Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Are Expectations Too High in Allen? A Historical Perspective

I was struggling to come up with something to write about this morning after waking up before 3:00 am. I covered a lot of subjects in my mind but mostly was thinking about my new granddaughter (Stella) who went home yesterday after spending a few days in the NICU and our upcoming trip to Antarctica. It got me thinking about expectations and I reminded myself how important it is, especially at my stage of life, to live in the moment, enjoy each day and not have so many expectations. I think the same is true when it comes to the Allen Americans. The expectations have been huge from the beginning of the franchise but even more so since Allen won four consecutive championships from 2013 to 2016. It got to the point anything less than a championship was a huge disappointment and that has been the culture around this team ever since. 


I remembered a blog post from years ago that talked about expectations, so I went hunting in the archives to find it. The story is actually about another team (Fort Wayne Komets) but is certainly food for thought for Allen fans. With the Americans having a new coach, a new team, a new affiliate and a new front office structure, tempering expectations may allow for less frustration and more enjoyment as the season progresses.  Here is that story from May 19, 2014, just before Allen joined the ECHL and right after Allen won back to back CHL championships. Ironically, Allen exceeded expectations by winning Kelly Cups the next two seasons, its first two seasons in the ECHL. 

From May 19, 2014: The Allen Americans have been the most successful team in the CHL in the last five years by almost any measurement you want to look at including most points, most playoff wins, Governor's Cups, and Presidents' Cups. With all of the success over the past five years and the back to back championships, a question that surely arises is, are expectations in Allen too high and will a good team that makes a nice playoff run but doesn't make it to the finals be seen as a failure. I came across the article below written by Blake Sebring of The News Sentinel in Fort Wayne that addresses this very issue as it relates to the Fort Wayne Komets who won the CHL Presidents' Cup in 2012 and then moved to the ECHL. Last year (2012-13), Ft. Wayne's first in the ECHL, they did not make the playoffs and this year they lost in the second round to the Cincinnati Cyclones. Some food for thought for Allen fans going into next year (its first in the ECHL).

Because the Fort Wayne Komets won four titles in six seasons, is every year considered a bad one if they fail to win another championship?
``Yeah, here that's a fair statement,'' Komets forward Chris Auger said. ``That's all you hear about, `Are you guys going to win this year?' It's not, `Are you going to have a good team?' ''
Though the Komets advanced past the first round for the 11th time in their last 12 playoff appearances, it was easy to forget that Auger and Kaleigh Schrock were the only players remaining who had won a championship ring with Fort Wayne. They were part of the 2012 Central Hockey League championship squad.
The Komets also won International Hockey League championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Some fans don't put as much emphasis on those three titles as they do the CHL title because the IHL was a smaller league.
That's kind of simplistic way to look at it because at least two of the teams the Komets beat for IHL titles would have easily handled the Wichita team Fort Wayne beat for the CHL crown. They were more experienced, more talented, better coached and they had better goaltending.
Winning a championship again didn't happen this year, but the Komets were probably much closer than anyone expected. They'll find out how close as they watch how Cincinnati does in the next two rounds.
``Hockey is a very opportunistic game,'' Schrock said. ``You can out-play somebody for 50 minutes, but they can cash in on their opportunities and that's it. As long as you go out and give the effort, and limit your mistakes, more times than not you're going to find a way to win games.''
It's the old ``Will beats skill'' mantra, which works in hockey more than in any other sport. Players and fans all believe their team can win as long as they want it bad enough.
``It's not going to happen every year because you're going to run into hot teams, you're going to have bad luck and injuries sometimes,'' Schrock said. ``I personally thought our goal this year was to make a deep run into the playoffs and develop a core that could come back and have a chance to win next year. I think the consistency factor comes in... You're not going to be in the finals every year, but as long as you are competing for that opportunity and you are good enough to do it, then that's important. If you are in the hunt every year, that's the goal, to have a chance to lift the trophy.''
That's fine for the players, who have been dealing with the fans expectations that they win all season, maybe even especially when the Komets were struggling to win at home. The players felt the pressure. Many fans didn't care how well the team played on the road because that's not what they were paying to watch.
``The fans demand the best and they can do that and should do that,'' Auger said. ``They are paying good money to watch us play. Is it unrealistic to deem a season bad if you don't win a championship? Yeah, of course.
``But here, especially this season, you can't rule this year as a success just based on the home record and the way everything happened this year. There was too much stuff that went on.''
What's funny is that so few of the current players had any idea of the expectations in Fort Wayne. They don't know the franchise's history, and to them, the name on the back of the jersey is every bit as important as the one on the front. To them, Fort Wayne is no different than Kalamazoo, Wheeling, Cincinnati or Chicago. Their priority is to move up to the American Hockey League and further their careers.
That's part of why it took so long for the team to come together this season, and why so many trades needed to be made. The players who left, generally, refused to buy into the team concept. Some didn't care about anything but their own points.
``I think it's cool that the fans demand that, but at the end of the day we play minor league hockey,'' Auger said. ``Guys want to win because that's the biggest way to get your career to the next level, to play on winning teams. The year after we won, everyone got good contract offers from other teams.''
And if they aren't going to the AHL, they want to go to Europe where the money is so much better. The players all have agents who are looking for their best options all the time.
Especially in the ECHL, the players and the team sometime have different goals, and it's up to the coach to channel both in one direction.
So do the Komets have to win a title for it to be a successful season?
``Yes, that's the way people see things here,'' Schrock said.
But who specifically?
``The people who wear orange and black in the stands.''
But the people in the stands have to remember even the Komets have to start over sometimes.

DID YOU KNOW: Over the last 10 seasons Allen has won four championships, made the playoffs nine times, finished with a regular season points percentage above .600 seven times and above .700 three times.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Allen Releases Olynek and Godbout, Roster Update, Looking Ahead to 13 December Games, Crone and Finlay Top Rookies, ECHL Scoring Leaders and More


After a tough three games in Idaho last week the Allen Americans have some time to regroup and refocus as they don't play again until Friday when they start a three games in three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) home series against the Rapid City Rush.

- Coach Costello has been retooling the roster adding goalie Eric Dop (trade with Tulsa) and forwards Joe Widmar and Aidan Brown (trades with Norfolk) since Allen last played a home game. Yesterday forwards Kolten Olynek and Marcel Godbout were released. Here are the 2022-23 stats for the forwards added and released:

  • Joe Widmar - 12 points (5G, 7A) in 17 games
  • Aidan Brown - 12 points (5G, 7A) in 14 games
  • Marcel Godbout - 1 point (0G, 1A) in 12 games
  • Kolten Olynek - 0 points (0G, 0A) in 7 games


- With the recent changes the Allen roster now has 23 players; two goalies, six defensemen and 15 forwards. Here is the complete roster:


  • #31 - Luke Peressini
  • #1 - Eric Dop

  • #4 - Kris Myllari
  • #16 - Ryan Gagnon
  • #19 - Jared Bethune 
  • #23 - Colton Saucerman
  • #24 - Dalton Skelly
  • #55 - Lord-Anthony Grissom
  • #7 - Colton Hargrove
  • #10 - Jackson Leppard
  • #15 - Liam Finlay
  • #18 - Zach Pochiro
  • #21 - Jack Combs
  • #25 - Aidan Brown
  • #26 - Spencer Asuchak (injured reserve)
  • #28 - Justin Young (injured reserve)
  • #29 - Nico Blachman
  • #32 - Mikael Robidoux (suspended until December 4)
  • #44 - Andrew Durham
  • #52 - Joe Widmar
  • #67 - Hank Crone
  • #77 - Stephen Baylis (injured reserve) 

- The problem for Allen is the players on injured reserve will not return soon. Baylis hasn't played a game all season and it is not sure when/if  he returns to the lineup. Asuchak's return is months not weeks away. Young will return to the lineup the soonest and hopefully he will be back by the end of December. Mikael Robidoux will be eligible to return to the lineup Sunday (December 4) against Rapid City after completing his 14 game suspension.  

- The bottom line is unless a player is added this week, the Americans will play Friday with two goalies, six defensemen and 10 forwards. They will be one skater short of the 17 allowed. I know general manager Costello is looking to add to the roster. If you look at the list above an additional defenseman and forward would sure help given Allen plays 13 games in the month of December. 


- Here is the current points percentage of the teams Allen will play in December. While they all have better points percentages than Allen (.393), none are higher than third in theie division. The Americans start December with a stronger lineup and that doesn't include players that will be added soon. December could be a good month for Allen.

  • .500 - Rapid City (3 home games) 
  • .633 - Reading (3 away games)
  • .600 - Wichita (5 games, 4H, 1A)
  • .533 - Tulsa (2 away games)

- Allen has played 20% of its games (14 of 72) so it is still early, but Hank Crone and Liam Finlay have to be in the conversation for the ECHL All-Rookie team and Rookie of the Year. They both have 17 points (7G, 10A) which is tied for #2 among all rookies. Finlay missed a couple of games so his points per game average is higher. He is #2 among rookies with a 1.42 points per game average and is #4 in plus/minus (+9). Crone is tied for #3 with three power play goals. Allen relies a lot on Finlay and Crone as they play in all situations. They both deserve a shot with some AHL team (they are AHL free agents) but if they don't get loaned they are going to be at the top of the rookie scoring list.

- This week Allen will have a lot of time to work on areas that need improvement given the Americans don't play until Friday. It is the most time Allen will have off between games all season. One of the areas that needs improvement is special teams at home. Allen is dead last in home power play percentage at just 8.3%. In its five home games, Allen has had just 12 power play opportunities and scored one goal. In those same five home games Allen has given up 31 power play opportunities to its opponents and allowed six goals for a penalty kill percentage of 80.6%. Cutting down on penalties and doing a better job on the power play will be key in the series against Rapid City. 


- Here are some miscellaneous Allen records to ponder. It is pretty clear what leads to success and what doesn't:

  • 3-0-0-0: Leading after the first period
  • 4-0-1-0: Leading after the second period
  • 2-1-1-0: Tied after the first period
  • 1-0-0-0: Tied after the second period
  • 0-7-0-0: Trailing after the first period
  • 0-8-0-0: Trailing after the second period
  • 2-2-1-0: Out shooting opponent
  • 3-6-0-0: Out shot by opponent 
  • 5-1-1-0: Scoring the first goal
  • 0-7-0-0: Allowing the first goal

DID YOU KNOW: Last season the ECHL points leader had 83 points (Will Graber, Fort Wayne). It is still early but six players already have 20 or more points and are on pace to score 90 or more points. Here are the current ECHL point leaders:
31 - *Zach O’Brien, Newfoundland
26 - Orrin Centazzo, Newfoundland
21 - Ryan Dmowski, Idaho
21 - Jeremy McKenna, Kansas City
20 - Max Newton, Reading
20 - Ty Pelton-Byce, Idaho
*O’Brien is on pace to score between 135-140 points if he plays in all 55 remaining Newfoundland games. The last player to come close that mark was Chad Costello who had 125 points for Allen in 2014-15 and won the scoring title by an all-time record of 45 points.

Monday, November 28, 2022

It's Thanksgiving Plus a Few Days - Are ECHL Playoff Teams Already Decided?

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with family and friends. On a personal note, Nancy and I became grandparents for the first time with the birth of our granddaughter on Saturday. A special time in our lives for sure.


-  I had to chuckle when I saw this description of Thanksgiving by comedian Jim Gaffigan: "Thanksgiving. It's like we didn't even try to come up with a tradition. The tradition is, we overeat. 'Hey, how about on Thanksgiving we just eat a lot?' 'But we do that every day!' 'Oh. What if we eat a lot with people that annoy the hell out of us after three hours?"

- It is time for my "Thanksgiving Day Playoff Theory" blog which predicts the 16 ECHL playoff teams based on the standings as of today. No need to worry any more, the fate of your favorite team is already decided. A little overstated but not by much. I decided to wait until after the weekend games were completed because the ECHL had a delayed start this season (October 21). That was 10 days later than the typical first games before COVID.  By including the weekend games the percentage of games completed by each team is about the same as in the past (18%-25%).

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


- It is strange to think with about 20% of the ECHL season complete, you can predict who will be in the playoffs with close to 80% accuracy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained so here are the playoff teams strictly by the numbers plus where I think the "Thanksgiving Day Playoff Theory" might be wrong. The numbers in parentheses are the current winning percentages. Here are your 2022-23 playoff teams.


  • 1. Worcester (.853)
  • 2. Newfoundland (.794)
  • 3. Reading (.633)
  • 4. Trois Riviéres (.469)

The top two in the North Division are pretty much a lock but the last playoff team will come down to Trois Riviéres, Adirondack or Maine. Based on their records the last 10 games, Trois Riviéres should hang on to the final playoff spot. Norfolk (.139) is the only team in the division that is already out of the playoff picture. The Admirals have started trading players for future considerations which are players they will get at the end of the season.


  • 1. Florida (.700)
  • 2. Atlanta (.679)
  • 3. Savannah (.654)
  • 4. South Carolina (.643)

The South Division has six teams with a points percentage above .500 and in playoff territory. Greenville is at .567 and Jacksonville is at .533. Only Orlando (.406) is out of the picture right now. Jacksonville and Greenville made the playoffs last season and could jump into a playoff position. Savannah is a first year franchise and has cooled down (4-3-3--0 in last 10 games) after a great start to the season  (5-1-0-0). It will be hard for the Ghost Pirates to maintain a playoff position.


  • 1. Cincinnati (.821)
  • 2. Indy (.656)
  • 3. Kalamazoo (.536) 
  • 4. Wheeling (.467)

Of all of the divisions the Central is the most likely to have a different outcome than it looks like today. It is hard to say Fort Wayne (.464) and Toledo (.393) won't make the playoffs based on past history. Iowa (.321) is unlikely to make the playoffs, but I could see Fort Wayne and/or Toledo leap-frog Kalamazoo and/or Wheeling for a playoff spot.  


  • 1. Idaho (.844)
  • 2. Kansas City (.607)
  • 3. Wichita (.600)
  • 4. Tulsa (.533)

This is another division where every team but one has a record of .500+. Rapid City and Utah are lurking just behind Tulsa. Utah was the #1 team in the regular season last season and Rapid City was #2, so it is easy to see them moving into a playoff position. Allen is in last place in the division with a .393 points percentage and is the only team out of contention for a playoff spot at this point.    

- History says if you are more than five points out of the fourth playoffs spot the chances of making it into the playoffs spot is almost nonexistent. That is bad news for Norfolk who is already 10 points out of a playoff spot.  Three teams (Orlando, Iowa, Allen) are exactly five points from a playoff position and would have to pass two teams to get into a playoff position, so their chances are slim.

- Historically, teams more than five points clear of the final playoff spot in the division at this point can start selling playoff tickets as they rarely miss the playoffs. Teams in this category include Worcester, Newfoundland, Cincinnati, Indy and Idaho.

- The bottom line is most playoffs teams are already decided but as important it is to make the playoffs, it is a myth that once you make the ECHL playoffs any team can win the Kelly Cup. In the last 15 seasons the Kelly Cup champion has never finished worse than seventh in the regular season. In 13 of the last 15 seasons the Kelly Cup champion finished in the top five during the regular season. Half of the time the eventual champion has finished in the top three during the regular season. History says any team that finishes below #7 in the regular season and makes the playoffs has almost zero chance of winning the Kelly Cup. 

- Keep in mind this is all done in fun and I will definitely revisit it at the end of the season to see how many of the 16 teams in playoff positions now, will in fact make the playoffs. If your favorite team is currently out the playoffs, remember even with 80% accuracy, three or four teams currently on the outside of a playoff position will make the playoffs.

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

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


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Allen Loses Again in Idaho, Game Recap, Video Highlights, No Quit in Allen Despite the Obstacles and More


It started out differently but ended up the same as the Allen Americans lost to the Idaho Steelheads last night by a score of 5-2 before a sellout crowd of 5082 at the Idaho Central Arena. Allen lost all three games of the series in Idaho by scores of 7-4, 5-1 and 5-2 which are the three highest goals allowed games all season. 


- The game started out differently in that Allen scored the first goal of the game on a Hank Crone power play goal. Allen was 5-0-1-0 when scoring first, prior to last night's loss.  After the Americans took a 1-0 lead the same thing happened as happened in the first two games of the series. Idaho scored four unanswered goals and the game was essentially over. The Americans closed the gap to 4-2 early in the third period on a Liam Finlay power play goal, but Idaho extended the lead back to three goals a few minutes later to make the final score 5-2. Allen was outshot 33-12 in the first two periods and 39-20 for the game.


-  Crone and Finlay scored their seventh goal last night and both have 17 points. They are now in a three-way tie with Jack Combs for the team lead in points (17). That puts the three of them tied for 15th in scoring in the ECHL. Crone and Finlay are tied for second in scoring among ECHL rookies.

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


- Here are the video highlights with all of the goals and a save that will surely make the saves of the week in the ECHL:

- Here is a recap of the three game series sweep in Idaho:

  •  Allen's point percentage went from .500 and a playoff position to .393 and last place in the Mountain Division:
  • Allen was outscored 17-7
  • Allen was outshot 121-82
  • Of Allen's seven goals scored, just two were even strength. Four were power play goals and one was a shorthanded goal.

- Allen returns home after a going 2-4-0-0 on its six game road trip. The Americans don't play again until Friday when they play three games in three days against Rapid City. Then it is back on the road for three games against Reading. It means six games in 10 days with a trip to Reading included. It is not going to get any easier for Allen. 


- If you spend time talking to Chad Costello which I do most days, his focus is always on what can he do as a coach to get better. He never makes excuses and always believes he has a team good enough to play with any team in the league. If you watched the three games in Idaho you noticed he made adjustments to the systems and line combination every game. Regardless of the obstacles he will keep grinding.


-  Allen has not received much help from Ottawa, but that is primarily because Belleville has been decimated with injuries and illness. Here is the list from Belleville's injury report yesterday:

  • Jonathan Aspirot (D/LW): week-to-week
  • Kyle Betts (C): week-to-week
  • Cory Conacher (C/W): indefinite
  • Philippe Daoust (C/LW): season ending
  • Ridly Greig (C/LW): day-to-day
  • Jayce Hawryluk (RW/C): week-to-week
  • Roby Jarventie (LW): week-to-week 
  • Viktor Lodin (C/LW): illness
  • Kristians Rubins (D): week-to-week
  • Mads Sogaard (G): day-to-day
  • Nikita Zaitsev (D): illness


- Belleville isn't lending players to the ECHL, they are signing ECHL players to PTO contracts. They have signed forwards from Utah (Cutler) and  Iowa (Boucher) in the last five days and of course Nick Albano was signed to a PTO on November 11 and has played in all eight games since reporting to Belleville. Don't look for Albano to return to Allen anytime soon. Here is what Belleville coach, Troy Mann had to say about Albano after the the Senator's 4-1 win over Laval last night.

"Nick has been very good for us. More of a puck mover style of defenseman. He is very very coachable, he comes in and meets with coach David Bell and he wants to get better. He works hard in practice, is a good teammate and I thought he was good tonight. Does he make mistakes, sure, every player makes mistakes, but we like what we see from him. He was good in training camp, he is an example of a player that made an impression in training camp and is getting an opportunity and a great opportunity. He will be here for the foreseeable future based on what is going on with our right shot defensemen."

- When you consider Allen is -1 with Belleville, no players assigned to the Americans and one Allen player loaned to the Senators, it is difficult to compete with ECHL teams that have 5-10 assigned players. It is not an excuse but a reality that will only change if Belleville gets a lot healthier than they are today.


- Another complication for Allen are the long term injuries to Spencer Asuchak, Stephan Baylis and Justin Young. Baylis hasn't played a game all season and is nowhere near returning to the lineup. Ashchak's return is months not weeks away. Young will return to the lineup the soonest and hopefully he will be back by the end of December. Mikael Robidoux will be eligible to return to the lineup Sunday (December 4) against Rapid City after completing his 14 game suspension.  

- It may have flown a little under the radar but coach Costello added two players from Norfolk this week that will have an impact. Joe Widmar was leading Norfolk in goals when he was acquired and Aidan Brown was leading the Admirals in points. Widmar played 13 games in Norfolk and had nine points (5G, 4A). Brown played 14 games and had 12 points (5G, 7A). What coach Costello told me is he traded for Brown not for his scoring but because he is hard to play against and good on the forecheck. He brings a lot of grit and jam to his game in addition to his scoring potential. 

- Here are the Mountain Division teams in order of their record over the last 10 games with points percentage in parenthesis:

  • 8-1-0-1: Idaho (.844)
  • 6-3-1-0: Wichita (.643)
  • 6-4-0-0: Rapid City (.500)
  • 5-4-1-0: Kansas City (.607)
  • 5-5-0-0: Utah (.467)
  • 3-3-4-0: Tulsa (.500)
  • 3-6-1-0: Allen (.393)

- The bottom line is Allen will get better by continuing to improve, adding pieces to upgrade the roster, getting players currently out of the lineup back and getting players assigned from the affiliate. It might take a while for all of these to happen, but this team will be better going forward.

DID YOU KNOW: Four of the top five ECHL goalies in goals against average (GAA) this season are rookies:
#2 - 1.74: Luke Cavallin, Newfoundland
#3 - 1.97: Mark Sinclair, Cincinnati
#4 - 2.02: Henrik Tikkanen, Worcester
#5 - 2.09: Isaiah Saville, Savannah 
The ECHL #1 goalie in GAA (1.15) and save percentage (.955) is 4th year professional Jake Kupsky, from Idaho. He has played in seven games, allowed a total of eight goals and has a league leading three shutouts.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Allen Loses in Idaho, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Keys to Victory Tonight and More


The Allen Americans weren't able to stop the bleeding last night in Idaho losing to the Steelheads 5-1 before a crowd of 5121 at Idaho Central Arena. Once again the Americans gave up the first goal of the game early in the first period (5:44) and kept their perfect record alive of not winning a game when giving up the first goal. Allen is now 0-7 when allowing the first goal. The Americans are 5-0-1-0 when they do score first.


- Allen tied the score 1-1 at the 11:04 mark of the first period on Colton Hargrove's third goal of the season and it looked like the game would be different than the loss on Wednesday, but it was not to be. Two former Allen Americans combined to give Idaho a 2-1 lead after the first period. Zane Frankln scored the goal and Matt Register had the assist. Franklin and Register killed Allen all night, accounting for five of Idaho's 12 points. Franklin had two goals and Register had three assists according to the official box score but the Idaho press release said he had four assists so maybe it will be changed. Register was also a +3 in the game and now leads the ECHL in plus/minus at +21.


- Allen was unable to score in the last 49 minutes in the game while allowing Idaho four unanswered goals to make the final score 5-1. That makes a total of 12 goals allowed in the first two games of the series with Idaho. Prior to the seven goals allowed on Wednesday and five allowed last night, the Americans had not allowed more than four goals all season. 


- Here are some other stats that helped contribute to the defeat:

  • Allen had 33 penalty minutes, Idaho had eight
  • Allen was 0-4 on the power play, Idaho 1-5
  • Allen was out shot 16-7 in the first period
  • Allen was outshot in every period, 41-29 for the game
  • Allen allowed over 40 shots for the fourth straight game. 
  • It was the first game all month the Combs-Finlay-Crone line did not have a point


- Here are press releases from both teams recapping the game:


- Here are the video highlights:


- What does Allen need to do to get things turned around tonight and win the third game of the series with Idaho? Here are five points that would lead to victory and they are all doable:

  • Score the first goal
  • Out shoot Idaho and give up fewer than 35 shots
  • Win the special teams battle
  • Get a good performance from goalie Eric Dop who will be making his first start for Allen and his first professional start
  • Top line needs to score after being shutout last night



- All seven Mountain Division teams played last night. Tulsa, Kansas City and Idaho won while Allen, Rapid City, Utah and Wichita lost. Here are the current standings by points percentage:

  • .833 - Idaho
  • .654 - Kansas City
  • .615 - Wichita
  • .500 - Tulsa
  • .467 - Rapid City
  • .429 - Utah
  • .423 - Allen

- Allen and Adirondack have a lot in common. Both teams reached into the locker room in the off season and hired the team captain as head coach. Chad Costello and Pete MacArthur got to know each over the summer as they both were playing 3ICE while learning the ropes as head coaches and recruiting for the 2022-23 season. Ironically both teams have an identical .423 points percentage. Adirondack got off to a real bad start with a record of 2-6-2-1 going into this week with Newfoundland coming to town for three games. Newfoundland's record was 12-1-1-1 and it looked to be a long series for Adirondack. It has turned out quite the opposite as the Thunder have handed the Growlers two losses, both by a score of 3-2.

- The hottest teams in the ECHL right now are Trois Riviéres with a streak of 5-0-0-0 and Idaho with a streak of 6-0-0-1. The team with the longest losing streak is Utah (0-5-0-0). 

- Tulsa has points in seven of its last 10 games (4-3-3-0) and has improved to .500 in points percentage. The Oilers also have two of the top five ECHL crowds this season. Tulsa drew the top crowd of the season (12,950) against Allen on October 21 and the fifth largest crowd (9102) last night against Wichita. The Oilers average attendance is 7386 which ranks #2 in the ECHL behind Fort Wayne who is averaging 7677 per game. 

DID YOU KNOW: Shots in one period don’t necessarily tell the story. A few cases on point:
- Last night Reading had zero shots in the third period, the fewest shots in any period this season and the 24th time in ECHL history a team was held to zero shots in a period. Ironically the Royals won the game, beating Maine 1-0.
- The second fewest shots in a period this season is one. On November 5th, Tulsa had just one 3rd period shot in a game against Wichita. Ironically the Oilers beat Wichita 4-1.
- On the flip side, on October 23rd, Atlanta had the most 2nd period shots this season (22) in a game against Savannah. Despite 22 shots in one period and a game total of 47, Atlanta lost to Savannah 4-1.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Keys to the Weekend, Allen Trades for a Goalie, Massicotte Recalled by Belleville, Best ECHL Teams Last 10 Games and More


The Allen Americans had Thanksgiving (American) to regroup after the 7-4 loss to Idaho on Wednesday. There was a team dinner last night before Allen takes on Idaho tonight and Saturday. It has not been a relaxing day off for coach Costello. Since the loss on Wednesday, he found out goalie Logan Flodell "won't be back for a little longer" so he had no choice but trade for a goalie. The Americans have been using an EBUG and that can't continue. Roster update:

  • Allen made a trade with Tulsa to obtain rookie goalie Eric Dop in exchange for cash considerations. Dop played in three games with Tulsa, all coming in relief and had a save percentage of .854. Dop is a rookie who played at Boston College last season after four years at Bowling Green. In his NCAA career he played in 113 games with a 2.50 GAA and .907 save percentage.
  • Another loss yesterday was defenseman Zachary Massicotte being recalled by Belleville. Massicotte played eight games since being loaned to Allen and had four points (1G, 3A) and was +2.
  • The bottom line is Allen now has no assigned players from its affiliate and an Allen signed player (Nick Albano) has been loaned to Belleville since November 11. Don't get me wrong, it is a great opportunity for Albano as he has played in all six games since being loaned. 
  •  It is hard to track the number of NHL/AHL players assigned to ECHL teams. I do it by tick marks from the transactions report each day. My data shows Allen is the only ECHL teams with no assigned players. In addition, 20 of 28 ECHL teams (including Idaho) have five or more assigned players, including several with more than ten.


-  Allen learned last week in Cincinnati it can hang with any team in the league by handing the Cyclones their only regulation loss of the season. What does Allen have to do to get points this weekend?

  • Obviously Allen needs to be ready to go at the opening puck drop and get off to a better start. You can't comeback if you give up the first four goals of the game. Keep in mind Allen hasn't won a game this season when they give up the first goal.
  • The last three games Allen has allowed 49, 42 and 41 shots. This after allowing an average of 25 shots per game the first nine games of the season. The Americans will need to cut down on shots allowed to be successful. 
  • Allen won the special teams battle in the loss on Wednesday. Three of Allen's four goals were scored by the special teams (two power play, one shorthanded). The Americans took just two minor penalties compared to four by Idaho. The Americans need to continue the excellent special teams play from Wednesday to be successful. 

- Here are the game notes from the Idaho press release which recapped the game on Wednesday. It gives you a good idea of what Allen is up against this weekend:

  • Idaho finished 1-for-2 on power-play while Allen was 2-for-4
  • Steelheads outshot the Americans 42-33. 
  • Idaho has points in six straight games (5-0-0-1).    
  • Idaho is (1-0-0-0) vs. Allen this season and 21-16-5 all-time including 13-6-3 in Boise.
  • Owen Headrick increased his point streak to six games with two assists (3-5-7).   
  • Ty Pelton-Byce has points in five of his last six (6-4-10). 
  • Ryan Dmowski recorded his sixth multi-point game of the season and led the game with nine shots. He is tied for the league lead with 11 goals. 
  • Jade Miller recorded the first two goal game and first three-point game of his career. 
  • Colton Kehler, Jack Becker, and Zane Franklin each tallied two assists.
  • Patrick Kudla (1-1-2) recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season and leads all defenders in scoring (4-12-16). 
  • Matt Register finished (+3) and leads the league with a (+18) rating.  
  • Casey Johnson (IR), Willie Knierim (INJ), Cody Haiskanen (IR), and Jordan Kawaguchi (IR), Wade Murphy (DNP), and Jake Kupsky (DNP) did not dress for Idaho.

- It is hard to overstate how important it is to come away from Idaho with some points. It is only Thanksgiving but history would say teams below .500 at this point have a very low chance of making the playoffs. Allen is already in a hole, they don't want to dig that hole any deeper. Despite all of the obstacles, I am reminded of something coach Costello said to me last week which is very important going into the weekend, "We have things to improve upon as a team, but effort, attitude, leadership and caring for one another will never be a problem with this group."



- it is a big night in the ECHL tonight with 12 games on the schedule. All seven Mountain Division teams are in action:

  • Wichita at Tulsa
  • Kansas City at Rapid City
  • Allen at Idaho
  • Trois Rivieres at Utah

Here is the ECHL Today with previews of all 12 games:


-  Norfolk has played more games (16) than any other ECHL team. Kalamazoo, Toledo and Iowa have played the fewest games (11). Norfolk has played 11 of its 16 games on the road and lost them all. The Admirals have lost 12 straight games and are within striking distance of making the list of longest winless streaks in one season. It will take 15 losses to make the list, 16 to be tied for #2 and 20 straight losses for the all-time record set by the Victoria Salmon Kings in 2004-05. 


DID YOU KNOW: With the exception of Reading, who lost its first four games of the season before winning seven of next nine, the top ECHL teams continue to win. Here are the five teams that have won seven or more games in their last 10. The team’s current points percentage is in parenthesis.
8-1-0-1: Cincinnati (.875)
8-1-0-1: Idaho (.821)
8-2-0-0: Worcester (.867)
7-2-1-0: Newfoundland (.833)
7-3-0-0: Reading (.577)

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Allen Gives Up First Four Goals in Loss to Idaho, Game Recap, Video Highlights. Pochiro Hits 100 Goal Milestone, Combs Leads ECHL in Percentage of Team's Points and More


The Allen Americans gave up the first four goals on Wednesday night at the Idaho Central Arena, falling 7-4 to the Idaho Steelheads. It didn’t take long for Idaho to take the lead, scoring a power play goal at the 2:03 mark of the first period. The Steelheads followed that up with another goal at the 8:16 mark and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. It looked bleak at that point. Any chance for a comeback by Allen was quickly dashed early in the second period when Idaho scored its third goal 40 seconds after puck drop and a fourth goal 78 seconds later.


- Allen scored two unanswered goals to cut the score to 4-2 on a Jared Bethune shorthanded goal and Liam Finlay power play goal, but Idaho took a 5-2 lead into the second intermission.


- The Americans scored two more goals in the third period after Idaho took a 6-2 lead. Zach Pochiro scored the 100th goal of his ECHL career and Jack Combs scored a power play goal. Idaho scored an empty net goal with a minute remaining in the game to make the final score 7-4. 


- Goal scorers for Allen were Jared Bethune (1), Liam Finlay (6), Zach Pochiro (6) and Jack Combs (8). Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans with more details:  


- Here are the video highlights with all 11 goals:

- A lot went wrong for the Americans in their defeat last night. Here are a few examples:

  • Allen took an early penalty which led to Idaho's first goal. It wasn't a good sign when you consider Idaho has not lost all season when scoring first (8-0) and Allen has not won when giving up the first goal (0-6).
  • Idaho had the lead after the first period. Another bad sign as Allen is 0-5 when trailing after the first period and Idaho is 5-0 when leading after the first period.
  • Allen allowed 42 shots, the second highest all season. The Americans were outshot 42-33. They have now allowed 40+ shots in three straight games.
  • Allen allowed seven goals which is the most all season. The previous high was four goals.
  • Prior to last night the Americans had allowed seven goals just one time in over a year.


- With all of the bad there were some positives from the game last night.

  • Allen takes close to seven minor penalties per game, last night they took just two.
  • Allen capitalized on its power play opportunities scoring two power play goals (2-4)
  • Allen scored its first shorthand goal of the season. The Americans are one of two ECHL teams (Tulsa the other) that have not allowed a shorthanded goal this season. A big improvement from last season when Allen scored seven shorthanded goals but allowed 20.
  • Allen scored four goals last night against an Idaho team that was allowing an average of 1.85 goals per game.  



 - Zach Pochiro scored his 100th ECHL goal last night playing in his 291st ECHL game. Some facts:

  • 58 of Zach's 100 goals were scored while playing for the Allen Americans.
  • Zach has averaged a half a goal per game in his 117 games played with Allen.
  • In 2018-19 Zach led Allen with 34 goals in 63 games and finished #3 in the ECHL. 


- With the loss last night the Americans are back under .500 on a record of 5-6-1-0. Allen's loss combined with Tulsa's win over Wichita has the Americans tied for last place in the Mountain Division standings. Here are the current standings by points percentage:

  • .821 - Idaho
  • .667 - Wichita
  • .625 - Kansas City
  • .500 - Rapid City
  • .462 - Utah
  • .458 - Tulsa
  • .458 - Allen


- There was some shuffling last night for the best record in the ECHL. Here are the four teams with points percentages above .800. FYI, the only time an ECHL team has ever finished a season with a points percentage above .800 was way back in 2001-02 when the Louisiana IceGators finished at .806 with a record of 56-12-4.

  • .867 - Worcester
  • .864 - Cincinnati
  • .833 - Newfoundland
  • .821 - Idaho  

- There are three games scheduled in the ECHL today. Greenville at Orlando, Savannah at Atlanta and Cincinnati at Fort Wayne. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:


- Tomorrow I will do my annual story about how all but three or four ECHL playoff teams are already decided. Always a fun look this early in the season. 



DID YOU KNOW: Was surprised this morning when researching the ECHL Stats post for today to find Jack Combs has a higher percentage of his team's points than any other player in the league. 
Here are the ECHL players with the highest percentage of their team’s total points thus far this season:
18.7% - Jack Combs, Allen
17.4% - Shane Harper, Adirondack
16.1% - *Max Newton, Reading
16.0% - *Pat Guay, Savannah
15.3% - Zach O’Brien, Newfoundland
15.1% - Andrew Nielsen, Utah


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Allen vs Idaho Series Preview, Best Third Period Goal Differential Equals Success and More



 - Allen will make two trips to Idaho during the regular season. Three games this week (tonight, Friday, Saturday) and two games in March (10 & 11). Idaho will visit Allen just once for three games (March 22, 24, 25).


- Comparing records, Allen's overall record is 5-5-1-0 for a points percentage of .500 which is ranked #14 in the ECHL. Allen is 3-3-0-0 on the road. Idaho's overall record is 10-2-0-1 for a points percentage of .808, ranked #4 in the league. The Steelheads home record is 4-1-0-0.


- Allen has played well in Idaho in the past. In the last five seasons the Americans have a record of 5-1-4-1 in Idaho. 


- The key to this series can be seen in the stats and they all favor Idaho. The Americans average 2.9 goals per game but Idaho is a full goal per game better, averaging 3.9 goals per game. The big difference is in goals allowed. Allen gives up an average of 3.1 goals per game which is mid-pack in the league. However, the Steelheads are the best defensive team in the ECHL, allowing a paltry average of 1.85 goals per game. Better team defense will be a must to win tonight and in this series. Everything from goalie play to blocking shots to breaking out of the defensive zone to neutral zone turnovers to getting pucks in deep will have to improve to win this series. 


- Last week (three games) Allen was 2-1, scoring 11 goals but allowing 12. In three games last week Idaho was 3-0, scoring 13 goals and allowing three. Allen's two wins were both by scores of 5-4. A high scoring game against Idaho is unlikely. The Steelheads haven't allowed five goals in a game all season. Idaho has given up two or fewer goals in 10 of their 13 games.  


- As always, special teams will be key in this series. Rather than look at overall stats it is more instructive to look at home vs road stats. On the power play Allen is 19.4% (6-31) on the road and Idaho is 15.8% (3-19) at home. On the penalty kill Allen is 80.0% (5-26) on the road and Idaho is 100% (0-19) at home. 


- Based on the past history of games Allen has played in Idaho where 50% of the games went beyond regulation, it is highly likely you will see overtime in this series. Allen has gone extra time in three games this season winning once and losing once in OT and winning its only shootout game. Idaho has gone extra time just once this season and lost in a shootout. 


- Scoring first is always important but even more so in this series. The combined record for Allen and Idaho when scoring first this season is 12-0-1-0. Allen is 5-0-1-0 and Idaho is 7-0-0-0. Another stat to keep in mind is record when leading after the first period as neither team has lost. They are a combined 7-0 when leading after the first period. Needless to say, a good start will be very important for Allen in this series.


- The line of Combs-Finlay-Crone is working very well together. The threesome had 20 points (8G, 12A)  in Allen's three road games last week. They accounted for 80% of Allen's points in the three games. The Americans will need their continued leadership in Idaho to be successful, but will also need more scoring from other lines. Look for the Leppard-Hargrove-Pochiro line to have a good series.


- This series in Idaho is so important to show this team is headed in the right direction and to keep things trending up after winning two of three road games last week. There are plenty of obstacles in the way when you consider Allen is missing three players with long term injuries, one to a long term suspension and two called up/loaned to Belleville. Even with the obstacles, getting four points from this series is essential.


- The referee scheduled for the game tonight is #16 Jake Jackson. He was the referee for Allen's first two games of the season. In the opening game a missed call resulted in an injury to Spencer Asuchak. The next night in Wichita, Jackson made a goalie interference call that Allen thought was a clear tripping on a breakaway. Would love to be a fly on the wall at the mandatory pregame meeting with the coaches and the referee tonight. 



- It is a busy Wednesday around the ECHL with 11 games on the schedule. In addition to Allen at Idaho, other Mountain Division action has Tulsa at Wichita and Kansas City at Rapid City. Utah is idle. Here is the ECHL Today with previews of all 11 games:

- Here is a weekly recap issued by Idaho. Take a look at the "Steelheads Standouts" section if you are interested in knowing the players to look for in this series:


- Kelly Bent, who left the Americans at Thanksgiving last season to go home to pursue a career in law enforcement has just signed with the Wichita Thunder. Bent played 13 games for Allen last season, had two assists and 40 penalty minutes.


- Three time ECHL Defenseman of the Year, Matt Register has a habit of of signing with teams that make deep playoff runs and win championships. He won three straight Kelly Cups, one with Allen and two with Colorado. He signed with Idaho this season and it looks like the Steelheads will be a factor in the playoffs. It has been a different type of season for Register thus far, as he has just five points in 13 games and is third in scoring among Idaho defensemen. It doesn't mean he is not contributing in other ways. Matt leads the team in plus/minus at +15 and is ranked #3 in the league.   


- All of the glass seats I had available are gone with the exception of December 4th (Sunday 2:05). The seats are in the end of the rink Allen is on offense twice. There is plenty of leg room and only two seats in the row so nobody will be going in or out. The seats are in Section 101, Row A, Seats 1 & 2. These tickets would normally sell for $60+ each, but I will sell for $25 each. Glass seat are a unique experience, especially for kids. If interested email me at First come first serve.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about goal scoring by period. FYI, Allen's best period has been the second. The Americans goals for and against by period are 6-7 in the first period, 16-14 in the second period and 8-12 in the third period.
Four ECHL teams have points percentages above .800. Playing well in the 3rd period is a sign of a good team. Three ECHL teams have 3rd period goal differentials greater than +10. All have points percentages above .800 (goals for and against in parenthesis):
+17 Idaho (23-6)
+14 Newfoundland (20-6)
+12 Cincinnati (17-5)
The fourth team with an .800 points percentage is Worcester. The Railers 3rd period goal differential is only +4 (16-12) but Worcester is the best 1st period team in the league. The Railers have scored 25 goals in the 1st period and have a +12 goal differential (25-13).


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Another Challenging Week for the Allen Americans, Travel Roster, Idaho Stats, Game Winning Goal Rant and More


It is back on the road for the Allen Americans today as they fly to Boise for three important games with the Mountain Division leading Idaho Steelheads (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). The team will practice this morning and fly this afternoon. 


- Allen has traditionally been on the road for the American Thanksgiving. There has only been a couple of exceptions in the 14 year history of the franchise. There will be a team Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and the guys won't have to spend their per diem money. Props to the Americans front office as they will pick up the tab.   

- The series against Idaho will be another big challenge for the Americans, but one they are prepared for. Last week it was the top team in the Central Division, this week the top team in the Mountain Division. Idaho's record is 10-2-0-1 which is a points percentage of .808. The Steelheads are the best defensive team in the ECHL allowing a paltry average of 1.85 goals per game. In 13 games Idaho has had three shutouts, two one goal games and five two goal games. Idaho's goal differential (goals for minus goals against) is +27, Allen's is -2. 

- The good news for Allen is the offense has picked up. The Americans have won three of the last four games and scored 14 goals in the three wins, scoring four or five goals in each game. 

- Allen will have 18 skaters on the trip to Idaho, 11 forwards and seven defensemen. As of this morning Luke Peressini will be the only goalie and Allen will use an EBUG. Jared Bethune gives the Americans flexibility since he can play defense and forward. Here is the roster for the Idaho trip. A reminder of who is not on the trip; Spencer Asuchak (IR), Justin Young (IR), Stephen Baylis (IR) and Mikael Robidoux (Suspended). 

  • #31 - Luke Peressini
  • #1 - EBUG

  • #3 - Ryan Gagnon 
  • #4 - Kris Myllari
  • #19 - Jared Bethune 
  • #23 - Colton Saucerman
  • #24 - Dalton Skelly
  • #49 - Zachary Massicotte
  • #55 - Lord-Anthony Grissom
  • #7 - Colton Hargrove
  • #10 - Jackson Leppard
  • #15 - Liam Finlay
  • #18 - Zach Pochiro
  • #20 - Kolten Olynek
  • #21 - Jack Combs
  • #29 - Nico Blachman
  • #44 - Andrew Durham
  • #52 - Joe Widmar
  • #58 - Marcel Godbout
  • #67 - Hank Crone


-  Listening to Belleville Senators coach Troy Mann's post game interview, it sounds like he expects one of his injured goalies to return to the lineup for their game on Wednesday. If that happens you could see Logan Flodell returning to Allen. 


- Allen has won five games but only four game winning goals are credited. The reason for that is a game winning goal is not credited for shootout wins which Allen had in Fort Wayne on Saturday. I have never understood why the winning goal scorer (Hank Crone in Fort Wayne) in shootouts isn't given credit for a goal scored or a game winning goal.  


- Allen has had four game winning goals this season, Jack Combs has three of them, Colton Saucerman the fourth. Combs is tied for the league lead in game winning goals.


- I will have a complete series preview tomorrow but here are some interesting head to head record stats for Allen against Idaho:

  • 6-1-1-0 in 2021-22
  • 18-7-6-2 last five years
  • 10-3-2-1 last five years in Allen
  • 8-4-4-1 last five years in Idaho     



- The difference from top to bottom in the North Division could hardly be any wider. Newfoundland has a points percentage of .893 (12-1-1-0) which is on record pace. The all time record is .806 set by the Louisiana IceGators in 2001-02. Norfolk has a points percentage of .067 which is also on record pace. The all time lowest points percentage is .227 (14-49-1) set by the Roanoke Valley Rampage in 1992-93.


- Here is the points percentage range from top to bottom for the other three divisions:

  • South: .708 (South Carolina & Florida) to .385 (Orlando)
  • Central: .850 (Cincinnati) to .200 (Iowa)
  • Mountain: .808 (Idaho) to .409 (Tulsa)


- No ECHL team remains undefeated at home, but one team is still undefeated on the road. Cincinnati has a 4-0-0-0 road record. Norfolk is perfect on the road but not in a good way. The Admirals road record is 0-11-0-0.


- Zach O'Brien (Newfoundland) leads the ECHL in points with 24. If he maintains that pace and plays in the remaining Growler games he will finish the season with 130 points. 


- Talk about turning things around quickly all you have to do is look at the Reading Royals. On November 4th, Reading had a record of 1-4-1-0 and points percentage of .250. a couple of weeks later they have reeled off an ECHL best six straight wins and  now have a record of 7-4-1-0 with a points percentage of .625.



DID YOU KNOW: The 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic will consist of a tournament featuring the ECHL All-Stars and the Norfolk Admirals, with an integrated skills competition with points counting towards each team’s score.
The game will take place on Monday, January 16, 2023, at Norfolk Scope Arena.
You have to wonder how competitive the game will be since Norfolk is on pace for the worst record in ECHL history. The Admirals are 1-14-0-0 which is a points percentage of .067. The all time worst record is .227 (14-49-1) set by the Roanoke Valley Rampage in 1992-93.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Chad Costello Reflects on the Weekend and the Season, Special Team Stats, ECHL vs AHL Attendance and Glass Seats Available


Welcome to the ECHL schedule. The Allen Americans returned home last night after taking four of six points on the road trip to Cincinnati and Fort Wayne. They will be back on the road tomorrow as they fly to Boise to take on the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Idaho leads the Mountain Division with a record of 10-2-0-1 (.808).



I had a chance to check in with coach Costello after he landed back in Dallas last night to get his perspective on the past week. The Americans handed Cincinnati its first regulation loss of the season and beat Fort Wayne, who had won three straight games. Here is what Costello had to say:

"I was proud of the effort from the guys on the road trip this week."

"We are learning a lot about ourselves as we played against two good teams in their buildings and now we know we can hang with anyone in the league."

"We need to be more consistent in our game plan to have longer stretches of success, rather than game to game success."

"We have a few things to improve upon as a team, but effort, attitude, leadership and caring for one another will never be a problem with this group. It is just some systems related things we can improve on."

"We will be getting healthier soon and that will make us stronger."

"Hank and Finns are very talented and I have told them I will give them room to show their talent, but it needs to stay in the team concept. It is kind of like giving them the keys to the sports car but helping them keeping it on the road mentally. We believe in them and they are a big part of our team."

"Watching the two young guys (Crone & Finlay) with the old man (Combs) is sure a lot of fun. They have great chemistry together."

"Every player on our team has a role in our success and growth. We are still learning those roles but we are getting there."

"We will have a optional practice tomorrow (Monday) and will fly to Boise on Tuesday."

 -  Special teams have been a bit of mixed bag for Allen. The good news is after giving up a league leading 22 shorthanded goals last season the Americans are one of just five ECHL teams that have not allowed a shorthanded goal this season. On the flip side, Allen joins Jacksonville as the only two teams that have not allowed a shorthanded goal, but have also not scored a shorthanded goal. 


- Allen's overall power play percentage is ranked #18 at 16.3% (7-43). Over the last nine games the power play percentage was 12.5% (4-32). On the road trip last week the power play was 2-14 (14.3%) which included 1-9 in Fort Wayne. The team spends a lot of time working on the power play and that will bear fruit going forward. When Allen was winning championships and Costello was quarterbacking the power play, the Americans power play percentage always exceeded 21%. A realistic goal for the current team would be 18%-20%.


- On a positive note the Americans have cut down on the penalties that have resulted in power plays for the opponent. In the three game road trip last week Allen had 14 power plays compared to nine for the opponent. In the three games prior to last week, Allen had eight power plays compared to 20 for the opponent.


- Allen's overall penalty kill percentage is ranked #12 at 80.7% (11-57). In the three games last week the penalty killers allowed just one goal on nine power plays for a penalty kill percentage of 88.9%.  

- If you look at goal differential (goals for minus goals against) by period the best teams typically excel in the third period. Allen has scored eight goals in the third period and allowed 12 for a -4 goal differential. As a comparison, division leading Idaho has scored a league leading 23 goals in the third period and allowed just six for a +17 goal differential. Allen's best period has been the second period when it has outscored opponents 16-14. 


- Liam Finlay leads the Americans in shooting percentage followed closely by Jack Combs. Finlay has scored on 23.8% of his shots (5-21) and Combs has scored on 21.9% of his shots (7-32).  As a team the Americans shooting percentage is 8.9% which is ranked #18 in the ECHL. 

- How well is Jack Combs playing?  Combs leads the Americans in points (15) and goals (7). At his present pace and if he played in all remaining games (61), Jack could finish the season with 100 points and 45 goals with a plus/minus of +52. 


- On a personal note, Nancy and I will be heading to Ushuaia, Argentina next month to get on a ship for a 16 day trip to Antarctica and South Georgia Island.  It will be the last of the seven continents we have visited and should be quite the adventure. Being a stats guy this one struck me. The layers of ice in Antarctica can exceed nearly three miles thick and contain 90% of the ice on Earth. If it were to all melt it would raise sea levels worldwide by over 200 feet. The multitude of seals, penguins, whales, birds and other wildlife will be spectacular. It is a place regarded as the last nature preserve on our planet. It should be an amazing trip as we go ashore in zodiacs to observe up close. 

- I will be missing the home games in December so if you are interested in sitting on the glass, my two seats are available for the following games. The seats are in the end of the rink Allen is on offense twice. There is plenty of leg room and only two seats in the row so nobody will be going in or out. The seats are in Section 101, Row A, Seats 1 & 2. These tickets would normally sell for $60+ each, but I will sell for $25 each. If interested email me at First come first serve. Games available are:

  • December 2 vs Rapid City (Friday, 7:05)
  • December 3 vs Rapid City (Saturday, 7:05)
  • December 4  vs Rapid City (Sunday, 2:05)
  • December 16 vs Wichita (Friday, 7:05)
  • December 17 vs Wichita (Saturday, 7:05) 
  • December 30 vs Wichita (Friday, 7:05)
  • December 31 vs Wichita (Saturday 6:05)

DID YOU KNOW: Here is my ECHL Stats post for today which compares attendance between the ECHL and AHL. The ECHL is doing very well this season and that is also true for Allen. The Americans are averaging 3900 per game this season which is an improvement of 680 per game over last season. 

Average ECHL attendance is up 320 per game from last season. Four ECHL teams have average attendance above 7000, which is higher than most AHL teams. 27 of 32 AHL teams average below 7000. Here are the teams averaging more than 7000 per game in both leagues:
ECHL (28 teams)
7946 - Jacksonville
7670 - Fort Wayne
7235 - Toledo
7100 - Tulsa
AHL (32 teams)
8400 - Chicago
7955 - Cleveland
7736 - Hershey
7449 - San Diego
7250 - Grand Rapids
- ECHL attendance ranges from 7946 to 1683 with an overall average of 4256.
- AHL attendance ranges from 8400 to 2202 with an overall average of 5118.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Rookies Lead Allen to Shootout Win, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Stats and More


The Allen Americans finished the first half of their six game road trip with a 5-4 shootout win over the Fort Wayne Komets last night before a disappointed crowd of 7717 at Memorial Coliseum. Allen returns home today before heading to Idaho on Tuesday for the final three games of the road trip. 


- Splitting with division leading Cincinnati while playing shorthanded and beating Fort Wayne, who had won three straight, was a great result for the Americans to get them back to the .500 mark. Allen has now won three of its last four games.

- Allen scored the first goal of the game last night but it took until the 5:46 mark of the second period. Liam Finlay scored the first of his three goals. Scoring first has been an almost perfect predictor of Allen's success this season. Here are the stats:

  • 5-0-1-0: When Allen scores first
  • 0-5-0-0: When Allen doesn't score first


-  There were eight goals scored in this game (plus a shootout goal) and seven of them were scored in the second period. Allen took a 2-0 lead on Zachary Massicotte's first professional goal before Fort Wayne scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead. Allen responded with two more Liam Finlay goals at 18:09 and 18:58 to take a 4-3 lead into the second intermission


- Fort Wayne tied the score 4-4 midway through the third period on a power play goal and that was the end of the regulation scoring. Allen did a great job of getting the game to a shootout. The Americans were out shot 4-0 in the overtime period which included killing off a full two minute 4-on-3 power play.

- Hank Crone was the hero in the shootout. Both teams missed in the first round with the Komets going first. Fort Wayne missed in the second round before Crone went forehand, backhand, forehand and slid the puck in the net. Luke Peressini stopped the third Komets shooter to give Allen the win. Peressini had to play Friday night in Cincinnati and Saturday night in Fort Wayne since Allen was using an EBUG. In the two games, Luke faced close to 100 shots (95) including the three shootout attempts and compiled a save percentage of .916. 


- Liam Finlay led Allen with four points including a hat trick. It was the first Allen hat trick since late last season when Josh Winquist (who scored a goal for Fort Wayne last night) and Branden Troock both had hat tricks just 10 days apart. 


- The line of Combs-Finlay-Crone had three of Allen's four goals plus the shootout goal which doesn't get included in official stats. They also had six of the seven assists awarded in the game. It is a dynamic trio with the oldest player on the team and two rookies. The trio lead the team in points, goals and assists and are moving up the ECHL leader board. Here are a few of their stats:

  • 15 points (7G, 8A) - Jack Combs (#6 in the ECHL
  • 14 points (6G, 8A) - Hank Crone (#9 in the ECHL)
  • 14 points (5G, 9A) - Liam Finlay (#9 in the ECHL)
  • The trio has scored 56% of Allen's goals (18 of 32)
  • The trio has 52% of Allen's assists (43 of 82)
  • Crone and Finlay are tied for #4 in ECHL rookie scoring

- How much faith does coach Costello have in these two rookies? They accounted for three goals and four assists in regulation. Finlay was out with Combs to start the overtime and Crone was out with Hargrove in the second group. When the game went to a shootout, the first shooter for Allen was Finlay and the second was Crone. I would say that is a lot of faith!

- Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans:


- Here is the game recap from the Fort Wayne paper:


- Here are the video highlights posted by Fort Wayne:





 - Allen played with a full group of skaters last night (6 defensemen, 11 forwards) for the first time in a long time. The Americans are still playing with an EBUG. Last night Nico Blachman returned from a two game suspension and center Joe Widmar played in his first game since being claimed off waivers from Norfolk. He played 13 games with Norfolk and scored nine points (5G, 4A). The well traveled Widmar has played for eight ECHL teams since joining the league in 2017-18.

- Four ECHL teams are averaging over 7000 in attendance in 2022-23:

  • 7946 - Jacksonville
  • 7670 - Fort Wayne
  • 7663 - Tulsa
  • 7235 - Toledo

- There are seven ECHL games scheduled today with all Mountain Division teams except Allen in action. Rapid City is at Tulsa, Kansas City visits Wichita and Idaho will be at Utah. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:


- If  Utah doesn't win today, Allen will move into a playoff spot (by points percentage). The current standings by points percentage to account for various numbers of games played:

  • .792 - Idaho
  • .750 - Wichita
  • .650 - Kansas City
  • .500 - Utah
  • .500 - Allen
  • .417 - Rapid City
  • .400 - Tulsa 


DID YOU KNOW: A reminder, by 3:00 pm EST today, ECHL active rosters are reduced from a maximum of 21 players and a $14,610 salary cap, to 20 players and a $14,100 salary cap. 
In addition to the 20 player active roster, teams can have two players on reserve and an unlimited number of players on injured reserve. Players on IR must stay on IR a minimum of 14 days (no maximum). Players on reserve and IR don’t count against the salary cap.




Friday, November 11, 2022

The Story of American Family Solar - Steve and Michelle Martinson's Solar Business, Stop by and See Them at the Americans Game on Saturday at the American Family Solar Booth on the Concourse


 Over the years I have written stories about Allen players who have left hockey to start businesses in the DFW area. Riley Gill (Construction Company), Trevor Ludwig (Pool Services & Repair), Joel Chouinard (Financial Services) and Nolan Descoteaux (FAST Signs Franchises) to name a few. All of these players turned businessmen reached out to Allen fans as they began their business and Americans fans supported them.  


 I was recently talking to Steve Martinson, getting some contact information from him on a former volunteer coach I wanted to contact, and Martinson mentioned to me he and Michelle would be coming to Texas in conjunction with their new solar business, American Family Solar. They plan on splitting time between Texas and Illinois. I suggested he write a paragraph about his business, and I would share with Allen fans to see if anyone might be interested in meeting with him. Sounds like a great partnership between the Martinsons and an experienced member of the solar industry. Here is Martinson's mission statement in his own words:


Prior to becoming a coach, I was a financial consultant with Smith Barney. Most of my clients came from the San Diego Gulls fan base. It was pretty simple in that they trusted me. Anyone that knows me as a Coach, appreciates that I'm a straight shooter. When this Solar partnership presented itself, we knew it was a perfect fit.  I love building and over the years Michelle has coined me "Builder Bob" from all my summer projects. Michelle made the Americans team store into one of the best in the league and took great pride in her customer service. Now I get to talk to people about hockey and also educate them about the benefits of owning Solar versus renting electricity.  Even though it's been around for years the new government tax credits coupled with big electricity rate hikes have made solar a hot industry. It is a lot like investing in that you need to trust you are getting the right information to allow you to make informed decisions. 


We met our partner, Dean Greene, through long time season ticket holder, Mark Fisher. Dean is the founder of Greene Consulting Group and is a solar pioneer with over 45 years in the industry, starting in 1976. Dean has also led business development efforts including serving as VP of Business Development for Summit Energy Group, leading their expansion into seven states. Dean is an owner/manager of Solar Specialists Inc. in Florida where he overseas installation and servicing of over 10,000 solar systems ranging in size from small residential to large commercial systems..


Why consider solar?

  • Increasing electricity prices, a lifetime of contracts with your utility, with no end in sight.
  • Locking in your monthly payment while owning your electricity versus renting it.
  • New tax incentives: 30% residential, 40% commercial.
  • 30% tax credit for building solar carports and pergolas.


Give Steve a call for a no obligation proposal, to ask any questions you have about solar or to talk a little hockey. See if going solar works for you. The Martinsons'  promise is to make going solar easy every step of the way. I know they would love to talk to Allen fans. Even better, if you are attending the Allen Americans game on Saturday, stop by and say hello at the booth the Martinsons will have set up on the concourse (by the ticket office). If you sign up to talk about solar for your home or business, you will be entered into a drawing for a Steve Martinson signed jersey.  If your are not attending the game or can't get to the booth, text your contact information to 214-425-8968 for a followup call and you will also be entered into the drawing for the Martinson jersey.  


It is clear to me, Steve and Michelle have found the business opportunity they have been looking for the last few years and are doing exactly what they want to do. It is great to see the Allen Americans supporting them in their new business endeavor and it is also great to see Martinson supporting Chad Costello in any way he can. 


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Allen Suffers OT Loss, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Chad Costello Comments, Keys to the Weekend and More


The Allen Americans lost a tough one last night losing 3-2 in overtime to Utah before a Wednesday night crowd of 2419 at the CUTX Event Center. The game winning goal was scored with just 13 seconds remaining in the overtime period.


- Allen got off to a good start, scoring the first goal of the game on a breakaway at the 5:16 mark of the first period. Andrew Durham scored his first professional goal assisted by Marcel Godbout. Less than two minutes later Utah responded to tie the score 1-1 which ended the scoring in the first period. Allen took the lead again, 2-1, at the 16:10 mark, scoring the only goal of the second period. Zach Pochiro scored his third goal of the season, tipping in a shot from Nick Albano. When you consider Allen's record over the last three seasons with a second period lead is 78-3-4-1, it looked good for the Americans with a 2-1 lead after the second period.

- The penalties finally caught up with Allen in the third period, after they had killed off five earlier in the game. Utah got the equalizer midway through the period and the 2-2 score held up to send the game into overtime. Both teams had chances to win the game in overtime before Utah finally scored with 13 second remaining. 

- Here are the game recaps with more details:


 - Video Highlights:



  • "Some things got in the way and I don't think the better team won tonight. Unfortunately that has happened a few times too many."
  • "It was great to see Andrew Durham score his first pro goal tonight."
  • "Marty was pretty grumpy, I am starting to figure out why. They are turning a nice guy into a mean guy."
  • "We have to look inward rather thnn blame stuff we can't control. Our focus has to be on how can we improve."
  • " We need to turn these great efforts into two points. Once we get over that hurdle and get rewarded for playing good hockey, I think it is going to come in bunches." 
  • "We have out chanced every team we have played thus far. The negative is we have to get the puck to go in the net, the positive is we can hang with anybody."


-  The loss last night continues a familiar pattern for the Americans. In the last four games, Allen has had the edge in shots and scoring opportunities, but has had trouble putting the puck in the net. Despite the opportunities, Allen has lost three straight and the lone victory was 2-1 in overtime. While Allen allowed just nine goals over the last four games (2.25 goals per game), the Americans have managed only seven goals (1.75 average) over the last four games.


- Penalties made a difference last night as the Utah goal that tied the score 2-2 in the third period was scored on the power play. In the last four games Allen has given up 23 power play opportunities while having just 14 or their own. Of the seven goals Allen allowed over the last four games, four of them (57%) were power play goals.


- What does Allen have to do to get things turned around and break its three game losing streak? Offensively you get the feeling if the Americans stay the course the puck will start going in the net. If  they keep getting more grade A opportunities than the opponent, the goals will come. What Allen has to change is special teams. Allen takes more minor penalties than any team in the league at eight per game. The Americans have allowed 16 goals all season, seven of them have been power play goals and the penalty kill percentage (80%) is in the top half of the league. The Allen power play also has to chip in, especially with the Americans struggling to score even strength. In the last four games, just one power play goal and a power play percentage of  7.1%.    

- If you like watching fast paced hockey with lots of skill and great goaltending, the two games against Utah on Friday and Saturday are must see events.


- With the overtime loss last night, Allen's record is now 2-3-1-0 for a points percentage of .417. In other Mountain Division action last night last place Rapid City beat first place Idaho 4-2. Here are the current standings in points percentage order:

  • .750 - Idaho
  • .643 - Wichita
  • .625 - Utah
  • .583 - Kansas City
  • .500 - Tulsa
  • .417 - Allen
  • .375 - Rapid City

- Heard a question about the great goalie play and defenses in the Mountain Division compared to other divisions.  One stats that might shed light on that question is average goals allowed per game. Here are the averages for the teams in the Mountain Division and the rank among the 28 teams in the ECHL:

  • 1.88 - Idaho (2nd)
  • 2.67 - Allen (7th)
  • 2.86 - Wichita (11th)
  • 2.88 - Utah (12th)
  • 3.38 - Rapid City (18th)
  • 3.60 - Tulsa (20th)
  • 3.67 - Kansas City (21st) 

- With the loss last night the Allen Americans have now lost nine straight games against Utah dating back to the 2020-21 season. Three of the nine losses were in overtime. Look for that streak to be broken this weekend.

- Jack Combs kept his point streak alive with an assist last night. He has a point in all six Allen games and is tied for second in longest point scoring streak in the ECHL this season. 

- I am heading for a 10 day late season pheasant hunting trip to North Dakota tomorrow. It is hard to beat hunting in the cold, snow and wind of northeast North Dakota. The forecast calls for lows below zero and highs in the teens. Add in a few inches of snow and you have a prefect recipe for success. Wish me luck. I won't be posting a blog while I am gone.

DID YOU KNOW: The last five Kelly Cup champions finished in the top five during the regular season in average goals scored. Here are the top five in average goals per game thus far in 2022-23. Is a 2023 Kelly Cup in their future?
5.29 - South Carolina
4.78 - Worcester
4.50 - Indy
4.33 - Savannah
4.25 - Newfoundland