The nature of playoff hockey is don't get too high and don't get too low. The time for reveling in the glory of two road wins is now past and the focus for the Allen Americans is to deal with as coach Martinson said, "We have a few things to work on."
- The most important stat after two games in this series is Allen has a 2-0 lead but if you look behind the two wins there is room for improvement. The Americans were outshot in both games. In game one they held Idaho to just 29 shots which is way below the 40 shots per game the Steelheads averaged against Allen during the regular season. However, the Americans managed just 24 shots in game one. Game two was back to normal between these team with Idaho out shooting Allen 40-24. After two games the shot total is 69-48 in favor of Idaho. While Allen came away with two victories this is not the recipe for continued success so I am sure it will be an area of emphasis at practice the next couple of days.
- If you believe in percentages, which coach Martinson does, one stat to look at after two playoff games in the shooting percentage. Allen's was phenomenal at 16.7%. Only one other playoff team has a shooting percentage in double digits (Toledo at 10.7%). Allen had one of the top shooting percentages in the ECHL during the regular season at 10.5%. Regression to the mean would say the Americans will be unlikely to sustain a 16.7% shooting percentage because it is so far outside the normal range. Practically it means Allen needs to generate more than the 24 shots they had in each of the first two games because the shooting percentage will be less than 16.7%.
- Special teams will be another area where more work needs to be done. The Americans were 0-5 on the power play in Idaho though they did score a goal three seconds after an Idaho penalty expired. Over the last 12 games Allen is 4-33 on the power play (12.1%). The penalty kill unit gave up a goal in both games for a penalty kill percentage of 75% (2-8). The Allen penalty kill has been very good over the last 12 games at 86.4% (6-44). In addition to scoring a power play goal in both games in Idaho the Steelheads have converted at a rate of 15.4% over the last 12 games. The Idaho penalty kill was 0-5 in the first two games and has allowed a power play goal in just two if their last 12 games for a penalty kill percentage of 94.4% (2-36).
- What did work extremely well in Idaho for the Americans was getting off to fast starts. That had been an issue the last part of the season but the guys were ready to play from the opening puck drop in both games and the stats tell the story. Allen scored first in both games and never relinquished the lead in either game. Allen was outshot 69-48 in the two games and out of the six periods of play had the edge in only two. The Americans outshot the Steelheads in both of the first periods.
- It has only been two games but Allen's leading scorer is Braylon Shmyr with a goal and two assists. Braylon also leads the team in shots (6). Joel Chouinard leads all ECHL players with a plus/minus of +7.
- If you like tracking the odds, history says game three will be a tough one for Allen to win. Across the three major league sports (MLB, NBA & NHL) in seven game series when a team starts on the road and takes a 2-0 lead their odds of winning game three is 54.7%. If you look at the NHL only the odds drop to 52.7% and if you look at NHL opening rounds only the odds drop to 42.4%.
- Since joining the ECHL Allen has played in 10 playoff series. Their record in game three of those 10 playoff series is 4-6. The Americans record in game three at home is 1-2. The road record in game three is 3-4.
- Wichita opened their playoffs, the first since 2013, with a bitter defeat at the hands of the Colorado Eagles last night. Because of arena availability in Colorado the Thunder got to open the series at home. Wichita took a 1-0 lead at the 7:12 mark of the first period and held that lead until midway through the third period before Colorado got the equalizer on a power play. Despite being outshot 39-14 the Thunder got the game to overtime with the score tied 1-1. Colorado crushed Wichita's hopes in the worst way scoring the overtime game winner on a shorthanded breakaway goal.
- Here is how the eight ECHL first round playoffs series currently stand:
Adirondack vs #4 Worcester - Adirondack leads 2-1
Manchester vs #3 Reading - Manchester leads 2-0
Florida vs #4 Atlanta - The first game of this series is tonight.
#2 South Carolina vs #3
Orlando - Orlando leads 2-0
vs #4 Indy - Toledo leads 2-0
#2 Fort Wayne vs #3 Cincinnati - Fort Wayne leads 2-0
Colorado vs #4 Wichita - Colorado leads 1-0
#2 Idaho vs #3 Allen - Allen leads 2-0
- There have been 14 playoff games played thus far with five of them going to overtime. Of the five overtime games four went to double overtime. Another fun fact is the higher seeded team has won all five overtime games.
- The first round playoff dates for the AHL are out. Allen fans are interested in when Colby McAuley (San Jose) and/or Vincent Arseneau (Utica) might be available. Both teams will be heavy underdogs as #4 seeds going against the #1 seeded division champions. The series are the best of five and game three for both teams is April 25 so that is the soonest these players would be available if their teams get swept. Game five is April 29 for Utica and April 28 for San Jose. If either team pulls off a first round upset the second round would not conclude until the middle of May.
- Allen's leading scorer against Idaho this season including the two playoff games is Joel Chouinard who has 12 points in 12 games, all assists. The leading goal scorer is Bryan Moore with five goals in 12 games.
DID YOU KNOW: With two more playoff games under his belt this past weekend Spencer Asuchak is now at the top of the heap in career playoffs games. Here are the all-time top five, a who's who of Allen history.
78 games - Spencer Asuchak
76 games - Greger Hanson
61 games - Jamie Schaafsma
61 games - Tyler Ludwig
60 games - Chad Costello
You can't talk about playoff records without mentioning Riley Gill who has been out with an injury he suffered in a game way back on October 21. If not for that injury Riley would be adding to his already out of reach ECHL all-time career playoff records. Here are three to contemplate and remember the ECHL is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Most Playoff Wins - Riley has won 53 playoff games which has produced three Kelly Cup championships (two in Allen & one in Reading). Second place for most playoff wins is 43 and third place is 31.
Most Playoff Game Appearances - Riley has appeared in 90 playoff games. Second place is 80 and third place is 48.
Most Playoff Minutes Played - Riley has logged 5095 minutes, 254 more than second place and 2189 more minutes than third place.