Friday, March 2, 2018

Allen vs Rapid City Game Preview, Allen's Fight for the Playoffs, Center Thomas Frazee Assigned to Allen and Players Used by Mountain Division Teams

I know the phrase "must win series" is over used and I am as guilty as anyone so I will refrain and call the two games Allen plays against Rapid City tonight and Saturday very critical as the Americans fight for their playoff life.

- With just 17 games remaining in the season Allen has 56 points and find themselves three points behind third place Tulsa (59 points) and tied with Utah for fifth place. Barring some catastrophe by Wichita only one of these three teams will make the playoffs and if you look at recent performance you would conclude Tulsa and Utah have the edge over Allen. Utah has won six straight games and that streak started with a two game sweep in Allen two weeks ago. Tulsa has points in six straight games (4-0-0-2) which includes two wins over Florida and a win and two shootout losses to Colorado. Meanwhile the Americans have lost four straight games and have the division's worst 10 game record (3-6-0-1).

- To make matters worse after the games against Rapid City this weekend Allen will embark on the longest road trip of the season when they will be gone for two weeks and make stops in Idaho, Utah (2 games), Rapid City and Colorado (2 games). When you realize Allen has lost 12 of 15 road games since the end of December (3-11-0-1) it will be a tall order to earn more points than Tulsa and Utah during this road trip.

- On second thought I think it is appropriate to call the games tonight and Saturday against Rapid City must win.

- The first wave of what I would expect several roster changes over the next week happened in the last two days. On Wednesday goalie Jake Paterson was assigned to Allen by the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL). Yesterday coach Martinson traded future considerations for the ECHL rights to forward Thomas Frazee who is under contract with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) but had been on loan to Norfolk. San Antonio has recalled Frazee from Norfolk and loaned him to the Allen Americans. Frazee will not be in the lineup tonight but will be on Saturday. Because he is a veteran and under contract to an AHL team in order to be eligible for the ECHL playoffs he would need to play 10 games with San Antonio. Frazee has played no games with San Antonio this season. It is a safe bet he will not be eligible for the ECHL playoffs.

- It seems like a long time ago when Allen opened the season with two dominating performances in Rapid City winning two games and scoring 13 goals. The next two times these teams met in early December the Americans beat Rapid City in Allen by scores of 5-3 and 6-2. The last time these teams met (January 24) was in Allen and the Rush scored three unanswered third period goals to beat the Americans 5-3.

- The summary for the five head to head games is Allen won four of the five, outscored Rapid City 27-16 and had the edge in shots 189-166. Allen was 2-16 (12.5%) on the power play and Rapid City was 4-18 (22.2%) on the power play.

- Here is how Allen and Rapid City match up so far this season:

                                     ALLEN                                RAPID CITY

Team Record               25-24-4-2 (56 points)            20-32-2-1 (43 points)
Division Ranking         5th - Mountain                       7th - Mountain
Conference Ranking   10th - Western                      13th - Western
League Ranking         18th                                        26th
Last Game                  1-0 Loss (Kansas City)          2-1 Win (Kansas City)
Goals For                    176                                        156
Goals Against             177                                         205
Power Play                 17.0% (41/241)                      16.1% (32/199)
Penalty Kill                  80.0% (49/245)                      83.7% (40/245)
Most PIMs                   Moore (178 minutes)             Sdao (85 minutes)
Leading Scorer           Pierro-Zabotel (15-40-55)      Sivak (17-27-44)

-  Here is how Allen and Rapid City rank in the ECHL in key statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (21.67) - Rapid City 9th (16.78)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 12th (3.20) - Rapid City 24th (2.84)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (3.22) - Rapid City 24th (3.73)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 18th (31.33) - Rapid City 27th (28.53)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.44) - Rapid City 20th (33.84)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 14th (17.0%) - Rapid City 21st (16.1%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 9th (19.3%) - Rapid City 23rd (13.9%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 19th (14.8%) - Rapid City 9th (18.7%)
Penalty Kill Percentage; Allen 22nd (80.0%) - Rapid City 10th (83.7%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 11th (84.4%) - Rapid City 13th (84.2%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 25th (75.6%) - Rapid City 11th (83.0%)


- More than normal I think the special teams stats above are out the window for this game. Allen's special teams woes recently are a big contributor in all of their losses. Conversely Rapid City has had improved special team play recently. I looked back at the last nine games for each team and here are the results. Allen is 4.7% (2-43) on the power play and 78.9% (8-38) on the penalty kill. Rapid City is 18.8% (6-32) on the power play and 87.9% (4-33) on the penalty kill. If Allen expects to get four points this weekend they will need much improved special teams play. Coach Martinson spent a lot of practice time this week on special teams so hopefully it will pay off. 

- Both of these teams have plenty of players willing to drop the gloves but there has been a noticeable drop off in the number of fighting majors for Rapid City. According to the website the Rush had just three fighting majors the entire month of February (12 games) and two of the three came in the same game. Allen on the other hand had 12 fighting majors in February.

- A good start in the game tonight will be key for both teams. In four of the five games they have played this season the team that scored first won. Allen is 10-1-1-0 at home when leading after the first period. Rapid City is 1-13-0-0 on the road when trailing after one period. That says all you need to know about how important it is for Allen to win the first period tonight. Allen has not scored a goal in almost five periods, 92:59 to be exact. Tonight is the time to break out of the scoring slump.

- If you are looking for players to watch in the game tonight Bryan Moore has four goals in five games against Rapid City and Casey Pierro-Zabotel has 10 points (2 goals 8 assists). For Rapid City keep an eye on leading scorer Peter Sivak (#91). Rapid City's rookie ECHL All-Star Dante Salituro is the leading scorer for the Rush against Allen with four goals in three game but he was just recalled by the Iowa Wild (AHL) and won't be in the lineup. Iowa also recalled defenseman Matt Caito, Rapid City's highest scoring defensman (points per game).

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Sean Fernandez (#21) and linesmen Brian Bull (#95) and Aaron Schacht (#31).


- If you are scoreboard watching tonight the games to follow are Utah at Quad City and Tulsa at Colorado. Another game of interest pits two of the top teams in the league against each other as South Carolina is in Toledo to take on the Walleye. The game is a matchup between South Carolina who has the fewest regulation road losses (6) against Toledo who has the fewest home losses (4).

- You won't need to wait until tonight to see if Alex Schoenborn and Colby McAuley are in the lineup when the Barracuda take on Bakersfield. The Barracuda play a matinee today at 11:00 am Pacific time.

- Olivier Archambault should be in the lineup tonight as his Syracuse Crunch are at home to play Binghamton. Olivier miss a few games because of an injury but was back in the lineup on Wednesday when the Crunch beat Toronto 4-3. Archambault has played in 12 games since joining Syracuse and has seven points (4 goals 3 assists). Most impressive is he has a plus/minus of +6 and has not had a minus rating in any of the 12 games.

- Thomas Frazee is in his fifth season as a pro and Allen fans may remember him when he played in Quad City in the last year of the Central Hockey league (2013-14). He lead the Mallards that season with 24 goals. Allen beat Quad City in the second round of the playoffs on the way to their second championship. The series went seven games and the Mallards were up 3-2 before Allen won the last two games at home to advance. Frazee is a big (6'3" 210 lbs) right shot center who is excellent at faceoffs. He is certainly well traveled having played for seven different ECHL teams in the last  four seasons. In total he has played 257 ECHL games and has 168 points (65 goals 103 assist). He has played in 46 games this season split between Atlanta and Norfolk and has 37 points (11 goals 26 assists). Coach Martinson is looking for him to add depth to the Americans. Here are his stats courtesy of hockeydb:

Thomas Frazee

Thomas Frazee

Center -- shoots R
Born Mar 31 1990 -- North Vancouver, BC
[27 yrs. ago]
Height 6.03 -- Weight 210

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2005-06 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 9 1 0 1 0 -4 12 1 0 1 12
2006-07 Portland Winter Hawks WHL 55 6 6 12 38 -28 ----------
2007-08 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 43 3 4 7 25 1 4 0 1 1 0
2008-09 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 66 11 30 41 66 -18 ----------
2009-10 Moose Jaw Warriors WHL 70 20 35 55 18 16 7 4 6 10 4
2010-11 Regina Pats WHL 33 13 24 37 41 -12 ----------
2010-11 Kamloops Blazers WHL 37 18 17 35 35 -6 ----------
2011-12 Lakehead University OUAA 12 2 7 9 34  

2011-12 Bakersfield Condors ECHL 13 1 3 4 4 -5 ----------
2012-13 Lakehead University OUAA 16 7 15 22 41  

2013-14 Quad City Mallards CHL 60 24 23 47 42 8 13 5 6 11 22
2014-15 Charlotte Checkers AHL 3 0 1 1 4 0----------
2014-15 Fort Wayne Komets ECHL 38 12 9 21 24 2 ----------
2014-15 Evansville Icemen ECHL 16 3 7 10 12 -4 ----------
2014-15 Greenville Road Warriors ECHL 13 3 7 10 8 0----------
2015-16 Atlanta Gladiators ECHL 71 16 31 47 34 -14 ----------
2016-17 Atlanta Gladiators ECHL 60 19 20 39 43 -5 ----------
2016-17 San Antonio Rampage AHL 6 0 0 0 0 2 ----------
2017-18 Atlanta Gladiators* ECHL 12 5 10 15 14 9

2017-18 San Antonio Rampage* AHL Statistics Unavailable

2017-18 Norfolk Admirals* ECHL 34 6 16 22 48 -8

2017-18 Allen Americans ECHL Statistics Unavailable

DID YOU KNOW: Thomas Frazee becomes the 33 player for the Allen Americans this season. Here are the number of players used by all of the teams in the Mountain Division.

42 - Wichita
39 - Rapid City
36 - Utah
33 - Allen
33 - Idaho
30 - Tulsa
29 - Colorado

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