Friday, March 10, 2017

Allen vs Missouri Preview, Kerbashian Trade Details & Reflections, Photos & Faceoffs

Allen is in Missouri tonight to take on the Mavericks at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. The Americans may have trouble recognizing many of the players on a team they played twice just one week ago, What a difference a week makes. Missouri lost two of their best players (Nowick & Tansey) to the AHL on Tuesday and were very active at the trade deadline yesterday. They traded a forward for a defensman and acquired two other players for future considerations. In addition, they signed an amateur forward out of Ferris State. It is uncertain how many of the newly acquired players will arrive in time to play tonight but Missouri will definitely have a different look than last weekend. If you are interested in all of the details about the Missouri roster changes yesterday here is their press release:

- Allen did not match Missouri in the player movement department but three guys that were in the lineup last weekend against the Mavericks are no longer with the team. Jake Marchment is in Indy (where Allen plays on Sunday), Randy Cure is in Wichita and yesterday Kale Kerbashian was traded to Wheeling for future considerations.

- It is part of the business that players come and go and it is easy to say everyone should cheer for the name on the front of the jersey not the one on the back, but there is no question some losses are tougher than others. When fans were seeing the team off yesterday (exactly as the 2:00 pm trade deadline expired) and Kale Kerbashian didn't get on Big Red for the trip to Missouri they new the reason why. This was literally a last minute trade that took place after practice was over.

Kale first showed up in Allen back in January, 2013 and was a big part of the first championship in team history. Kale was the second leading playoff goal scorer (tied) that year. Kerbashian won two CHL championships with Allen before he moved on. One of the first in-depth player profiles I wrote when I started the blog was with Kale. Two things I remember about that interview are the substance to the discussion we had for over an hour and the importance of his family. He also gave me the title for the story with his dry wit when he said you should call this "Keeping Up With Kerbashian." If you have never read the story about Kale it is a good read even if I say so myself. A quiet, easy going guy with a lot of substance and a great family. Here is a link to the story:

 It was great to get reacquainted with Kale and his family, who recently visited Allen, when he re-signed with the Americans this season. He got off to a great start scoring two goals in the opening game of the season and was selected as the #1 star. However, in the second game of the season he suffered a bad broken finger as the result of a slash and missed the next six weeks. He played just six games after returning from his finger injury and was hurt again keeping him out of the lineup for another month. The irony of the trade yesterday is Kale has been playing his best hockey of the season and has been really showing his old form. He leaves Allen having played in 24 games this season with five goals, four assists and a +1.

Trading Kerbashian at the trade deadline says a lot to me about what is going to happen over the next month regarding the roster. I think it is fair to assume what happened on Wednesday with Marchment going to Indy and Cure to Wichita (along with futures) will result in two top notch forwards ending up in Allen for the playoffs. Barring injuries, it is safe to say heading down the stretch and into the playoffs, Allen will have the most talented and deepest group of forwards ever. Kerbashian was traded based on what the roster will become rather than what it is today.

I know all Allen fans wish Kale the best of luck with the Wheeling Nailers. The first question that needs to be asked is will he report? He is about to turn 27 and the trade to Wheeling will be his sixth team in the last three years. Wheeling is six points out of a playoff spot with 15 games remaining. Kale may be tempted to just head home. I hope Kale keeps in mind some of the wise things he shared with me in that interview four years and two championship ago. He is a man wise beyond his years. He will be missed!

- The harder something is the more satisfying the results.
- I try to do all of the little things right and hope they all add up.
- I sometimes get in my own way.
- The biggest thing for me was to realize hockey is not life.
- Tai Chi has helped me get in touch with my senses and live in the moment.
- I need to control my emotions.
- You work hard in the gym today or you have to do it tomorrow. You are going to have to do it anyway.
- Everything in life evens out so if you do a good deed for someone it comes back to you so you are really helping your self.


The game tonight will be the 10th of 13 meetings between Allen and Missouri during the regular season. They will play once more in Missouri (March 22) and twice at the Allen Event Center (March 29 & 30).

- Allen is 7-1-1 in the first nine games these team have played this season but that dominance doesn't mean much at this point.  The Mavericks have come from the back of the pack and are fighting for a playoff spot. After losing twice to Allen last weekend and experiencing massive roster changes this week the Mavericks will be playing desperate.

- Allen will see Travis Brown back in the lineup for the first time since New Year's Eve. Riley Gill should also be back in goal after missing the last game against Missouri due to illness. The biggest change for Allen will be the debut of Wade MacLeod who was signed earlier this week.

- Here is how Allen and Missouri match up:

                                    ALLEN                              MISSOURI

Team Record:             37-17-3-2 (79 points)          27-23-2-5 (61 points)
Division Ranking:        2nd Mountain                     6th Mountain
Conference Ranking:  3rd Western                       10th Western
League Ranking:        4th                                      20th
Last Game:                 4-2 Win (Missouri)              6-3 Win (Tulsa)
Goals For:                   235                                     187
Goals Against:            170                                     191
Power Play:                21.9% (56/256)                   15.4% (40/259)
Penalty Kill:                84.0% (45/282)                    83.4% (35/211)
Most PIM                    Mathers (231)                      Fox (105)
Leading Scorers:        Costello (31-73-104)            Fox (25-34-59)
                                   Hanson (30-35-65)               Nowick (21-24-45)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.27) - Missouri 13th (13.77)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 2nd (3.98) - Missouri 15th (3.28)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 3rd (2.88) - Missouri 16th (3.35)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 19th (31.44) - Missouri 18th (31.51)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 22nd (34.44) - Missouri 21st (33.89)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 7th (21.9%) - Missouri 20th (15.4%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 6th (84.0%) - Missouri 10th (83.4%)

- With so many roster changes for both teams since last weekend the stats above may not be too meaningful. When Allen beat Missouri 4-2 last Saturday they did so without Riley Gill, Greger Hanson, Bryan Moore, Wade MacLeod and Travis Brown in the lineup. They should all play tonight. In that same game the two goal scorers for Missouri were Darren Nowick and Kevin Tansey who will not play tonight. On paper this should be an Allen win but unfortunately the game will be played on the ice.

- A fast start is always a good predictor for success for the Americans. They have one of the best records in the league when scoring first (28-2-2-1). Another key to success is special teams and Allen has the advantage ranking #7 on the power play (21.9%) compared to Missouri at #20 (15.4%). The first power play unit may have a little different look tonight as Wade MacLeod was playing the point along with David Makowski in practice. MacLeod and Chad Costello will be linemates when Allen is even strength.

- After the way the games played out last weekend you can be assured Derek Mathers will be in the lineup tonight to keep order. Missouri's Jacob Doty fought four different Allen players in the two games last weekend including Derek Mathers. Would assume they will have a go again tonight.

- If you combine the stats for the nine games these teams have played this season, Allen leads in goals (33-20) but Missouri has the edge in shots (310-244). Allen has a big advantage on the power play as they have at least one power play goal in seven of the nine games. The Americans are 8-42 (19.0%) on the power play while Missouri is 6-55 (10.9%). Allen has 171 penalty minutes compared to 45 for Missouri.

- The referee scheduled for the game is Mike Sheehan (#11) and the linesmen are Erik Contino (#89) and John Tallieu (#0).


Here are a few of my favorite photos from practice yesterday courtesy of Dianne Webster:

Riley Gill sporting his new gear courtesy of Jack Gulati

Smiles all around, practice can be fun

All eyes on the puck boys

Chad Costello fight clinic, showing the boys (Stevenson & Moore) proper fighting technique

Kale Kerbashain talking to Derek Mathers, an hour later he was traded

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans don't keep cumulative faceoff stats are far as I know but I think there would be consensus that Casey Pierro-Zabotel is the best ever in Allen. If you watch Spencer Asuchak you have noticed he has refined his technique and has become really good in the faceoff circle. What does really good mean in NHL terms? Here are the top five in faceoff win percentage in the NHL this season:

62.4% - Antoine Vermette (Anaheim)
62.4% - Matt Duchene (Colorado)
59.0% - Patrice Bergeron (Boston)
59.0% - Jordan Staal (Carolina)
58.3% - Ryan Kesler (Anaheim)



  1. I wish Kale all the best. It shows how much injuries can affect things. It may have been very different had he not had those.

  2. I have to disagree on your face-off champ. Bruce Graham was by far the best in my book. His 6-6 height and strength made him very tough in the face-off circle. He always seemed to win the important ones.

  3. Bruce was good but CPZ was really good. Almost automatic. Anytime a faceoff was needed to be won he was on the ice and almost always got it or we gained control very quickly.

    1. I don't remember Bruce but CPZ was almost automatic.