There were 2441 hockey fans that opted for a Sunday afternoon game between the Allen Americans and the Atlanta Gladiators at the CUTX Event Center yesterday rather than staying home and watching the game on television so they could also watch the Dallas Cowboys. Turned out to be a bad decision as things went from bad to worse for the Americans after losing 6-3 to the Gladiators on Saturday. You could tell there was a full moon because Sunday afternoon was one of the strangest and most disappointing games in Allen history and it was all bad for the Americans. Let us count the ways:
- Allen was shutout 6-0 despite outshooting Atlanta 42-40. Allen had 18 more shots (42) than its average shots (24) this season. You could fill a bucket with all the open nets Allen missed in this game.
- Allen gave up six goals and they were all scored on special teams.
- Allen scored three shorthanded goals in the two games last week in Idaho. Yesterday the Americans gave up three shorthanded goals in one game. Over the history of the ECHL that happens on average about once per year.
- Going into the two games with Atlanta the Americans had killed 11 of 12 penalties for a penalty kill percentage of 91.7%. Yesterday the penalty kill was a mere 50% allowing three power play goals on six opportunities. Atlanta's power play was 4-9 (44.4%) over the weekend.
- Allen's power play was 0-6 on Sunday and 0-9 for the weekend. The Allen power play unit was outscored by the Atlanta penalty kill unit 3-0 yesterday.
- The number of times Allen goalie Chase Perry had to face Atlanta players coming in all alone was easily over a dozen. Breakaways became commonplace, Perry stopped a penalty shot, and numerous times the Gladiators had players left alone in the slot.
- If you want to watch all of the defensive breakdowns here are the game highlights:
- I could go through a lot of stats to show Allen's struggle defensively thus far this season but this one really tells the story. In the four games this season the Americans have given up 22 goals. Allen is last in average goals allowed per game at 5.50. To in perspective how bad that is, here is the league breakdown on average goals allowed:
- Two teams allow fewer than 2.00 goals per game (Atlanta & Jacksonville)
- Eight teams allow between 2.00 and 3.00 goals per game
- 12 teams allow fewer between 3.01 and 4.00 goals per game
- Five teams allow between 4.01 and 4.75 goals per game
- Allen is the only team allowing more than 4.75 goals per game (5.50)
- Allen has given up 170 shots in the first four games, an average of 42.50 per game which is also ranked last in the league. The top ten ECHL teams all give up fewer than 30 shots per game.
- It is only four games into the season but coach and general manager Costello is in pretty dire straits when you consider Allen is now 1-3 with a .250 points percentage. Only one other ECHL team has a lower points percentage (Adirondack .125). To make matters worse the upcoming schedule is brutal. It is hard to label games this early in the season as must win but the two last place teams in the division (Allen and Tulsa) play on Thursday (10:35 am) and Friday (7:05 pm) in Tulsa. It will be critical for the Americans to get points in Tulsa because the schedule gets very tough after this week.
- After Tulsa the Americans play the next seven games against two of the top teams in the league, Kansas City and Idaho. Kansas City has the best record in the ECHL (5-0-0-0) and Idaho is not far behind and has given Allen fits. In the last 10 regular season games against the Steelheads the Americans record is 1-9-0-0 and in the one victory (October 20) Allen was outshot 45-19. Here is the schedule for these seven games:
- November 7 - at Kansas City (Tuesday morning game (10:35)
- November 10, 11, 12 at home against Kansas City
- November 15, 17, 18 at Idaho
- Chad Costello has said several times one of his regrets last season was waiting too long to make changes when the Americans got off to a bad start. It would be easy to say right now all of the injuries (four players on IR) and the issues with players coming from Ottawa/Belleville will get resolved so just stay the course. My opinion after the games this weekend when Allen gave up 12 goals and showed an overall lack of competitive spirit, is you will see Costello make some changes. If he doesn't make changes the team could be in a very deep hole by the end of the month that will be hard to dig out of.
- The Americans will be off today, practice tomorrow and will have to travel to Tulsa on Wednesday. Normally the team travels to Tulsa on game day, but with the early start time on Thursday (10:35 am) they will travel the day before. It is just the luck of the draw but two of Allen's next three games are 10:35 am start times. Not ideal, especially for an older team. Remember, Allen is the oldest team in the ECHL.
Tom started his career as an off-ice official by literally being plucked out of the stands. When Tom and his wife Sharon were first married, they decided to get tickets to the Dallas Black Hawks who played at Fair Park. It just so happened their seats were located where the crew chief of the off-ice officials would walk by every game. He got to know Tom and one night asked if he would do him a favor and work the penalty box since he had a guy missing. The next night he asked if Tom could work the penalty box for the rest of the season. Tom asked what it paid and was told two tickets, free parking and a drink and he took the job. That was around 1970 and Tom has worked as an off-ice official ever since. Over the last forty plus years, Tom has worked for the Black Hawks, Dallas Freeze, Texas Tornado, Dallas Stars and Allen Americans. He still works for the Stars and you can often see him close up on the Stars TV broadcast as they have a camera in the penalty box. For the Americans, Tom usually is in the visitors penalty box but sometimes is the penalty timekeeper. It has always been a family affair for Tom and Sharon who has always accompanied him to games. Their son was a stick boy for the Dallas Freeze for two years when he was a youngster.
DID YOU KNOW: Atlanta scoring three shorthanded goals in a single game yesterday reminded me of one of Chad Costello's greatest games and he had plenty of them. Playing for the ECHL Colorado Eagles in 2012 Chad had a shorthanded hat trick. It was a magical date for more than the shorty hat trick. It happened on 12-12-12. Here is a trivia question for you? When is the next time after 12-12-12 the month, date and last two digits of the year will match? Answer: New Year's Day in 2101 when 01-01-01 will be 89 years after Chad's famous hat trick: Here is the video: