It is finally game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Kansas City Mavericks this afternoon (4:05 pm CST) at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. If it seems like a long time since the Americans last played a game (6-2 win over Rapid City) that's because it has been a long time. Eight days between games is unheard of but the Americans haven't played a game since a week ago yesterday. Having eight days off between games is so rare it has never happened before in the history of the franchise.
- The long break between games could be just what the doctor ordered for an Allen team that was really dinged up. For the first time in a long time coach Martinson will be sitting players today that are healthy scratches. Dalton Thrower, Peter MacArthur and Connor Reilly should be available after being injured. Vincent Arseneau will return from a three game suspension. The Americans have also signed free agent Marcus Basara who was in training camp with Allen. Here is a link that provides some background on Basara from a blog post in September. http://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2017/09/getting-to-know-new-allen-forwards.html
- Allen lost Bryan Moore this week when he was recalled by the San Jose Barracuda but in what was a surprise to many Allen fans Olivier Archambault was released from his tryout contract (PTO) by the Barracuda and has returned to Allen. Archambault played two games in Allen (October 13 & 14) and was then loaned to San Jose and has been there ever since. He played in 12 games for San Jose and had five points (2 goals 3 assists).
- Archambault only played those two opening weekend games for Allen before heading to San Jose but in those two games he had seven points (2 goals 5 assists) and was +7. Having played in only two of 21 games for Allen his stats are amazing. Here is how Archambault ranks on the team for season totals after playing just two games.
26th - Games played (2)
15th - Goals (2)
13th - Points (7)
10th - Assists (5)
3rd - Plus/Minus (+7)
1st - Points per game (3.50)
- The game this afternoon will be the first of eight games (4 home 4 away) between Allen and Kansas City this season. Four of the next five Allen games are against the Mavericks. Today and tomorrow in Kansas City and then December 19 & 20 in Allen. After those four games the teams will not meet again until the end of February.
- Allen and Kansas City have both had up and down season thus far. Kansas City is in fourth place in the Central Division with 24 points and Allen is in fourth place in the Mountain Division with 27 points. The Americans have been playing the better hockey recently having won their last two games and in the last 10 games are 7-2-0-1. Kansas City has lost their last two games and is 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 games. The Mavericks have struggled at home (3-6) while the Americans road record is 6-4. Since joining the ECHL in 2014 Allen's record in Kansas City is excellent at 10-4-1-0.
- Here is how Allen and Kansas City match up:
ALLEN KANSAS CITY
Team Record: 12-6-2-1 (27 points) 12-11-0-0 (24 points)
Division Ranking: 4th Mountain 4th Central
Conference Ranking: 5th Western 8th Western
League Ranking: 11th 16th
Last Game: 6-2 Win (Rapid City) 3-1 Loss (Wichita)
Goals For: 74 68
Goals Against: 63 78
Power Play: 18.2% (18/99) 16.9% (14/83)
Penalty Kill: 82.0% (18/100) 78.3% (18/83)
Most PIM Makowski (58) Elbrecht (64)
Leading Scorers: Pierro-Zabotel (5-19-24) McMurtry (10-14-24)
- Here is how Allen and Kansas City rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (24.52) - Kansas City 19th (13.57)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 7th (3.52) - Kansas City 18th (2.96)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 10th (3.00) - Kansas City 18th (3.39)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 11th (33.48) - Kansas City 16th (31.70)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (35.38) - Kansas City 15th (31.74)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 11th (18.2%) - Kansas City 15th (16.9%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 18th (82.0%) - Kansas City 25th (78.3%)
A couple of things stand out when you look at the stats. First, Allen ranks a little higher in every statistic with the exception of shots against per game. Second, both of these
teams have struggled on their penalty kill, ranking toward the bottom of
the league. If you look at road vs home penalty kill percentages both teams are even worse. At home Missouri is ranked #26 with a penalty kill percentage of 68.8%. On the road Allen is ranked #27 with a penalty kill percentage of 72.1%. Staying out of the penalty box is key to any game but the way both teams kill penalties even more so today.
- The Americans have at least one
power play goal in three of their last four games going 4-18 (22.2%). However, they have
allowed two or more power play goals in three of their last four games going 8-24
(66.7%) on the penalty kill. Can't emphasize enough the importance of specials teams this afternoon.
Another key to Allen's recent success is getting off to good starts
which is a huge predictor of success. The Americans have scored the first
goal in four of their last five game. Allen's record when scoring first this season is 10-0. Kansas City's record when scoring first is 6-4.
The referee scheduled for the game is Mike Sheehan (#11) and the linesmen are Addison Brush (#80) and Michael Houle (#49).
- I mentioned on Friday Allen could wake up Sunday morning having a must win game against Kansas City because the teams above the Americans in the Mountain Division standings were playing weaker teams on Friday and Saturday. The outcome could have been worse as both Idaho and Wichita had losses but Allen is still looking up from fourth place this morning needing a win. Tulsa got back in the mix by winning two games and find themselves just three points out of a playoff spot. The good news for Allen is the entire Mountain Division is idle with the exception of Wichita (plays today) while the Americans play two games. A chance for Allen to gain some ground. Here are the standings as of this morning.
35 points - Colorado
34 points - Wichita
32 points - Idaho
27 points - Allen
24 points - Tulsa
21 points - Utah
14 points - Rapid City
- There were a couple of strange games in the ECHL last night. The top team in the league by winning percentage (Wichita) was playing one of the worst teams in the league (Indy) and to put it mildly the Fuel lit up the Thunder by a score of 7-1. It was the first regulation loss of the season for Wichita on the road. You will want to check out the video highlights at ECHL Rewind as two former Allen Americans dropped the gloves 17 seconds into the game (Dyson Stevenson vs Garrett Clarke).
- It was even stranger in Fort Wayne for former Allen captain Jamie Schaafsma. Just 92 seconds into the game Jamie was on the ice when a delayed penalty was called on Quad City. Fort Wayne goalie Micheal Houser left his net to give the Komets an extra attacker. Fort Wayne had several shots on Quad City goalie C.J. Motte and then Jamie Schaafsma, who was on the side wall, tried to pass the puck back to a defensman on the blue line. The puck ended up bouncing off the boards all the way down the ice into the Komets goal. The story ended well for Jamie as the Komets won the game 5-3 and in ironies of ironies Schaafsma finished the scoring with an empty net shorthanded goal. I can just hear Jamie telling his buddies in 25 years about the time he scored an empty net goal 92 seconds into a game and another one with 56 seconds remaining in the game. By the way, since Quad City goalie C.J. Motte was the last to touch the puck before Schaafsma shot it into his own net, Motte got credit for the goal. The video highlights are at ECHL Rewind. Here is the link: https://www.echl.com/
- Things just keep getting better for Aaron Dell. Last night he recorded a 41 save shutout as the Sharks beat Vancouver 5-0. Here is another great story about the game last night and how Dell has established himself as a top notch goalie in the NHL. https://www.nhl.com/sharks/news/inside-the-cage-more-than-okay/c-292965284
- If you watched the Dallas Stars game last night the winning goalie in the Las Vegas Golden Knights 5-3 win over the Stars was Maxime Lagace, a name familiar to Allen fans. Lagace spent time with Missouri in 2014-15 and Idaho in 2015-16. I remembered Allen doing well against Lagace so decided to look up the stats and indeed the Americans faced him three times and won all three games. In December of 2015 Allen beat him in Idaho 4-0. Riley Gill had a 29 save shutout that day. In January of 2015 when Lagace was playing for Missouri he started two games against Allen. In the first game Allen won 4-3 in overtime with Riley Gill in goal. Josh Brittain tied the score for Missouri in the third period and Gary Steffes got the game winning goal for the Americans at the 1:15 mark of overtime assisted by Chad Costello and Jack Combs. Lagace started again 10 days later in Allen against another future NHL goalie, Aaron Dell. Dell got the win as the Americans beat Missouri 5-2. Lagace took the loss and was chased early by Allen. He gave up three goals on six shots and was replaced at the 11:08 mark of the first period. You add it all together and Lagace lost all three games he started against Allen and had a save percentage of .855. Maxime got his break in Las Vegas early in the season when they had numerous goalie injuries. He has played in 14 games for the Golden Knights and has a GAA of 3.79 and a save percentage of .872.
DID YOU KNOW: Could the tide be turning? Since joining the ECHL in 2014 the Allen Americans have feasted on their three closest rivals (Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City). Over half of the Americans games have been against these three teams. Here is Allen's record against Tulsa, Wichita and Kansas City since joining the ECHL excluding this season.
33-4-4-3 - Wichita
23-7-3-0 - Missouri/Kansas City
28-14-2-3 - Tulsa
84-25-9-6 - TOTAL
Here is Allen's record so far this season:
2-2-0-0 - Wichita
0-0-0-0 - Kansas City
2-2-1-0 - Tulsa
4-4-1-0 - TOTAL