Thursday, March 31, 2022

Allen Wins in OT, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Steve Martinson's Comments, Mountain Division Playoffs, Record Breaking Season Likely and More


The Allen Americans defeated the Kansas City Mavericks last night in overtime by a score of 3-2 before a Wednesday night crowd of 2632 at the CUTX Event Center. It didn't start out well as Kansas City out shot Allen 14-5 in the first period, thanks to what seemed like a never ending number of turnovers by the Americans. Kansas City scored first but Allen did what it has done a lot recently, answer back quickly. Josh Winquist scored the first of his three goals 56 seconds after the Mavericks took a 1-0 lead. Kansas City had no answer for Winquist who had all three of Allen's goals on just three shots on goal.


- The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after the second period. Allen took at 2-1 lead at the 5:22 mark of the second period on Winquist's second goal, but Kansas City tied the game at the 12:32 mark. 


- There was no scoring in the third period though Allen had the shot advantage 11-5. Overtime has not been kind to Allen, its record prior to last night was 1-7, however the Americans only overtime win was against the Mavericks. It was fitting the game winning goal went to Josh Winquist, just 1:56 into the overtime period, to complete his hat trick. It was Josh's first hat trick since December of 2017 when he was playing for Orlando. 


- Here are the video highlights:    

- Game recap from the Allen Americans:



"I was disappointed in the first period. With what is at stake and after our trip to Toledo, I expected a much stronger start than we had. We had way too many turnovers in the first period."

"Luke Peressini has been our best player for most of March and kept us in the game in the first period. It was good we got the equalizer right after they scored that first goal."

"We had a good push the first half of the second period and missed some great opportunities in addition to Winquist's second goal.

"I decided to start the overtime with two defenseman (Beaulieu & Myllari) and one forward (Asuchak) to stop Kansas City's top group because we haven't been good defensively in overtimes.

"It was a great give and go play between Winquist and Lohin for the overtime game winner. 

"We will leave this afternoon for Kansas City and will have to play better defensively if we are going to win on the road. "

"Most of the stats were close to even last night (faceoffs, hits, puck possession, offensive zone puck possession), but they had twice as many blocked shots as we did. Our forwards last night as a group were not a good shot blocking group."

"With two road games on Friday and Saturday, we will take two extra players on the trip."

"The trade deadline is this afternoon (2:00 pm CDT) and I can't say one way or another if I will make a trade."




 - Allen's record in the month of March was 8-3-1-0 which is a points percentage of .708. With the win last night the Americans points percentage has climbed to .532. and it solidified its slim margin on fourth place in the division. Tulsa was idle and Idaho lost to Florida. Here are the current points percentages for the three teams vying for the final two playoff spots. 

  • .546 - Idaho
  • .532 - Allen
  • .523 - Tulsa


- Rapid City played on the road in Utah last night and beat the Grizzlies 4-3. The win vaulted the Rush into first place in the Mountain Division with as points percentage of .594, dropping Utah to second place at .592. The teams play again on Friday and Saturday. I think you have to go back to 2009-10 in the CHL days to find the last time Rapid City was in first place this late in the season. Of course, that was the season Rapid City beat Allen in the finals to win the CHL championship.

- Another fallout of the Utah loss last night, every Mountain Division team now has a points percentage below .600. Here is the current points percentage for the top team in each ECHL division. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but right now it doesn't look good for the Mountain Division.

  • .702 - Toledo (Central)
  • .672 - Reading (North)
  • .656 - Atlanta (South)
  • .594 - Rapid City (Mountain)


- The last time an ECHL team won the division with a points percentage below .600 was in 2015-16, when Colorado won the West Division with a points percentage of .597. It should be noted in 2015-16 there were six divisions in the ECHL compared to just four today.


- The trade Steve Martinson made for Josh Winquist at the end of February for future considerations has been key in Allen's play in March. When Josh arrived in Allen he was just coming back from an injury he suffered in a fight. With his hat trick last night, Winquist has scored 12 goals in the last 11 games. If you noticed last night he was also wearing an "A".   Here are the team leaders in goals and plus/minus for the month of March.

  • 12 - Josh Winquist
  • 7 - Spencer Asuchak
  • 5 - J.C. Campagna
  • 5 - Branden Troock
  • +8: Josh Winquist
  • +7: Jake Kearley 
  • +5: Jared Bethune
  • +4: Jackson Leppard 


- DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats page today is about a player that will likely lead the ECHL in points and plus/minus this season. In 2014-15, Chad Costello came close to doing both. Chad won the scoring title by a record 45 points (125 to 85) and finished 3rd in plus/minus at +43. 

The 2021-22 ECHL season is shaping up to be very special for Will Graber, who plays for Fort Wayne. Graber has played every position except goalie for the Komets this season (he played defense in college) and is on the verge of making ECHL history. He leads the league in points (77) and plus/minus (+39). With less than 10 games remaining in the regular season, Graber has a lead of seven points in the scoring race and his lead in plus/minus is +12. Graber is the favorite to win this trifecta of post season awards, which would be a first:
- CCM Most Valuable Player Award
- Leading Scorer Award
- AMI Graphics Plus Performer of the Year Award


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Allen vs Kansas City Preview, Coach's Corner with Steve Martinson, Best NHL. AHL and ECHL Power Play Teams and More


Allen has a favorable schedule down the final stretch of 11 games, three more games than Idaho and Tulsa to improve the Americans points percentage, a home heavy (8 of 11) slate of games, mostly against teams that won't make the playoffs. The question is with these advantages, can Allen make the Mountain Division playoffs. It is definitely time to:

  • Put up or shut up
  • Fish or cut bait
  • Win or go home
  • Sh** or get off the pot
  • Cook or get out of the kitchen
  • Less talk, more action

- It starts tonight with a home game against Kansas City, a team with a .492 points percentage and likely out of the playoff picture. Four of Allen's next six games are against the Mavericks. The Mavericks will have to sweep the four games against Allen to have a chance and even then will need some help. You never know how teams out of the playoffs will play at this time of the season. Sometimes teams in this situation are relaxed and dedicated to playing for a job next season and sometimes players are already thinking about tee times and the summer. The most important stat to remember is Kansas City's record against Allen this season is 4-3-1-0. The Americans better be ready tonight and Friday night when the teams play in Kansas City. 

- Here are some comparative stats between Allen and Kansas City:

  • Points Percentage - Allen .525, Kansas City .492
  • Record - Allen 28-25-7-1, Kansas City 29-30-4-1
  • Last 10 Games - Allen 6-3-1-0, Kansas City 3-5-2-0
  • Current Streak - Allen 0-1-1-0, Kansas City 1-0-1-0
  • Ave Goals For - Allen 3.3, Kansas City 3.0
  • Ave Goals Against - Allen 3.5, Kansas City 3.4


- Here are the stats from the eight head to head games against Kansas City:

  • Goals - Allen leads 31-30 
  • Shots - Kansas City leads 276-231
  • Power Play - Allen is 3-33 (9.1%), Kansas City is 6-35 (17.1%).
  • PIMS - Allen 205, Kansas City 164

- If you look at overall power play stats, Allen is ranked #16 at 18.9% and Kansas City is ranked #25 at 15.5%. Allen's penalty kill is also ranked #16 at 80.2% and Kansas City is ranked #17 at 78.9%.

- Allen's penalty kill has been much improved in March. The Americans have allowed a power play goal in just three of 11 games this month and it was a single goal each time. 


- Kansas City is the most penalized team in the ECHL but not the toughest. They are ranked #9 in fighting majors with 33, while Allen is ranked #6 with 36. FYI, Iowa is ranked #1 with 49 fighting majors. A lot of the Mavericks penalties come from undisciplined penalties. Kansas City leads the league in 10 minute misconduct and game misconduct penalties. Here is a comparison with Allen by category type. Kansas City is the first/ higher number:

  • Minor Penalties: 389 vs 262
  • 5 Minute Majors: 41 vs 39
  • 10 Minute Misconducts: 22 vs 5
  • Game Misconducts: 12 vs 5

- Here are some keys for tonight and all of the remaining games against Kansas City:

  • Good starts, the team that has scored first has won seven of the eight games this season.
  • Take more shots, the team with the most shots has won six of the eight games this season.
  • Play with a lead, Allen is 15-0-1-1 with a second period lead, Kansas City is 17-1-2-0.
  • Win the special teams battle, the Americans have scored more power play goals than Kansas City in just one game this season. 


- It is no surprise that Allen's leading scorers against Kansas City are Costello (11 points), Asuchak (9 points) and Combs (8 points). The player to watch for Kansas City is #20 Nick Pastujov. In seven games against Allen, he has 12 points (5G, 7A). He just returned to Kansas City after spending the last month with the Rochester Americans (AHL) 


"The key for us is to continue to battle hard without the puck. We are improving but need to be better shift in and shift out."

"If we put as much passion into defense as we do scoring we can be a great playoff team."

"We have lost three players to season ending injuries (Gould, Jarvis, Hall). Eric Roy is out until the playoffs and Jake Kearley is still a ways away from returning. At least we have enough healthy players to field a full team."

"I plan on making some changes to the power play. We have power play goals in four of the last six games, so nothing major, just some tweaks."

"Luke Peressini will get the start in goal tonight." 

"I am not sure if I will make any deals before the trade deadline tomorrow. I am always trying to improve the team and have already added players (Winquist, Campagna, Kearley, Albano). We will see what happens today and tomorrow."


- It is buyers and sellers time with the ECHL trade deadline coming up tomorrow (3:00 pm EDT). Here is an example.

Kansas City traded former Allen forward, Jesse Mychan, to Toledo on Monday for forward Keeghan Howdeshell. Toledo gets a 29 year old veteran player, a proven goal scorer with toughness and Kelly Cup champion for its playoff run. Kansas City, who will not make the playoffs, gets a younger player (24) to build for next season. The risk with Mychan is he has had trouble staying healthy. In Allen last season he was leading the league in goals (15 in 24 games) before sustaining an injury that put him out for the season. This year in Kansas City he missed two months with an injury. Here are both players stats for this season:

  • Jesse Mychan - 30 games, 17 points (5G, 12A), 52 PIMS, -10
  • Keeghan Howdeshell - 50 games, 29 points (12G, 17A), 8 PIMS, +13 


- It is a busy Wednesday night schedule in the ECHL with nine games on tap, many of them with playoff implications. In the Mountain Division, in addition to Kansas City at Allen, #1 Utah hosts #2 Rapid City and Idaho is in Florida for the first of three games against the Everblades. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of all nine games.



DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about teams in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL that have power play percentages above 20%. Allen's current power play percentage is 18.9%. Last season the percentage was 20.5%. Allen's best season on the power play in the ECHL was in 2016-17 when it finished at 24.4%. The power play was a huge factor in the Americans 2016 Kelly Cup championship, as they led all playoff teams at 27.2%.


Comparing power play percentages by league:
59% (19 of 32) of teams above 20%
High: 29.3% Toronto
Low: 13.4% Philadelphia
39% (12 of 31) of teams above 20%
High: 25.9% Ontario
Low: 13.9% Lehigh Valley
41% (11 of 27) of teams above 20%
High: 26.7% Newfoundland
Low: 14.8% Greenville
The top five ECHL power play teams:
26.7% - Newfoundland
25.3% - Maine
23.8% - Iowa
23.3% - Toledo
22.9% - Fort Wayne


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Allen's Challenge the Next Three Weeks, Allen's Goals and Plus/Minus Leaders for March, Some New Allen Fans, Most Empty Net Goals and More


I was looking at the remaining schedule for Allen, Idaho and Tulsa as they battle for the final two playoff spots in the Mountain Division and the good news and bad news hit me for the first time. The good news is Allen has three games in hand over the other two teams. The bad news is the Americans will have to play their remaining 11 games in the same number of days Idaho and Tulsa play their remaining eight games. With three weeks left in the regular season it means Allen will play four games in five days this week, four games in five days next week before finishing with three game the final week of the season. 


- The back to back weeks with four games in five days means Allen will play eight games in the next 12 days. It will be crunch time in more than one way. Here is the remaining schedule for Allen, Idaho and Tulsa.

  • Mar 30  Kansas City
  • Apr 1    at Kansas City
  • Apr 2    at Tulsa
  • Apr 3    Tulsa   
  • Apr 6    Kansas City
  • Apr 8    Kansas City
  • Apr 9    at Wichita
  • Apr 10  at Wichita
  • Apr 13  Iowa
  • Apr 15  Iowa
  • Apr 16  Iowa
  •  IDAHO
  • Mar 30  at Florida
  • Apr 1     at Florida 
  • Apr 2     at Florida
  • Apr 6     Utah
  • Apr 8     Utah
  • Apr 9     Utah
  • Apr 15   at Utah
  • Apr 16   at Utah
  • Apr 1   Wichita
  • Apr 2   Allen
  • Apr 3   at Allen
  • Apr 6   at Wichita
  • Apr 8   Wichita
  • Apr 13  at Rapid City
  • Apr 15  at Rapid City
  • Apr 16  at Rapid City  


- Idaho clearly has the toughest schedule with five of eight games on the road and all games against teams headed for the playoffs. Florida has a .635 points percentage and Utah's is .602. Both of Idaho's opponents will be highly motivated to make sure they get home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Finishing the season with five straight games against Utah, which is Idaho's its biggest rival, will be key. Both teams will be highly motivated to secure their place in the standings. Idaho is 6-5-0-0 against Utah this season.


- Tulsa also has five of its remaining eight games on the road. Obviously the two games against Allen will be critical and Tulsa has given Allen trouble this season (7-3-0-0). Wichita is in last place and out of the playoffs so you would think the three games against the Thunder would heavily favor Tulsa, but Wichita is 4-3-2-0 against the Oilers this season. The three games in Rapid City to finish the season will likely be important for both teams.


- Looking at the schedule the Americans have the advantage on paper, but games aren't played on paper. Allen has eight of its remaining 11 games at home. None of the Americans opponents have a better points percentage than Allen. The two games against Tulsa this week will be critical. The Americans can't afford to lose ground to the Oilers, so a minimum of two points is essential. The Americans finish the season against Iowa (at home), who will likely be out of the playoff picture by then. Here is Allen's record against its remaining opponents:

  • 9-6-0-0: Wichita
  • 4-3-0-1: Kansas City
  • 3-5-2-0: Tulsa
  • 0-0-0-0: Iowa 


- Allen's record in the month of March (with one game remaining) is excellent. The Americans have played 11 games in March with a record of 7-3-1-0 and points percentage of .682. Here are the goal leaders and plus/minus leaders in March:

  • 9 - Josh Winquist
  • 7 - Spencer Asuchak
  • 5 - J.C. Campagna
  • 5 - Branden Troock
  • +7: Jake Kearley
  • +5: Josh Winquist
  • +5: Jared Bethune
  • +4: Jackson Leppard 



- The ECHL is down to the last three weeks of the regular season and just one team (Toledo) has clinched a playoff spot. If you look at the top two spots in each division, which comes with home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs (best of seven), most are already decided. Mathematically there could still be changes but practically the picture is pretty clear. Here is the status by division:

North - Reading is #1 (.672) and could clinch a playoff spot tomorrow night. Newfoundland is #2 with a points percentage of .647. No other team in the division is above .525. Both of these teams will be very strong in the playoffs. 

South - There is a three way battle for the top two spots. Atlanta (.656) and Florida (.635) have the edge over Jacksonville (.615). Atlanta has been surging and Jacksonville has been fading over the last six weeks and Florida is Florida. The Everblades have a recent history of under performing in the playoffs. 

Central - Toledo has been the #1 team in the league for most of the season and they will only get stronger in the playoffs when they get a bunch of players back who are currently in the AHL. The Walleye will finish #1 in the division (.702) and Fort Wayne will be #2 (.621), no other teams are close.

Mountain - The Mountain Division is the closest of the four divisions. Utah (.602) has been in front for a long time, but is 6-7-0-0 in the last month. Rapid City is #2 (.587) but has a recent record of 10-2-1-3. Idaho is #3 (.555) and plays Utah the last five games on the season so they could make some noise down the stretch, but it is unlikely.


- Anything can and does happen in the playoffs but if I had to predict at this point it would be that a North Division team will win the Eastern Conference championship and a Central Division team will win in the Western Conference. 


- Had my high school friends, Dave & Lin (Dave is my hunting buddy of 60+ years) from Minnesota visiting us recently and took them to the last Allen home game. It was a 3-1 thriller against Wichita  with Jack Combs scoring the winning goal late in the third period. Dave and Lin had a chance to see the game from my glass seats and also from the suite level (thanks Evan). They headed home with some swag for their two grandchildren who play youth hockey. Make it two more Allen Americans fans from the great state of Minnesota:

Ilsa and Louis Sundberg


- Here is a partial list of players from Minnesota that have played for the Allen Americans. I have listed the players in age order. Almost all are younger than current Allen captain, Chad Costello, who will be 36 in July:

  • 37 - Riley Gill
  • 37 - Jim McKenzie
  • 36 - Phil Fox
  • 35 - Aaron Gens
  • 34 - Brian McMillin
  • 34 - Kyle Follmer
  • 32 - Tyler Barnes
  • 31 - Tristan King
  • 30 - JP LaFontaine
  • 26 - Tyler Sheehy
  • 26 - Phil Beaulieu
  • 26 - Mike Brodzinski
  • 24 - Jack Sadek

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about empty net goals. Allen has nine empty net goals this season led by Chad Costello with three.

Hard to find any ECHL stat with a seven way tie for the lead. That is the case for empty net goals that range from a low of 3 (Cincinnati) to a high of 13. Here are the seven teams with 13 empty net goals this season:
- All but Indy are in playoff positions.


Monday, March 28, 2022

Allen Leaves Toledo With Three Points, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Steve Martinson's Comments, The Week Ahead, Special Teams Best and More


The Toledo Walleye defeated the Allen Americans 4-2 yesterday and became the first ECHL team to qualify for the Kelly Cup playoffs. It was a disappointing loss for the Americans who finished the three game series against Toledo with a record of 1-1-1-0. It would be hard to find a more exciting series and to come home getting three of a possible six points against the best team in the ECHL (.702 points percentage) is a good outcome though it could have been better. Here are some thoughts on the weekend:

  • How great is it to see the Americans play before crowds of 7441, 7772 and 7110 in a rink that has a capacity for hockey of 7389 without standing room.
  • Allen scored first in two of the three games 
  • Allen led after the first period in all three games.
  • Allen showed they can hang with the best team in the league despite being out shot in all three games, a total of 122-74.
  • Allen allowed one power play goal in three games to the best home power play unit in the league.
  • Despite losing two of three games on the weekend, by earning three points the Americans were able to retain the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mountain Division.


- The game yesterday did not start well for the Americans. After scoring the first goal on Friday and Saturday the Americans gave up the first goal on Sunday. It was not a good sign since Toledo is almost unbeatable when scoring first, the Walleye have the best record in the ECHL with a record of 32-5-1-0.


- Allen bounced back after giving up the first goal and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Nolan Kneen scored the Americans first goal (16:39) followed by a Josh Winquist power play goal (18:28). The odds flipped when Allen took the lead into the first period. Prior to this weekend the Americans record when leading after the first period was 11-2-1-1. Against Toledo the Americans lost twice (once in overtime) when leading after the first period.


- Allen's offense sputtered after the first period, while Toledo's picked up. The Walleye managed just one goal in the second period, but they out shot Allen 14-5. It was anyone's game with the score tied 2-2 going into the third period. 


- Brandon Hawkins, who killed Allen all weekend with seven points (4G, 3A), scored the game winner at the 9:09 mark of the third period. Hawkins came out of the penalty box and caught Allen sleeping. The puck split the two Allen players at the point but Hawkins missed it as the puck slid behind the Allen net to Marotte's right. Hawkins had enough time to skate past the goal line, pick up the puck, skate behind the net and put in a wrap around goal past Frank Marotte before any defenders arrived. You can hear on the replay that Marotte was slapping his stick on the ice to warn the penalty was about to expire but neither player on the points (one forward and one defenseman) reacted, so Hawkins had a lot of time to get the puck and score. It also looked like Marotte had plenty of time to leave his crease and play the puck before Hawkins arrived. It was an unfortunate way to lose the game. Allen had plenty of time to get the equalizer (11 minutes) but managed just four shots the remainder of the game. Toledo scored an empty net goal 15 seconds after Allen pulled Marotte for an extra attacker to make final score 4-2.


- Goal scorers for Allen were Nolan Kneen (4) and Josh Winquist (12). here are the video highlights: 


- Here is the game recap issued by the Toledo Walleye with in depth details on all of the goals:




"We had a good start to the series but our defensive indifference caught up with us as the weekend went on."

"We showed a big improvement in our offensive zone time yesterday. On Saturday it was seven minutes. Yesterday it was just over 12 minutes."

"Yesterday we struggled to capitalize on our increased offensive zone time, we had good opportunities but couldn't score after the first period."

"On the game winning goal in the third period there were three or four mistakes on that play. We had a bad entry into our offensive zone, we didn't anticipate Hawkins coming out of the penalty box, we didn't get back quick enough and the goalie should have played the puck. On all break downs that end up in goals you just have to ask, did you make the right play and did you give 100% effort. If you can answer yes to those questions, that is all you can ask."

"Toledo back pressured better than us all weekend."

"We were able to get three points this weekend and are still in a playoff position. We control our own destiny, play seven of our final 11 games at home and have three games in hand over Tulsa and Idaho."



- Allen must now get ready for a busy stretch run starting with four games in five days this week.

  • Wednesday at home against Kansas City
  • Friday on the road in Kansas City
  • Saturday on the road in Tulsa
  • Sunday at home against Tulsa

All of the games are critical but the Tulsa games will be extra critical since Allen and Tulsa are so close in the standings. Allen barely leads Tulsa in points percentage (.52459 vs .52344).


- Allen's penalty kill has been much improved over the last six weeks. The power play goal Allen gave up yesterday was just the third in the last in the last 11 games. Some of the improvement is driven by the fact Allen has been staying out of the penalty box.


DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about special teams. As a comparison, Allen's power play percentage is 18.9% and the penalty kill percentage is 80.2% for a total of 99.1%.

Not an official stat but a combined power play and penalty kill percentage of 105% is considered outstanding special teams play. Here are the four ECHL teams that meet the 105% standard, with power play (PP) and penalty kill (PK) percentages in parenthesis:
110.3%: Newfoundland (PP 26.7%, PK 83.6%)
106.5%: Maine (PP 25.5%, PK 81.0%)
106.5%: Rapid City (PP 20.7%, PK 85.8%)
106.0%: Iowa (PP 23.8%, PK 82.2%)




Sunday, March 27, 2022

Late Game Comeback Ends in Record Overtime Loss, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Steve Martinson's Comments, Two Goals in Two Seconds, ECHL Top Scorers and More


It was the good, the bad and the ugly last night for the Allen Americans as they lost to Toledo 6-5 in overtime before another standing room only crowd of 7772 at the Huntington Center. To the Americans credit they fought back late in the third period to force overtime and earned a critical point to retain a playoff spot in the Mountain Division.


  • Allen scored first
  • Allen had a 1-0 lead after the first period
  • Allen had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the game
  • Allen won the special teams battle, 1-3 on the power play and 0-2 on the penalty kill
  • Allen scored twice in 39 seconds late in the third period to force overtime
  • Allen was outshot 42-29 in the game
  • Allen was outshot 17-8 in the second period
  • Allen allowed four goals in the second period
  • Allen allowed more than five goals for only the second time in the last 29 games
  • Allen didn't manage a shot in overtime, outshot 3-0
  • Allen lost its seventh overtime game, most in franchise history
  • Allen is now 1-7 in overtime games this season, worst record in the ECHL


- Just like Friday night, Allen got off to a great start with Jack Combs scoring the first and only goal of the first period. It looked like another great night for Allen given its record when leading after the first period was 12-2-1-1. Toledo tied the score 1-1 early in the second period but Allen responded on a Spencer Asuchak power play goal to take a 2-1 lead. Then the wheels came off for the Americans. Toledo tied the score 20 seconds after Allen took the 2-1 lead, outshot Allen 13-3 over the next 11 minutes and took a 4-2 lead. Jackson Leppard scored a goal with 32 seconds remaining in the second period to close the gap to 4-3.

- It didn't look good with Allen trailing 4-3 at the second intermission given the Americans record when trailing after the second period is 3-20-4-0. It got even more bleak when the Walleye increased their lead to 5-3 at the 8:53 mark of the third period. With less than three minutes remaining in the game the Americans made a comeback. Spencer Asuchak scored his second goal of the game at the 17:16 mark and just 39 seconds (17:55) later Josh Winquist score to send the game to overtime.


- Brandon Hawkins scored the game winner for Toledo at the 3:49 mark of overtime. It was his third goal of the game and first hat trick of the season. It was disappointing to lose yet another overtime game, but the point Allen earned with the late third period comeback is critical in the tight race with Idaho and Tulsa for a playoff spot. 

- Goal scorers for Allen were Jack Combs (20), Spencer Asuchak (23,24), Jackson Leppard (17) and Josh Winquist (11). Here are the video highlights. The FloHockey live stream went down for part of the game so not all goals are included:  

- Game recap from the Allen Americans:


- Game recap from the Toledo Walleye:




"It was a frustrating game for sure but when you get a point after trailing 5-3 with less than three minutes left in the game, it was better than it could have been."

"When it comes to overtime, to be successful in three-on-three hockey you need speed, skill, good defensive players and patience."

"Our even strength offensive zone time was about half of Toledo's (7 minutes vs 13 minutes). Too often we have just one forechecker in our offensive zone and don't pressure the puck."

"We have been good at capitalizing on their mistakes but we don't create enough mistakes. We need more puck pressure, especially in the offensive zone."

"Too often we try to contain rather than pressure and we contain until they get a shot on goal."

"Frank Marotte will get the start in goal today."

"I will make some other lineup changes today to get some fresh legs in the game. I will decide who sits out after I check in with the players this morning."




 - Allen's overtime loss was the seventh of the season which is by far the worst overtime record since the Americans joined the ECHL. Here is the OT record by season:

  • 1-7   (2021-22)
  • 5-3   (2020-21)
  • 12-6 (2019-20)
  • 3-4   (2018-190
  • 3-6   (2017-18)
  • 7-4   (2016-17)
  • 3-3   (2015-16)
  • 3-6   (2014-15)


 - The third game in three days is always a challenge with an early start time on Sunday, especially for veteran teams. You often hear a game like today is more about will than skill. Allen has to find a way to cut down on shots allowed. One way to do that is having more offensive zone time with a better forecheck. It is hard to see Allen winning today if they surrender 40+ shots on goal again. 


- Today Allen gets back one of the four games it has in hand over Idaho and Tulsa who are both idle. With a win Allen can improve its points percentage from .533 to .541. With a loss it will be .525. Win, lose or draw the Americans will be in fourth place at the end of the day. With a win the Americans will be in a battle for third place with Idaho. With a loss they will be battling Tulsa for the final playoff spot. 

- The three way race for two playoff spots changed last night with Idaho winning, Allen losing in overtime and Tulsa losing in regulation time. Here are the updated standings with games remaining in parenthesis. Remember, the top two make the playoffs:

  • .555  Idaho (8 games)
  • .533  Allen (12 games)
  • .523  Tulsa (8 games) 


- Norfolk set an all time ECHL record last night for fastest two goals by one team. Norfolk scored with 13.7 seconds left in the game against Reading to give the Admirals a 4-3 lead. Norfolk took the lead on a goal that was scored from the corner behind the goal line, on a shot that was just lobbed toward the net that somehow got past the goalie. On the ensuing faceoff, Norfolk scored into an empty net with 11.3 seconds remaining in the game. Here are the game highlights with the two goals in two seconds at the very end:


-  Who will win the Kelly Cup this season? It is almost a certainty the winner will come from one of the teams that are in top two in each division. The four #1 teams are Reading, Atlanta, Toledo and Utah. The four #2 teams are Newfoundland, Florida, Fort Wayne and Rapid City.


DID YOU KNOW: An exclusive club, ECHL players with 25+ goals and 35+ assists this season:
28G, 41A - Patrick Watling, Wheeling
25G, 42A - Chad Costello, Allen
28G, 36A - Darik Angeli, Kansas City
25G, 39A - A.J. White, Idaho
28G, 35A - John McCarron, Florida
27G, 35A - Blake Winiecki, Florida

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Allen Wins 4-3, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Steve Martinson's Comments, Current Standings, ECHL Penalty Free Games History and More


The Allen Americans got off to a good start in their three game series against Toledo with a 4-3 win last night to send a standing room only crowd of 7441 at the Huntington Center home disappointed. It was Allen's third straight win and seventh in the last nine games. The teams will face off again tonight (6:15 pm CDT).

- The game was unique in that it was a very rare penalty free game (see Did You Know below) and Allen was outshot 44-20. However, the Americans hit many of the keys that put the odds of winning in their favor:

  • Allen scored first - The Americans have won seven of the last eight games when they scored first.
  • Allen led 2-1 after the first period and now has a record of 12-2-1-1 when leading after the first period.
  • Allen led 4-2 at the second intermission and now has a record of 15-0-1-1 when leading after the second period.

- Allen scored first, just 101 seconds after the opening puck drop, on Branden Troock's 18th goal of the season. The Americans never trailed in the game and every time Toledo tied the game, Allen answered back. It happened in the first period when Toledo tied the score 1-1 at the 15:52 mark. Allen answered back at the 18:41 mark on Spencer Asuchak's 22nd goal of the season to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

- Toledo tied the score again (2-2) in the second period but Allen answered back 96 second later on Branden Troock's second goal of the game to take a 3-2 lead. Josh Winquist scored an insurance goal (16:17), his seventh since joining the Americans to give Allen a 4-2 lead after the second period.

- Allen had to weather a storm in the third period as Toledo put 16 shots on goal. Between solid team defense and outstanding goaltending from Luke Peressini, the Americans held off the Walleye, though Toledo managed to get within one goal with 18 seconds remaining in the game. 

- A recap of the goal scorers: Branden Troock (18,19), Spencer Asuchak (22) and Josh Winquist (10). Here are the video highlights:


 - Game recap from the Allen Americans:


- Game recap from the Toledo Walleye:


-  Luke Peressini had another great game for Allen. Here are his March stats: 

  • Record: 7-2
  • Shots Faced: 288 (32 average per game)
  • Saves: 271 (30 average per game)
  • Save Percentage: .941  



"We had a lot of players that got food poisoning yesterday. They were leaving the bench during the game to get sick. We should be stronger tonight."

"It was good to get the win last night but we have to support our goalie better, we have been relying on him too much. Peressini was our best player last night as he has been for most of March."

"We had a first period lead but committed way too many turnovers. Turnovers result in no shot for us and a shooting opportunity for them."

"We had several opportunities for odd man rushes but need to make better passes. Not putting passes on the tape cost us several times."

"Our game analytics software shows puck possession favored them 55% - 45% and shots favored them 41-19. We will have to improve both of those stats tonight."

"To be successful tonight we will have to reduce turnovers, pass better and backcheck harder."

"Luke Peressini will be in goal again tonight." 

"I haven't decided yet if there will be any lineup changes for the game tonight." 


- While talking to coach Martinson this morning he said something that stuck with me about skill and working hard. He said it is harder to teach players skill than to teach players to work hard. My opinion is Allen has always been known as a highly skilled team more than a hard working team. Teams more associated with the term hard working are teams like Rapid City and Tulsa.

- Allen didn't get any help last night in the race for a playoff spot. Tulsa beat Utah 6-5 on the road. It didn't take Joe Garreffa very long to have an impact for the Oilers. Playing in his first game for Tulsa, Joe had two goals, two assists and was selected the #1 star of the game. Wichita took Idaho to overtime but ended up losing 3-2. Here are the standings for the final two playoff spots, with games remaining in parenthesis:

  • .548 Idaho  (9 games)
  • .534 Allen  (13 games)
  • .532 Tulsa  (9 games)


- In the battle for the top spot in the Mountain Division both Utah and Rapid City lost last night, but the Rush lost in a shootout so gained on Utah. Here are the points percentages with games remaining:

  • .595 Utah (9 games)
  • .582 Rapid City (11 games)
- Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of the 12 games on the schedule today:
- Toledo and Reading can become the first ECHL teams to clinch a playoff spot tonight. If Toledo beats Allen and Kalamazoo loses to Fort Wayne in regulation, the Walleye clinch a playoff spot. Reading clinches if it wins and Maine loses or Trois-Riviéres loses in regulation.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about penalty-free games which are becoming more common:
Allen beat Toledo 4-3 last night in a penalty free game. It was the 14th time in ECHL history this has happened and the 2nd time this season. Is this an indication how the game has changed over the years? 
Penalty free games:
First 27 years (1988-2015) - 5 penalty free games
Last 7 years (2016-2022) - 9 penalty free games
The most recent penalty free games:
Allen at Toledo - March 25, 2022
Orlando at Florida - February 23, 2022
Orlando at Jacksonville - May 18, 2021

Friday, March 25, 2022

Allen vs Toledo Series Preview, Coach's Corner With Steve Martinson and ECHL Teams With 20+ Home and Road Wins


It is game day for the Allen Americans as they begin the most important three game series of the season, against the Toledo Walleye. When you talk about raucous crowds the Walleye fit the definition when it comes to the ECHL. It will be a scene seldom seen in the Mountain Division as a crowd of well over 7000 will pack the Huntington Center tonight. The Huntington Center, which opened in 2009, has a listed capacity of 7389 (8300 with standing room). Friday night crowds in Toledo typically get to the SRO level. 


- Allen could have a points percentage as low as .500 or as high as .549 after this three game series in Toledo. The difference between looking at avoiding last place or fighting for second place in the Mountain Division. If the Americans can leave Toledo with a points percentage close to what they have as they arrive, it will be a successful weekend. To do so, Allen will have to earn three points from the three games.   


- Here are some comparative stats between the #1 ranked Toledo Walleye with a .703 points percentage and the #13 ranked Allen Americans with a .526 points percentage.

  • Record: Allen 27-24-6-1, Toledo 40-16-1-2
  • Last 10 games: Allen 6-3-1-0, Toledo 6-4-0-0
  • Current streak: Allen 2-0-0-0, Toledo 2-0-0-0
  • Goals scored: Allen 193, Toledo 220
  • Goals allowed: Allen 199, Toledo 164


- It is clear when you look at season long records that Toledo has been the better team. However, over the last eight games Allen is 6-2-0-0 and Toledo is 5-3-0-0. Toledo hasn't won more than two games in a row since February 25. 


- This series will see Allen having the strongest group of forwards in the lineup this season. Eight players are averaging .90+ points per game including five averaging more than a point per game. The key to this series for Allen will be team defense. With all of the offensive fire power upfront, can the Americans be aggressive without taking chances that end up creating odd man rushes for Toledo.


- Toledo will see a lot of  goalie Luke Peressini in this series. In the month of March, Luke has been arguably the best goalie in the ECHL. He has faced 244 shots in eight games and stopped 230 of them. His record is 6-2 and his save percentage is .943.


- Special teams will play a key role in this series and Allen will have to have the discipline to stay out of the penalty box since Toledo has a lethal power play. The Walleye have scored on 30 0f 103 power play opportunities at home for a league leading home power play percentage of 29.1%. Allen's road power play percentage is 18.8% (21-112). In the month of March (8 games) the Americans have given up 19 power play opportunities which is an average of just 2.4 per game. That is the kind of discipline Allen will need to sustain against the Walleye.


- As strong as the Toledo power play is at home, its penalty kill is one of the worst in the ECHL. The Walleye home penalty kill is ranked #23 at 76.6%. Allen's road penalty kill is ranked #8 at 83.0%. 


- Scoring first is always a stat worth looking at in series preview. Allen has scored first in 52% of its games (30 of 58) and the Americans record when scoring first is 17-9-3-1 for a points percentage of .633, Toledo has scored first in 63% of its games (37 of 59) and the Walleye have a record when scoring first of 31-5-1-0 for a points percentage of .851. Odds are pretty overwhelming, if the Americans give up the first goal of the game they will likely lose.


- Toledo and Allen are similar in both teams are led by veteran players. TJ Hensick and Chad Costello are the oldest players on their team, are captains of their respective teams, lead their team in points and are tied for second in the ECHL scoring race with 65 points. Hensick is 36 and Costello is 35. Some other examples:

  • Jack Combs (34) - leads team in points per game (1.15), second in points (55)
  • Spencer Asuchak (30) - 2nd in goals (21), 3rd in points (49)
  • John Albert (33) - tied for team lead in goals (21)
  • Matt Berry (29) - leads team in points per game (1.39)
Both teams rely on veteran leadership on and off the ice. These players will have a lot to say about who wins this series. 


I had a chance to talk to Steve Martinson before pregame skate this morning. Here are his comments from today and yesterday about the series with Toledo:

"I won't know until after our skate this morning if Darian Skeoch will play tonight. If he plays we will have two forwards as healthy scratches. If Skeoch can't play, Jared Bethune will help out at defense and we will have one healthy scratch."
"We have three lines that can score. All three lines will get a chance on the power play and the line that is going best will get additional power play time."
"Luke Peressini will get the start in goal. He has been as good as any goalie in the league this month."
"It will be a good atmosphere in Toledo with big crowds filling the arena. Both teams will be able to feed off the crowds."

"Toledo has a very good power play and we will have to be aware of who is on the ice and how we want to play against them."
"I look at this series as a battle of two teams that are similar. High end, veteran, skilled teams."

"Toledo has been #1 in points percentage for a long time, but how teams play down the stretch is important. The series will be a good test to see where we are at."

"Our forward group is the best we have had all season. All three lines are capable of scoring on every shift.

"This series is like a playoff series for us. To beat good teams like Toledo we will have to play consistent, disciplined hockey at both ends of the ice."



- It is a big night in the ECHL with 13 games on tap. The only team not playing is Kansas City. The Mountain Division games have Allen at Toledo, Wichita at Idaho and Tulsa at Utah. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews of all 13 games:


- Forward Hayden Hodgson became the 26th former ECHL to make it to the NHL this season. Hodgson made quite a debut last night, playing for Philadelphia. He had a goal, an assist, four hits and was +3 in the Flyers 5-2 win over St. Louis. Hodgson bounced around the ECHL for several years playing for Florida, Manchester, Wichita, Reading, Wheeling and Utah before signing with Lehigh Valley (AHL) this season. He was third on his team in scoring when he was called up to Philadelphia. Hodgson is 26 years old and has always been a tough player that hits, but can also skate. Here is the ECHL press release:  

- Players to watch in the Toledo series are the two players vying for the ECHL scoring championship. Here are the top five ECHL scoring leaders going into the weekend:

  • 68 points - Will Graber, Fort Wayne
  • 65 points - Chad Costello, Allen
  • 65 points - TJ Hensick, Toledo
  • 64 points - Darik Angeli, Kansas City
  • 64 points - Zach O'Brien, Newfoundland


DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about teams with 20+ home and road wins. Allen has 15 home wins and 12 road wins. With seven home games and seven road games left, the Americans only chance to win 20 games will require them to go 5-2 in the remaining home games.

Four ECHL teams have 20+ home wins and one team has 20+ road wins. Here are the 20+ win teams along with those teams that are close to reaching the 20 win plateau:
23 - Atlanta
22 - Idaho
21 - Cincinnati
20 - Fort Wayne
19 - Toledo
19 - Utah
19 - Kalamazoo 
21 - Toledo
19 - Newfoundland
19 - Florida





Thursday, March 24, 2022

Getaway Day, Travel Roster, Steve Martinson's Comments, Bad Things Come In Threes, Playoff Primer and More


It seems like I say this every week but it is definitely true this week. It will be a critical week for the Allen Americans as they fly to Toledo this morning for three games against the Walleye on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Game time on Friday and Saturday is 6:15 pm (Allen time - CDT) with a Sunday start time of 4:15.

- This season has been plagued by injuries and every time it looks like the team is getting healthier somebody else gets injured. This has been especially true for the defensive group which seems to always be playing shorthanded. In five of Allen's last seven games the Americans played with four or five defensemen. Forward Jared Bethune, who has never played defense prior to this season, has pitched in many times on the blueline to help out.


- It looked like things would be better for the trip to Toledo with Ben Carroll returning to the lineup but then Allen had more set backs. The Americans best puck moving defensemen, Eric Roy, was injured and won't return until the playoffs. Jake Kearly is also out for a couple of weeks with an injury. 


- Making the playoffs is completely in the hands of the Allen Americans, but they got no help last night as Idaho beat Wichita 7-4 (at home) and Tulsa beat Utah 4-2 (in Utah). The same teams play again on Friday and Saturday.


- Allen is still in the fourth playoff spot but by the slimmest of margins. Here is the latest standings by points percentage with wins above .500 in parenthesis. One of these teams will not make the playoffs.

  • .540 - Idaho (5 games)
  • .526 - Allen (3 games)
  • .524 - Tulsa (3 games)  


- If it seems to you whatever can go wrong does go wrong this season, you are not alone. Yesterday was a perfect example of bad news coming in three's. The hope of Idaho and Tulsa losing and helping Allen went down the drain last night. Earlier in the day, when I attended practice, it became clear the Americans could be playing shorthanded on defense again. Eric Roy and Jake Kearley will not make the trip to Toledo and Darian Skeoch is still day to day, but will make the trip. Then to make matters worse, I found out after practice that Joe Garreffa, who played 18 games for Allen last season and had 21 points (9G, 12A) has been assigned by San Jose to Tulsa.


- Garreffa was put up for reassignment by San Jose so he could have gone to any ECHL team. Of course, Allen was never an option because of what happened last season when San Jose severed its relationship with Allen and pulled it players from the Americans and sent them to Orlando. It really hurts because it didn't have to happen and to make it worse Garreffa ends up in Tulsa. Here is the quote from Tulsa coach, Rob Murray, about acquiring Garreffa. 

"Joe brings a lot of speed and scoring to our lineup. I coached against him when he was in Allen last season. I can tell you I held my breath every time he was on the ice. I am really excited to get him here!"


- No time to focus on the woulda, coulda, shoulda with three road games against the #1 team in the ECHL staring you in the face. Here are the players that will make the trip to Toledo today. Allen will enter the series with as strong a forward lineup as they have had all season. Having defenseman Ben Carroll back after being out since February 11 is huge given Roy and Kearley are out.


  • #31 - Luke Peressini
  • #40 - Frank Marotte 


  • #3 - Darian Skeoch
  • #4 - Kris Mylari
  • #20 - Ben Carroll
  • #23 - Nick Albano
  • #24 - Nolan Kneen
  • #25 - Phil Beaulieu


  • #9 - Josh Winquist
  • #10 - Jackson Leppard
  • #11 - Branden Troock
  • #13 - Chad Costello
  • #16 - J.C. Campagna
  • #17 - Chad Butcher
  • #18 - JD Dudek
  • #19 - Jared Bethune
  • #21 - Jack Combs
  • #26 - Spencer Asuchak
  • #41 - Tyler Poulsen
  • #44 - Ryan Lohin 

- I will have a complete series preview tomorrow but Allen should go into this series feeling pretty good. Yes, Toledo is the #1 team in the ECHL with a .703 overall points percentage (.690 at home), but the Walleye have played similar to Allen recently. Over the last eight games Allen is 6-2-0-0 and Toledo is 5-3-0-0. Toledo hasn't won more than two games in a row since February 25. 

- I had a chance to check in with coach Martinson at the airport just before the team took off for Toledo and asked him for his thoughts on the series this weekend:

"I look at this series as a battle of two teams that are similar. High end, veteran, skilled teams."

"Toledo has been #1 in points percentage for a long time, but how teams play down the stretch is important. The series will be a good test to see where we are at."

"Our forward group is the best we have had all season. All three lines are capable of scoring on every shift.

"This series is like a playoff series for us. To beat good teams like Toledo we will have to play consistent, disciplined hockey at both ends of the ice."


- While mathematically there are a lot of different scenarios how the Mountain Division could end up, realistically two teams are vying for the top spot, three teams are vying for the final two playoff spots and two teams are trying to avoid last place. Here are the latest Mountain Division standings with games remaining in parenthesis:

  • .605 - Utah (10 games)
  • .583 - Rapid City (12 games)
  • .540 - Idaho (10 games)
  • .526 - Allen (14 games)
  • .524 - Tulsa (10 games)
  • .492 - Kansas City (8 games)
  • .459 - Wichita (11 games)


- How good is the forward group on this trip? Eight players are averaging .90+ points per game including five averaging more than a point per game. As a group of 12, their points per game average is a lofty .80 points per game.


- Who are the hottest teams in the ECHL right now? Two teams have a record of 8-2-0-0  over the last 10 games, Atlanta and Newfoundland.


- It will be a large and wild crowd in Toledo this weekend. The Walleye are #1 in attendance averaging 7328 per game. Allen is ranked #19 in attendance, averaging 3047 per game. 


DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the Kelly Cup playoffs. If the playoffs started today Allen would play Utah in a seven game series. 

The top four teams in each division, based on points percentage, will qualify for the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
In the Division Semifinals, the first-place finisher in each division will play the fourth-place team while the second-place team meets the third-place finisher. The two winners in each series will meet in the Division Finals.
The winner of the North Division Finals will meet the winner of the South Division Finals in the Eastern Conference Finals while the winners of the Central Division Finals and Mountain Division Finals will meet in the Western Conference Finals.
The 2022 Kelly Cup Finals will feature the Eastern Conference champion taking the Western Conference champion.
All series in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs will be best-of-seven series.
April 18 - Playoff rosters due
April 20 - Kelly Cup playoffs begin


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Coach's Corner With Steve Martinson, The Playoffs, The Trade Deadlines and More


"Just when it looks like we will get everyone back, somebody else gets injured. Eric Roy broke his finger and will be out for the remainder of the regular season."

"Ryan Lohin has been assigned to Allen and will be on the trip to Toledo."

"Ben Carroll is back and hopefully Darian Skeoch will be able to play as well."

"I still have some decisions to make on the roster and who will travel to Toledo."

"We will work today at practice on the power play. Chad Butcher is now 100% after being out with an injury. Butcher moves the puck well on the power play and will get more power play time." 


- The ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs are less than a month away and the differences between the four divisions are many. Everything from style of play to number of games played to points percentages vary between divisions. Here are a few of the statistical differences between the divisions.


- The number of games played in the North Division ranges from 53 (Trois-Riviéres) to 58 (Maine & Adirondack). Add the other end of the spectrum is the North Division where every team but one has already played 60 games. The range is from 58 (Allen) to 64 (Kansas City). 

- Only one team in the North Division is planning to play 72 games. All of the teams in the Mountain and Central Divisions will play 72 games. All of the teams in the South Division with the exception of Orlando will play 72 games. 

- Here are the top four teams in each division by points percentage. The teams that would make the playoffs if they started today. The team's rank in overall ECHL points percentage is in parenthesis:


  • .684 - Reading (#2)
  • .657 - Newfoundland (#3)
  • .526 - Worcester (#14)
  • .509 - Trois-Riviéres (#18)


  • .656 - Atlanta (#4)
  • .642 - Florida (#5)
  • .619 - Jacksonville (#6)
  • .517 - Orlando (#16)


  • .703 - Toledo (#1)
  • .595 - Fort Wayne (#8)
  • .552 - Wheeling (#10)
  • .542 - Cincinnati (#11)


  • .615 - Utah (#7)
  • .583 - Rapid City (#9)
  • .533 - Idaho (#13)
  • .526 - Allen (#15)

- While the Western Conference has the #1 team in the league (Toledo) the overall depth is clearly in the Eastern Conference. Five of the top six teams in the ECHL in points percentage are in the East. The Western Conference has dominated the Kelly Cup since 2014, winning all of the championships with the exception of Newfoundland in 2019. The odds say the Kelly Cup champion comes from the Eastern Conference this season.


- Another way to compare divisions is the record when playing the other three divisions. It is not a perfect stat because of the uneven number of games and which teams are the opponents, but it is worth noting how the divisions fared against the other divisions. Here are the records with points percentage in parenthesis:

  • Central Division: 53-26-3-4 (.657)
  • North Division: 34-21-6-0  (.607)
  • Mountain Division: 33-38-4-2 (.468)
  • South Division: 22-32-5-1 (.417)
- How has the Central Division fared against the North Division? Not so well, the North Division is 11-6-2-0 against the Central. 
- Allen fans will watch with interest tonight as two of the eight games on tap could impact the Americans quest for a playoff spot. Wichita is at Idaho and Tulsa is at Utah. Here is the ECHL Today with previews on all of the games:
- Luke Peressini was selected as the ECHL Goaltender of the Week for his performance last week. He joins Antoine Bibeau who was Goaltender of the Week back in December. Prior to Peressini and Bibeau winning the award, you have to go back to 2016 to find the last Allen goalie to win Goaltender of the Week. Riley Gill won the award in back to back weeks. In the two weeks he had three shutouts, a GAA of 0.53 and 1.24 and save percentages of .987 and .952. Riley went on to win the Goaltender of the Year that season.
- Trade deadline moves impact all three pro leagues depending on whether your affiliated teams are buyers or sellers at the deadline. Some ECHL teams will get players assigned and others will get players recalled or loaned. What has already happened in the NHL and will happen in the AHL next week could impact the ECHL playoff rosters.
NHL - There were 33 trades involving 54 players made on Monday, the NHL trade deadline.
AHL - The trade/loan deadline is next Monday, March 28, at 3 p.m. ET.
ECHL - The trade deadline is Thursday, March 31, at 3 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Three Teams Battling for Two Playoff Spots - The Details and a Rare Feat Accomplished Twice in 2021-22


There was only one game in the ECHL yesterday and it turned out to be helpful to the Allen Americans. Tulsa lost to Toledo (2-1) and gave the Americans a little breathing room in the battle for a playoff spot in the Mountain Division. Here is the latest points percentage for the three teams vying for two playoff spots.

  • .533 - Idaho  (4 wins above .500)
  • .526 - Allen  (3 wins above .500)
  • .516 - Tulsa  (2 wins above .500)


- Allen is preparing for what will certainly be a tough three games in three days series. The Americans will be on the road against the #1 team in the ECHL (Toledo), with a .703 points percentage. The ECHL regular season is quickly winding down and it is crunch time for the three teams trying to claim one of the final two playoff spots. Let's take a look at the schedule for Allen, Idaho and Tulsa:

ALLEN (14 games remaining)

  • March 25  at Toledo
  • March 26  at Toledo
  • March 27  at Toledo
  • March 30  Kansas City
  • April 1      at Kansas City
  • April 2      at Tulsa
  • April 3      Tulsa
  • April 6      Kansas City
  • April 8      Kansas City
  • April 9      at Wichita
  • April 10    at Wichita
  • April 13    Iowa
  • April 15    Iowa
  • April 16    Iowa

IDAHO (11 games remaining)

  • March 23  Wichita
  • March 25  Wichita
  • March 26  Wichita
  • March 30  at Florida
  • April 1      at Florida
  • April 2      at Florida
  • April 6      Utah
  • April 8      Utah
  • April 9      Utah
  • April 15    at Utah
  • April 16    at Utah

TULSA (11 games remaining)

  • March 23  at Utah
  • March 25  at Utah
  • March 26  at Utah
  • April 1      Wichita
  • April 2      Allen
  • April 3      at Allen
  • April 6      at Wichita
  • April 8      Wichita
  • April 13    at Rapid City
  • April 15    at Rapid City
  • April 16    at Rapid City

- There are lots of ways to slice and dice the remaining schedules. Here are a few that stick out to me:

  • Tulsa plays eight of its remaining 11 games on the road including five of the last six.
  • Allen's remaining schedule is evenly split, seven road games and seven home games, but the Americans have six of the last eight games at home. 
  • Idaho plays six of its remaining 11 games at home. The Steelheads close out the season with three games on the road in Florida (.642) and then five straight games against Utah (3H, 2A). Utah is #1 in the Mountain Division
  • All of Tulsa's remaining games are against Mountain Division teams, but the Oilers have to travel to #1 Utah for three games this week and close out the season with three games at #2 Rapid City.
  • Wichita has a chance to play the spoiler as the only team that will play Allen, Idaho and Tulsa down the stretch.

- Looking at the schedules above you have to like Allen's chances. The Americans have three games in hand over Idaho and Tulsa so more opportunity to improve their points percentage. After this week, Allen will play its final 11 games against teams with a lower points percentage than the Americans compared to three of 11 for Idaho and Tulsa.

- Allen will undoubtedly have the healthiest lineup in months going into the Toledo series this weekend. Coach Martinson will have plenty of options.

- The Allen power play was 0-5 on Sunday against Wichita, but 2-3 on Friday in Wichita. The two power play goals on Friday was the first time the Americans had two power play goals in a game since January 16. In three of Allen's last five games they have not scored on the power play. It talking to coach Martinson after the game on Sunday, he said he will be making some changes on power play time.


- With 14 games remaining, only two players have played in all 58 Allen games. Kris Myllari and Chad Costello. 


- The NHL trade deadline was yesterday and with all of the movement it looks like Charlotte ended up with some additional forwards. The Checker's roster now shows 19 forwards. I know there are some injuries among the group but by any measure that is a lot of forwards. Since Ryan Lohin was recalled to Charlotte (March 3) he has played in just one game and since January 20 he has played in just two. With the added forwards from the NHL trade deadline, maybe Charlotte will send Lohin back to Allen to get some playing time. 

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about ECHL players scoring five goals in a game. That hasn't happened for an Allen player since the team joined the league in 2014. Here are the three players with four goals in a game since the Americans joined the ECHL:

  • Zach Pochiro - January 11, 2019   (Allen beat Wichita 7-3)
  • Greger Hanson - February 10, 2017  (Allen beat Rapid City 9-3)
  • Jack Combs - December 10, 2014   (Allen beat Rapid City 5-3)

Scoring five goals in a single game is a rarity but has happened twice this season. Here is a list of the most recent players to score five goals in a single game. One player is on the list twice. One team is on the list three times. The most recent five goal scorer accomplished the feat in his second game after being traded.
Ryan Dmowski, Idaho,  March 19, 2022
Lewis Zerter-Gossage, Maine,  November 12, 2021
Dane Walters, Toledo,  April 8, 2017
Evan Rankin, Toledo,  April 2, 2016
Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne,  March 21, 2015
Kyle Kreamer, Ontario,  January 3, 2014
Evan Rankin, Toledo,  January 17, 2010
Chase Fitzpatrick,  Dayton, November 3, 2007

Monday, March 21, 2022

Allen Wins, Back in Playoff Spot, Game Recap, Video Highlights, The Week Ahead, ECHL Rookie Goalies and More


It was a critical game for the Allen on Sunday afternoon as the Americans battled for a playoff spot. In a typical hard fought game against the Wichita Thunder, the Americans came away with a 3-1 victory before a crowd of 2802 at the CUTX Event Center. It was Allen's third win over Wichita this week and the win vaulted the Americans back into a playoff spot in the Mountain Division. 


- The game turned into a goalie duel with both goaltenders having outstanding games. Allen goalie Luke Peressini stopped 37 of 38 shots for a .974 save percentage. Wichita goalie, Jake Theut, stopped 42 of 44 Allen shots for a save percentage of .955. Not very often you have a .955 save percentage and lose the game. 


- Wichita scored the first and only goal of the first period which put the odds squarely in the Thunder's lap. Allen had a record of 2-11-1-0 when trailing after the first period while Wichita's record with a first period lead was 13-3-3-0.

- The Americans thought they had tied the score early in the second period, but the goal was disallowed because an Allen stick had glanced off  the goalie's mask. Allen finally was able to tie the score 1-1 at the 10:54 mark of the second period on the Americans 22nd shot of the game. It was the only goal of the second period. Phil Beaulieu got Allen on the scoreboard with his fifth goal of the season from the high slot.

- The third period was wide open with both teams having numerous opportunities to score only to be stymied by both goalies. The third period shot totals were 18 for Allen and 16 for Wichita. With less than three minutes left in the game, Jack Combs scored the game winner as he screened the goalie on a shot from Phil Beaulieu from the point and then put in the rebound. It was Comb's 19th goal, 55th point and fourth game winning goal of the season. 


- Jackson Leppard scored an empty net goal with 33 seconds remaining to make the final score 3-1 and give Allen its sixth win in the last eight games. 


- Here are the video highlights:


- Game recap from the Allen Americans:


- Game recap from the Wichita Thunder:


- Coach Martinson was pleased with the effort yesterday. He specifically mentioned that the team has cleaned up some of the turnovers they have been having. He also told me Ben Carroll will be ready to go for the trip to Toledo and Darian Skeoch may also be ready. 



- The Mountain Division is looking like a three way battle for two playoff spots between Allen, Tulsa and Idaho. Here is how they stand currently with games remaining in parenthesis:

  • .533 - Idaho (11)
  • .526 - Allen (14)
  • .525 - Tulsa (12)


- The schedule this week favors Idaho as they will be at home for three games against Wichita while Allen plays three games on the road in Toledo. Tulsa plays four games this week starting today at home against Toledo. The Oilers then hit the road for three games in Utah. 

- This week Allen takes a road trip to Toledo for three games. Though it is a small sample size, both the Americans and the Mountain Division have not fared well against Central Division foes. Allen is 0-2-1-0 (all against Cincinnati). The entire Mountain Division is 16-23-3-1 against the Central Division. That is a points percentage of just .419.

- Allen's record over its last 10 games (6-3-1-0) is the second best in the division. Only Rapid City (7-2-0-1) has a better record than the Americans. 

DID YOU KNOW:  The ECHL Stats post today is about rookie goalies. Rookie Luke Peressini has played 776 minutes, but needs to play 1140 minutes to be a qualified goalie. Luke's save percentage since joining the Allen Americans is .929. If he was qualified, he would be the #2 ranked goalie in the ECHL. Peressini's record since joining Allen is 8-4-0-0 with a 2.51 GAA.

Six ECHL rookie goalies have 15+ wins this season. Here they are with save percentage in parenthesis:
22 - *Daniel Mannella, Tulsa (.905)
19 - Trevor Gorsuch, Kalamazoo (.897)
16 - Samuel Harvey, Fort Wayne (.912)
15 - Keith Petruzzelli, Newfoundland (.924)
15 - Peyton Jones, Utah (.902)
15 - Stefanos Lekkas, Maine (.897)
*Mannella is tied with Brad Barone (Orlando) for the ECHL overall lead in wins.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Why Allen Needs a Win, Game Preview, Steve Martinson's Comments and Will ECHL Have a .700 Points Percentage Team This Season


It's a matinee game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Wichita Thunder at 2:05 pm. It will be the fourth game in five days for both teams and the third time they have played this week. The Americans won 4-1 in Allen on Wednesday and 8-5 in Wichita on Friday. 


- This game was already critical for the Americans in their quest for a playoff spot but it became even more critical because the teams Allen is chasing (Tulsa & Idaho) both won last night in decisive fashion. Tulsa beat the #1 team in the league (Toledo) 4-1 and Idaho beat the #1 team in the Mountain Division (Utah) 6-1. Here is how the points percentages look this morning for that final playoff spot:

  • .534 - Tulsa (four wins above .500)
  • .533 - Idaho (four wins above .500)
  • .518 - Allen (two wins above .500)  

- A comparison of the two teams based on the 14 head to head games this season shows just how close the stats are between Allen and Wichita:

  • Record: Allen's record against Wichita is now 8-6-0-0:
  • Goals - Allen has more goals (50-49)
  • Shots - Allen has the edge (427-426).
  • Power Play: Allen 9-51 (17.6%), Wichita 13-47 (27.7%)
  • PIMS: Allen 167 PIMS (66 infractions), Wichita 188 PIMS (72 infractions)

- Here is a comparison of overall stats:

  • Goals per game - Allen scores more (3.3 vs 2.9)
  • Goals allowed per game - Allen allows more goals (3.5 vs 3.4)
  • Shots per game - Wichita shoots more (31.0 vs 28.5)
  • Shots allowed per game - Wichita allows more shots (36.7 vs 34.6)
  • Team shooting percentage: Allen 11.7%, Wichita 9.3%
  • Team save percentage: Allen .900, Wichita .908


- As always, special teams will be a key this afternoon. Allen's home power play is ranked #16 at 19.4% (20-103) and Wichita's road power play is ranked #7 at 23.0% (20-87). Penalty kill stats also favor Wichita who is ranked #10 at 83.0% (17-100) on the road. Allen is ranked #23 at 76.7% (24-103) at home. Wichita has scored eight shorthanded goals, Allen has scored seven. Allen has allowed 18 shorthanded goals compared to seven by Wichita. 

- What has worked to Allen's advantage in the two wins against Wichita this week is they have stayed out of the penalty box. In the two games, Wichita has had just two power play opportunities. The Thunder was 1-2 on Wednesday and 0-0 on Friday. Allen had five power play opportunities in the two games, 0-2 on Wednesday and 2-3 on Friday.


- Based on the stats, a key for Allen will be fewer penalties and power play opportunities. The referee scheduled for the game is Alec Rounds (#9). Rounds has refereed five Allen home games this season and the combined average power play opportunities in those five games was just  over 10 per game, ranging from 6-16. You have to assume there will be more power play opportunities this afternoon than the four on Wednesday and three on Friday.


- None of the 14 games Allen and Wichita have played this season have gone to overtime. If the game this afternoon does get to overtime, which is unlikely, it will pit two teams that have a combined record in overtimes of 3-14. Allen is 1-6 and Wichita is 2-8. If the game happens to get to a shootout, Wichita has the edge 3-0 vs 1-1.


- Allen scored eight goals on Friday on just 30 shots on goal and were actually outshot by Wichita in the game 34-30. Even though the Americans now have three strong lines that are all capable of scoring on every shift the Americans will not win many, if any, games giving up five goals like they did on Friday. The key to a win this afternoon will be how the team plays on the defensive side of the puck.



"With Tulsa and Idaho winning last night it is important for us to take care of business this afternoon."

"Our lineup this afternoon will be the same as Friday with the possible exception of Nolan Kneen. It will be a game time decision as to whether he will be in the lineup."

"Luke Peressini will get the start in goal."

"We have plenty of offensive in the lineup, the message for today is working hard at both ends of the ice."

"We will get more players back for the trip to Toledo next week."


- It will be busy Sunday around the ECHL with 10 games on tap. Start times vary from as early as 2:05 pm local time (Wichita at Allen) to 5:00 pm local time (Greenville at Norfolk). Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:
- Talk about having a quick impact after being traded, Idaho forward Ryan Dmowski was acquired in a two for one trade with South Carolina this week. Last night, in just his second game for the Steelheads, a 6-1 win over Utah, he factored in all six goals (5G, 1A). His five goals set the Idaho record (ECHL) for goals in a single game. To make matters worse, the two players that were sent South Carolina (Colby McAuley & Evan Wardley) in the trade did not report to the Stingrays and were suspended by the team yesterday. South Carolina is the worst team in the ECHL (.383 points percentage), just fired its coach and will obviously not make the playoffs. 
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the top points percentage each season. Here is Allen's points percentage since 2014-15?
.518: 2021-22 (thru 57 games)
.653: 2020-21 (14 teams playing)
.710: 2019-20 (shortened season)
.389: 2018-19
.542: 2017-18
.722: 2016-17
.618: 2015-16*
.736: 2014-15*
*Won Kelly Cup 
Toledo lost last night and fell below the .700 mark in points percentage. Here is the top points percentage team for each season since 2014-15. Will any team finish above .700 this season? Other than last season when only 14 teams played, there has always been at least one team finish above .700.
.693: Toledo, 2021-22
.667: Florida, 2020-21 (14 teams)
.742: South Carolina & Florida, 2019-20 (shortened season)
.764: Cincinnati, 2018-19
.778: Florida, 2017-18
.736: Toledo, 2016-17
.757: Missouri, 2015-16
.743: Toledo, 2014-15
FYI: None of these top teams won the Kelly Cup.