Friday, December 1, 2023

Allen vs Utah Preview, Recent Roster Changes, Tonight's Lineup, Myllari Takes the "C" and ECHL Goals by Defensemen


After six games on the road the Allen Americans have a home game tonight for the first time since November 12. CUTX Event Center has not been kind to the Americans thus far this season. Allen's home record is 0-5-0-0 compared to a road record of 5-5-1-0.


- The opponent tonight is Utah who is in town for just one game. It is the first of seven times the Grizzlies and Americans will meet this season, four at home, three away. Allen plays Wichita tomorrow night and then goes back on the road for six games, starting with three games in Utah next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


-  The Allen lineup will have a new look tonight led by goalie Leevi Meriläinen who was just assigned to Allen by Ottawa. It is Leevi's second stint in Allen. He played the opening game of the season in Idaho, made 43 saves with a .956 save percentage to win the game 5-2 despite the Americans being outshot 45-19. Meriläinen is expected to be with Allen for two or three games to get some playing time and then head back to Belleville. The plan all along has been to rotate goalies from Belleville to Allen to get playing time as long as Ottawa and Belleville don't have any injuries.


- In addition to Meriläinen seeing his first action at the CUTX Event Center, Americans will see seven other players for the first time at home (this season):

  • #67 Hank Crone, F (Assigned by Chicago Wolves, AHL)
  • #6 Johnny Walker, F (Free agent returned from Europe)
  • #9 William Provost, F (Acquired in trade with Fort Wayne)
  • #16 Joe Gatenby, D (Acquired in trade with Fort Wayne)
  • #23 Solag Bakich, F (Acquired in trade with Reading) 
  • #28 Andrew Jarvis, D (Acquired in trade with Tulsa)
  • #44 Nolan Orzeck, D (Acquired in trade with Iowa)


- Who fans won't see tonight is also a long list:

  • Chad Butcher - traded to Fort Wayne
  • Brayden Crowder - released
  • Brandon Yeamans - released
  • Colton Hargrove - IR
  • Grant Hebert - IR
  • Mikael Robidoux - IR
  • Ryan Gagnon - IR
  • Liam Finlay - IR
  • Dalton Gally - IR
  • Dalton Skelly - IR
  • Ty Farmer - IR


- Here is the lineup for the game tonight: 


  • 29 McAuley-6 Walker-67 Crone 
  •  9 Provost-21 Marcinew-19 Puricelli
  •  23 Bakich-26 Asuchak-14 Fournier
  •                                         22 Sredl


  • 4 Myllari-44 Orzeck
  • 27 Allen-16 Gatenby
  • 28 Jarvis-20 Williams
  • 5 Demin

  Goalies 34 Meriläinen 31 Sinclair (backup)


- Here are weekly press releases from both teams recapping a lot of information that is useful as you get ready for the game tonight:


- Here are some stat comparisons between Allen and Utah:

  • Allen scores more goals: 3.1 vs 2.8
  • Allen allows more goals: 4.8 vs 2.8
  • Utah takes more shots: 30.2 vs 28.7
  • Allen allows more shots: 44.9 vs 31.4
  • Allen has the better power play %: 23.8% vs 20.5%
  • Utah has the better penalty kill %: 80.0% vs 77.3%
  • Allen average more PIMs per game: 17.81 vs 9.08
  • Allen takes more minor penalties: 90 vs 49


- Keys to the game for Allen:

  • Allow fewer than 40 shots.
  • Win the special teams battle, stay out of the penalty box.
  • A good start - Allen is 3-3-1-0 when scoring first, Utah is 5-1-0-0.
  • Keep in front of the net clear, if Meriläinen see the puck he stops the puck.


- With Colton Hargrove on injured reserve and out of the lineup long term, he passed the "C" to Kris Myllari in his absence. I talked to Hargrove yesterday and he assured me he will be around the team after his surgery to help in any way he can. You can expect him to be at practice, games and possibly even take some road trips down the road as he recuperates. Myllari brings a ton of leadership skills to the locker room and on the ice. He was voted by his ECHL peers as the best defensive defenseman in the Western Conference. That is quite an honor since he is averaging 1.06 points per game and is leading all ECHL players in power play points (12) and power play assists (10). An Ironman, Kris has not missed a game since he joined Allen in 2020-21. 


- Just this week I saw this post on Twitter from an agent I follow. These are top level European leagues still looking for players. You have to assume the high end ECHL forwards, defensemen and goalies are getting calls to go to Europe.

Open jobs in Europe:

  • Czech Extraliga - two teams looking for wingers.
  •  Finland Liiga - two teams looking for wingers.
  • Germany - DEL1 and DEL2 - teams looking for forwards and defence.
  • KHL - teams looking for defence.


- I am sure most of you saw former Allen Americans forward Sam Laberge made his NHL debut with New Jersey last night. Laberge played in Allen in 2020-21. Current players Spencer Asuchak, Colby McAuley and Kris Myllari played on that team. Laberge was injured and couldn't play in the Western Conference finals against Fort Wayne when Allen lost to the Komets.



DID YOU KNOW: ECHL teams with over 20% and under 10% of total goals scored by defensemen. The team’s points percentage is in parenthesis. FYI, Allen has scored 50 goals with eight scored by defensemen for a percentage of 16.0%. 
20.9% - Wichita (.400)
20.6% - Maine (.385)
20.5% - Florida (.600)
20.5% - Kalamazoo (.438)
20.4% - Norfolk (.563)
20.0% - Greenville (.875)
4.2% - Iowa (.594)
8.8% - Wheeling (.500)
8.7% - Savannah (.382)
9.6% - Fort Wayne (.607)


Monday, November 27, 2023

ECHL Playoff Predictor: It's Thanksgiving - Are the Playoff Teams Already Decided?


I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with family and friends. With the Thanksgiving weekend and leftovers behind us and in my case the sloth like behavior watching too many hockey and football games over. It is time for my "Thanksgiving Day Playoff  Theory" blog which predicts the 16 ECHL playoff teams based on the standings as of today. No need to worry any more, the fate of your favorite team is already decided. It gives new meaning to Black Friday. A little overstated but not by much. 

- I have talked about this in the past after reading numerous articles about the history in the NHL, where data proves somewhere between 75% - 80% of playoff teams are already decided by now. Here is one of the more informative stories about this subject from the Hockey News years ago:


- It is strange to think with just 21% of the ECHL season complete, you can predict who will be in the playoffs with close to 80% accuracy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained so here are the playoff teams strictly by the numbers plus where I think the "Thanksgiving Day Playoff Theory" might be wrong. The numbers in parentheses are the current points percentages. Here are your 2023-24 playoff teams (top four teams) plus those currently out of the playoffs.


  • 1. Trois Riviéres (.733)
  • 2. Adirondack (.615)
  • 3. Norfolk (.563)
  • 4. Worcester (.531)
  • Newfoundland (.500)
  • Maine (.385)
  • Reading (.333)

The top two in the North Division look pretty solid and the bottom two are a long shot but the middle will likely change. There is little doubt Newfoundland, who is made up of mostly AHL contracted players, will make the playoffs even though the Growlers are on the outside looking in right now. Norfolk hasn't been in the playoffs since the team moved from Bakersfield in 2015-16 so is a likely candidate to fall out of a playoff position. What is different this season is Norfolk has seven NHL/AHL contracted players. Worcester hasn't made the playoffs since 2018 but they have eight NHL/AHL players on the roster. You can be certain the four teams currently in a playoff position will not all make the playoffs.   


  • 1. Greenville (.875)
  • 2. Atlanta (.600)
  • 3. Florida (.571)
  • 4. Orlando (.571)
  • Jacksonville (.533)
  • South Carolina (.500)
  • Savannah (.367)

The South Division has six teams with a points percentage of .500 or above and in playoff territory. Greenville has the best record in the league and is a lock for the playoffs, but the other three playoff spots are up for grabs. Atlanta is in second place at .600 but the Gladiators are in a free fall, losing six of the last seven games after starting the season with eight straight wins. Only Savannah appears out of the playoff picture.


  • 1. Toledo (.714)
  • 2. Fort Wayne (.607)
  • 3. Iowa (.594) 
  • 4. Cincinnati (.571)
  • Wheeling (.533)
  • Kalamazoo (.400)
  • Indy (.357)

Of all of the divisions the Central is the most likely to stay the same as it is today. Iowa is the wild card since the Heartlanders have finished last in the division since the franchise began 2021-22. Iowa recently won seven straight games and is 8-1-0-1 in the last 10 games. Wheeling (4-6-0-0) and Kalamazoo (3-7-0-0) in the last 10 games have been fading.  


  • 1. Idaho (.875)
  • 2. Kansas City (.765)
  • 3. Tulsa (.563)
  • 4. Utah (.462)
  • Rapid City (.382)
  • Wichita (.368)
  • Allen (.344)

This division is most likely to have different teams in the playoffs from the current four. Idaho and Kansas City are locks for the playoffs. The other five teams will scramble for the final two playoff spots. Last season Allen was in last place at Thanksgiving and finished in second place. After eating crow (chili) last season for predicting at Thanksgiving Allen would miss the playoffs all I will say now is any of the teams currently out of the playoffs (Rapid City, Wichita, Allen) could make the playoffs.      

- History says if you are more than five points out of the fourth playoffs spot at Thanksgiving the chances of making it into the playoffs is slim, less than 10%. Here are the three teams more than five points out of the fourth playoff position:

  • 7 points - Maine
  • 7 points - Reading
  • 6 points - Indy


- Historically, teams more than five points clear of the final playoff spot in the division at this point can start selling playoff tickets as they rarely miss the playoffs. Three teams are in this category:

  • 14 points - Idaho
  • 12 points - Greenville
  • 12 points - Kansas City


   - Keep in mind this is all done in fun and with just the facts. The playoff teams are the top four by points percentage in each division. I will definitely revisit it at the end of the season to see how many of the 16 teams in playoff positions now, will in fact make the playoffs. If your favorite team is currently out the playoffs, remember even with 80% accuracy, five teams currently outside of a playoff position will make the playoffs.

- The bottom line is most playoffs teams are already decided but as important it is to make the playoffs, it is a myth that once you make the ECHL playoffs any team can win the Kelly Cup. While Florida won the Kelly Cup last season after finishing the regular in 11th place that was a rare exception.  Here is where the last 18 Kelly Cup champions finished during the regular season:

A team doesn't want to finish first since the Brabham Cup (regular season champion) curse has been in effective since 2014. That was the last time a team (Alaska) won both the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup. The sweet spot for winning the Kelly Cup is to finish between 2nd and 6th during the regular season. 

  • 2023 - Florida (11th)
  • 2022 - Florida (3rd)
  • 2021 - Fort Wayne (5th)
  • 2019 - Newfoundland (3rd)
  • 2018 - Colorado (4th)
  • 2017 - Colorado (3rd)
  • 2016 - Allen (6th)
  • 2015 - Allen (2nd)
  • 2014 - Alaska (1st)
  • 2013 - Reading (2nd)
  • 2012 - Florida (7th)
  • 2011 - Alaska (1st)
  • 2010 - Cincinnati (5th)
  • 2009 - South Carolina (4th)
  • 2008 - Cincinnati (1st)
  • 2007 - Idaho (6th)
  • 2006 - Alaska (1st)
  • 2005 - Trenton (4th) 



DID YOU KNOW: The list of ECHL teams that have won multiple championships is not very long when you consider the league has been around since 1988 and there have been something like 60 different  teams depending on how you count. Here are the eight teams that have won multiple ECHL championships with winning coaches in parenthesis:

  • Alaska Aces - 2006, 2011, 2014  (Davis Payne, Rob Murray, Rob Murray)
  • South Carolina Stingrays - 1997, 2001, 2009  (Rick Vaive, Rick Adduono, Jared Bednar)
  • Hampton Roads Admirals - 1991, 1992, 1998  (John Brophy)
  • Florida Everblades - 2012, 2022, 2023  (Greg Poss, Brad Ralph, Brad Ralph)
  • Colorado Eagles - 2017, 2018  (Aaron Schneekloth)
  • Allen Americans - 2015, 2016  (Steve Martinson)
  • Cincinnati Cyclones - 2008, 2010  (Chuck Weber)
  • Idaho Steelheads - 2004, 2007  (John Oliver, Derek Laxdal)
  • Toledo Storm - 1993, 1994  (Chris McSorley)


Sunday, November 26, 2023

Allen Comeback Falls Short, OT Loss Game Recap, Video Highlights, 10 Americans with 200 Games Played, PIM Stats and More


 The Allen Americans lost in Tulsa last night 6-5 in overtime before a huge crowd of 12,389 on Teddy Bear Toss night at the BOK Center. The game had a lot of similarities to Friday night when Allen won 5-4 in overtime.

  • Allen scored the first goal of the game in both games. The Americans record when scoring first is now 3-3-1-0 (.500). Only one ECHL team has a worst record when scoring first.
  • Allen had a 2-1 lead after the first period but gave up three unanswered goals in the second period to fall behind 4-2. 
  • The Americans came back with a goal at the 15:20 mark of the second period (Spencer Asuchak) and 5:53 mark of the third period (Matt Marcinew) to tie the score 4-4.
  • Tulsa took a 5-4 lead but just like Friday night, Colby McAuley tied the score (13:44) to send the game to overtime.
  • Allen had the better opportunities in overtime taking four shots to Tulsa's none before Allen's nemesis, Tyler Poulson scored the game winner at the 4:58 mark of overtime. Poulson had five points (3G, 2A) in the two games against his old team.
  • Not a surprise Allen was outshot in every period for a total of 47-33. Allen has been out shot in 15 of 16 games thus far this season.
  • Special teams fell Tulsa's way last night. Allen was 0-2 on the power play, Tulsa was 1-3.
  • The good news is Allen scored five even strength goals after scoring just one in the 5-4 win on Friday.


- Goal scorers for Allen were Kris Myllari (5), Ty Fournier (2), Spencer Asuchak (4), Matt Marcinew (8) and Colby McAuley (7). Here are the video highlights: 

- Here are the game recaps with all of the details from both teams:


- After a hectic schedule including six straight road games the Americans returned home last night taking five of six points this week, The team will have the day off today and will have some time to practice this week since they don't play until Friday against Utah. With so many new players and so little practice time recently this week will be very valuable to coach Costello.


- If Allen can get four points this week in its two home games against Utah (Friday) and Wichita (Saturday) the Americans will be right back in the playoff race. It won't be easy given Allen has not won a home game this season (0-5-0-0).  



 - Congrats to Spencer Asuchak who played in his 500th regular season game last night for the Allen Americans. He has also played in 99 playoff games for the Americans. Talk about dominating a stat, check this one out. Only 10 players in the history of the Allen Americans franchise have reached 200 regular season games played and all are household names:

  • 500 - Spencer Asuchak
  • 282 - Chad Costello
  • 247 - Tyler Ludwig
  • 238 - Jarret Lukin
  • 229 - Mike Berube
  • 228 - Gary Steffes
  • 222 - David Makowski
  • 215 - Brian McMillin
  • 213 - Eric Roy
  • 205 - Joel Chouinard
If Kris Myllari stays healthy he could be in the top five on this list by the end of this season.  

- Scoring stats worth noting:
  • Kris Myllari - Kris had goals in all three games this week and has points in nine of the last 10 games, a total of 14 points (5G, 9A).
  • Spencer Asuchak had points in all three games this week (2G, 2A). He has four goals in the last seven games.
  • Nolan Orzeck played in his first three games for Allen this week, had assists in all three.
  • Hank Crone has been back with the Allen Americans for six games and has points in all six. A total of 10 points (2g, 8A).

- In the Mountain Division last night Rapid City, Kansas City, Utah and Allen (OT) lost while Tulsa, Idaho and Wichita won. Here are the latest points percentages:
  • .875 - Idaho
  • .765 - Kansas City
  • .533 - Tulsa
  • .462 - Utah
  • .382 - Rapid City
  • .361 - Wichita
  • .344 - Allen

- The Americans had a successful week earning five of the possible six points and certainly fielded a stronger lineup with all of the recent acquisitions. What remains to be seen is whether this revamped lineup can become a better defensive team. In the Americans last six games they have given up 29 goals  (6,4,3,5,5,6) and average of 4.83 goals per game which is higher than the season long average of 4.75. The Americans are last in the league in shots allowed (44.88) and goals allowed (4.75). As a comparison Kansas City allows 19 fewer shots and 2.1 fewer goals per game than the Americans. If Allen's revamped lineup can't reduce the number of shots and goals allowed the Americans will not be able to compete against the top teams in the division. 
- Current points percentages and record for Allen's affiliates: 
Allen - .344 (5-10-1-0) last place Mountain Division
Belleville - .467 (6-7-1-1) 6th place in 7 team North Division
Ottawa - .500 (8-8-0-0) last place in Atlantic Division  
DID YOU KNOW: Two ECHL teams, Norfolk and Maine are averaging over 19 penalty minutes per game but six teams are averaging fewer than 10 penalty minutes per game. Here are the bottom six teams in average penalty minutes with points percentage in parenthesis. Some excellent teams on this list and some outside the playoffs.
7.53 - Kansas City (.765)
7.60 - Jacksonville (.533)
8.31 - Adirondack (.615)
9.08 - Utah (.462)
9.19 - Greenville (.875)
9.88 - Rapid City (.382)

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Allen Erases 4-1 Deficit, Wins in OT, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Rematch Preview, Allen Rises in Standings, ECHL Top Scoring Defensemen and More


If you wrote a script that matched Allen Americans 5-4 overtime win in Tulsa last night it would be rejected as being unrealistic. A big third period comeback and quick overtime goal sent a crowd of 5432 of mostly Tulsa fans home in disbelief. Here is a partial list of the ups and downs and wacky stats from the game.

  • Allen scored the first goal of the game for the first time in five games.
  • Tulsa scored two goals on its first three shots of the game.
  • Tulsa totaled three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
  • Tulsa was undefeated when leading after the first period.
  • Tulsa had 18 second period shots but scored just one goal.
  • Allen had two second period shots, the fewest second period shots in the ECHL this season.
  • Tulsa had a 4-1 lead after the second period.
  • Allen was 0-7 when trailing after the second period.
  • Tulsa was 5-0 when leading after the second period.
  • Allen outscored Tulsa 3-0 in the third period and outshot the Oilers 18-9.
  • Allen's third period goal differential prior to last night was -11 (13 goals for, 25 against)
  • Allen tied the score 4-4 with 23.8 seconds remaining in the game.
  • Allen was 3-5 on the power play plus scored the OT game winner on a delayed penalty.
  • Allen took two penalties in the game, Tulsa took six. 

 - It is hard to imagine a bigger confidence booster for the Americans than the comeback victory last night, playing their first game without captain Colton Hargrove. The win was Allen's first back to back win of the season. The Americans improved their road record to 5-5-0-0.

- Goal scorers for Allen were Justin Allen (2), Colby McAuley (5,6), Johnny Walker (1) and Kris Myllari (4). William Provost, playing his first game for the Americans and Hank Crone both had three assists. Here are the video highlights:


- Here are the game recaps from both teams with goal by goals descriptions:


- Tulsa had two chances to win the game at the end of regulation. Mark Sinclair was leaving the ice for an extra attacker when Tulsa gained control of the puck and shot it down the ice. Sinclair had to change directions and dive to deflect the puck. He was completely outstretched and barely deflected the puck with the tip of his stick between the circles. Then Tulsa had a 2-on-1 and shot the puck over the empty net. Those two missed opportunities allowed Colby McAuley to tie the game with 23.8 seconds remaining.


- Plenty of odd stats out of this game. Allen's two shots in the second period followed by 18 in the third period has to top the list. Another is the fact Allen and Tulsa have been involved in just two overtime games this season, both against each other, both in Tulsa and the Americans won both, 6-5 and 5-4.


- Another win tonight would be huge for the Americans as they wrap up their six game road trip. Eight of the 17 skaters on the ice last night have played five or fewer games with the Americans including two playing their first last night. Allen totaled 15 points (5G, 10A) in the game. 67% of the points (2G, 8A) came from the new players. Some of these players haven't even practiced with the team. The team should be full of confidence after the comeback win last night. Can they build on that confidence tonight?


- Special teams were the difference maker last night with Allen scoring four of its five goals with an extra attacker. Allen was officially 3-5 on the power play goal and scored the overtime goal on a delayed penalty. Allen gave up just one power play opportunity to Tulsa which they killed. You couldn't ask for better special teams play but it is unlikely it can be repeated tonight. 


- Allen's road power play percentage rose to 26.2% while Tulsa's home power play percentage dropped to 12.5%. Allen's road penalty kill percentage rose to 84.1% while Tulsa's dropped to 64.5% (the worst in the league). Despite the big advantage the Americans have on special teams the game tonight will likely be decided by even strength goals. The Americans will have to do a better job when even strength than they did last night. Allen was outscored 4-1 on even strength goals. 


- Keys to the game tonight:

  • Consistency, play a full 60 minutes rather than 25 like last night.
  • Keep rolling on special teams.
  • Improve even strength play.
  • A good start. 
  • Hold Tulsa to less than 40 shots.


- The referee scheduled tonight is #8 Tyler Hascall who was the referee last night and in Wichita on Wednesday. Allen rarely takes fewer penalties than its opponent. On the recent trip to Idaho, Allen was called for more penalties in all three game and the total was 22-15. In Wichita the penalties were 8-4 in favor of Allen and last night the penalties were 6-2 in favor of Allen. Penalties have a way of evening out (regressing to the mean) and over the last two games Hascall has called 14 on the opponents and just six on Allen. Odds are that trend will not continue tonight which is why the Americans must be better even strength.      




- With a win last night Allen climbed out of last place in the Mountain Division by points percentage which is the only way to compare teams since games played varies from 12 (Utah) to 17 (Wichita). Idaho and Kansas City both won last night and are threatening to run off and hide when you consider no other team in the division has a points percentage above .500. Here are the current standings: 

  • .867 - Idaho
  • .813 - Kansas City
  • .500 - Tulsa
  • .500 - Utah
  • .406 - Rapid City
  • .333 - Allen
  • .324 - Wichita


- Hank Crone has only played five games with the Americans but has already climbed up to fifth in points in the team. Hank has nine points (2G, 7A) and leads the team in points per game at 1.80. Last season he led the league in points (105) and points per game average (1.52).  

- After 197 of 1008 ECHL games this season, average attendance is 4607 ranging from 8354 (Jacksonville) to 1777 (Iowa). For all of last season the average attendance was 4629 ranging from 7749 (Jacksonville) to 1851 (Iowa). 

- There are 12 games on tap in the ECHL tonight. All seven Mountain Division teams are in action. Here is the ECHL Today with all of the previews:


- Congrats to former Allen Americans player Josh Brittain and his wife Rhiannon who just announced  they are expecting a baby.



DID YOU KNOW: Stick taps to the top four ECHL defensemen in points who are all averaging 1.00+ points per game. Here are the leaders with average points per game in parenthesis:
21 points - Jalen Smereck, Cincinnati(1.62)
16 points - Kris Myllari, Allen (1.07)
16 points - *Jonny Tychonick, Newfoundland (1.00)
15 points - Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm, Cincinnati (1.25)


Friday, November 24, 2023

Allen vs Tulsa Series Preview, Lineup Changes, ECHL Points Leaders with Projected Points and More


 After a day off in Tulsa for Thanksgiving the Allen Americans are back in action with games tonight and tomorrow night against the Oilers. The Allen schedule against Tulsa this season is unusual. It is not unusual that the teams will play 16 times, but 10 of the 16 will be at the CUTX Event Center. What is even more strange is after this weekend Allen has only two road games left in Tulsa. They will travel to Tulsa on February 16 and the last day of the season on April 14. Not the case at home where Tulsa will be the opponent in 32% (10 of 31) of Allen's remaining homes games.


-  Tonight will be the third game between Allen and Tulsa this season. They played twice at the beginning of  November and split the games. Allen won the first game 6-5 in overtime (Matt Marcinew with the game winner). The next night Tulsa won 5-1. Here are the cumulative stats for the two games:

  • Allen was outscored 10-7
  • Allen was outshot 97-56
  • Allen was 1-5 (20%) on the power play
  • Tulsa was 2-9 (22.2%) on the power play
  • Allen took 10 penalties for 47 minutes (37 minutes by Mikael Robidoux)
  • Tulsa took 6 penalties for 12 minutes
  • Tulsa scored first in both games


-  In the overtime game that the Americans won they were outshot 48-27 and Tulsa made a big comeback after trailing 5-2. Tulsa took a 2-0 lead before Allen scored five straight goals. Tulsa came back from the 5-2 deficit and tied the score 5-5 with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Marcinew scored the game winner just 58 seconds into the overtime. 


- As always special teams will play a big role in this two game series. Allen is #2 in penalty minutes per game (19.36) while Tulsa is #22 averaging 10.15 penalty minutes per game. Tulsa actually has more five minute major penalties than Allen (6 vs 5) but there is a big difference in minor penalties. Allen has taken 83 minor penalties compared to just 51 for Tulsa. Here are the special teams percentages:

  • Power Play
  • 21.4% - Allen's overall  percentage
  • 18.4% - Tulsa's overall percentage
  • 21.6% - Allen's road percentage
  • 13.0% - Tulsa's home percentage
  • Penalty Kill
  • 77.5% - Allen's overall percentage
  • 77.5% - Tulsa's overall percentage
  • 83.7% - Allen's road percentage
  • 69.2% - Tulsa's home percentage

 - Looking at the stats above the overall percentages are close but if you compare Allen's road numbers to Tulsa's home numbers a big advantage goes to the Americans. Allen has the better power play (21.6% vs 13.0%) and penalty kill (83.7% vs 69.2%). 


- Playing with a lead is often emphasized with good reason. Here are some stats for both teams that make the point very well:

  • 3-0-0-0: Leading after 1st period
  • 4-1-0-0: Leading after 2nd period
  • 0-6-0-0: Tied after 1st period
  • 0-2-0-0: Tied after 2nd period
  • 1-4-0-0: Trailing after 1st period
  • 0-7-0-0: Trailing after 2nd period
  • 3-0-0-0: Leading after 1st period
  • 5-0-0-0: Leading after 2nd period
  • 2-1-0-0: Tied after 1st period
  • 0-0-0-0: Tied after 2nd period
  • 1-5-1-0: Trailing after 1st period
  • 1-6-1-0: Trailing after 2nd period

It is very clear from the stats above the importance of playing with the lead, especially for the Americans. In three of Allen's four wins this season the Americans had the lead after the first period and in all four wins they led after the second period.


- Allen will have eight or nine players in the lineup tonight that were not in the lineup when the Americans played the Oilers at the beginning of  November. Hopefully they will be able to carryover the winning ways from the Wichita game on Wednesday. Forward William Provost, who was acquired from Fort Wayne in the Chad Butcher trade, will be in the lineup tonight wearing #9. There will also be another new forward in the lineup tonight, Johnny Walker who just returned from Europe (EIHL) where he played for Dundee.


- Allen Americans lineup tonight vs Tulsa:


Perry (backup)



- A player to keep an eye on tonight is Tulsa's leading scorer,  #15 Eddie Matsushima. In the two games in November he lit up the Americans for five points (2G, 3A). On Wednesday in Tulsa's 3-2 win over Kansas City, Matsushima had three points (1G, 2A) and his goal was the game winning goal. 


- The referee scheduled tonight is #8 Tyler Hascall. He was the referee in Wichita on Wednesday. It was a rare night when Allen was called for fewer penalties (4) than Wichita (8). Remember, he is the referee that called zero penalties in the entire game in an Allen vs Toledo game two years ago.    



- There was one game in the ECHL on Thanksgiving, Fort Wayne beat Iowa 4-3 in a shootout. Iowa had won seven straight games before losing to the Komets. Iowa's streak of eight games earning a point is still intact and the longest in the league. Chad Butcher played his first game for Fort Wayne since being traded from Allen. His box score was all zeros and he was -1. I saw this post from Justin Cohn quoting Fort Wayne coach Jesse Kallechy on Butcher's debut. "He traveled all day yesterday and got in a 30 minute practice. I like what he brings. He skates well, brings good energy and I trusted him enough to play him. And he is only going to get  more comfortable."

- It is a big night around the ECHL with 13 games on the schedule. All seven Mountain Division teams will play. In addition to Allen at Tulsa, Wichita is at Kansas City, Idaho is at Rapid City and Newfoundland is at Utah. If Allen can win tonight they will definitely make some progress in the standings. Here is the ECHL Today previewing all 13 games:


- No news on Colton Hargrove but it certainly doesn't sound good. Coach Costello's quote in the Americans recap press release after the win in Wichita says in part, "It was a tough way to win the game. It came at a price. Colton Hargrove leaving the game with a serious injury, and knowing he is going to be out for a lengthy period. The win is bittersweet." That quote tells you all you need to know about the seriousness of Hargrove's injury. Costello told me they will have more details later after the results of tests are known.


DID YOU KNOW: It is fun to play the what if game when looking at points. The ECHL Stats post today is such an exercise. FYI, Allen's leading scorer, Matt Marcinew, is on pace to have 82 points this season and Hank Crone is on pace for 93 points despite missing the first 10 games of the season. 

Last season the ECHL points leader, Hank Crone (Allen) had 105 points. It is still early in the 2023-24 season but five players already have 20+ points & are on pace to score more than 105 points. To do so they would have to continue their current pace the entire season and play every remaining game which is a tall task. Odds of any ECHL player exceeding 105 points this season are very slim. Here are the leading point scorers with projected points based on current pace in parenthesis:
22 - Max Andreev, KC, (106)
21 - Mark Rassell, IDH, (108)
21 - Wade Murphy, IDH, (108)
21 - Mitchell Fossier, ATL, (117)
20 - Jalen Smereck, CIN, (120)

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Allen Snaps Losing Streak, Hargrove Injured, Game Recaps, Video Highlights, Costello Comments, Myles Jack Unretires, ECHL Streaks and More


It was a big win and a big loss for the Allen Americans last night in Wichita. The Americans won the game 5-3 but lost their captain, Colton Hargrove to a leg injury. Hargorve needed help getting off the ice and it definitely didn't look good.


-  It was an inspiring win for the Americans who snapped a six game losing streak while playing without their captain for most of the game. The team was reduced to just eight forwards plus defensemen Matt Sredl upfront. Six players took the ice last night with three or fewer games played for the Americans. Defensemen Joe Gatenby and Nolan Oezeck were playing in their first game for Allen.


- Allen gave up the first and only goal on the opening period on a Thunder power play which was not a good sign. Allen had not won a game all season when trailing after the first period (0-4) until last might. The team seemed inspired after Hargrove left with his injury. They outshot Wichita 14-10 in the first period and goalie Mark Sinclair looked great in goal. Allen had two 5-on-3 opportunities in the first period, one was 37 seconds and the other 1:22 (10 seconds carried over to the 2nd period) but could not convert. It was a pattern for Allen throughout the game as the power play was 1-7.


- Facing a 1-0 deficit, Allen fought back in the second period with two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. The goal scorers were Solag Bakich (2) and Spencer Asuchak (3). The Americans showed a lot of grit in the third period. Allen took a 3-1 lead early in the period when Hank Crone scored his second goal since joining the Americans. He had hit the post twice earlier in the game. Just when it looked like Allen would come away with a big win Wichita scored back to back goals to tie the score 3-3. It did not look good at that point given Allen was playing shorthanded and some players were racking up big minutes. 


- The heroics started with Matt Marcinew stealing the puck and depositing it in the back of the net on a bang-bang play. Marcinew had gone down hard into the boards several times during the game so it was good to see him get the games winner on his team leading seventh goal of the season. Kris Myllari scored an empty net goal that went the length of the ice with 45 seconds remaining to seal the victory. 


- Here are some miscellaneous stats of interest:

  • Allen held Wichita to under 40 shots (34). The fewest shots allowed all season and just the second time the Americans have held an opponent under 40 shots.
  • Allen struggled on the power play 1-7 and didn't convert on two 5-on-3 opportunities.
  • Allen stayed out of the penalty box taking just four penalties and allowing only two power plays. 
  • Allen improved its road record to 4-5-0-0
  • Allen gave up the first goal of the game for the ninth time in 14 games.
  • Mark Sinclair had his fewest saves of the season (31). He is ranked  #9 in the league in minutes played (477) but #1 in the league in saves (360).
  • Kris Myllari had a goal and an assist last night and continues to lead all ECHL players in power play points (11) and assists (9). 
  • Hank Crone has averaged 1.50 points per game since returning to Allen. He has six points (2G, 4A) in four games. 


- Here are the game recaps from both teams:


- Here are the video highlights with all of the goals and some great saves:


- I had a chance to check in with coach Costello after the game to get his thoughts. Here is what he had to say. The first quote is from the Allen Americans game recap but bears repeating: 

"It was a tough way to win the game. It came at a price. Colton Hargrove leaving the game with a serious injury, and knowing he is going to be out for a lengthy period. The win is bittersweet.  

"Sinclair was great and steady in the net which helped a lot."

"I thought their first goal was clearly scored with a kicking motion, but the players did a good job of staying focused after it was ruled a goal."

"With Hargrove's injury we were playing short. Everyone was competing and contributed tonight."

"Will we not know the extent of Hargrove's injury until later in the week."

"It was nice to see smiles in the locker room after the big win."

"Hopefully this will lead to more consistent success going forward."

"Happy Thanksgiving to everyone."   



 - The Americans traveled to Tulsa after the game last night and will have the day off today and enjoy a team Thanksgiving dinner together. Tulsa beat Kansas City 3-2 at home last night and will be waiting for the Americans. Tulsa lost the first two games of the three game series against the Mavericks. Tulsa has been playing good hockey. Last week they swept three game in Rapid City. 

The games against Tulsa tomorrow night and Saturday night will be a real test for Allen to show the team is back on track despite having eight players out with injuries. William Provost (#9) met the team in Tulsa and as I mentioned yesterday, it is possible Coach Costello could add another forward and get a goalie assigned before the weekend is completed.   


 - You probably saw the news that Allen Americans owner Myles Jack unretired and signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this week. Here is the story if you haven't seen it.

I have had several questions what this means for the Allen Americans since Myles was very involved with the team. I reached out to team President, Jonny Mydra and this is what he had to say, "Myles will do his best to be involved from a distance, but his mother, LJ, will take an even more active role than already planned. She will take over some of the things Myles was doing. She will be in the office and at the arena often."


 - After the games last night there are just three teams remaining with points percentages above .800 and two of them are in the Mountain Division. Only two teams have point percentages in the .700's and three in the .600's. Here is the list of the top eight teams.

  • .857 - Idaho
  • .857 - Greenville 
  • .800 - Kansas City
  • .769 - Trois Riviéres
  • .750 - Toledo
  • .682 - Adirondack
  • .615 - Atlanta
  • .615 - Iowa

- Four ECHL players have already hit double digits in goals scored. All are on pace to score 40+ goals this season. The top goal scorers:

  • 11 goals - Mark Rassell, Idaho
  • 10 goals - Wade Murphy, Idaho
  • 10 goals - Brandon Hawkins, Toledo
  • 10 goals - Ryan Chyzowski, Reading

- There is one Thanksgiving game on the scheduled today. Iowa, with its seven game win streak, will be in Fort Wayne to take on the Komets. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview:

DID YOU KNOW: Today's ECHL stats post is about streaks. With the win last night Allen avoided being on this list of longest current ECHL winning and losing streaks.. 



- No Surprise: The two best teams in the ECHL, with matching .857 points percentage, Greenville and Idaho, have 5 game win streaks.
- Big Surprise: Iowa lost its first 6 games of the season and was in the all to familiar last place in the division. The Heartlanders are now on a 7 game win streak, longest current win streak in the ECHL. They have climbed from last place to second place in the division.
- Biggest Surprise: Atlanta won its first 8 games of the season, tied for second all-time for wins to start the season. The Gladiators are now on a 5 game losing streak. They have gone from a league best 1.000 points percentage to .615 in just 10 days.

- I want to close today by wishing every one a Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you are able to spend time with friends and family. Because my mom was a nurse and daughter is a nurse a special thanks to all those that have to work today like health care workers and first responders. I also hope you take comfort in great memories if you have lost family or friends this year. May your day be filled with great friends, great family, great food and great times. Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Allen vs Wichita Preview, Allen's Revamped Defense, ECHL Shot Leaders and More


Tonight starts a big week for the Allen Americans as they try to snap a six game losing streak. After losing three straight against a team with a .857 points percentage (Kansas City) and three straight against a team with a .846 points percentage, this week the American plays teams with a .367 (Wichita) and .458 (Tulsa) point percentage. Allen will play Wichita tonight (6:05 pm CST)) and Tulsa on Friday and Saturday (7:05 CST)


- It won't be easy for the Americans when you consider Allen has more players on IR (7) than any other team in the ECHL. The Americans also have fewer players assigned by its affiliate (1) than any team in the ECHL. Allen also has one player (Hank Crone) assigned by the Chicago Wolves. As a reminder here are the current updated stats for Allen's opponents this week:

  • Wichita  - one player on IR, two players assigned by affiliate  
  • Tulsa - three players on IR, seven players assigned by affiliate 


- The week starts in Wichita tonight where Allen will take on the Thunder for the first time this season. Uncharacteristically, Allen and Wichita will play each other only nine times this season and six of the nine games will be in Wichita.


- Here is a stats comparison between Allen and Wichita:

  • Overall Record
  • 3-10-0-0: Allen
  • 5-9-1-0: Wichita 
  • Average Goals For
  • 2.7: Allen
  • 3.3: Wichita
  • Average Goals Against
  • 4.8: Allen
  • 4.1: Wichita
  • Average Shots For
  • 28.0: Allen
  • 30.1: Wichita
  • Average Shots Against
  • 45.8: Allen
  • 37.0: Wichita
  • Power Play Percentage
  • 22.4%: Allen
  • 23.6%: Wichita
  • Penalty Kill Percentage
  • 78.3%: Allen
  • 75.4%: Wichita

- The stats above show these teams are similar though Wichita has a slight edge in most. Here is how Allen and Wichita have done against common opponents. Neither team has fared well against the top two teams in the Mountain Division:

  • Idaho
  • 1-4-0-0: Allen
  • 0-2-1-0: Wichita
  • Kansas City
  • 0-3-0-0: Allen
  • 0-3-0-0: Wichita 


- Scoring first is typically a good indicator of  the team that will win the game, close to 75% of the time it is successful. Not the case with Allen who is 2-3-0-0 when scoring first and Wichita who is 3-3-0-0 when scoring first. While scoring first hasn't been a good indicator a first period lead has been. Allen is 3-0 when leading after the first period, Wichita is 3-1.


- When looking at special teams it is worthwhile looking at home vs road stats. Allen has just three wins this season, but they all came on the road. The Americans have a better power play percentage on the road (23.3% vs 21.1%) and a much better penalty kill percentage on the road (85.4% vs 67.9%). Wichita's home power play percentage is 24.1% and home penalty kill percentage is 76.7%. 


-  The Allen lineup will have a new look tonight with all of the roster changes, especially on defense. Ten players that were on the ice for opening night on October 20 will not be on the ice tonight. It is expected the Americans will have recently acquired defensemen Joe Gatenby (#16) and Nolan Orzeck (#44) in the lineup for the first time. Here is a list of other players recently added to the roster with games played for Allen.

  • Hank Crone, F - 3 games
  • Andrew Jarvis, D - 2 games
  • Justin Allen, D - 3 games
  • Solag Bakich, F - 3 games


- Allen will be missing Chad Butcher who is now with Fort Wayne. The forward acquired in the Butcher trade, William Provost (#9), is expected to meet the team in Tulsa. As I mentioned yesterday, it is possible Coach Costello could add another forward and get a goalie assigned before the weekend is completed. 


- The referee schedule tonight is #8 Tyler Hascall. He tends to let the teams play even though in any Allen vs Wichita game predicting low penalty minutes is fools gold. You may remember a road game on March 25, 2022 when the Americans beat Toledo 4-3 while being outshot 44-20. Tyler Hascall was the referee that night and had the very rare no penalty game. 


- Here is a game preview/ weekly update from both teams:



- Atlanta was red hot when it beat Allen twice (6-3, 6-0) early in the season The Gladiators went on to win their first eight games, which is second all-time for wins to start a season. Atlanta has fallen on hard times recently losing four straight games. Last season Worcester set the all-time record for wins to start the season (9) and ended up missing the playoffs. Atlanta plays Greenville, who has a record of 11-2-0-0, at home tonight.


- The ECHL daily report has a section for overall stats leaders. Two Allen Americans are among the leaders:

  • Mikael Robidoux is second in penalty minutes (56)
  • Kris Myllari is first in power play points (10)
  • Kris Myllari is first in power play assists (8)   


- There are 11 games in the ECHL tonight. The Mountain Division's two stalwarts are both on the road. Kansas City takes its 8-0 road record to Tulsa and Idaho takes its 4-1 road record to Rapid City. The points percentage gap between Idaho and Kansas City (.857 & .856) and the rest of the division (.464 to .231) is about to get insurmountable if the rest of the division can't slow down the top two. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews on all of the games:


-  If Kansas City wins tonight in Tulsa the Mavericks will tie the all-time record for road wins to start a season. The record of nine games was set by Newfoundland in 2021.


DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the shot leaders in the league. Matt Marcinew leads the Americans in shots with 51 and has a 15.8% shooting percentage.

ECHL leaders in shots including shooting percentage in parenthesis. Note the difference in shooting percentages. Some players do a lot better job in converting shots into goals:
59 shots: Brandon Hawkins, Toledo (16.9%)
58 shots: *Keaton Mastrodonato, Idaho (12.1%)
56 shots: Alex Whelan, Atlanta (14.3%)
55 shots: Jacob Hayhurst, Kansas City (9.1%)
54 shots: Mark Rassell, Idaho (18.5%)
54 shots: Patrick Curry Kansas City (5.6%)