The Allen Americans are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season and they are also in the midst of three days between games. It is the only time this season the team has had to wait for three days on the road to play a game. Lot's of time for rest and relaxation before the team takes on the Rapid City Rush on Wednesday (8:05 CDT). I know in the past the team has visited Mt. Rushmore (25 miles) and some of the players have ventured to the old mining town of Deadwood where in 1876 Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition and announced the discovery of gold which gave rise to the new town of Deadwood. According to a New York Times (NYT) article back in the 1870's Deadwood was known as a place of lawlessness, debauchery and legend, home to Calamity Jane and resting place of Wild Bill Hickok, the gambling gunslinger who was killed at a poker table while holding two pair, aces and eights, which came to be known in the game's parlance as a "dead man's hand."
- Gambling brought Deadwood back to life 30 years ago and there are over 25 places to gamble in the town of about 1200. I know there are more than a few gamblers on the team so a trek to Deadwood may be a way to kill time. If you are interested here is the NYT story with some Deadwood history: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/us/deadwood-south-dakota-gambling.html
- One thing I have learned from coach Martinson over the years is he does not see himself as the entertainment director for the team on the road. He rarely gets involved in making those type of plans and leaves that up to the players. That would be the case even more so this week because I am sure Martinson is buried in recruitment all week with so many players wrapping up their college and junior careers looking to turn pro.
- It is only 12 days into the month of March but the Americans have already won more games this month (5) than they did the entire month of January (3) or February (4). It has been quite a turnaround. Here is a review of the first 12 days of March.
- The Americans are 5-0 in March but the wins have not come easy as one win was in overtime and two in shootouts. Prior to this month Allen was 1-4 in overtimes and 1-2 in shootouts. Going 3-0 in games that weren't decided in regulation has been the difference.
- Prior to March, Allen was averaging 3.20 goals per game. In March they are averaging 4.40 goals per game. What is even more impressive is the goals are coming from a lot of different players. During this five game win streak seven players have two or more goals.
- Allen's win streak started with the arrival of goalie Jake Paterson who got his first start the day after he was assigned to the Americans and has started every game since. Jake's record now stands at 5-0 with a GAA of 2.18 and save percentage of .934. With Jeremy Brodeur back with the team it will be interesting to watch how playing time is divided. This is the time of year when coach Martinson tends to go with the hot goalie rather than splitting starts so I would expect more starts for Paterson in the short term.
- The Allen special teams have struggled most of the season but have improved in March. The power play was 3-48 (6.3%) in February and has improved slightly in March at 2-19 (10.5%). The power play doesn't have to be at 30% like it was the last few months of last season but if the percentage was 18% - 20% going down the stretch it would make a big difference. The penalty kill has been a different story in March. For much of the season the Americans had the worst road penalty kill in the league and the overall penalty kill wasn't much better. In March the penalty kill unit is 2-23 for an outstanding percentage of 91.3% and has killed several five-on three opportunities.
- March has come in like a lion for the Allen Americans with a 5-0 record. They have nine games remaining this month. Allen's a combined record against the teams they play the rest of the month is 25-13-3-0. Allen needs to make sure March goes out like a lion not a lamb.
- Colorado clinched a playoff spot yesterday and joins Florida, South Carolina and Toledo as the four teams that have had their tickets punched for the Kelly Cup playoffs. Here are the current Mountain Division standings with games played in
86 points - Colorado (62 games)
77 points - Idaho (61 games)
70 points - Wichita (62 games)
66 points - Allen (60 games)
65 points - Tulsa (62 games)
62 points - Utah (61 games)
45 points - Rapid City (61 games)
- A reminder this is the last day to nominate someone to have their name included on the specialty jersey the team will be wearing in April for cancer awareness. It only takes a minute to fill out the form. Here are the details: The Allen Americans are sponsoring an "Americans Fight Cancer
Weekend" on April 6th and 7th and will be wearing special purple jerseys
featuring the names of those in the Americans family who have been
affected by cancer. The jerseys will be auctioned and funds donated to
UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center to fund future research. If you
have a friend or family member who has battled cancer you can nominate
them for the inclusion of their name on the background of the jersey
(see below). But you need to hurry as nominations must be submitted by
Monday (March 12). Here are all of the details with a link to the
nomination form: https://allenamericans.com/americans-fight-cancer-weekend/
- I came across this article this morning written by Justin Cohn of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette which is about the officiating in the Komets' 6-3 loss to Kalamazoo yesterday. A sentiment many fans around the ECHL can sympathize with. I have had a chance to talk to league supervisors many times in the press box over the years. The fact that the ECHL is a development league for officials as well as players means there will be mistakes. The best officials get promoted to the AHL/NHL so the ECHL is constantly bringing in new officials. I know coach Martinson would agree with this article about officials being willing to communicate with the coach and explain their decisions. http://www.journalgazette.net/blog/ice-chips/20180311/ks-peeved-at-ref-roster-changing
DID YOU KNOW: There have been lots of good performances over the last five games from up and down the roster but only two players had a at least one point in all five games. Alex Guptill had 10 points (4 goals 6 assists) plus two shootout goals and was +10. Spencer Asuchak had six points (2 goals 4 assists) and was +6.