Friday, December 31, 2021

Allen vs Idaho Preview, The Case for a Must Win Series, Roster Update, NHL Winter Classic to Set Records, Best Rookie Goalies and More


I am guilty of using phrases like important series and must win series all to often but it applies this weekend in my opinion. It is hard to say a series is must win when you consider the Americans have only played 30% of the season (21 of 72 games). However, here is what Allen is up against to make it to the top of the Mountain Division. You might say why do they have to make it to the top of the division, they just need to make the playoffs and anything can happen. History shows otherwise, of the last 16 Kelly Cup champions, 14 finished in the top five in the regular season, one finished 6th and one finished 7th. Allen is currently #16 with a points percentage of .500.


- The top two teams in the Mountain Division are Utah (.661) and Idaho (.660). If these two team play .500 hockey the rest of the season, which is highly unlikely, Allen will have to play .600 hockey (30-20-1-0) over the final 51 games to catch them. If all of this happens Allen would win the division with a points percentage of about .570. A .570 points percentage would win the Mountain Division but is only good enough for #13 in the current ECHL standings, way below the top #5 which is most likely needed to win the Kelly Cup. 


- In Allen's two Kelly Cup winning seasons the Americans had regular season points percentage of .726 (2014-15) which was ranked #2 and .618 (2015-16) which was ranked #5. To get to a .618 points percentage by the end of this season, which reasonably would get Allen to the top five in the final standings, the Americans will need to have a points percentage of .667 over the final 51 games. That equates to a record of 34-17-0-0 the rest of the season. 


- That is a long drawn out way of describing the hill Allen must climb as the New Year begins and why this series against Idaho is a must win series. The Americans have shown recently what they are capable of playing .667 hockey the rest of the season and it is is clearly possible with the talent on the team. It will take a combination of dedication to the defensive end of the ice, consistent goalie play and improved special teams play. Offense is not the issue as the Americans average 3.33 goals per game. Compare that to the 2015-16 Kelly Cup season when they averaged 3.08 goals per game.


- Another reason this series is must win is Allen has to play better at home if it expects to move up the standings. Allen's home points percentage the last two seasons was .764 and .742. This season is at .333. Anything less than two wins this weekend is a failure and since they are playing a top team in Idaho it is imperative they gain some ground.


- Allen played Idaho on the road for three games at the end of November with a record of 1-1-1-0. The Americans lost game one 4-2 after scoring the first goal of the the game. In game two, Spencer Asuchak scored a shorthanded goal late in the third period to send the game to overtime which the Americans lost 3-2.  In game three Allen got ahead early, had two power play goals and won 4-2.

- Allen has been the better offensive team this season averaging 3.33 goals per game compared to Idaho at 3.00. Idaho is the better defensive team allowing a league leading 2.00 goals per game while Allen is ranked #27 allowing an average of 4.24 goals per game. 

- Allen has won five of its last seven games. In the five wins the Americans scored 4, 5, 5, 4, 5 goals. In the two losses Allen score one goal and two goals. With Antoine Bibeau expected to be in goal tonight and Sunday afternoon with his 2.84 GAA, .919 save percentage and perfect 3-0 record the Americans may not need five goals to win. Idaho has two outstanding rookie goalies so this series is expected to see some great goalie play from both teams. The odds are the winning team will not need five goals to win in this series.


- Special teams as always will play a key role in this series and there will likely be plenty of penalties. Both teams are willing to drop the gloves but are missing so key players. Allen leads the ECHL with 21 fighting majors but Idaho is not far behind with 18. Both teams also take plenty of minor penalties. In the three games in Idaho, Allen had 13 power play opportunities and converted on two for a power play percentage of 15.4%. The Steelheads had 15 power play opportunities and converted on three for a power play percentage of 20.0%. Shorthanded goals could also be a factor as each team had a shorthanded goal in the series in Idaho.

- Overall power play stats favor Idaho 22.1% to 17.5%. Allen's home power play percentage is 15.6% while Idaho's road power play is 21.1%.

- Penalty kill percentage strongly favors Idaho as the Steelheads have the #1 ranked penalty kill in the ECHL at 87.5%. Allen is ranked #22 at 78.0%. The difference is even wider when you compare Allen's home penalty kill (72.7%) to Idaho's road penalty kill (87.0%).

- The team that scored first won two of the three games when these teams played in Idaho. Best that Allen doesn't give up the first goal as Idaho has a record of 11-3-0-0 when scoring first. Allen's record when scoring first is 4-3-2-0. The winner of the special teams battle won all three games in Idaho and you have to expect that will be the case this weekend in Allen.

- Jack Combs has scored a goal in his last four games. It is the longest current goal scoring streak in the ECHL. Jack leads all players on the team with a 21.2% shooting percentage having scored seven goals on 33 shots. He also leads the team in points per game averaging 1.55. 


- Zach Hall will not be in the lineup tonight. He is coming off an injury and the Americans are in the midst of playing five games in seven days. Martinson is trying to keep him healthy. Dawson Butt will be back in the lineup after serving his one game suspension. Darion Skeoch is still out with an injury as is Ben Owen. Jared Bethune will be the sixth defensemen.


- Here is the game preview issued by the Allen Americans:


- Allen hasn't lost any players to the AHL yet but it is just a matter of time that COVID and taxi squad transactions in the NHL/AHL will see some Allen players getting loaned to the AHL. Allen is one of a very few ECHL teams that haven't been impacted already.  


- The NHL Winter Classic takes place tomorrow night at Target Field in Minneapolis between the Minnesota Wild and St Louis Blues. It is going to be so cold the NHL will have to heat the ice to keep the rink in optimal condition. The NHL's coldest modern outdoor game on record is the 2003 Heritage Classic between Edmonton and Montreal that got down to zero Fahrenheit. My weather app shows -5 at puck drop and -9 by the end of the game. All I can say is I know first hand Minnesota hockey fans are a tough bunch. I read all of the fans will be given a hand warmer as the enter the stadium, the player benches will be heated and the concession areas will be heated for fans to seek refuge. 


- There is a full schedule of 13 games in the ECHL tonight. Newfoundland is at Adirondack and will try to extend its undefeated road record of 9-0. A win tonight will tie the Growlers with several teams for the second longest road winning streak in ECHL history. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of all 13 games. FYI, the lone idle team tonight is Jacksonville.


DID YOU KNOW: Rookie goalies can be a key to success in AA hockey. Allen fans will never forget rookie goalie Aaron Dell leading the Americans to their first championship. Five of the top seven ECHL goalies in save percentage are rookies. Here the top five rookies in save percentage. All are from the Western Conference and two of the five play for Idaho.

.935: Matt Jurusik, Idaho

.933: Samuel Harvey, Fort Wayne

.933: Lukas Parik, Rapid City

.930: Trent Miner, Utah

.927: Jake Kupsky. Idaho


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Allen Hits .500 with Win in Wichita, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Movement Between Leagues Creates Opportunity and More


 The Allen Americans climbed back to the .500 points percentage mark (9-9-3-0) last night in Wichita with a 5-3 win over the Thunder before a Wednesday night crowd of 2700 at INTRUST Bank Arena. Things have gone from bad to worse for Wichita who has now lost 11 straight games. Four of the 11 losses have come at the hands of the Americans. As if things weren't bad enough for the Thunder, they lost their leading goal scorer and top goalie to the AHL before the game last night.


- Allen was led by Branden Troock who had a four point night including a hat trick. Wichita had no answer for the line of Combs-Butcher-Troock. The line accounted for four of Allen's five goals, five of seven assists, and 17 of the Americans 38 shots on goal. As a team Allen had a plus/minus of +16, this line was +12. Chad Butcher had two assists in his first game since returning to the team on Sunday. He last played on November 13. 


- It didn't look good for the Americans as they gave up the first goal at the 1:55 mark of the first period and fell behind 2-0 less than four minutes into the game. However, Allen responded with three unanswered goals before the first period was over and took a 3-2 lead into the first intermission. Allen built a 5-2 lead before Wichita closed the gap to 5-3 in the third period. Allen took a penalty late in the game and Wichita pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 power play but could not score.


- Antoine Bibeau stopped 34 of 37 shots to remain undefeated and improve his record to 3-0. Wichita scored on its first and fifth shots of the game. The Thunder managed just one goal on 32 shots over the last 56 minutes of the game. Bibeau's save percentage over the 211 minutes he has played in Allen is .919.  


- Phil Beaulieu had a great game even though he had no points and just one shot. Phil was on the ice for all five Allen goals and none of Wichita's goals for a team high plus/minus of +5. 


- Goal scorers for Allen were Branden Troock (4,5,6), Jack Combs (7) and Jared Bethune (3). Here are the video highlights:


- Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans with quotes from coach Martinson and Jack Combs:


- Here is the game recap issued by the Wichita Thunder:  

- It was a typical Allen vs Wichita game as the teams combined for 60 penalty minutes which included six fighting majors. Ben Carroll, Nolan Kneen and Kris Myllari dropped the gloves for the Americans.


- Allen had 21 shots in the second period which is tied for the most shots in the second period in the ECHL this season.


- The Allen power play is still trying to find consistency. The Americans were 0-6 last night which included some 5-on-3 time. In the last month the Allen power play is 5-35 for a power play percentage of 14.3%. I know the Americans work a lot on special teams in practice and there is too much talent on this team to not have a better power play. They will get the power play up to 20% consistently based on the track record in the past. 


- The Americans traveled overnight back to Allen and will take today off before playing a key three game series against Idaho on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If Allen is going to make a move up the standings this is the weekend to prove they are on the right track. The Americans need to win at home (they have the worst home record in the ECHL) and show they can beat the top teams in the division, like Idaho. Allen needs a minimum for four points from the series with the Steelheads.



- Allen has been above .500 in points percentage for just one game all season. After a win in Wichita on November 5 the Americans record was 2-1-2-0 for a .600 points percentage. It is the only time they have been above .500. Allen has been at .500 several times but never won the next game to climb above. Friday night is another opportunity.


- Allen is 6-3-1-0 over its last 10 games but has not gained much ground on the field in the Mountain Division. Here are the points earned in the last 10 games by each team in the division:

16 points - Utah

15 points - Idaho

13 points - Allen

12 points - Tulsa

11 points - Rapid City

10 points - Kansas City

1 point - Wichita 


- With the win in Wichita last night the Americans road points percentage improved to .625 which is ranked #6 in the ECHL. Allen's road record is 7-4-1-0. Contrast that with a home record of 2-5-2-0.


- If you have been tracking ECHL transactions this week you have seen a mass exodus of ECHL players being recalled/loaned to AHL teams who have depleted rosters because of COVID and losses to the NHL taxi squads. The number will likely exceed 100 players by the end of today. Allen has been spared thus far because the Americans have just one contracted player (Bibeau) and the Allen AHL affiliate (Charlotte) doesn't play a game until January 8. It is just a matter of time before Allen loses players to Charlotte and/or other AHL teams. All of the movement between the ECHL and AHL could be a game changer for some teams who have lost a lot of players already.


- You hear two points of view about all of the movement of players between leagues. One is the NHL and AHL products are getting watered down as they have to bring up so many players because of COVID.  However, another way to look at the current situation is more positive. A lot of players from the SPHL are getting an opportunity in the ECHL while some overlooked players from the ECHL get chances in the AHL and AHL players get new opportunities in the NHL. 


- Here is a feel good story from Utah's 4-3 overtime win in Rapid City last night. A 19 year old college kid back home in Rapid City for the holidays gets a thrill by signing as an EBUG for Utah only to end up starting in the game and delivering a win.    


- I still have my two glass seats ($25 each) available for the games this weekend if anyone is interested. Just email me ( Also have a few dates left for later in the month. 


DID YOU KNOW: You rarely see multiple hat tricks on any given night but last night was off the charts. There were only nine games played but four players had hat tricks. You have to go back to 2016 to find more than four hatties in a single night and that was on a weekend when 12 games were played. Hats off to these four players who led their team to victory last night with a hat trick.

Dylan Sadowy's hat trick came against Iowa in Tulsa's 5-2 win.

Branden Troock's hat trick came against Wichita in Allen's 5-3 win.

Alex Kile scored four goals for Maine in a 9-7 win over Worcester. 

Trey Bradley's hat trick for Utah came against Rapid City in a 4-3 overtime win. His third goal was the overtime game winner.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Allen vs Wichita Game Preview, Roster Update, 45 ECHL Players Head to the AHL and More


It is game day for the Allen Americans as they will take the ice tonight in Wichita for their first game since December 17th. The game tonight is critical for both teams. Allen beat Wichita three straight times (December 9, 10, 12) and it looked like the Americans had turned things around after not winning back to back games all  season. Then they lost to an undermanned Orlando team 6-2 at home in their last outing. A win tonight will not only get Allen back on the winning track it will get the Americans to a .500 points percentage which could have them in a playoff spot by the end of the night.


- The game tonight is important for Wichita as it tries to stop the bleeding after losing 10 straight games. The Thunder have been hit with injuries and call ups in what has become a frenetic season. After beating Allen 7-0 in the Americans season opener, Wichita lost five of the next six games. The Thunder then went on a tear winning eight of nine games. Since then they have lost 10 straight.


- With all of the ups and downs by both teams, the season series favors Allen who has won five of eight games. The Americans have won three of the four games played in Wichita.


- A big plus for the Americans will be having Antoine Bibeau back in goal. Between an injury in his last game played for the Americans (November 19) and bouncing back and forth to Charlotte, Bibeau has played in only three games for the Americans all season. In the game he was injured he played only 24 minutes. He is 2-0 in his two decisions and leads the team in GAA (2.77) and save percentage (.920). While 2-0 doesn't sound like much it represents 25% of Allen's eight wins this season. I would expect you will see Bibeau in goal in three of the four games this week.


- Defenseman Darian Skeoch is not with the team and is headed for the injure reserved. Darian was injured in a game against Wichita on December 10. Dawson Butt also stayed home as he will serve a one game suspension he was given for elbowing in Allen's loss to Orlando on December 17. Also not on the trip are Ben Owen and JD Dudek.

- Jared Bethune has been practicing at defense and will be the sixth defenseman for the Americans tonight with Skeoch and Owen out of the lineup.


- Special teams will be key in this game and it is anyone's guess who will come out on top since the stats are very close. Overall power play percentages are 18.9% (Allen) and 18.7% (Wichita). Allen's road power play percentage is 21.4% and Wichita's home power play percentage is 20.0%. In Allen's recent three game sweep of Wichita the Americans were 2-6 on the power play and the Thunder was 2-8. Beware the shorthanded goal in this game as Allen leads the ECHL with 10 shorthanded goals allowed. Wichita is tied for the second most shorthanded goals allowed but has only given up five shorties.


- In talking to coach Martinson it is clear he will be making power play time more competitive going forward. When you consider the Allen power play has scored 14 goals but given up 10 shorthanded goals, more ice time will be given to players that play both ends of the ice. 


- Neither team does well in generating shots on goal. Allen is ranked #26 (27.80) and Wichita is ranked #22 (29.88). In shots allowed per game Allen is ranked #20 (34.10) and Wichita is ranked #25 (35.19).


- Allen has the edge in average goals scored ranked #11 (3.25) compared to Wichita ranked #20 (2.88). In average goals allowed per game Wichita has the edge ranked #16 (3.23) while Allen is ranked #27 (4.30).


- The bottom line is these are two teams that need a win to get back in the playoff conversation. After the game tonight Allen takes on the Mountain Division's best team (Idaho) in a three games in three days series at home. Wichita will play Kansas City five straight times after tonight and is desperate to end the longest winless streak in the ECHL this season. 


- Jack Combs is the points leader in head to heads games with Wichita. Jack has 10 points (3G, 7A) in six games. Branden Troock has nine points (1G, 8A) and Eric Roy has seven points (1G, 6A). In the recent three game sweep against Wichita, Allen was led by Luke Henman who had six points (4G, 2A). 


- Wichita will be missing two of its top four scorers in the head to head games against Allen. Matteo Gennaro is now with Bakersfield (AHL) and Jay Dickman is now with Stockton (AHL).  


- The referee scheduled for the game tonight is Alec Rounds (#9). Rounds was a goalie in youth hockey and played  Division III college hockey at Finlandia University. In 2017 Rounds was one of 1000 applicants for four spots as an EBUG for the NHL Los Angeles Kings. Only 30 made the cut and from that four were selected including Rounds. The four split EBUG duties for the 2017-18 Kings season. Rounds is a referee in the AHL and ECHL. 



- There are nine games on tap in the ECHL tonight. If Allen wins in Wichita and Utah wins in Rapid City the Americans will have sole possession of the fourth playoff spot in the Mountain Division. Here is the ECHL Today with a brief preview of the games tonight:  


- Over the last five seasons, Allen's record when playing in Wichita is 14-8-2-2. 


- Chad Costello is slowly climbing up the leader board. Chad has nine points in the last six games and now leads the Americans with 22 points (9G, 13A). 


DID YOU KNOW: Allen hasn't been hit by loans/call ups to the AHL since the NHL taxi squads were implemented  but it is just a matter of time. Charlotte last played on December 19 and won't play again until January 8. AHL teams other than Allen's affiliate will also come knocking. Here is what has happened in the last two days.

The headaches continue for ECHL coaches as AHL recalls and loans prevail. By my count, 45 players were loaned and/or recalled to the AHL in just the last two days, from 18 ECHL teams.
AHL teams are now reaching out beyond their affiliates to plug roster holes created by COVID and taxi squad losses.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Getaway Details, Roster Update, NHL Taxi Squad Impact and More


The Allen Americans haven't played a game since December 12 when they lost to Orlando at home 6-2 to end a three game winning streak. The rematch against the Solar Bears scheduled for the following night was postponed because Orlando didn't have enough players to field a team due to injuries and COVID. The postponement meant the Americans went into the Christmas break with the bitter taste of losing 6-2 at home to a team with just 13 skaters.


- Allen will try to get back on the winning track in Wichita tomorrow night, the team Allen beat three straight before the loss to Orlando. Wichita has really struggled recently having lost its last 10 games including 3-2 at home last night to Tulsa.


- The Americans will follow the usual Wichita single game road trip itinerary with practice this morning and departure for Wichita early this afternoon.


- There will be a full Allen vs Wichita preview tomorrow but one stat that stands out is playing from behind. Allen hasn't won a game all season when they trailed after the first period (0-4-0-0) or second period (0-7-1-0). Wichita is a little better with a record of 2-7-0-0 when trailing after the first period and 1-9-0-0 when trailing after the second period. A lead will be huge in the game tomorrow. 


- What will the new NHL taxi squad rules mean for the Allen Americans? If you haven't seen the details here they are.

For purpose of COVID management the NHL has implemented a temporary taxi squad from 12/26/21 to each team’s final game before the All-Star game (2/5/22):

Each team will be allowed to have a taxi squad of up to six players (no minimum) and to make emergency recalls from the minors if COVID absences would cause any team to play without a full lineup.

Players on the taxi squad will be paid their minor league salary and count as being in the minors for cap purposes.

Players can be on the taxi squad for a cumulative maximum of 20 days.

As AHL players are called up to taxi squads, ECHL players will be recalled/loaned to AHL teams to backfill rosters. 

- Teams that have a lot of NHL/AHL contracted players will be more impacted than a team like Allen with just one (Antoine Bibeau). Charlotte has three goalies on its roster and because of postponed games will not play again until January 8 at the soonest, so Bibeau should be remaining in Allen.

- Allen will still be at risk of having some of its young free agent players being loaned to AHL teams who are short players because of COVID and call ups to taxi squads.

- Allen had a practice last night at 7:30 pm, the first practice after the Christmas break. By having practice late in the day it allowed players that went home more time to return to DFW. 

- Chad Butcher arrived in Allen Sunday night and practiced with the team last night. He will be in the lineup against Wichita. Zach Hall, who has been out on injured reserve will also return to the lineup. 

- Here is my ECHL Stats post from this morning:
 Hats off to ECHL coaches/general managers trying to keep their teams healthy, managing disruption caused by creation of NHL taxi squads and dealing with changing government COVID rules. Shifting schedules, postponed games, call ups and finding players all in addition to improving the on ice performance. A tough job for sure the next six weeks until the NHL taxi squads are scheduled to be disbanded at the All-Star break (February 5).
- ECHL teams have played as few as 19 games (Reading) and as many as 27 (4 teams). It is doubtful all teams will get in 72 games this season. The Allen Americans have played just 20 games.

- 10 ECHL games have been postponed in the last two weeks.
- 20+ ECHL players have moved to AHL teams in the last two days as the NHL takes AHL players to establish taxi squads. Many more ECHL players will be headed to the AHL in the next week. 
- Here is the "Weekly Update" published by the Allen Americans:
- If anyone is interested in two glass seats ($25 each) for these Allen home games in January (1,2,12,26,28,29) let me know. Email me ( if interested or with questions. 

DID YOU KNOW: Allen is in the top 10 in the ECHL in road points percentage, tied for #9 at .591. Newfoundland is #1 with a perfect 9-0 road record. It is at home that Allen needs to make big strides. The Americans are ranked #27 in home points percentage at .333. The #1 team in home points percentage is Toledo at .750.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas from Barry the Blogger - Reflections on the Past and Present

 I have written many Christmas morning posts over the years and two themes are always included. One is to talk about all those that don't get to spend time with their family today and the second is to thank the Allen Americans players and coaches for all they have done. 


- On this special day of love, compassion and hope, I want to say Merry Christmas to all from Barry the Blogger. My thoughts are with the first responders, health care workers, essential workers, those in the military and others who will be working today or away from their family. Our daughter, Erin, is a RN at Parkland Hospital and had to work a 12 hour shift both yesterday and today. She will be able to bring some Christmas babies into the world today but we sure missed our normal Christmas traditions this year. It will be difficult for some who will have empty chairs at the Christmas dinner having lost loved ones in the past year or are unable to spend time together because of COVID issues. My thoughts are with you this morning. 

-  A special THANK YOU to all players, coaches and staff (and their families) past and present for what you have done for the fans of the Allen Americans both on the ice and in the community. There has been over 350 players in Allen since the franchise started in 2009. It has been quite a ride. 


- There wouldn't be a blog without the cooperation and insights provided by coach and general manager, Steve Martinson, who is as passionate and engaged as they day I met him in 2012. His openness, honesty and willingness to take my calls and answer all of the questions day or night, win or lose is what makes the blog special. 

- Here is something I included in my Christmas post in the past I called "Food For Thought" which is maybe more on point this year given the rough start the Americans have had this season. You add together all of the off ice issues with COVID protocols, games being postponed to the losing record and and these thoughts seem as relevant as ever.



- I read a story the other day that reinforced something I have been thinking a lot about lately as it relates to players and fans.

- What I am about to talk about is not intended to engender a debate but merely to share my opinion and I am an expert at my own opinion.

- My premise is as much as fans think they know players they really don't have much of a clue. Each player has a unique story that has shaped them as a player and a person but fans don't know that story and don't have a right to know it. Everything from culture to country has a big impact on how everyone develops. Did a player grow up poor where they couldn't afford equipment, were they from a broken family, small town or big city, how many siblings, who were their role models all play a big factor in who they are today. Can you imagine the trials and tribulations of moving away from home, many times far away, at 14, 15, 16 years of age. That has to be difficult for the most well adjusted kid even with great hockey talent. For many the hockey dream ends while they are still teenagers and many drop along the way. A very few make it to the professional ranks and are lucky enough to end up in Allen, Texas.

- Fans don't know the disappointment that all of these players have felt along the way. Rejection has been a way of life as skilled as these guys are and rejection is never easy. Can you imagine what it would be like in your job to get a promotion and then sent back to your old job because you weren't good enough and have that happen over and over again. Can you imagine at your job breaking your hand or suffering a concussion and when you return your boss says sorry, I gave your job to someone else. Can you imagine if your boss could say you are out of a job with no notice and for any reason.

- Fans don't know what struggles players have to deal with from financial responsibilities to substance abuse issues to loneliness from being away from family. Can you imagine what it is like to be one hit or one injury away from losing your livelihood and having a physical problem you will deal with the rest of your life.

- In the seven years (now 10 years) I have been writing the blog I have heard so many heartbreaking stories from players who couldn't be at home when a close friend or relative was dying or passed away, a player who was traded a week after his fiance joined him and the day she found a job, a player who was traded when his wife was six months pregnant and a family that couldn't afford to travel to Allen to watch their son win a championship. Then there were those serious injuries that ended the season and career for key players.

- If you are still reading this I am sure for some of you the thought has crossed your mind of give me a break. These guys are not being forced to play hockey, they are making a living playing a game and have a pretty cushy job. You sometimes hear fans say if I pay my hard earned money to buy tickets that gives me the right to say anything I want about any player.

- I don't question anyone's right to be critical. My opinion is be critical of the penalty kill or defensive play or shots on goal allowed but if you are a fan of the team don't be critical of a player and make it personal. You don't know the impact that criticism has on the player and/or the player's family when they see something negative on social media. Maybe the old adage of if you can't say something nice best to not say anything at all is a better approach.

- If you question why the coach doesn't trade or waive a player you are questioning the judgement of a guy with 10 championships. I learned a long time ago how little I know about hockey and what you see on the ice looks very different if you go thorough a play in slow motion video with coach Martinson, looking at every player on the ice and what they did and didn't do.

- So my plea on this Christmas Day is if you are a fan of the Allen Americans and more generally in life, be careful when you use social media and publicly put a player down, question their ability and wonder why they haven't been traded because you don't know their story. Leave that assessment to the coaching staff who know what they are talking about.

- My point is you never know what each and every member of the Allen Americans has gone through to get to this point in their career and you don't know what they are dealing with today. Love and support is what everyone needs and that is what I think the Allen Americans hockey family should provide for  the players.

- I thought today would be appropriate to post a video you may have already seen since I posted it a while back. I am pretty sure it will bring a tear to your eye whether you have a child that plays hockey, you play hockey now, you played in your youth or are just a hockey fan. Even if you have seen this before take another look as it will lift your spirits when you think about the role your mom played along the way whether it was in hockey, another sport or other activities. It is called "So God Made a Hockey Mom."


- You can't have a Christmas post without some photos so I reached into the archives for this group of photos from the championship years. It has been fun to track these families as these kids have grown and the players have moved on to post hockey careers except for the goat (Chad Costello). Most of these families have grown since these photos were taken. It may just be me but there seemed to be a closeness in the championship years when there were lots of young children around.  

 The following is a small sample of Christmas time with players and their families past and present.

The Allen Americans posted this greeting in 2015

This was posted in 2014 by the Allen Americans

Ashley, Chad, Cayne,Camden plus baby #3 on the way Costello - 2015
Costello's with Santa - Bet dad was on a road trip - 2015

The Adams Family - Erik, Jen, Brooklyn & Henrik

London, Whitney, Harper & Bruce Graham - Nottingham, England 2012
The Grahams - 2015 with new addition Beckett

Nicole, Sawyer & Sutter Schaafsma - 2014  
Sawyer & Sutter - 2015

The Pierro-Zabotel family's (Casey, Levi & Lane) first Texas Christmas - 2015

Aaron Gens, girlfriend Kellie, and their dog (Stella) to Kentucky for Christmas -2014
Aaron & Kellie are now engaged - 2015

Jackson Gill's first Christmas with Angie, Riley & dog Guinny -2015

Trevor, Lynden & Holly Ludwig back in Texas for Christmas - 2015

Lynden's first Christmas and skate with dad, Trevor Ludwig - 2014

The most famous dog in Allen history, Pearl (@Pearlilicious11), was Phil Fox's "wing dog"

Sydney Ludwig - Tyler & Taylor's daughter -2014
What a difference a year makes - Sydney with little sis Hayden - 2015

Greger & Andrea Hanson in their PJ's with Bella

Jarret Lukin with his nephew Dryden - Christmas 2015

Mike & Chantal Berube with daughter Ellyauna & Dolce 



- No better way put a smile on your face than with an Ice Angels Christmas performance. This one is from 2015. Enjoy!

Once again thank you, thank, you, thank you to all players past and present for the sacrifices you have made to follow your dreams and the joy you have brought to the fans in Allen on and off the ice. Your determination on the ice and kindness off the ice is both noticed and appreciated. May this Christmas day be a joyous one for you and yours!

Happy Holidays from Barry the Blogger



Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Chad Butcher Returns, Orlando Games Revisited, Changing COVID Rules, Ironmen and More


Another late season pheasant hunting trip to North Dakota is in the books. It was cold (never got above zero one day), it was windy and it was snowy which made for great hunting. I missed Allen's only multiple game win streak of the season as the Americans beat Wichita three straight. Allen fans had a chance to see Seattle Kraken prospect Luke Henman, who had six points (4G, 2A) in three games with the Americans before being recalled to Charlotte (AHL). 


- Just when the Americans looked like they had things turned around with a three game win streak they laid an egg, losing 6-2 at home on Friday to an undermanned Orlando team. Orlando had a COVID breakout and was playing with the minimum of 13 skaters. The Solar Bears had seven players out on COVID protocol including their top goalie. To add insult to injury the number #1 star of the game was former Allen player, Joe Garreffa, who had two goals and two assists. Had Allen not lost its affiliation with San Jose midseason last year, Gareffa as well several of his teammates would be with the Americans.


- Allen gave up two shorthanded goals in the Orlando game (one was empty net) and now has allowed 10 shorthanded goals in 20 games played. The 10 shorties allowed is twice as many as any other team in the ECHL. Allen's power play has scored 14 goals this season but has allowed 10 shorthanded goals for a net +4 over 74 power play opportunities. Coach Martinson will be making some changes to the power play units in both makeup and time on ice. Players that work hard at both ends of the ice will be getting more power play time. 


- I have had several questions concerning the postponement of the game against Orlando on Saturday. The bottom line is the game was postponed because Orlando didn't have the minimum of 13 skaters. The Solar Bears were at the 13 player minimum Friday night but had a player injured in the game so were down to 12 skaters. Coach Martinson was asked to help identify players that could be signed by Orlando and be available Saturday. Martinson told me he found three players, two from SPHL teams and one local player but Orlando opted not sign them, thus the game was postponed. 


- The impact of the new COVID variant (Omicron) is causing changes at all levels of hockey. The NHL has paused its season  briefly and withdrawn from the Beijing Olympics. The NHL has postponed 49 games this season with 44 coming in the last two weeks. More than 15% of the leagues players are in COVID protocol. 


- The AHL is postponing games and also recalling players from ECHL teams because of players in COVID protocol. 


- Yesterday Newfoundland implemented a new policy that will affect the Growlers. Fully vaccinated travelers now have to isolate for five days and complete a rapid test all five days starting on the day of arrival. Isolation ends if all five tests are negative and five days (120 hours) have passed since arrival. Some teams are reducing capacity at games and it sounds like more changes are likely. 


- Teams in Scotland (Dyson Stevenson , Colton Yellow Horn) and Wales (Matt Register, Josh Lammon) will play with no fans in the stands. While the government in both countries will provide some financial support, it is uncertain if these team can keep competing if this goes on too long.


- I also heard a rumor yesterday that Canadian college hockey (U Sports) is considering shutting down. This could free up a lot of college players to turn pro. 


- Bottom line is a lot of moving parts that could impact the Allen roster. One thing is certain is Steve Martinson will be working overtime to improve his roster if opportunities arise. It is during these uncertain times that experience, networks, connections and hard work pays off. 


- Per coach Martinson, Chad Butcher, who has been on reserve for over a month taking care of personal issues at home, is on his way back to Allen and will be available for the Americans next game (12/29 at Wichita). Zach Hall, who has been on injured reserve, should also be ready for the game in Wichita.


- Averaging a point per game is a high standard that very few players accomplish for a full season. Thus far this season six Allen players are averaging a point per game. Here is the list with games played in parenthesis:

2.00 - Luke Henman (3 games)

1.45 - Gavin Gould (11 games)

1.40 - Jack Combs (10 games)

1.33 - Ryan Lohin (6 games)

1.10 - Chad Costello (20 games)

1.00 - Branden Troock (14 games) 

DID YOU KNOW: Allen has played 20 games, so 28% of the season is in the books. Just five players have played in all 20 games (Chad Costello, Spencer Asuchak, Jared Bethune, Ben Carroll, Kris Myllari). These five players have a chance to join one of the toughest clubs possible, the Ironman Club, by playing in every game this season. Congrats and stick taps to all Allen Ironmen past and present! It is a very exclusive club.

2020-21 - Les Lancaster
2019-20 - None
2018-19 - Spencer Asuchak 
2017-18 - Joel Chouinard, Casey Pierro-Zabotel
2016-17 - Chad Costello, Joel Chouinard
2015-16 - Chad Costello
2014-15 - Chad Costello, Aaron Gens, Jamie Schaafsma
2013-14 - Spencer Asuchak, Daniel Tetrault, Mike Berube
2012-13 - Jamie Schaafsma, Jason Deitsch
2011-12 - Jason Deitsch
2010-11 - Colton Yellow Horn, David Strathman
2009-10 - Bruce Graham, Christian Gaudet  


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

North Dakota Here I Come, Seattle Assigns Center Luke Henman to Allen, Americans Heads to Wichita and New Salary Cap Dollars

The blog was late yesterday for two reasons. First and foremost I wanted to wait until the official announcement was out that center Luke Henman was being reassigned by Seattle to Allen from the Charlotte Checkers. Secondly, this is the last blog until December 20th as I am heading to North Dakota for some late season pheasant hunting with my long time hunting buddy (60+ years) and best friend, Dave Carter. Hunting in the cold and snow may not sound like fun but spending time in nature this time of year is when passionate and hardcore pheasant hunters hit the fields and sloughs with little competition from fair weather hunters. You hope for a couple of inches of fresh snow every day to track the pheasants. It can be tough hunting this late in the season because after a couple of months of hunting pressure, pheasants are either very smart or in the freezer. 


- The big news today was the assignment of Luke Henman to Allen. Henman will always be known in trivia circles many years from now no matter how his career turns out as the answer to the question, Who is the first player signed in Seattle Kraken franchise history. Henman was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL draft but opted not to sign him to an entry level NHL deal. Ron Francis, general manager of the Kraken and several of his staff were in Carolina when Henman was drafted and were high on him so signed the free agent center to a three year entry level contract last May.

In looking at many scouting reports before Luke was drafted there were doubters, primarily because he was very thin at 6'0" and 143 pounds when he was drafted. The Hurricanes scout, Tony MacDonald had this to say which you see consistently in scouting reports, "Very smart, tenacious, plays well with and without the puck...He's tall enough, he is just a skinny, light kid who needs to add some mass. Tremendous competitor, very gritty kid."

When Henman signed with Seattle, general manager Ron Francis described Luke this way, "Luke is a smart. skilled player with strong leadership qualities. He brings solid character and we look forward to working with him as he continues his development. 

- Here are a couple of videos that will help you get to know Luke Henman. Here is a link with a story from the Seattle media about Luke's journey. This was right after he signed with the Kraken in May:

- This is a video in Luke's own words on how he ended up signing with Seattle in the middle of the QJMHL playoffs last season:

- The Americans practiced this morning and left for Wichita at 1:00 pm. Luke Henman was meeting the team in Wichita tonight. Look for him to be in the lineup Thursday night. He has played 10 games in Charlotte and has one goal, but like Ryan Lohin when he was assigned to Allen, Luke will have the opportunity to play a lot of minutes and really show what he can do.

- Needless to say the three games against Wichita this week are very important in getting the season heading in the right direction. Allen needs a minimum of four points from this series.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL & PHPA have signed a two year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) extension thru 6/30/25. The current CBA was not set to expire until 6/30/23. Here are the salary cap weekly maximums after the first 30 days of the season. The salary cap is slightly higher ($500-$530) the first 30 days of the season because teams can carry one extra player on the active roster:

Maximum Salary Cap
2021-22: $13,900 (no change)
2022-23: $14,100 (no change)
2023-24: $14,350
2024-25: $14,600
Average weekly salary (based on 20 active players) goes from $695 this season to $730 in 2024-25.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

It's Not a Game, It's Just Practice, Man! - Thoughts on the Allen Americans Season


 It is back to practice today as the Allen Americans prepare for three games this week (2 away, 1 home) against the Wichita Thunder, the hottest team in the ECHL. I am sure it is frustrating for the players and coaches to come to the rink having the worst home points percentage (.286) and second worst overall points percentage (.406) in the ECHL. 


- I know Steve Martinson and the team are grinding to get better each and every day at practice and Martinson is a big believer in how you practice is how you play in the game. It is not necessarily how long the team practices, but what each and every player puts into practice. Best players and hardest workers are terms that go hand in hand. 

- I thought a good place to start today is by diving into the archives for some motivating sayings and quotes that can be inspirational when going through tough times, either individually or as part of a team. 


  • The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. – Bobby Knight, former Indiana men’s college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member.

  • The measure of who we are is how we react to something that doesn’t go our way. – Greg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs head coach and five-time NBA champion.

  • You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. – Jerry West, former Los Angeles Lakers player and head coach.

  • Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling. – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots head coach and five-time Super Bowl champion.

  • Our emphasis is on execution, not winning. – Pat Summitt, former Tennessee women’s college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member.


"Today is another chance to get better."

"Don't be upset with the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do."

"You play the way you practice."

"Look in the mirror, that's your competition."

"The trophy is earned in the hours no one is watching."

"The body achieves what the mind believes."

"Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn't give you credit." 

"Think practice is hard? Try losing."

"There may be people with more talent than you but there is no reason for anyone to work harder than you do."

"A good teammate is a player that would rather score less and win than score a lot more and lose."

- It has been a difficult start for the Americans and if you look at the upcoming schedule it is only becoming more difficult to turn things around. It didn't hit me until I was studying the schedule yesterday just how tough it will be for Allen to recover from this horrible start. The Americans have 23 games between now and the end of January (12 home, 11 away). Here are the 23 games broken down by points percentage of Allen's opponents (in current points percentage order):

.778 - Newfoundland (3 games all at home)

,656 - Tulsa (5 games: 2 home, 3 away)

.618 - Wichita (4 games: 1 home, 3 away)

.605 - Idaho (3 games all at home)

.605 - Utah (3 games all away)

.605 - Orlando (2 games both at home)

.475 - Rapid City (1 game at home)

.417 - Kansas City (2 games both away) 

 You add it all up and 20 of Allen's next 23 games (87%) are against teams currently in the top 10 in the ECHL standings. It will be quite a challenge.


- If you think the challenge is impossible all you have to do is look back to the 2014-15 ECHL season to see the possibility. That was the season Allen cruised thorough the regular season winning the division by 25 points with a points percentage of .736 and won its first Kelly Cup. The runner-up was South Carolina who took Allen to a seventh game in the finals. South Carolina had a horrible start in 2014-15, losing 13 of its first 17 games. Allen has lost 11 of its first 16 games so is now in better shape than the Stingrays were back then. South Carolina started playing better but had another big slump in January, losing nine of 10 games. There was no chance of the Stingrays making the playoffs but nobody told South Carolina who reeled off an ECHL record winning streak of 23 games going from February 7 to March 27 without losing a game. The moral of the story is don't give up on your favorite team until it is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs as anything can happen.


- To give you an idea of how rare the South Carolina 23 game win streak was, listed below is the longest win streak in each season since 2014-15:

2015-16: 14 by Missouri Mavericks

2016-17: 17 by Colorado Eagles (2nd longest streak in ECHL history)

2017-18: 10 by Florida Everblades

2018-19: 10 by Toledo Walleye

2019-20: 11 by Newfoundland Growlers

2020-21: 9 by Florida Everblades

2021-22: 7 by Newfoundland Growlers



- Last season the ECHL points percentage range was from .667 for #1 Florida to .375 for #14 Wheeling. This season the range is from .778 for #1 Newfoundland to .342 for #27 Iowa. 



DID YOU KNOW: Eight ECHL teams have a better road points percentage than home points percentage.  Here are the eight teams from biggest to smallest difference in points percentage (A = away, H = home):

Florida: .833 (A) .300 (H)
Newfoundland: 1.000 (A) .556 (H)
Trios Rivières: .750 (A) .444 (H)
Allen: .500 (A) .286 (H)
Worcester: .438 (A) .375 (H)
Rapid City: .500 (A) .438 (H)
Adirondack: .556 (A) .500 (H)
Utah: .611 (A) .600 (H)

Monday, December 6, 2021

Another Allen Home Loss, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Coach's Corner and 2nd Period Lead Stats


The Allen Americans have found a lot of ways to lose this season, after all they have lost 11 of 16 games including six of seven at home. For me the 4-1 loss to Rapid City on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 2348 at CUTX Event Center was the most disappointing of the season. Yes, more disappointing than opening night 7-0 shutout loss to Wichita. The disappointment isn't because the team played poorly, quite the opposite, it was a game where the Americans played good enough to win.


- Allen went into the game with the strongest roster of the season after a great week of practice. Rapid City arrived in Allen having lost four of its last five games and the Rush starting goalie had a record of 1-7 including a loss to Allen on November 20 where he gave up five goals on 23 shots for a .783 save percentage. He showed why he is a contract goalie stopping 36 of 37 Allen shots for a save percentage of .973.


- The Americans dominated from the opening puck drop and had a 6-0 shot advantage in the first three minutes of the game with several grade A scoring chances but they couldn't put the puck in the net, something that haunted Allen the entire game. The first period ended scoreless despite the Americans having a shot advantage (13-10) and the better scoring opportunities. 


- The bubble burst in the scoreless game early in the second period when Rapid City scored on  a deflection in front of the net. It was the first of four goals in the period. Allen tied the score 1-1 when Eric Roy scored on a 5-on-3 power play but Rapid City responded with two goals exactly one minute apart (16:55 & 17:55) to take a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish. The only goal of the third period was an empty net goal to make the final score 4-1.  

- The disappointment was the fact Allen outshot Rapid City in every period and 37-24 for the game. That is a rare occurrence this season. Prior to last night the Americans had outshot their opponent just twice in 15 games and won both. The 13 shot advantage margin last night was the largest of the season and Allen's 37 shots on goal was 11 shots above its average. Yet the Americans could manage just one goal and that came on a 5-on-3 power play. You knew it was going to be a frustrating game when Allen had a 2-on-0 breakaway in the second period and didn't even get a shot on goal.


- The power play could have made the difference but only managed the one goal in seven opportunities. Rapid City was 1-4 on the power play. The Americans avoided giving up another shorthanded goal thanks to a great save by Frank Marotte on a breakaway. 


- I have heard so many times from fans, players and coaches that the team is getting "closer" to getting this season turned around and I agree the game last night showed that. However, the hole that the Americans have dug for themselves will soon be too deep to dig out of even with great play going forward. It is not going to get any easier this week as the Americans play Wichita three times; Thursday and Friday in Wichita, Sunday in Allen. Wichita has been the best team in the league the last three weeks. The Thunder lost in Tulsa yesterday but prior to that had won eight of nine games and the lone loss was in overtime. 


- Here is the Allen Americans game recap:  

- Here is the Rapid City game recap with the headline, "Rush Cruise Past Americans, 4-1:


- Here is a link to the video highlights:



"It was the best game we have played this season and lost but we still have a lot of work do."

"I will continue to make changes on the power play. We have spent a lot of time in practice working on the power play but we have to improve.

"Today will be a gym day for the players and we will have a long practice tomorrow."

"We got caught in a line change that led to one goal and Rapid City had too many men on the ice on another goal but we need to generate more offense than one 5-on-3 goal." 



- Wichita goalie, Evan Buitenhuis,, left the Thunder game in the second period yesterday after getting crosschecked in the crease according to the Wichita game recap press release. However, the official call in the boxscore was goalie interference. It is unclear if Buitenhuis left the game because he was injured or because the score at the time of the penalty was 4-1 in favor of Tulsa. It would be a big blow for Wichita if Buitenhuis is injured as he has started all 17 games for the Thunder this season which is a franchise record for consecutive starts. He has already played 951 minutes in goal and the Wichita season is only 25% completed. 


- With the loss yesterday Allen's record fell to 5-8-3-0 with a points percentage of .406. Iowa, with a points percentage of .342 is the only team lower than the Americans. Allen's home record is 1-4-2-0 for a points percentage of .286 which is the lowest in the ECHL. 


- A couple of elite ECHL teams this season are struggling at home. Newfoundland has a road points percentage of 1.000 (9-0-0-0) and a home points percentage of .556 (5-4-0-0). Florida is .833 (6-0-2-1) in the road and .300 (2-6-0-2) at home. 

- Alex Lavoie has joined a new team in Sweden going from Västerås IK to Mora IK in the same league (HockeyAllsvensken). Alex had nine points (5G, 4A) in 19 games before the move to the new team.


- Here are points earned over the last 10 games by the Mountain Division teams with current points percentage in parenthesis:

17 points - Wichita  (.618)

13 points - Tulsa  (.656)

13 points - Idaho  (.605)

10 points - Rapid City (.475)

9 points - Utah (.583)

7 points - Kansas City (.417)

7 points - Allen (.406)

DID YOU KNOW: Allen is 3-0-1-0 when leading after the 2nd period this season and 0-6-1-0 when trailing after the 2nd period.
How important is a 2nd period lead?
The Combined record of all ECHL teams when leading after the 2nd period is 164-19-7-6. There are 12 teams that haven’t lost when leading after the 2nd period. Those with the most wins are:
12-0-0-0: Newfoundland
9-0-0-0: Toledo
8-0-0-0: Fort Wayne
8-0-0-0: Kalamazoo
8-0-0-0: Tulsa
The combined record of all ECHL teams when trailing after the 2nd period is 23-153-8-3. There are eight teams that have earned no points when trailing after the 2nd period. Those with the most losses:
0-10-0-0: Kansas City
0-9-0-0: Cincinnati
0-8-0-0: Indy
0-7-0-0: Worcester

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Allen vs Rapid City Preview, Roster Changes and a Flurry of Four Goal Games

The eight day wait for Allen Americans hockey is over as game day has arrived and you don't have to wait very long today with a 2:05 pm puck drop. Allen will be taking on the Rapid City Rush with a chance to move from the last place team in the Mountain Division, which was the case yesterday, to the fifth place team with a win today. The Americans will take the ice today as healthy as they have been all season and with a different look than the last time they played at home on November 14. Newly acquired forwards Gavin Gould, Zach Hall and Tyler Poulsen will be making their home debut and Jack Combs, who has been out of the lineup since November 5 will return. It is basically adding a top scoring line with speed and quickness since the last home game.

- From what I saw in practice this week, which is always subject to change, the line of Costello-Asuchak-Gould will stay in tact with a second line of Combs-Hall-Troock. Allen will have three lines capable of scoring and with last change at home, Martinson can get the matchups he wants to maximize offense but also defensive.

- This will be the fourth game of the season against Rapid City. The teams played a three game series in Rapid City a couple of weeks ago with Allen winning two of three games despite playing shorthanded because of injuries and COVID. Coach Martinson was also sidelined with COVID for that series. It wasn't pretty but the Americans scratched out four of six points against the Rush. 

- In the three head to head games in Rapid City the Americans were outshot 124-80 and outscored 15-12. Allen was able to win two of the three games because of special teams. The Americans power play had a goal in all three games and was 4-16 (25%) for the series. Rapid City was just 1-12 (8.3%).

- If you look at season long stats Allen scores 3.2 goals per game averaging 26.1 shots. Rapid City scores 3.1 goals per game on 30.9 shots. Allen allows 35.9 shots and 4.4 goals per game. Rapid City allows 32.4 shots and 3.4 goals per game. 

- Rapid City has the edge on the power play (22.1% vs 19.0%) and the penalty kill (84.9% vs 78.7%). The Americans power play has scored 11 goals this season but has given up a league leading eight shorthanded goals including one to Rapid City in the recent series. Being only +3 on the power play (11 goals scored minus 8 shorthanded goals allowed) is a stat that has to improve for Allen to get the season turned around. 

- Scoring first may be a jinx in the game this afternoon. In the three games these teams have played this season the team that scored first lost the game. Despite the first three games, the odds heavily favor the team scoring first so the easy prediction is today the team that scores first will win.

- The roster moves Steve Martinson is making today includes Jack Combs being activated from injured reserve, JD Dudek going on injured reserve, Eric Roy and Branden Troock activated from Commissioner's Exempt list and Josh Burnside and Ben Owen being placed on regular reserve. After playing shorthanded for so long, Martinson will have three healthy scratches for the game today. 


- Frank Marotte will get the start in goal. Frank played in Allen's last game (Idaho) after coming off COVID protocol and stop 25 of 27 shots (.926 save percentage) to get the win. If Marotte gets the win today it will be the first time all season Allen has won two games in a row. 


- The team has worked a lot on team defense this week and with the depth the team now has the Americans are in better shape than they have been in all season. It would be nice to have the contracted players back but with injuries and call ups in Charlotte, that is not in the cards right now. You can see everything coming together and I expect a big effort from the team this afternoon.


- You may have seen this AHL fight last night between Vincent Arseneau (Abbotsford) and Montana Onyebuchi (San Jose) but if take a look at this toe to toe slugfest. Arseneau won two Kelly Cups with Allen and in those two playoff seasons was a combination skill and toughness. He was fifth on the team in goals (15) and points (26) and first in penalty minutes (104). You rarely find players at the ECHL level with the ability to score clutch goals, fight with anyone and finish checks with more force than any player in Allen history. He was a pleasure to watch when he was in Allen and it is no surprise he has stuck in the AHL for the last five seasons. Here is a link to his fight last night: 


- The AHL postponed eight games this weekend because of a COVID breakout. Charlotte had its game last night in Wilkes-Barre postponed but the schedule now shows the Checkers game today at Bridgeport will be played (3:00 pm EST). 


- Here is the ECHL today with a preview of the six games in the ECHL today:



DID YOU KNOW: Four goals in a game typically come few and far between. The last Allen player to score four goals in a game was Zach Pochiro on January 11, 2019 against Wichita. Before that it was Greger Hanson who scored four goals against Rapid City on February 10, 2017. 
Here is the odd stat of the day. In the last week there have been more players with four goal games (3) than three goal games (2). Here are the standout individual performances in the last week:
4 goals - Peter Abbandonato, Trois-Rivières (12/4)
3 goals - Andrew Cherniwchan, South Carolina (12/3)
4 goals - Zach O’Brien, Newfoundland (11/28)
3 goals - Patrick Grasso, Adirondack (11/27)
4 goals - Justin Almeida, Wheeling (11/27)
Three players scoring four goals in a game in one week is amazing when you consider in 2017-18 four goals in a game happened a total of three times the entire season.