Friday, January 19, 2018

Allen vs Indy Game Preview, Marvel Themed Specialty Jersey Auction Details, Gary Steffes Update & More

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they venture outside their own division for one of the few times this season to take on the Indy Fuel. The Americans are 3-1-2-0 when playing outside the Mountain Division this season but that represents only two teams. Allen played Orlando (South Division) twice at home early in the season, won a game and lost the other in overtime. The only other out of division foe has been Kansas City who Allen has played four times with a record of 2-1-1-0.

- This game against Indy is one of those games Allen needs to win. The Fuel have never made the playoffs since starting as an expansion team in the 2014-15 season. They are destined to keep that streak alive again this season as they are mired in sixth place in the Central Division, 12 points out of a playoff spot. This is a game Allen is supposed to win but Indy has a better record over the last 10 games (6-4-0-0) than Allen (4-6-0-0) so the task won't be easy.

- Allen will be helped by having Spencer Asuchak and Colby McAuley back in the lineup after spending time in San Jose (AHL). Indy forward Tommy Olczyk was just recalled by Rockford (AHL) and they recently added forward John Shalla who played for Indy last season and was their leading goal scorer. Shalla was playing in England until he signed with Indy two weeks ago. He has played in four games since his return and has six points (4 goals 2 assists). Shalla wears #24 so a player to keep an eye on if you watch the game tonight on ECHL-TV.

- Here is the week in review which Indy calls their Indy Fuel Pit Stop. Lot's of good info about the recent performance of the team and their players. Plenty of facts and figures about the Fuel that will get you ready for the game tonight:

- Allen has had great success against Indy since joining the ECHL with a record of 6-1-0-0. Last season the Americans played Indy six times and were a perfect 6-0.

- If you plan on listening to or watching the game tonight the start time is a little different than normal. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:35 pm (CST). By the way right now ECHL-TV is running their mid-season  reduced price special. You can watch all of the remaining Allen away games for $59.99 but the real bargain for avid hockey fans is the all access pass which allows you to watch every remaining game from all 27 ECHL teams (including archived games) for $119.99. That is access to 468 games.  

- Here are some stats comparing Allen and Indy:

                                     ALLEN                                  INDY

Team Record               20-13-4-1 (45 points)            14-17-2-1 (31 points)
Division Ranking         4th - Mountain                        6th - Central
Conference Ranking   6th - Western                         12th - Western
League Ranking         11th                                         23rd
Last Game                  2-1 Loss (Tulsa)                     4-3 Win (Quad City)
Goals For                    132                                         99
Goals Against             119                                         110
Power Play                 20.6% (35/170)                      19.0% (24/126)
Penalty Kill                  81.7% (32/175)                      86.6% (18/134)
Most PIM                    Moore (123)                           Clarke (167)
Leading Scorers:        Pierro-Zabotel (10-32-42)      Neal (11-11-22)
                                   Makowski (7-28-35)               Wideman (9-12-21)         

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (24.08) - Indy 6th (18.18)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 7th (3.47) - Indy 21st (2.91)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 12th (3.13) - Indy 16th (3.24)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 16th (32.39) - Indy 10th (33.12)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 24th (37.00) - Indy 25th (38.15)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 4th (20.6%) - Indy 8th (19.0%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 4th (21.1%) - Indy 12th (17.5%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 11th (20.0%) - Indy 8th (20.6%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 19th (81.7%) - Indy 4th (86.6%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 3rd (87.4%) - Indy 9th (86.3%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 27th (75.0%) - Indy 5th (87.0%)

- Indy is 12 points out of a playoff spot and in sixth place in their division but what struck me when putting together the stats above is the fact that Indy has improved over last season in every category. Last season Allen played Indy in January and had better stats in every category. If you look at the stats above that is no longer the case. One way to measure special teams effectiveness is to add the power play and penalty kill percentages together (105% is the goal). If you use home percentages for Indy and road percentages for Allen the Fuel has the better special teams (103.8% vs 95%).

- Allen's power play has been on fire recently as they have scored at least one power play goal in their last four games and has multiple goals in three of the four. The Americans are 8-22 (36.4%) on the power play in their last four games. Indy is 2-16 (12.5%) on the power play in their last four games.

- Both of these teams give up more shots than they take. Allen's shot differential is -4.61 and Indy's is -5.03. I know an emphasis in practice this week for Allen was to avoid all of the turnovers at the blue line by dumping the puck if there is no play. Reducing the turnovers in the neutral zone and at the blue line will go a long way in addressing the negative shot differential. Allen has a much better shooting percentage (10.7% vs 8.7%) than Indy so if the shots are even the advantage goes to the Americans.    

- If there is any rough stuff in the game tonight odds are the instigator will be Indy's Garrett Clarke who leads the ECHL in penalty minutes with 167. Clarke holds the career penalty minute record in Allen (432) and is the main fighter on the Fuel. According to the website Indy has had 22 fights this season and Clarke was involved in seven of them. Allen has been in 32 fights but players with 10 of the fights (Mike Gunn - 5, Jonathan Lessard - 3, Vincent Arseneau - 2) will not be in the lineup.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Tyler Puddifant (#28) and linesmen Patrick Richardson (#82) and Jack Davis (#91). Puddifant had the honor of working the All-Star game on Monday.


- Nothing new to report regarding Gary Steffes being claimed off waivers by the Idaho Steelheads. My reporting would indicate Gary is strongly considering reporting to Idaho. The waiver rules require him to report in a certain number of days so if he does decide to report it will be known in the next few days. If Gary does report and Idaho is already at the salary cap ($12,800) they would most likely have to move two players off the active roster to accommodate his huge salary. That should go over well in the locker room.

- There have been a lot of questions about the Marvel jerseys the Americans wore on Monday asking where and when the jerseys would be available to purchase. Here is the back story. In October the ECHL announced a partnership with Marvel to feature a Marvel Super Hero themed game for all 27 ECHL teams which feature character appearances, specialty jerseys and other in-game promotions. Utah had the first Marvel themed game (October 28) and the last one will be in Fort Wayne (April 7). Allen had their turn on Monday as part of the MLK Day game. Because this is a league-wide program all of the ECHL-Marvel themed jerseys are being auctioned off to the public through The MeiGray Group at

When will the auction start? Per the MeiGray group, the jerseys will be up for auction as soon as they arrive from Allen. I do know the jerseys had not been shipped as of Wednesday afternoon as I saw them in coach Martinson's office. The team was waiting for Asuchak and McAuley to arrive so they could sign their Marvel jerseys. The jerseys are shipped to New Jersey so most likely it will be later next week before they get posted to but all you can do is keep checking.

- There are 11 games on tap in the ECHL tonight but two of the teams ahead of Allen in the Mountain Division are idle. Colorado and Wichita will play each other tomorrow night in Wichita. The other team ahead of Allen is Idaho and they play in Tulsa tonight. With a win in Indy tonight the Americans will move in to a tie with Wichita for third place in the division.

DID YOU KNOW: The Indy Fuel play in a hockey rink (Indiana Farmers Coliseum) that is on the Indiana State Fairgrounds and was built in 1939. In 2012 the entire complex underwent a 53 million dollar renovation and was turned into a modern arena with two levels of seating, an elevated concourse, state of the art sound system and 6000 new seats.  There are a few remnants of the old Coliseum, the oldest building still in use for professional hockey in North America, including the large windows around the building's perimeter and one section of the original wooden Coliseum seats in the building's southeast corner.

Indiana Farmers Coliseum - home of the Indy Fuel
 One section of Coliseum's lower bowl pays tribute to the building's past with 94 original seats restored to 1939 condition.


  1. I am curious as to why Allen hasn't hosted the All Star game. Is it because our venue isn't large enough? Or did our previous owners not want to host the event?

    I think it would be awesome for Allen to host an event like this. And as a fan, I would love to attend the game in my home arena!!!

    Just curious more than anything...

    1. Gilley, The All-Star game is costly and time consuming. The financial responsibility falls on the host team so they take a big risk. You never know but very few teams are interested in taking that risk.

    2. Thanks for the reply Barry. I wondered how the financial situation worked for something like that. I assumed the team/organization shouldered part of the cost but didn't realize all of the cost fell to the host.

      Maybe someday...a girl can dream can't she :)