Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Allen vs Wichita Preview, Roster Update, Mountain Division Playoff Update with Tiebreaker Stats and Some Advice for Young and Not So Young Hockey Players

It is game day and the Allen Americans are in Wichita to take on their biggest rival. It would be a big game under normal circumstances but these aren't normal circumstances as one of these teams might be playing golf next week while the other is playing hockey. It will be the 12th time these teams will face each other this season and the series thus far has been close. Allen has a slight edge in the overall record (6-5-0-0) and in games played in Wichita (3-2-0-0).

- Here are the combined numbers in the 11 previous meetings between Allen and Wichita. The numbers show just how evenly matched these teams have been this season.

Goals - Allen leads 35-32
Shots - Wichita leads 364-363
Power Play -  Allen leads 22.9% (8-38) to 17.1% (7-41)
Penalty Infractions - Allen leads 68-65
Penalty Minutes - Allen leads 215-197

Here are the updated stats between Allen and Wichita:

                                     ALLEN                               WICHITA

Team Record               34-27-6-2 (76 points)          33-28-6-2 (74 points)
Division Ranking         3rd - Mountain                     4th - Mountain
Conference Ranking   6th - Western                       8th - Western
League Ranking         13th                                      16th
Last Game                  5-4 Win (Colorado)              3-2 Loss (Tulsa)
Goals For                    227                                       215
Goals Against             222                                       222
Power Play                 17.3% (51/295)                    14.9% (35/235)
Penalty Kill                 81.5% (56/302)                     80.4% (52/265)
Most PIM                    Moore (214)                         Stevenson (163)
Leading Scorers:        Pierro-Zabotel (19-50-69)    Cuddemi (30-30-60)

-  Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.22) - Wichita 14th (14.48)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 10th (3.29) - Wichita 13th (3.12)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 16th (3.22) - Wichita 16th (3.22)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 20th (30.91) - Wichita 18th (31.36)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.09) - Wichita 20th (33.59)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 13th (17.3%) - Wichita 22nd (14.9%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 11th (18.8%) - Wichita 20th (15.0%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 15th (15.9%) - Wichita 19th (14.8%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 20th (81.5%) - Wichita 22nd (80.4%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 12th (84.3%) - Wichita 21st (80.9%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 25th (78.5%) - Wichita 20th (79.9%)

- You have to believe special teams will play a big role in the game tonight. Allen has struggled with an inconsistent power play for a couple of months but their penalty kill has been much improved. Wichita's power play is ranked #22 in the league and their penalty kill is ranked #22. I decided to take a look at the last five games for both teams to see how the special teams have been performing recently and the stats are quite telling. Allen has a power play goal in four of the last five games going 4-16 (25%) and has given up a power goal in only one of the last five games for a penalty kill percentage of 88.2% (2-18). Wichita has a power play goal in two of their last five games going 2-18 (11.1%) and has given up a power play goal in four of the last five games for a penalty kill percentage of 68.0% (8-25). Advantage Allen.

- Tristan King and Zach Hall did not make the trip to Wichita but as promised after the Colorado game on Saturday coach Martinson has added a player to the roster. An announcement from the team will be out sometime today. Look for Jake Patterson to get the start in goal for the Americans. Jake was in goal last Wednesday when Allen beat Wichita 4-1 and he stopped 32 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .970. Since joining the Americans a month ago Paterson's record is 8-2-1-0 with a GAA of 2.82 and a save percentage of .917.

- Here are a few other stats to consider going into the game tonight. Scoring first is usually a huge advantage but in five of the 11 games Allen and Wichita have played this season the team that scored first lost the game. None of the 11 games these teams have played has gone to overtime. Allen has won their last two games while Wichita has lost their last six.

- Wichita has a home record of 20-12-2-1. Allen's road record is 16-17-1-1. In their last 10 games Allen's record is 5-3-2-0 and Wichita's is 3-5-2-0.

- Allen has an edge in shooting percentage 10.5% to 9.9%.

- Officials scheduled for the game are referee Sean MacFarlane (#4) and linesmen Addison Brush (#80) and Chuck Schamel (#97).


- Allen and Wichita got some help last night as Kansas City beat Tulsa 6-3. The standings now have Allen in third place (76 points), Wichita in fourth place (74 points) and Tulsa in fifth place (73 points). They all have three games remaining. Here is the schedule.

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

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

Wednesday,  Idaho          (home)
Friday,          Rapid City   (home)
Saturday,      Rapid City   (home)

- It is looking more likely each day that tiebreakers will be needed to determine who makes the playoffs between Allen, Wichita and Tulsa. Here is how the tiebreakers look with three game remaining.

1st tiebreaker (wins minus shootout wins)
32 - Wichita
31 - Allen
31 - Tulsa

2nd tiebreaker (goal differential)
+5   Allen
-7    Wichita
-12  Tulsa 

- The Central Division is just as tight as the Mountain Division with Kalamazoo, Indy and Kansas City battling for the final playoff spot. Just one point separates the three teams. Kansas City had a big win at home against Tulsa last night. They will need a similar effort tonight when they host Indy.

- Here is the ECHL Today which gives the details on the three games on tap tonight as well as a Kelly Cup playoff update: https://www.echl.com/echl-today-april-3-2018

DID YOU KNOW:  Peter MacArthur had a season ending injury on December 22 and is at home in San Antonio rehabbing from his shoulder surgery. Did you know Peter works for a company called Coast 2 Coast Player Development which is a full service company that helps aspiring hockey players with services including mentoring, advice, placement services, nutrition recommendations and hockey specific workout programs. I came across the information below on the the Coast 2 Coast twitter page and it struck me as inspiring for any hockey player but also for life in general. If you want more information about their hockey development programs you can get it at their website: http://www.coast2coastpd.com/

Many years ago, an experiment was conducted where children were offered a marshmallow to eat, but if they were willing to wait just 15 minutes they could have two marshmallows instead.
The researchers were trying to determine if the willingness to delay pleasure had any effect on future success.
The experiment involved following up with these same children many years later.
The result was that the kids who were willing to hold off for the bigger reward were far more successful later in life as measured by SAT scores, their body mass, and level of wealth.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, I got a difficult phone call this week about a young player we work with.
After many doors to a successful future in hockey had been closed to him, this player came to us for help.
We were able to help secure him an opportunity to attend a Junior camp in a highly respected junior league.  
When the camp ended, the coaching staff let us know that he basically had made the team, but that his compete level was suspect and that if that trend continued, his spot on the team would be in jeopardy.
After receiving that feedback from the coaching staff, we took pains to let this player know exactly where he stood.
We explained very clearly that he needed to be the hardest working player out there and that he needed to be doing everything that was expected on and off the ice.

He knew he was under the microscope.
A week and a half later, the coach called...“I hate to have to tell you this but we have to let him go.”
You see, this young man was a special project for us.
We did a lot of research on him and what we learned is he has had a bit of a difficult upbringing and has had some off-ice issues.
He’s a junior aged player that never graduated from high school.
One thing he does have is exceptional talent. That has never been in dispute.
In fact, another player we work with that knows him said to me, “I train in the off season with a bunch of guys that play pro in the East Coast Hockey League. He is better than all of them.”
Another coach told us, “he has NHL potential.”
This young man initially came to us looking for help to reach his potential and to get him to the next level.
Before we ever agreed to help him, while meeting with him for many hours, we sat and went over every bit of his history.
There were many justifications for why he hadn’t reached the level he was capable of playing at.
To us it didn’t matter, we wanted to look beyond his past and really wanted to help rehabilitate his career.
He’s a young man and everyone makes mistakes, and we understand that.
He said all the right things and told us exactly what we wanted to hear.
“This time is going to be different”.
We wanted to make a difference for him and with him and more than anything, make sure he at a minimum got his education completed.
Collectively, we worked hard to get him an opportunity with a junior team.
They went to extraordinary lengths to bring him in early, get him set up with his living arrangements, and get him registered in school.
The team went above and beyond what they might do for most players.
Like us, they became invested in his story and his future.
Then came the phone call.
I will spare you the details, but the report was that the player wasn’t going to all the classes he was supposed to be attending.
He was not going to the gym as much as was expected or as much as he said he was going.
And to top it off, he was out drinking at least one night with another teammate.
What a huge disappointment. 
When we talked to the player he denied all of the allegations.
I know that when there are two sides to a story, the truth often lies somewhere in between.
But this theme has repeated itself for years with this player, and at some point he needs to recognize that the common denominator is him.
Once again, it was someone else’s fault, that’s not they way it was, they aren’t telling the truth.
According to him he was going to class, going to the gym, and as far as the late night out, well the reasoning was...

“I was with a teammate and he didn’t get in trouble or released, so why should I?”.
Well unfortunately, life isn’t fair.
Like it or not, sometimes some players are held to a different standard based on their history or even where they sit on the depth chart.
It’s wishful thinking that your off-ice choices aren’t important and all that matters is talent.
Just like it would be great if chips and ice cream made you ripped.
There is life the way you wish it was, and then there is reality.
Just know this, coaches do their homework.
Talent gets you noticed, character gets you recruited.
The fact this player took no accountability for his actions told me everything I need to know about why his career has played out the way it has.
If this was the first instance, maybe you get the benefit of the doubt.
But when it becomes a pattern, there’s more than meets the eye.
So now I’m talking directly to you reading this article right now.
You may think you are doing all the right things, and maybe you are.
If I can pass on one important lesson it is this.
One single bad decision can ruin the rest of your life.
One tiny lapse of judgement, immaturity, or stupidity can destroy everything you have spent years building.
Just ask Ryan Lochte.

Even worse, ask someone who is in prison for killing someone while drinking and driving.
It’s hard but it’s simple.
If you are the type of person who is unable or unwilling to delay pleasure now for a bigger reward down the road, you will never reach your true potential.
Ask yourself why are you doing this?
Is that skipped workout, skipped class, or night out with your buddy worth everything you have worked so hard to achieve?
To you maybe it is, but if that’s the case, go play beer league and leave the spot open for someone who really wants it.
The choices you make related to booze, drugs, girls, and what you put on social media come with serious consequences.
If you make poor decisions, you had better be willing to take ownership and accountability.
And you have to be willing to accept the consequences.
We all know right from wrong.
When you come to that point in time when you have to make a choice about doing what you want right now vs. what will lead to the bigger reward down the road, think about how much time and effort you have invested in yourself.
Think of all the investment and support you have received from family, friends, coaches, and teammates.
Many players would give anything to have the chance you have.
You owe it to yourself and to them to make the commitment to be your best.
The choice is clear.
DISCIPLINE is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST!
Sometimes there is no next time, no second chance, no time out. Sometimes it’s now or never.

To us, and to most coaches too, character and integrity are everything.
And because of that, we will continue to work with this player because we made a commitment to him, and if we can make a difference with a troubled kid, that matters to us.
My only hope is that it matters enough to him.
Hope this helps...
P.S...I know you want to play at the highest level you can. 

If you want to take control of the recruiting process and develop a game plan for your hockey future, here's what you need to do.

Don’t wait. 

Go here and grab a quick spot on the calendar (and fill out the appropriate application).

If you are taking action, you are making progress.

But don't read this and do nothing.
Success has always favored the bold.


  1. So we have no chance at making playoffs even if we beat Wichita tonight and Idaho Friday and Saturday?

  2. No that is not correct. The above scenario only comes into play if we are tied for points.