Monday, April 2, 2018

A Look at the Big Week Ahead for Allen, Tulsa and Wichita, How March Saved Allen's Season, Potential Roster Changes, Hat Tricks and Shutouts Compared

It is the last week of the ECHL season and as usual the Allen Americans are in a fight for something as the regular season comes to a close. It is a much more important fight this season because it is not about winning the division or winning the Brabham Cup but winning the right to participate in the playoffs.

- The American have put themselves in position to control their own destiny by taking five of six points last week. They beat Wichita, lost in overtime to Colorado and then beat the Eagles. Allen goes into this final week with a two point lead over Wichita and a three point lead over Tulsa. Here is the schedule for the week.

Tuesday,   Wichita (away)
Friday,      Idaho    ( home)
Saturday,  Idaho    (home)

Tuesday,   Allen       (home)
Friday,      Colorado (away)
Saturday,  Colorado (away)

Monday,       Kansas City (away)
Wednesday,  Idaho          (home)
Friday,          Rapid City   (home)
Saturday,      Rapid City   (home)  

- Tulsa - The schedule definitely favors Tulsa since they play one more game than the others, have three of  four games at home and their final two games are against the last place team in the division. Since Allen and Wichita play each other and then finish the season against the top two teams in the division, Tulsa has a good chance of making the playoffs despite being out of the playoffs in fifth place starting the week. Tulsa has won their last two games and their record in the last 10 games is 7-3-0-0. Tulsa is in Kansas City tonight to take on the Mavericks in only ECHL game on the schedule. This is the makeup game that was postponed on St. Patrick's Day when Big Red broke down. This game is do or die for both teams so should be a good one.

-  Allen - The season could very well come down to the game in Wichita on Tuesday night. If Allen wins they have a four point lead over Wichita with two games to play. If they lose the teams will be tied going into the last two games. Don't forget the first tiebreaker is wins (minus shootout wins) and the Thunder have 32 while Allen has 31. Allen has points in their last three games (2-0-1-0) and in the last 10 have a record of 5-3-2-0.

- Wichita - The Thunder have the toughest schedule in making the playoffs and have not been playing well. They have lost six games in a row and have a record of 3-5-2-0 in their last 10 games. If they end up not making the playoffs it will be a huge disappointment for fans and ownership alike. Wichita was the best team in the ECHL in the middle of November and started the season with a record of 10-1-0-0. They have never made the Kelly Cup playoff and this was the season they were not only going to make the playoffs they were going to win the Mountain Division. It hasn't turned out that way and since that great 10-1 start Wichita's record is 23-27-6-2. The home game against Allen on Tuesday night is definitely a must win for the Thunder.

- Now that the month of March is over it is safe to say the Americans saved their season during the month. March was in fact the best month of the season. 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. February wasn't a whole lot better when you consider the Americans started the month with three straight wins. Allen's play in March has set them up to make the playoffs after a disastrous January and February. It now all comes down to three games in April. 

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)
February     4-6-0-1   (9 of 22 points earned =    .409)
March         9-3-2-0   (20 of 28 points earned =  .714.) 

- After the win over Colorado Saturday night coach Martinson mentioned the possibility of roster changes before the team leaves for Wichita later today but was not specific. It could be Tristan King has been cleared and will be back in the lineup. It could be junior/college players Martinson has signed to amateur tryout (ATO) contracts. It could be Allen players in the AHL returning. It could be other AHL players being assigned to Allen. Stay tuned!

- If Allen makes the playoffs which may not be known until Saturday there will be plenty of work to be done. Playoff rosters are due next Monday (April 9) and the playoffs begin a week from Wednesday (April 11). If Allen makes the playoffs they will play in Colorado or Idaho. Idaho has already started selling tickets for the first two playoff games they will host on April 13 and 14. Colorado hasn't started selling playoff tickets yet. With all of the travel logistics for the away games and sales efforts for the home games, both with short time frames, it will get very hectic very quickly for all of the Allen staff if things go well this week.

- There will be a complete Allen vs Wichita game preview in the blog tomorrow but here is how the Americans have fared against the Thunder this season:

6-5-0-0 - overall record against Wichita
3-2-0-0 - Allen's record in Wichita
9-3 - Allen has outscored Wichita 9-3 in their last two games winning both 

DID YOU KNOW: I have been asked about shutouts and hat tricks many times recently so decided to look up the stats for this season and last season. The results are telling and show how the Americans have struggled this season compared to last season. Allen has had three hat tricks this season compared to six last season. The Americans haven't had a single shutout this season compared to eight last season. Finally, Allen has been shutout five times this season compared to just once last season. Here are the details.

Hat Tricks
December 16   Vincent Arseneau against Tulsa
January 10       Alex Guptill against Utah
January 13       Gary Steffes against Tulsa

December 30   Greger Hanson against Wichita
January 13       Bryan Moore against Wichita
January 20       Bryan Moore against Colorado
February 10     Greger Hanson against Rapid City
February 24     Chad Costello against Tulsa
March 29          Bryan Moore against Kansas City

Shutouts by Allen

October 16       Jamie Murray against Kansas City
November 29   Riley Gill over Tulsa
November 30   Riley Gill over Kansas City
December 9     Riley Gill over Wichita
December 22   Riley Gill over Idaho
Decemebr 28   Riley Gill over Wichita
February 17     Riley Gill over Indy
April 5              Riley Gill over Wichita

Shutouts by Allen's opponents
October 28      Allen shutout 2-0 by Tulsa
January 6        Allen shutout 5-0 by Idaho
January 26      Allen shutout 3-0 by Wichita
February 9      Allen shutout 4-0 by Florida
February 24    Allen shutout 1-0 by Kansas City

January 21      Allen shutout 4-0 by Wichita

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