It was back at practice yesterday for the Allen Americans as they prepare to take on Wichita tomorrow night in a game that is critical to Allen and less so for the Thunder. You never know what to expect from teams that are out of the playoffs and will be headed home next week. Most players approach every game the same and as professionals will give it their all no matter what. They can even play better without any pressure and playing loose. You just never know what to expect. Just ask Missouri who beat the Thunder in Wichita on Saturday 8-2 and then lost to Wichita at home on Sunday 5-3. The Mavericks were playing for a playoff spot while Wichita was playing for pride and jobs for next season. The loss on Sunday most likely cost Missouri a playoff spot.
- Allen has two of their last three games against Wichita, Wednesday at home and Sunday in Wichita. You know the Thunder, who have been dominated by Allen since joining the ECHL, would love to cost the Americans the Mountain Division title. Allen's record against Wichita is 9-2-1-0 this season and since joining the ECHL is 31-4-4-3.
- It remains to be seen what the lineup will look like tomorrow night. Kyle Neuber is no longer wearing the yellow no contact jersey so it is possible he could play in one or more of the last three games. Harrison Ruopp did not practice and is considered day by day. Josh Brittain is back from suspension so will be back in the lineup. Eric Roy will not play as he recovers from his injury. Best case scenario for Eric is he could play the last game of the season but that is still to be determined. David Makowski will be out tomorrow night serving the last of his six game suspension but will play the last two games of the season. There has been no announcement from the ECHL regarding the boarding penalty on Derek Mathers in the Tulsa game on Saturday. The game misconduct penalty Derek was assessed does not come with an automatic suspension but the vaunted, "if deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion" phrase is part of the boarding rule. Would expect if Derek is suspended the announcement will be out today. Finally, Spencer Asuchak may be headed back to Allen today. It would be great to see the Hanson, Asuchak and Costello line reunited for the final three games.
- I mentioned yesterday that it is possible Allen and Toledo could end up tied for the league lead with 104 points even though a lot would have to fall right for the Americans. If that happens the first tiebreaker is total wins minus shootout wins. The most likely outcome if the teams tie in points is they will also be tied in the first tiebreaker. Toledo would have one more victory than Allen (50-49) but they would also have one more shootout win than Allen (3-2) so when you subtract those they both end up with 47. The second tie breaker is goal differential and this is where Allen has a challenge. The Americans have scored 278 goals and allowed 198 for a goal differential of +81. Toledo has scored 283 goals and allowed 188 for a goal differential of +95. That means over the final three games Allen not only has to win, they have to win by wide margins to make up the +14 goal differential with Toledo. The other option is to hope Toledo gets blown out in the one loss they must have for Allen to end up tied in points.
- The ECHL should start announcing the winners of the year end awards any day now. If a schedule is out I have not seen it but the the first week of April is when I was told they would start announcing the awards. Chad Costello for MVP and and Riley Gill for Goalie of the Year should be favorites but you never know how those around the ECHL will vote.
- We are down to the last three games of the season and there are just two players that have played in all 69 games. Hats off to Chad Costello and Joel Chouinard who are the Allen Americans Ironmen. One of the toughest things to do in professional hockey is be there for your team for every game.
DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello has played in 306 ECHL regular season games
and has averaged 1.58 points per game. That is the highest average
points per game for any player in the last 20 years (minimum 100 games). Chad seems to get better with age as this season he is averaging 1.68 points per game.