Saturday, April 1, 2017

Allen vs Tulsa Preview, Fans in Uproar over Proposed Name Change, Colorado Retakes 1st & Costello Records

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Tulsa Oilers at the Allen Event Center (AEC) tonight with a puck drop at 7:05 pm. The Oilers played at home last night before the second largest crowd in ECHL history. It was Alzheimer's Awareness night and a sellout crowd of 16,753 watched the Oilers lose to the last place Wichita Thunder 4-1.


- Tulsa arrives in Allen playing for pride and jobs for next season. They have lost their last nine games and are 1-6-1-1 in the last 10 games. Meanwhile Allen is on a streak of 11-0-1-0.


- The game tonight will be number 13 of 14 these teams play this season. Allen is 9-3-0-0 in the first 12 games, has won seven of the last eight and averaged 5.5 goals per game. Look for the possibility of a high scoring affair tonight.


- Even though the Americans would be considered the big favorite tonight don't forget both Allen wins over Tulsa last weekend were one goal affairs.



ALLEN VS TULSA GAME PREVIEW


- The Allen roster will have a bit of a different look tonight. Josh Brittain and David Makowski will be serving suspensions. Josh's is a one game suspension and David will be serving the fifth game of his six game suspension. Spencer Asuchak has not returned from Providence as had been expected but hopefully will return early next week. Defenseman Mike Brodzinski, who was just assigned by San Jose, will be in the lineup and Jamie Murray will get the start in goal.


- Here is a match up between Allen and Tulsa:

                                     ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record               45-17-4-2 (96 points)              26-34-6-2 (60 points)
Division Ranking         2nd - Mountain                        5th - Central
Conference Ranking   3rd - Western                          11th - Western
League Ranking         3rd                                           21st
Last Game                  6-4 Win (Missouri)                   4-1 Loss (Wichita)
Goals For                   276                                           186
Goals Against             196                                           228
Power Play                 23.8% (67/282)                        10.4% (28/268)
Penalty Kill                 84.6% (50/325)                         77.6% (62/277)
Most PIM's                 Mathers (252)                           Clarke (177)
Leading Scorer          Costello  (31-84-115)                Watling (13-23-36)
                                   Hanson (34-38-72)                   Murphy (18-14-32)        


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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.32) - Tulsa 6th (17.62)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 2nd (4.06) - Tulsa 24th (2.74)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 3rd (2.88) - Tulsa 15th (3.35)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 20th (31.53) - Tulsa 3rd (34.54)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (34.69) - Tulsa 7th (30.41) 
Power Play Percentage: Allen 4th (23.8%) - Tulsa 27th (10.4%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 4th (84.6%) - Tulsa 25th (77.6%)


- 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.  If Allen is to win tonight they must take advantage of their big advantage on special teams.


- Tulsa is ranked much higher than Allen in shots per game (#3 vs #20) and shots allowed (#7 vs #23). Allen overcomes their low shots per game by having the best shooting percentage in the league (12.8%) while Tulsa has one of the worst (7.8%). Allen overcomes their high shots allowed per game by having outstanding goaltending with a GAA of 2.82 and save percentage of .918 compared to Tulsa with a GAA of 3.29 and save percentage of .891.


- Scoring hasn't been a problem for Allen with 13 goals in their last two games. The Americans played six home games in the month of March and never scored fewer than four goals. The key to success tonight will be on the defensive end. If Allen can avoid the plethora of neutral zone turnovers and odd man rushes they will win this must win game.


- It is another specialty jersey night as it is McDonald's Night with a portion of the proceeds from the post game jersey auction going to the Ronald McDonald charities.




- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Tudor Floru (#26) and linesmen Chase Wilkinson (#68) and Aaron Schacht (#31).



OTHER COMMENTS

-  Colorado won in Idaho last night to retake the Mountain Division lead by one point over Allen. The Eagles scored twice in the third period to beat the Steelheads 3-2. It was a penalty filled affair that saw former Allen Americans Darryl Bootland and Casey Pierro-Zabotel along with an Idaho player ejected in the second period. Here are the details from the Idaho Steelheads press release: http://www.idahosteelheads.com/events/colorado-eagles-vs-idaho-steelheads-14/#gametab-2


- Colorado plays Idaho again tonight and then finishes their season with two games in Rapid City (April 7&8). Allen plays Tulsa tonight and Wichita on Wednesday at home before finishing the season on the road in Tulsa (April 7) and Wichita (April 9).


- The Allen Americans announced yesterday that they plan to "Expand Roots in DFW" by changing the "location moniker" of the Americans. Sounds like a fancy way to say they are changing the name of the team. When you read the press release it raises a few questions in my mind. Here is a link if you haven't seen the announcement: https://allenamericans.com/americans-announce-plan-to-expand-roots-in-dfw/  Kudos to the team for allowing the fans to vote and provide their input to the name change. The first question is will the team follow the fan vote or pick what they want regardless of the fan input? Base on the uproar on social media last night there is little doubt the fan vote will be won by the write in vote of "Allen Americans" so if the team really wants to listen to the fans, will they honor their preference?  Secondly, I would hope the proposal to change the name was based on real research and data as opposed to having a meeting where everyone shares their opinions and anecdotes about how high school football rivalries keeps people away from hockey because the team is called "Allen" Americans or nobody knows where Allen is located.

As I said in this blog on March 17 when Jack Gulati was in Allen to meet with season ticket holders,  "I want to talk to Jack about the possibility of a name change for the team. I started thinking about this when Missouri recently made their announcement that next season they will be the Kansas City Mavericks. This topic has come up numerous times over the years and the rationale for Missouri making the change certainly applies to Allen. I love the current name but the question to ask is would a broader and more recognizable name attract more fans."

- As the new owner of the Allen Americans Jack Gulati can change the name for whatever reason he chooses, but I would hope his decision is based on facts not opinions and he considers the input from the loyal fans he already has. With all of the other issues surrounding the team related to the coach, marketing, promotions, group sales etc. maybe a name change would be something that could be delayed to a later date.

- Whether you agree or disagree with a name change make sure to let the team know how you feel. You can best do that by voting, which you can do in person or online and you can vote once per day through each voting channel. Maybe a "Keep the Coach, Keep the Name" campaign is in order. I can think of nothing worse based on the fan feedback I have received, heard and read than going into the next season with a different coach and different name. If the team "Loses the Coach, Loses the Name" there will definitely be butts coming out of the seats.




DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello is just finishing his third regular season with the Allen Americans and has the top three seasons in franchise history in assists and points. In just three seasons he has become the career leader in points (343) and has the lead by 101 points. Same with assists as Chad is the career leader in assists (247) with a lead of 109 points. He hasn't done too bad in goals scored either. He is second all time in goals in season (41) and his career total of 96 trails only Bruce Graham and Greger Hanson who have 97.

11 comments:

  1. Keep the name...Keep the coach!!!

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  2. I wonder how many people in Pennsylvania or other ECHL cities could identify Reading on a state map??

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    1. I was thinking the same thing.

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    2. I dont think it matters. People arent going to drive 2 or more hours to see a game. It is local people who know where Reading is just as local dfw people know where Allen is. Doesnt matter for those not near the team, they arent going to visit anyhow.
      Missouri change is goid because it just sajs Missouri. Now they say KC which lets people know where they are.

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  3. You are on the money! Keep the name...keep the coach. A name change for a successful organization is beyond my comprehension.

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  4. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the Allen Americans above average in the league as far as attendance is concerned. Pretty good considering a prior unconcerned ownership and NO advertising in surrounding communities.

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  5. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"
    Our rose is RED, RED, RED....

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  6. The issues are advertising, reaching out to more people and lot of other sporting options in the metroplex.
    The name isn't an issue.
    Increase advertising and see what happens. It may do little since people already have a lot of sporting choices to go to, this might just be all Allen can get in attendance.

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  7. I have stated on several occasions that when the team was named the name was too narrow in scope and cost some attendance. Eight years in, fans have an emotional investment as well as perhaps $100,000 in named jerseys etc. Best to keep the "ALLEN" in Americans!

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  8. We need to keep it ALLEN and I agrèe I hope they listem to thr fans and don't just decide. BTW we're averaging 400 per game more than Reading. Maybe they'll get renamed the Pennsylvania Royals.

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