Yesterday in the first part of the Allen vs Idaho series preview the focus was mostly on season long stats. Today I want to focus on head to head stats and how these teams have performed in the last 10 games which may be a better indicator of what to expect in this series. However, before I get to that here are a couple of series previews from Idaho.
- Here is the series preview written by Brian McCormack of the
Idaho Steelheads. Brian is
the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Steelheads. He
does a great job of setting the stage for this first round matchup between Allen and Idaho. This is the most complete and balanced series preview you will find so take the time to give it a read: http://www.idahosteelheads.com/blog/steelheads-news/series-preview-mountain-division-semifinals-2/
- Here is a series preview from C.C. Hawkley, who covers the Idaho Steeleheads for Team Sin Bin. He gives me credit for collaborating on this piece but the only part I provided was how Allen wins the series. C.C. did all the work. https://thesinbin.net/mountain-division-semifinal-preview-2-idaho-steelheads-vs-3-allen-americans/
HEAD TO HEAD
- Allen and Idaho played 10 times during the regular season and each team won five times. Allen's record against Idaho was 5-4-0-1. Idaho's record against Allen was 5-3-1-1.
- Allen held Idaho to one goal in three of the 10 games but gave up four or more goals in the other seven games. In the 10 game series Idaho outscored Allen 36-27.
- Allen had 33 shots on goal in each of their first two meetings against Idaho back in November. In the final eight games Allen never exceeded 26 shots on goal and had a low of 17 shots last Saturday. Idaho on the other hand had over 50
shots once and over 40 shots five times against Allen. In total the Steelheads outshot Allen 390-250 for an average of 14 more shots per game.
- Allen scored a power play goal in four of the ten games against Idaho including one game (November 11) when they were 4-8 on the power play and lost the game 5-4 in a shootout. Over the 10 games Allen was 8-47 on the power play for a percentage of 17.0%. Idaho scored a power play goal in seven of the 10 games including one game (November 25) when they were 4-9 and won the game 5-1. Over the 10 games Idaho was 13-60 on the power play for a percentage of 21.7%.
- Penalty minutes have been all over the place in the 10 games these teams have played this season. On November 24 and 25 they played in Idaho and combined for 244 penalty minutes. Last weekend they played twice in Allen and combined for 16 penalty minutes. The totals for the 10 games is 292 penalty minutes for Allen and 184 penalty minutes for Idaho.
LAST 10 GAMES
- Looking at the last 10 games for both teams reveals some interesting stats. To start with Allen's record is 4-4-2-0 compared to Idaho who has the best record in the ECHL at 9-0-1-0. Clearly Idaho is playing better hockey heading into the playoffs. Here are some other comparisons over the last 10 games.
GOALS - Allen has averaged 2.8 goals while allowing 3.3 goals per game. Idaho has averaged 3.7 goals while allowing just 1.3 per game. In their last 10 games the Steeleheads have had four shutouts, allowed one goal twice and two goals three times. The good news is the one game Idaho allowed more than two goals was against the Americans last Friday when Allen scored five goals.
SHOTS - Allen has been outshot in eight of the last 10 games. The Americans have been outshot 372-266 in the last 10 games. Idaho has only been outshot in three of their last 10 games and in total have outshot their opponents 332-261.
POWER PLAY - Allen has a power play goal in four of their last 10 games and overall is 4-28 for a power play percentage of 14.3%. Idaho has a power play goal in only three of their last 10 games and overall is 4-31 for a power play percentage of 12.9%
PENALTY KILL - Allen has given up a power play goal in three of their last 10 games. Their penalty kill percentage is 88.9% (4-36). Idaho has been even better giving up a power play goal in just two of their last 10 games. The Steelheads penalty kill percentage is 93.5% (2-31).
PENALTY MINUTES - Allen has reduced their penalty minutes substantially over the last 10 games. They are averaging 11.8 penalty minutes per game and have had six or fewer penalty minutes in four of the games. Idaho is averaging 14.8 penalty minutes over the last 10 games.
SCORING FIRST AND PLAYING WITH A LEAD
- Getting off to a good start and playing with the lead is so important and even more so in the playoffs. If you look at the leaguewide total, after 1944 regular season games the team that scored first won the game over 70% of the time.
- Allen's record when scoring first is 26-6-1-0. Idaho's record when scoring first is 31-9-1-3. The team that scores first will win most if not all of the games in this series.
- It will also be important for both teams to avoid playing from behind. Here are the combined records for Allen and Idaho which shows why playing from behind is a losing proposition and playing with a lead will equal success.
40-6-2-1 Leading after one period
10-26-6-0 Losing after one period
54-5-1-2 Leading after two periods
9-32-5-1 Losing after two periods
MISCELLANEOUS STATS & INFO
- Scoring a shorthanded goal is a big momentum booster and could be a factor in this series. During the regular season Idaho scored 10 shorthanded goals and allowed just four shorthanded goal. Allen scored seven shorthanded goals and allowed 10.
- Looking at goals scored by period shows Allen is best in the first period outscoring their opponents 70-54. The Americans have been outscored 82-80 in the second period and 88-79 in the third period. Idaho has the advantage in all three periods out scoring their opponents 62-53 in the first, 89-65 in the second and 84-62 in the third.
- A big difference in the playoffs is the two referee system. Players need to be aware of the second referee and avoid the behind the play penalties that often went unnoticed during the regular season. The officials for the game tonight are referees Andrew Bruggeman (#25) and Alex Garon (#9) and linesmen Scott DeBaugh (#67) and Ryan Nevins (#86).
- The San Jose Barracuda won again last night and what was once unlikely, making the playoffs, is becoming more realistic. San Jose has won five straight games and must win their final game on Saturday and have San Diego lose their final two games which are tonight and tomorrow night. If San Diego gets just one point tonight they will eliminate the Barracuda. The reason this is important to Allen is Colby McAuley will not be assigned while San Jose is still in the playoff hunt.
- No word on Vincent Arseneau's return to Allen and it may not happen until his team (Utica) has been eliminated from the playoffs. Utica has had several players assigned from their NHL affiliate (Vancouver) recently which could have an impact on when Arseneau returns.
- Idaho is also looking for the return of a key player as their captain and leading scorer, Jefferson Dahl, is in Cleveland (AHL). Cleveland will not make the playoffs so Dahl should be returned to Idaho after Cleveland finishes their season Saturday night.
- There has been plenty of stats and analysis leading up to this series with everyone trying to figure out which team will prevail. At some level you can throw the stats out the window. In my opinion this series will come down to three factors.
1. Coach Martinson - He will need every bit of his 22 years of coaching experience to put his team in position to win this series. You have to like his odds based on the 16 playoff series he has coached since Allen joined the ECHL in 2014. Martinson's record is 15-1 in playoff series. Having talked to Martinson several times this week he is going to take a big swing at making some system changes which is something he is not afraid to do. Martinson is at his best in seven game series.
2. The Roster - For Allen to win this series it will take a combination of great performance by the veterans with big contributions from the rookies. There is plenty of skill on the roster, the challenge is how they work as a team given many have not played together very long.
3. Will Over SKILL - This may be the most important factor in this series and one that is still unanswered. Sometimes it is not about the X's and O's or the percentages but it boils down to who wants it more. During the ups and downs of Allen's season it was the "want" that was sometimes missing not the skill.
DID YOU KNOW: When Allen played Idaho in the first round of the 2016 playoffs the first four games of the series ended with the exact same score, 3-1. They split the first two games in Allen and the first two games in Idaho. Things didn't look good for the Americans when the got spanked 7-1 in game five. The series returned to Allen where the Americans won games six and seven. Tristan King scored the overtime game winner in game seven and the Americans moved on to win their second Kelly Cup.