Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Allen vs Atlanta Game Preview, Mountain Division Weekly, Undersized Goalie with Oversized Game, Atlanta Gladiator's History and More

It is game day for the Allen Americans as they kick off the first of a four game swing through the South Division against the Atlanta Gladiators. The game pits the third place team from the Mountain Division against the third place team from the South Division. Allen's record is 24-18-4-1 compared to Atlanta's 24-23-1-2.

- As mentioned yesterday Atlanta has the misfortune of having played the best team in the league (Florida) nine times this season and has yet to beat the Everblades. If you take away from the Gladiators the eight regulation losses and one shootout loss to Florida their record is 24-15-1-1. That is a winning percentage of .610 which would rank them #7 in the league.

- Atlanta has the biggest discrepancy in the ECHL between home and road record.  The Gladiators play much better on the road than at home. They have second most road wins (15) in the league with a road record of 15-10-0-0. However, at home only three teams in the ECHL have fewer wins than Atlanta. Their home record is 9-13-1-2.

- Allen will be trying to extend their four game winning streak and their streak of scoring five goals in four straight games. Atlanta will be trying to erase an embarrassing 6-0 shutout at home they suffered at the hands of the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday. To make matters worse the 6-0 loss was in front of the largest crowd in four years (10,052).

- The game tonight will be the first time Allen has visited Atlanta and the third time these teams have ever met. They played twice last season at the Allen Event Center early in the season. On October 19, 2016 the Gladiators beat Allen 3-2. Atlanta was ahead 3-0 midway through the third period but two quick goals (Stevenson & Hanson) got Allen close. The next night Allen defeated Atlanta 3-1 led by a two goal performance from Spencer Asuchak and superb goaltending by the #1 star of the game, Riley Gill, who stopped 39 of 40 shots. Riley missed a shutout when the Gladiators scored their lone goal with 89 seconds remaining in the game.

Here are some stats that compare Allen and Atlanta:

                                     ALLEN                               ATLANTA

Team Record               24-18-4-1 (52 points)          24-23-1-2 (66 points)
Division Ranking         4th - Mountain                     3rd - South
Conference Ranking   6th - Western                       7th - Eastern
League Ranking         12th                                      13th
Last Game                  5-3 Win (Tulsa)                    6-0 Loss (Orlando)
Goals For                    162                                      145
Goals Against             150                                       159
Power Play                 19.2% (33/203)                    14.4% (28/195)
Home Power Play      20.2% (22/109)                     13.0% (12/92)
Road Power Play       18.1% (17/94)                       15.5% (16/103)
Penalty Kill                 80.2% (42/212)                     81.5% (37/200)
Home Penalty Kill      85.6% (16/111)                      80.2% (18/91)
Road Penalty Kill       74.3% (26/101)                      82.6% (19/109)
Most PIM                    Moore (135)                          Sandler (143)
Leading Scorers:        Pierro-Zabotel (13-39-52)     Sparks (10-33-43)

-  Here is how Allen and Atlanta rank in the ECHL in major statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (22.00) - Atlanta 11th (16.24)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 8th (3.45) - Atlanta 22nd (2.90)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (3.19) - Atlanta 12th (3.18)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 16th (32.23) - Atlanta 22nd (30.76)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (37.13) - Atlanta 17th (33.16)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 7th (19.2%) - Atlanta 23rd (14.4%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 6th (20.2%) - Atlanta 24th (13.0%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 11th (18.1%) - Atlanta 17th (15.5%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 22nd (80.2%) - Atlanta 21st (81.5%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 8th (85.6%) - Atlanta 20th (80.2%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 27th (74.3%) - Atlanta 13th (82.6%)

- Allen leads the league in penalty minutes (1034) while Atlanta is ranked #11 (812 minutes). However, when it comes to minor penalties the teams are much closer. Allen has taken 272 minor penalties and Atlanta 266. When it comes to power play opportunities Allen actually has had more than Atlanta (203 vs 195).

- Both teams have plenty of players willing to drop the gloves. According to the website hockeyfights.com Allen has 39 fighting majors led by Josh Thrower (7), Mike Gunn (5), Vincent Arseneau (4) and Colby McAuley (4). Atlanta has 31 fighting majors led by Tanner Pond (7), Luke Sandler (5), Alexandre Carrier (4) and former Allen defenseman Rick Pinkston (4).

- Allen has the advantage over Atlanta offensively both long term and short term. On average the Americans score over a half a goal more per game than Atlanta (3.45 vs 2.90). Allen's shooting percentage is 10.6% compared to 9.4% for Atlanta. Allen's goal differential (goals for minus goals against) is +12 while Atlanta's is -14. Allen's plus/minus is +68, Atlanta's is -27.

- In their last four games Allen has scored 20 goals and allowed eight. In their last four games Atlanta has scored nine goals and allowed 12.

- When you look at the special teams stats above you see a dynamic that Allen has seen before. Atlanta has one of the worst home power play percentages in the league ranked #24 at 13.0%. However they will be going against the #27 ranked Allen road penalty kill at 74.3%. Whichever team can outperform their poor stat will most likely win the game. On the flip side, Allen's #11 ranked road power play (18.1%) will be going against Atlanta's 20th ranked home penalty kill (80.2%).

- If the game tonight goes past regulation the advantage goes to Atlanta. Both teams have gone past regulation seven times. Allen has one overtime win, one shootout win, four overtime losses and one shootout loss. Atlanta has four overtime wins, one over time loss and two shootout losses. 

- Some unfamiliar names to Allen fans on the officiating crew. The referee scheduled for the game is Liam Sewell (#7) and the linesmen are Paul Carnathan (#93) and Sean D'Loughy (#45). Liam Sewell is a first year ECHL referee and the first ECHL on ice official from the United Kingdom. He is from Hull, a small town 200 miles north of London. Here is Liam Sewell's story about his journey from a small town in England to the ECHL. https://www.echl.com/honor-privilege-sewell-officiate-echl 


- Here is the Mountain Division Weekly from the ECHL which covers a few facts for each team and the schedule for the week. https://www.echl.com/mountain-division-weekly-feb-5

- Here is an interview with former Allen goalie Jake Hildebrand who was part of the 2016 Kelly Cup championship team. The title of the story is "Undersized Goalie with Oversized Game" and Jake talks about the trials and tribulations of being shorter then the average goalie, the advantages and disadvantages and his advice for younger goalies that aren't as big as their peers. https://midwestgoalieschool.com/community/blog/

- The ECHL announced their fantasy team and golden goalie participants yesterday. The league does this every year where one skater and a goalie wear a specialty jersey that gets sent to the Meigray Group to be auctioned. Fans had the opportunity to vote to help select the team. Congrats to Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Jeremy Brodeur who were selected to wear the specialty jersey for Allen at a home game in the future. Congrats also to former Allen players Darryl Bootland (Orlando), Jake Hildebrand (Tulsa) and Dyson Stevenson (Wichita) who were selected to wear the jersey for their teams. Here is the ECHL press release with all of the details and selectees. https://www.echl.com/echl-announces-2018-fantasy-team-and-golden-goalie-participants 

- The gap between the last playoff spot and the first team out of the playoffs is 12 points in the North Division, five points in the Mountain Division, two points in the South Division and no points in the Central Division.

- The gap between the first place team and the last place team is 34 points in the Mountain Division, 31 points in the South Division, 30 points in the Central Division and just 18 points in the North Division.

DID YOU KNOW: The Atlanta Gladiators play in Duluth, GA, a northeast suburb of Atlanta. The franchise was originally in Mobile, Alabama. The Mobile Mysticks started as an expansion ECHL franchise in 1995 and suspended operations in 2002. The franchise moved to Duluth for the 2003-04 season and was known as the Gwinnett Gladiators until they changed the name in 2015 to the Atlanta Gladiators. Gwinnett is the name of the county where Duluth is located.

Atlanta is affiliated with the Boston Bruins (NHL) and Providence Bruins (AHL). They have never won the Kelly Cup but made it to the finals in 2006 before losing to the Alaska Aces.

The Gladiators play at the Infinite Energy Arena which opened in 2003 at the cost of $91.5 million and has a capacity for hockey of 11,355. 



  1. Interesting article about Liam, thanks.

  2. I had heard that we had a new ref from the UK and had been wondering if we would see him this season. I guess the closest we will get is the Atlanta game! Good thing I have the Allen Away ECHL TV package.

    The story about Jake H was interesting. We had someone stop us in Tulsa Saturday night asking us if we would take him back because he wasn't a good goalie. He played well for us in Allen. I haven't followed his season this year in Tulsa, but I am guessing it isn't as bad as the fan made it out to be. He wanted to trade Jeremy B for Jake H. We told him we didn't think Marty would be willing to make that trade. :)