It is back to practice this morning for the Allen Americans as they prepare for three big games this week. If you attended the Americans win on Saturday you saw the celebration at the end of the game was indicative of going two weeks without being able to celebrate a victory.
- As great as the win felt on Saturday for the team and fans alike the reality is it was just one win and won't mean much if it isn't backed up with good performances this week against Colorado (Thursday & Friday) at home and at Tulsa on Saturday.
- Coach Martinson said after the game on Saturday that Vincent Arseneau and Zach Pochiro will get better each game because they had such little practice time coming back from injury. Their contribution to the offense can be huge going forward. Arseneau has only played in 48% of Allen's games this season and Pochiro has only played in 32%. If you take their averages these two players combine to add over one goal (1.09) per game when they are in the lineup.
- How tough will it be to beat Colorado once let alone twice this week. The Eagles lost just one game the entire month of January and had a record of 10-1. Allen's record in January was 3-9. The Americans certainly have their work cut out for them but the win on Saturday against Wichita was a good start.
- February will be a critical month for the Americans and when it is over there should be some answers whether this team will be fighting for second place in the division or struggling to maintain a playoff spot. Allen has 11 games in February and only four of them are at home. The Americans play Colorado at home this week (February 1 & 2), then hit the road for five games including a four game swing to the South Division to play Atlanta, Florida (twice) and Jacksonville. They are back home for two games against Utah (February 16 & 17) before closing out the month with two games in Kansas City. If Allen expects to compete for second place in the Mountain Division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs the goal for February has the be at least 15 of the 22 (.682) points available.
- Here is Allen's monthly record, points earned and winning percentage for each month of the season. As you can see the collapse in January was significant. The question now is what will February bring?
October 3-2-2-0 (8 of 14 points earned = .571)
November 7-4-0-1 (15 of 24 points earned = .625)
December 8-3-2-0 (18 of 26 points earned = .692)
January 3-9-0-0 (6 of 24 points earned = .250)
- Haven't done this for a while but always enjoyable to go through the entire ECHL daily report and list out every team or individual category where Allen is number one. When you consider there are 27 teams in the ECHL and 795 players (266 defensemen) have played in the ECHL this season to be #1 in anything is impressive. Here are the players that are at the top of the heap along with the team #1's.
#1 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel - Assists (36)
#1 - David Makowski - Power play assists (16)
#1 - Joel Chouinard - Power play points (20)
#1 - Eric Roy - Power play goals for defensemen (6)
#1 - Joel Chouinard - Power play goals for defensemen (6)
#1 - David Makowski - Power play assists for defensemen (16)
#1 - Joel Chouinard - Power play points for defensemen (20)
#1 - David Makowski - Shots taken by a defensemen (148)
#1 - Allen Americans - Most penalty minutes (991)
#1 - Allen Americans - Most 10 minute misconduct penalties (16)
#1 - Allen Americans - Most game misconduct penalties (12)
#1 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel - Longest home assist streak (8 games)
#1 - Casey Pierro-Zabotel - Longest home point streak (11 games)
#1 - Colby McAuley - Longest current road penalty streak (6 games)
#1 - Joel Chouinard - Individual game high for power play assists (4)
#1 - Allen Americans - Individual team game high for minor penalties (15)
- The Star Wars jersey auction ended last night. The price for the jerseys ranged from $254 to $550 with many of the jerseys (11) selling in the $250-$350 range. A much more economical way for fans to buy jerseys than the live auctions from the past.
- Last week I wrote about the tragic death of 32 year old Andrew Carroll who took is own life. Carroll played for Idaho in his last pro season (2015-16) and played quite a few games in Allen because that was the year Allen played Idaho in the first round of the playoffs. I remember Andrew from a game in December of that season because he and Dyson Stevenson had a fight right off the opening faceoff, Aaron Gens had a fight just over a minute later and Gary Steffes had a fight to start the third period. Andrew Carroll had a goal in that game to give Idaho a 2-1 lead but Gary Steffes tied the score in the third period after he had the fight to send the game into overtime. Idaho won in overtime.
If you remember the first round of the 2016 playoffs Allen went to seven games before eliminating Idaho 3-2 in overtime at the Allen Event Center. In game seven Andrew Carroll scored a goal in the second period to give the Steelheads a 2-1 lead. It turned out to be the last goal of the season for Idaho and the last goal of Carroll's professional career. Allen came back in the third period to tie the score on a goal by David Makowski and won the game in overtime on a Tristan King goal. It was the toughest series of the entire playoffs as Allen went on to win the Kelly Cup.
Carroll had a lot of connections with Allen, coach Martinson spent time recruiting him, he was a college (University of Minnesota-Duluth) teammate of Mike Montgomery who was on Allen's 2013 championship team, Aaron Gens worked hockey camps with Andrew in Minnesota and Connor Reilly was a close friend. Everyone who knew him had great things to say about Andrew. I have been thinking a lot about Andrew Carroll over the last week wanting to know more about him, wondering if CTE played a role in his death, etc. This morning I found the following story about Andrew written by the wife of Andrew's brother, Chris. Her name is Carissa and she is a blogger who has a non-profit charity called Jack's Basket whose mission is to celebrate babies born with Down syndrome. Jack's Basket grew from the experience Chis and Carissa had with the birth of their second child. Yesterday Carissa devoted her blog to her brother-in-law, Andrew Carroll. It is raw and emotional that covers what happened but also gives you insight into who Andrew Carroll was and the hope the family has that his death will bring light to mental illness and help prevent this from happening to others that might be struggling. It is inspiring to read what Carissa has to say about Andrew and also the story about Jack's Basket: https://www.jacksbasket.org/strengthfortheclimb/2018/1/27/bring-your-brokenness-and-ill-bring-mine
- Andrew Carroll's family made the decision to donate his brain to Boston University, one of the leading institutions doing CTE research. Here is Andrew's brother, Chris, being interviewed at a University of Minnesota-Duluth hockey game where Andrew was being remembered. Chris talks about the decision to donate Andrew's brain to CTE reserach. http://kstp.com/news/andrew-carroll-umd-hockey-cte-research/4760830/
DID YOU KNOW: Spencer Asuchak continues to move up the Allen career leader list in several categories. He is currently #7 in games played (202) but is only 15 games from being #4 all-time. He is #5 in points and will tie Colton Yellow Horn for #4 with his next point which will give him 178. Spencer is #6 in goals (69) with Jarret Lukin next up on the list with 74. Asuchak is #6 all time in assists with 108 and needs three more to move into the top five.