against Indy go with Chad Costello and Bryan Moore. Chad has 12 points (3 goals 9 assists) in five games against Indy. Bryan has eight points (3 goals 5 assists) in four games.
- Here is the game preview issued by the Indy Fuel which is excellent: https://www.indyfuelhockey.com/03-12-preview
Officials scheduled for the game are referee Sean Fernandez (#21) and
linesmen Colin Gates (#30) and Patrick Richardson (#82).
- Alaska beat Rapid City last night and now has a five point lead over Utah and seven point lead over Missouri in the battle for the fourth playoff spot in the Mountain Division. All three teams are in action today. Utah is at Orlando, Alaska is at Colorado and Missouri is at home to take on Tulsa.
- The Missouri Mavericks announced last night that they will be changing their name to the Kansas City Mavericks starting June 1. The rationale for changing the name in Missouri has many parallels to Allen. Wonder if new Allen owner, Jack Gulati, has an opinion on this. Will have a chance to ask him when he is in Allen next weekend for two home games with Wichita. Here is a link to all of the details about the Mavericks name change: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nhl/article138001918.html
- I had several questions yesterday about future consideration trades in light of the fact that Kale Kerbashian did not report to Wheeling after being traded at the deadline for future considerations. I recently saw future considerations defined as either a player or cash to be agreed upon at a later date. I have talked to coach Martinson about this many times over the years and how this works in real life is much more complex than that definition. In reality, future considerations can be almost anything the coaches/general mangers agree to. Some of the agreements are listed with the league and some are not. Future considerations could be a specific player agreed to up front but not named until after the season. It could be a list of players that the receiving coach gets to pick from. It could be cash or a player at the discretion of the team giving the futures. Sometimes it isn't a player or cash but a promise to do a favor in the future. You scratch my back now and I will scratch your back later. The teams will always file with the league what is required but the details will be verbal or email exchanges spelling out the specifics. If a player doesn't report in a trade for future considerations is the deal voided? It depends on what the agreement was upfront. My understanding in the Kale Kerbashain trade is the future considerations were not voided but remember that doesn't necessarily mean a player. I know of another recent transaction where emails were exchanged to make it clear if you don't deliver on your part of the future consideration deal in terms of a player reporting it voids my part of the deal. The bottom line is when it comes to future considerations the teams have a lot of latitude in exactly how they are structured and executed.
DID YOU KNOW: Since joining the ECHL the rivalry between Allen and Missouri hasn't been much of a rivalry. In 2014-15 Allen had a record of 8-0-1-0 against Missouri on the way to their first Kelly Cup. The Mavericks didn't make the playoffs. In 2015-16 Missouri had a record breaking regular season and won the Brabham Cup with 109 points. However, Allen was 5-6 against Missouri and won three of the last four games they played in the regular season. The Americans beat Missouri in six games in the second round of the playoffs on the way to their second Kelly Cup. This season Allen's record against Missouri is 8-1-1-0. The Americans are in second place in the division while Missouri is in sixth place, seven points out of a playoff spot. You add it all together and Allen's record against Missouri since joining the ECHL (regular season and playoffs) is 25-9-2-0.