Monday, October 30, 2023

Allen's 6-0 Shutout Loss Was Unique, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Tough Schedule Ahead, Is It Time for Roster Changes, Costello's Shorthanded Hat Trick and More


 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. 



- Two weeks into the ECHL season and only four teams remain undefeated. Three of the four are in the South Division. What they all have in common is top ranked defenses. Here are the records for the four undefeated teams along with rank in average goals allowed per game. In parenthesis is average goals allowed per game:

5-0 Kansas City - #3 (2.40)
3-0 Atlanta - #1 (1.67)
3-0 Jacksonville - #1 (1.67)
3-0 Greenville - #6 (2.67)
- Congratulations are in order for long time off ice official at the Allen Americans games, Tom Pease. Tom is usually keeping order in the visitor's penalty box. Tom and his lovely wife, Linda got married on the ice between period yesterday which is appropriate for a guy that has now been an off ice official for over 50 years. Tom lost his wife Sharon to illness and it is great to see him find love again. Make sure to congratulate Tom the next time you see him at a game. 
 Here is a story I wrote about Tom back in 2016 about his years as an off ice official in the DFW area:
Tom Pease is a retired advertising salesman and the spirit of the off-ice officials. I don't think he has ever met someone that isn't a friend. He is known in the press box as the candyman, pastry chef and all around good guy. Tom loves to cook and is kind enough to bring desserts for the press box to every game. He specializes in all kinds of fudge (banana, peach, orange, cinnamon, marshmallow creme to name a few) but over the course of the year it is amazing at how many different types of fudge, brownies, cookies, and bars Tom has made.

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.

Tom Pease

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:

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Allen Loses Home Opener, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Coaches Comments, Rematch Preview and More


Let's start this morning with the positives. There was a big home opener crowd of 5482 at the CUTX Event Center last might to watch the Allen Americans get off to another great start. Colton Hargrove, playing his first game of the season, scored on his first shot of the season, just 107 seconds after the opening puck drop. In the second period the Americans scored twice in 70 seconds (Brandon Puricelli at 11:33 & Colton Hargrove at 12:43) to take a 3-1 lead. That was extent of the positives as Atlanta scored five consecutive goals to erase Allen's lead and win the game 6-3. The game was tied 3-3 after the second period. Despite being outshot 39-17 over the first two periods the Americans were still in the game. 


- Atlanta took its first lead of the game (4-3) 95 seconds into the third period. Allen had plenty of opportunity to tie the score and/or retake the lead. The Americans were on the power play from 2:55 to 7:27 of the third period including two 5-on-3 opportunities of 32 seconds and 56 seconds but couldn't convert. Atlanta scored two late goals (one an empty net) to make the final score 6-3.


- Here is the game recap from the Allen Americans:

- Here are the video highlights from the game:

- Going through the stats after three games gives you a good idea why the Americans are struggling to avoid last place in the division:

  • Allen has scored first in all three games but lost two of them, the worst scoring first points percentage (.333) in the league.
  • Allen's defense has good starts but bad finishes. The Americans have allowed two first period goals, six second period goals and eight third period goals. 
  • Allen's offensive production is good ranked #6 at 4.33 goals per game, but the defense is ranked #28 allowing 5.33 goals per game. No other ECHL team is allowing more than 4.75 goals per game. 
  • This stat is so telling it should have a separate heading because it captures the problems in a nutshell for the Americans. Allen is dead last, in shots per game averaging 24.00. The top teams average over 40 shots per game. Allen is also dead last in shots allowed per game giving up an average of 43.33 shots per game. The top six teams in the league give up fewer than 28 shots per game. Allen's record is 1-2, but remember in the lone win the Americans were outshot 45-19 and goalie Leevi Meriläinen stole the game.


- Special teams have been a strength for the Americans but they lost the battle last night. The power play went 0-3 to see the overall power play percentage drop to 16.7% (2-12). The penalty kill gave up one goal (1-3) to see the penalty kill percentage drop to 86.7% (2-15) which is still ranked #8 in the ECHL. 



- Coach Costello and Gens met with the season ticket holders after the game. This is what they had to say.

  • "Obviously it was not the start we wanted, especially with a good crowd at home.".....Costello
  • "We have a lot to improve on and we will get better, I promise you that. It is one step at a time. We will start on the defensive side of the puck. Sometimes I feel sorry for our goalie with the chances we give up.".....Costello
  • "We have had some bad luck with the AHL guys so far, but hopefully that will get better.".....Costello
  • "A lot of our issues are chemistry early in the year. I didn't like our power play as we were over passing which is typical early in the year.".....Costello
  • "Usually at the beginning of the year everyone is going north looking for points. We have to make sure to protect our own end, starting with what we do in the offensive zone, keeping a forward high, making sure we are not jumping in the neutral zone looking for offense that is not there.".....Gens
  • In the defensive zone we need to bear down defensively first and look for our offensive chances later on.".....Gens
  • "In my opinion we need to play more meat and potatoes hockey, get the puck in and win battles with a high compete level. I thought Atlanta out skated us and had stronger sticks almost the entire night.".....Costello
  •  "Our scoring chances look pretty but sometimes you need to take the C+ chance and put a guy in the front of the net and score that way too."Costello
  • "We will watch video tomorrow and learn from this and we need to learn quickly. We don't want to get behind the eight ball and have to fight back similar to last year. We will be patient but persistent with the players. ".....Costello
  • "On the power plays in the third period when we had some 5-on-3 time I thought we didn't attack the net well enough and kept the puck on the outside.
  • "The ECHL has changed a lot and is a very good league. Some teams have 8, 9, 10, 11 guys on their team signed to NHL/AHL contracts. Our league is fast and is a man's league very similar to the AHL. It is north-south league that is big and fast, and if we don't bring that every game we are in trouble. We are going to have to man up in front of the net, protect our goaltender and at the same time we have to get in front of the opposing goalie. In the NHL you see almost every goal is scored with a guy in front of the net. We have to be willing to take the punishment for the team.".....Costello



- The formula for success this afternoon is pretty straight forward and it is encapsulated in a comment coach Costello made after the loss in Idaho last weekend, "When we want to defend as hard as we want to score we will be a great hockey team." 


- If Allen can continue the good starts, keep the shot totals close and win the special teams battle you have to like the Americans chances. 

- The referee this afternoon will be the same (#9 Hunter Mottinger) as last night. For the most part he let the teams play last night calling just one penalty in the first and second period before calling six in the third period.



- After the loss last night, Allen's all-time home opener record is now 7-8-0-0. 


- For those of you that can't make the game today a reminder it will be broadcast on local television on CW33 (KDAF).  


- Everyone remembers the poor start the Americans had last season but forgets they were 2-2 after four games. Allen does not want to be 1-3 after the game today.

- The class of the Mountain Division thus far has been the Kansas City Mavericks who have reeled off five straight wins to start the season. Even more impressive is three of the five wins came on the road.


- There are seven games on tap in the ECHL this afternoon. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:


- There were 86 goals scored in the 11 ECHL games last night. Only one game, Idaho's 4-1 win over Utah, had as few as five goals scored. In the other 10 games the average goals per team was 4.05.


- Atlanta is one of five remaining ECHL teams that are unbeaten:

  • 5-0  Kansas City
  • 4-0  Trois Rivières
  • 3-0  Jacksonville
  • 2-0  Atlanta
  • 2-0  Greenville


 DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL stats post today is about rookie scoring leaders. FYI, Allen has seven rookies on its roster and two of them are in a four-way tie for the team lead in goals. Rookies Phillipe Daoust and Brandon Puricelli along with Colton Hargrove and Liam Finlay lead the Americans in goals with two each.

How important are rookies in the ECHL? It is still early but rookies are all over the top of the ECHL leaderboard in points. A rookie won the ECHL scoring and MVP awards last season (Hank Crone, Allen), could it happen again in 2023-24? After five games played here are the rookies in the top 10 in ECHL scoring. All come from two teams with a combined record of 9-1-0-0 thus far:
*9 points (5G, 4A) - Grant Cruikshank, NFL
*9 points (3G, 6A) - Jackson Berezowski, NFL
8 points (4G, 4A) - Cade Borchardt, KC
7 points (2G, 5A) - Brock Caufield, NFL
7 points (2G, 5A) - Kyle Jackson, KC
7 points (2G, 5A) - Tate Singleton, NFL
7 points (1G, 6A) - Max Andreev, KC
*Tied for league lead in scoring.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Opening Day Arrives, Allen vs Atlanta Preview, Leevi Meriläinen Recalled, Roster Update and More


It is finally here, the home opener for the Allen Americans has finally arrived and the long drought between games at home is over. You are not alone if it seems like forever since the last Allen home game. To be precise it has been 176 days since the Americans played a game at the CUTX Event Center, a consequence of the second round loss to Idaho in the playoffs last season. A big contrast to the Kelly Cup years when days between home games were 124 (2015) and 128 (2016).

- It is home opener number 15 and you can sense the anticipation no matter where you look. The new ownership group has created renewed energy. Coach Chad Costello is putting the team through the paces each day at practice building on the split in Idaho last weekend. The sales and marketing staff and CUTX Event Center staff  have been working overtime to fill the rink. The two new Zambonis (they are actually Olympia Brand) are being polished and readied. Tommy Daniels is getting his broadcast booth ready (in the rafters) as well as the visitor's broadcast area in the press box. The team store is stocked and ready and the game operations staff is fine tuning the game day presentation. The bottom line is a lot of work has been put in by a lot of people preparing for opening night. It should be great hockey and great entertainment. 


- A lot of tickets have been sold for the game tonight and tomorrow but you wonder how many fans will opt to stay home. The new ownership group stated when they bought the Allen Americans their desire to be in a top 10 media market. They got that wish as DFW is ranked as the #5 media market in the country. The other three teams owned and managed by Zawyer Sports and Entertainment are Jacksonville (#41) Savannah (#87)  and Lake Tahoe (#102). The downside to being in a top five media market is all the competition for the sports dollar you don't have in the smaller markets.  Not sure this is a complete list but it will give you an idea of the competition. DFW has three pro baseball teams, three pro football teams, three pro basketball teams, three pro soccer teams, two pro hockey teams plus professional cricket, lacrosse, and rugby. Add Indy Car and NASCAR racing and horse racing to the mix. By my count there are over 40 colleges in the DFW metroplex, most of which have some type of athletic programs. Don't forget high school football with stadiums like McKinney ($70,000,000 - 12,000 capacity) and Allen ($60,000,000 - 18,000 capacity). The bottom line is it won't be easy to apply the small market strategies to DFW, however, the new ownership group has a history of success they can rely on going forward.


- It couldn't be much worse for Allen than tonight and tomorrow. The Texas Rangers won in dramatic fashion in game one of the World Series last night. Game two is tonight (7:03 pm CDT), just seven minutes before the scheduled puck drop for the Americans. Tomorrow the Dallas Cowboys kickoff is at noon while the Americans play at 2:10 pm. The game will be on television (CW33) so you wonder how many fans will stay home and watch the Cowboys and Americans on TV.


- Enough about the logistics, let's talk hockey. Allen's all time franchise record on home openers is 7-7-0-0. Last season it was a 2-1 overtime win over Wichita with Jack Combs scoring the game winner. Probably the most anticipated home opener was the first one in 2009-10. Allen played its first seven games on the road because the Allen Event Center wasn't completed. 


- Allen will go into the game tonight against Atlanta thin on defense. Ryan Gagnon was injured in the first game in Idaho last weekend. If you see him at the game tonight you will see his hand in a cast. He has been placed on injured reserve and will be out for several weeks. Donovan Sebrango met the team in Idaho after being assigned by Belleville, played one game, scored Allen's first goal of the season, aggravated an injury and was recalled by Belleville for treatment.

-  Being down to five healthy defensemen, Coach Costello was scrambling this week to bolster the blue line. He was able to make a trade with Wichita after the Thunder got two defensemen from their AHL affiliate (San Jose).  Wichita ended up with too many defensemen. Allen acquired Matthew Sredl for future considerations (cash). Sredl was driving to Allen yesterday so did not practice with the team, but will be in the lineup tonight.


-  In another surprise, Tommy Daniels took Leevi Meriläinen to the airport at 4:30 am this morning as the NHL contracted goalie was recalled by Ottawa and assigned to Belleville. Goalie Kevin Mandolese was injured which precipitated the movement. It is a familiar refrain with injuries at Ottawa/Belleville limiting the number of players assigned to Allen. The two players assigned to Allen now (Sinclair & Daoust) is the fewest of any team in the ECHL.   


- Here is a recap of the transactions this week:

  • signed forward Easton Brodzinski (brother of former Allen player Mike Brodzinski)
  • released forward Andrew Durham
  • activated forward Spencer Asuchak from reserve (he will be in the lineup tonight)
  • activating forward Colton Hargrove from reserve (he will be in the lineup tonight)
  • placed goalie Chase Perry on reserve on Thursday will be activated today
  • placed forward Jordan-Ty Fournier on injured reserve
  • Goalie Leevi Meriläinen reassigned to Belleville


- With all of the roster changes here is an updated roster including jersey numbers for the new players. A minimum of one player will have to be a health scratch tonight:



  • #31 Mark Sinclair 
  • #35 Chase Perry


  • #2 Ty Farmer (injured reserve)
  • #3 Ryan Gagnon (injured reserve)
  • #4 Kris Myllari
  • #5 Stanislav Demin
  • #20 Eric Williams
  • #22 Matthew Sredl
  • #23 Matt Brassard
  • #24 Dalton Skelly (injured reserve)
  • #52 Dalton Gally


  • #7 Colton Hargrove
  • #9 Chad Butcher
  • #10 Philippe Doust 
  • #11 Brandon Yeamans
  • #14 Jordan Ty-Fournier (injured reserve)
  • #15 Liam Finlay
  • #18 Easton Brodzinski
  • #19 Brandon Puricelli
  • #21 Matt Marcinew
  • #26 Spencer Asuchak
  • #29 Colby McAuley
  • #32 Mikael Robidoux   
  • #77 Grant Hebert 


- Atlanta arrives in Allen as one of two teams (Adirondack the other) that have only played one game thus far. The Gladiators beat Savannah 4-2 in its home opener last Saturday. Atlanta has an interesting active roster. As of last week the Gladiators had 13 rookies (4 NHL/AHL assigned) and two veterans on its 21 player active roster. 


 - A couple of observations from watching practice this week. Things can always change but look for Colton Hargrove to move to left wing on the first line after playing mostly center last season. Matt Marcinew will center that line with Liam Finlay the other forward. The second line in practice was Colby McAuley-Spencer Asuchak-Philippe Daoust. 


- The stats will tell the story but one area you can look for improvement this season is in faceoffs. Spencer Asuchak has long been outstanding on faceoffs and Matt Marcinew is also outstanding. The Americans struggled last season on faceoffs.


- After the two games in Idaho the Americans power play percentage is 22.2% (2-9) and the penalty kill percentage is 91.7% (1-12). The two power play units both looked good in practice this week so look for both to get equal time until one unit proves to standout. The penalty killers outscored the Idaho power play 3-1 last week as three different players scored shorthanded goals (Philippe Daoust, Grant Hebert, Liam Finlay). Allen's penalty kill unit looks to be a strength this season.


- Allen must improve at the defensive end of the ice to win against Atlanta. The Americans are ranked #28 in shots allowed at 44 per game. Allen won a game in Idaho while being out shot 45-19 because of the play of goalie Meriläinen and he is headed to Belleville. The Americans can't expect the goalies to keep them in the game with shot differentials like that. 


- Allen has plenty of offensive fire power having averaged five goals per game in Idaho and they will add Colton Hargrove, the second leading ECHL goal scorer (39 goals) last season, for the games against Atlanta. The Americans may need to score five goals against the Gladiators to win. 



- I had a chance to meet Myles Jack at practice on Tuesday. He sat through the entire practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and addressed the team after practice on Wednesday. All of the feedback I heard was very positive. You rarely find an owner that was a professional athlete that is the same age as the players. He made it clear his role is to support the players in any way he can to make them successful on and off the ice. Here is an interview Myles Jack did on a podcast that covers his approach to ownership. His support of the players comes through loud and clear. If you haven't listened to this it is well worth your time:


-  There are two great young coaches facing each other tonight that were heroes as players for the team they are coaching. Atlanta coach Derek Nesbitt is the team's all-time leader in points (424), goals (166), assists (258) and games played (512). He won a Kelly Cup with Idaho in 2007. Chad Costello is a two time Kelly Cup champion, three time scoring leader and two time ECHL MVP in Allen (3 MVP's overall). Chad played only four seasons in Allen (282 games) but is the all-time leader in points (422) and assists (298). He averaged 1.50 points per games in his Allen Americans career. Two guys that came directly out of the locker room into the coach's office for their team. Nesbitt spent one year as the assistant coach before being named the head coach this season. 


-  Here is a great video about the preparation for the 2023-24 season but together by Allen's social media manager, Jeffery Fink. If you haven't seen it take a look, very humorous:  

- There are 11 games on the ECHL schedule today. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:


DID YOU KNOW: Some eye opening team stats very early in the ECHL season:
- Maine is 5-9 on the power play for a percentage of 55.6%.
- Kansas City is 4-0 to lead the six teams still undefeated.
- Wheeling & Toledo are averaging 5.50 goals per game.
- Allen has three shorthanded goals in two games played.
- Wheeling has killed 11 straight penalties to lead the five teams with a 100% penalty kill percentage.
- Maine is #1 averaging 23.50 penalty minutes per game while Jacksonville is #28 averaging just 5.00 penalty minutes per game.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Some Blog Changes, Allen Americans Roster Update, Steve Martinson Enters Rockford IceHogs Ring of Honor, Meriläinen and Daoust Interviews and More


Have a few things to cover this morning but before I get started wanted to share the blog will not be published everyday this season. I know some of you look for it each day so wanted to make sure you are aware it will no longer be a daily blog. The grind of getting up at 4:00 am with the hope of getting the blog posted before it is time to head to practice and then spending the afternoon planning for the next day has taken a toll. Add in games days (home and away) when you include post game activities/interviews it makes for a late night and 4:00 am comes quickly. Bike rides and fitness center visits end up taking a back seat. I also want to do more hunting and fishing trips and of course overseas travel with Nancy. There will still be a blog most days but it will no longer be a daily event. I know many of you contact me by text, email and social media to ask questions. I encourage you to contact me with questions when there are gaps in blog posts. I am always willing to answer your questions or track down an answer.


- After a weekend split with Idaho the Americans will take today off and then prepare for the home opener on Saturday against Atlanta and a Sunday matinee rematch with the Gladiators (2:10 CDT). Plenty of practice time this week to work on systems issues and lessons learned in Idaho.


- On a positive note the Americans will have Colton Hargrove and Mikael Robidoux back for the home opener after missing the trip to Idaho. On a negative note, Allen will be without defensemen Ryan Gagnon and Donovan Sebrango. Both were injured in Idaho. Sebrango went back to Belleville for treatment and Gagnon will be out of the lineup for a while. Here is an updated roster: 



  • #31 Mark Sinclair 
  • #34 Leevi Meriläinen
  • #35 Chase Perry


  • #2 Ty Farmer (injured reserve)
  • #3 Ryan Gagnon
  • #4 Kris Myllari
  • #5 Stanislav Demin
  • #20 Eric Williams
  • #23 Matt Brassard
  • #24 Dalton Skelly (injured reserve)
  • #52 Dalton Gally


  • #7 Colton Hargrove
  • #9 Chad Butcher
  • #10 Philippe Doust 
  • #11 Brandon Yeamans
  • #14 Jordan Ty-Fournier
  • #15 Liam Finlay
  • #19 Brandon Puricelli
  • #21 Matt Marcinew
  • #26 Spencer Asuchak
  • #29 Colby McAuley
  • #32 Mikael Robidoux   
  • #44 Andrew Durham
  • #77 Grant Hebert  


 - With the Americans down to five healthy defensemen, coach Costello will likely add a defenseman to the roster or move a forward to the blue line. Colby McAuley has filled in on defense in the past.

- I had heard goalie Leevi Merilainen was going to rotate back to Belleville but he is still with Allen. Look for him to make the start on Saturday against Atlanta if he doesn't get recalled. Remember, the plan all along, barring goalie injuries in Ottawa and Belleville, is to have goalies rotating back and forth to Allen to make sure they all get playing time.


- Each Mountain Division team has played two games. Here is the goal differential for all seven teams with goals for and against in parenthesis:

  • +5 Kansas City (GF 10, GA 5)
  • +3 Rapid City (GF 8, GA 5)
  • +3 Utah (GF 6, GA 3)
  • 0 Allen (GF 10, GA 10)
  • 0 Idaho (GF 10, GA 10)
  • -3 Tulsa (GF 3, GA 6)
  • -5 Wichita (GF 5, GA 10)

- Here is the Mountain Division Notebook with some info from the weekend for all teams: 



- Congratulations are in order for Steve Martinson. Over the weekend the Rockford IceHogs announced that Martinson along with Corey Crawford and J.F. Rivard will make up the inaugural class for Rockford's Ring of Honor. Each will get honored with an individual ceremony. Martinson's ceremony will be on March 23. Here is the press release with the details:  

- If you have been tracking Hank Crone's AHL progress, it has been a slow start for the reigning ECHL and 3ICE MVP. He played in Chicago's first two games, had one assist, two shots, and had a plus/minus of +1. Hank did not play in the two games this weekend. Don't know if he is injured or was a healthy scratch. It is tough for guys to prove themselves when they are playing on the third or fourth line and not getting power play time. That is probably the case with Hank. 

- Here is an interview with Philippe Daoust from a month ago when he was at the Ottawa Senators Prospects Challenge, followed by comments from Ryan Bowness, Assistant General Manager, Ottawa Senators. Bowness is the general manager for the Belleville Senators.


- Here is the year-end interview (audio only) from last season with Leevi Meriläinen done by the Belleville Senators:


DID YOU KNOW: ECHL players on 2023-24 rosters with the most career penalty minutes:

2687 - *Garet Hunt, South Carolina
1024 - Justin Taylor, Kalamazoo
914 - Anthony Collins, Savannah
743 - Mike McKee, Tulsa
708 - Justin Vaive, Cincinnati
673 - Patrick McGrath, Toledo
667 - Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne 
*Garet Hunt is the ECHL all-time leader in penalty minutes.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Allen Loses, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Costello Comments, ECHL Saturday Attendance and More


If you only read the Idaho headline, "Steelheads Score Eight Goals in Victory Over Allen" you would miss the story of a game with many ups and downs. The Americans lost 8-5 to Idaho last might before a sellout crowd of 5006 at Idaho Central Arena. Here is a recap of what went well and what didn't:

↑ Allen scored the first goal of the game for the second night. The ECHL record for teams scoring first thus far this season is 18-3-1-0 9 (.841), so scoring first was a great sign.

↓ Allen allowed a goal with 30 seconds remaining in the first period to end the period with a tied score of 1-1.

↑ Allen's first period goal was scored by Grant Hebert shorthanded.

↓ Allen was outshot in the first period 18-6. After being outshot 14-5 in the first period on Friday the total for the two games in first period shots was 32-11.

↑ Allen killed 11 straight penalties over the two games and scored three shorthanded goals before finally allowing a power play goal in the third period last night. Anytime a penalty kill unit can have two games with 12 penalties to kill and out score the opponent 3-1  it is an outstanding accomplishment. As the Idaho broadcaster said after Allen's second short handed goal last night, "Allen should keep a player in the penalty box all the time."  

↓ Idaho seemed to blow the game open with four straight goals in the second period to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Three of the four goals came in a span of just over two minutes, 132 second to be exact.

↑ Allen kept grinding, got one goal back (Jordon-Ty Fournier) by the end of the second period to make the score 5-2. Liam Finlay scored twice early in the third period (1:33 & 3:00) including a shorthanded goal to get the Americans back in the game 5-4. 

↓ Allen finally gave up a power play goal at the 7:52 mark of the third period to give the Steelheads a 6-4 lead.

↑ Allen responded 31 seconds later on a Colby McAuley power play goal to cut the score to 6-5 with over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

↓ Allen could not get the equalizer and gave up two goals (one an empty net) in the last 23 seconds of the game to make the final score 8-5.

↑ Allen came away from Idaho with two points, more points than they earned in eight regular season games against Idaho last season.

↓ Allen was out shot 42-28 last night and 87-47 for the two games. The Americans are now ranked last (#28) in the ECHL in shots allowed per game (44.00). 

- A recap of the goal scorers for Allen last night, Grant Hebert (1), Jordan-Ty Fournier (1), Liam Finlay (1&2), Colby McAuley (1).


- Here are the game recaps from both teams and the video highlights that include all 13 goals:



"We have a lot to build on with this group."

"When we want to defend as hard as we want to score we will be a great hockey team."

"We had some bad luck with injuries, but our roster additions this week will help" (FYI, Allen played with five defensemen last night as Ryan Gagnon and Donovan Sebrango sat out with injuries).

"Taking the positives and learning from the negatives will be our approach going forward."   



- Allen came away from the two games against Idaho with two points, an outcome most fans and even the team would have been happy with before the games were played. Don't forget Idaho has 16 players back from the team that set an all-time ECHL record last season in points (119) and points percentage (.826). Idaho has not lost back-to-back regular season home games since December of 2019. Anytime you can split a series in Idaho you have had a successful road trip. 

- Having practice time early in the season is so important and this week will provide a lot of practice time with Allen not playing again until the home opener on Saturday versus Atlanta. When you consider several players haven't had a single practice with the team and lessons learned from the games in Idaho, practices this week will be very beneficial. 

- It is only a couple of games so a small sample size but watch out for the Allen penalty killers this season. Against Idaho they were excellent at killing penalties (1-12, 91.7%) while scoring three shorthanded goals. Three ECHL teams have one shorthanded and the other 24 have none. The last two seasons Allen has scored six shorthand goals (2022-23) and seven shorthanded goals (2021-22) in 72 games. In the Kelly Cup championship years the Americans scored 13 shorthanded goals (2014-15) and nine shorthanded goals (2015-16). Some teams have a knack for creating offense while still being good penalty killers. This Allen team could be one of those teams.


- Some good starts and bad starts thus far in the ECHL. There are four 2-0 teams (Newfoundland, Kansas City, Trois Rivières, Rapid City) and three 0-2 teams (Maine, Wichita, Reading). 


- There are just three games on the ECHL schedule today, all played in the afternoon. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:  



DID YOU KNOW: It was a big night in attendance around the ECHL last night. Idaho doesn't appear on this list but it should be noted both games this weekend were sellouts. The arena capacity for hockey is 5002. 

What a Saturday night around the ECHL. 13 games drew close to 80,000 fans for a per game average of 6126. Here are the seven teams that drew more than 6000 last night. Stick taps to all the sales and marketing staffs:
11378 - Jacksonville*
9493 - Fort Wayne
6640 - Cincinnati
6577 - South Carolina
6526 - Utah*
6440 - Atlanta*
6081 - Worcester*
*Teams that won before their big Saturday night crowds.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Allen Gets Big Opening Night Win, Game Recap, Video Highlights, Costello Comments, Rematch Preview and More

If you were watching the pregame ceremonies in Idaho last night it may have been a tell on how the night would go for the Steelheads. Idaho was raising a banner to the rafters to acknowledge the team winning the Brabham Cup (regular season champion) and Taylor Cup (Western Conference playoff champion) last season. In a scene reminiscent of Allen raising banners on opening night in 2015-16 after winning its first Kelly Cup in 2015, the Idaho banner would not unfurl which caused an awkward situation as the arena crew had to get involved to fix the problem. The banner snafu was a bad sign for Allen's opening night in 2015 as the Americans lost to the Quad City Mallard and it turned out to be a bad sign for Idaho last night.


Oops, failure to unfurl!



- Led by three players assigned to Allen by Ottawa/Belleville, the Americans beat Idaho 5-2 last night to break an eight game regular season losing streak against the Steelheads. The #1 star of the game was goalie Leevi Merilainen who helped Allen overcome a 45-19 shot disadvantage with some spectacular saves and a .956 save percentage. Equally impressive was the play of defenseman Donovan Sebrango who met the team in Idaho, jumped into the lineup and scored Allen's first goal of the season. Not to be outdone, forward Phillipe Daoust, who arrived in Allen Wednesday night, flew with the team to Boise early Thursday morning, scored Allen's second and third goals (one shorthanded, the other power play) and was named the #2 star of the game. Daoust's two goals gave the Americans a 3-0 lead after the second period and they never looked back. 

- Idaho scored two goals in the third period, but every time the Steelheads scored Allen responded. Brandon Puricelli and Matt Marcinew added goals for Allen to make the final score 5-2. Yes, it is only one win, but when you beat the team that has 15 players back from the record setting team last season, that had a record against Allen of 12-1 (regular season and playoffs) it has to be a big confidence booster.

- Allen nailed two of the three keys to the game I mentioned in the game preview yesterday. The Americans got off to a great start and avoided having to play from behind. Allen scored first, led 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second period. Idaho never got closer than two goals. 


- The second key was to win the special teams battle. The Americans were 1-4 on the power play (25%) and the penalty kill was better than flawless. Idaho was 0-8 on the power play and Allen added insult to injury with a shorthanded goal. 

- The one key to the game that was not achieved was to avoid getting outshot by a wide margin. You don't win many games when you are outshot 45-19. You hear all the time it is not the shots but the opportunities that count and Allen made the most of its opportunities scoring five goals on 19 shots for a shooting percentage of 26.3%. It is not likely Allen can win the rematch tonight yielding so many shots.


- Here are the game recaps from both teams:


- Here are the video highlights with the most of the goals and a fight:


- Here is the comment I got from coach Costello after the win, "I was proud of our team's compete level and will to win. We have a few things to clean up and we will. We got a huge game from Leevi in net. Everyone contributed and we have a lot to build on." 


- Allen's special teams and goaltending carried the team last night. You have to expect Leevi Merilainen will get the start again tonight. What has to change for Allen on special teams is staying out of the penalty box. Idaho's power play will not go 0-8 again tonight. The Americans have to limit the number of penalties that result in power play opportunities. 


- Shots on goal have to be much closer tonight if Allen expects to win. Allen needs to take more shots and Idaho has to be held to fewer shots. The Americans are ranked last in shots allowed and second to last in shots on goal. The Americans shooting percentage was 26.3% (5-19) last night. When you consider the Allen shooting percentage the last three seasons was 10.4%, 11.7% and 10.3% you can't expect a repeat of last night. 


- Allen got off to a good start last night and that will be necessary again tonight. Idaho was the best team in the ECHL last season when scoring first with a record of 39-5-1-1. It is tough to play from behind against the Steelheads.


- Maybe the most sobering stat related to the game tonight is Idaho has not lost back-to-back regular season home games since December of 2019. A challenge and opportunity for the Americans tonight. 



 - It is only a handful of ECHL games thus far but Allen is well represented in the daily report:

  • Leevi Merilainen leads the league in save percentage at .956.
  • Phillipe Doust leads the league in shooting percentage at !00% (2 shots, 2 goals).
  • Allen is the only ECHL team with a shorthanded goal. 
  • Allen leads the ECHL in minor penalties (9).


- Odd stats of the day:

  • There have been  nine ECHL games played thus far and the team that scored first won eight of them for a .889 points percentage. 
  • Road teams are 6-2-0-1 in the nine ECHL games played for a points percentage of .722.
  • Road teams have outscored home teams 35-28. 

- It is a big night in the ECHL with 13 games being played. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews:


-  My bad in the blog yesterday as I had the jersey numbers wrong for the three new players. Made the mistake of going with the numbers on the ECHL websites under rosters after getting the correct numbers directly from the Americans. Here are the correct numbers:

  • #10 - Phillipe Daoust 
  • #11 - Brandon Yeamans
  • #27 - Donovan Sebrango


DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans all time opening night record is 8-7. They are 4-4 at home and a 4-3 on the road. No matter when you started following the Americans, opening night games always bring back memories. Here is a recap of all opening night games. 

2009-10 - In the first game in team history Allen won 1-0 in Arizona. Christian Gaudet scored the only goal of the game late in the first period assisted by Bruce Graham and Nino Musitelli. Charlie Effinger was in goal for Allen and Chris Whitley was on the bench. Allen started on the road the first season because the Allen Event Center was not completed. The Americans played their first seven games in franchise history on the road. They returned to Allen after those first seven games 5-1-0-1.

2010-11 - Allen opens at home against Texas, scores three goals (Alexandre Quesnel, Dustin Donaghy, Judd Blackwater) in the first four minutes of the game and coasts to a 5-2 win.

2011-12 - Allen opens at home against Tulsa and gets beat 4-1 with Jim McKenzie getting the Americans only goal with just over a minute left in the game. Most notable in that game was a Gordie Howe hat trick by Tulsa's Gary Steffes who had a goal, an assist and a fight with Allen's Scott Langdon.

2012-13 - Allen opens the season at home and shuts out Arizona 4-0. Scott Howes had two goals in the game. The other goal scorers were Adam Pineault and Darryl Bootland. Steve Silverthorn was in goal and the backup was a rookie by the name of Aaron Dell. Dell would play sparingly the first few weeks of the season but eventually take over the starting role and lead the Americans to their first championship. What ever happened to that Dell guy?

2013-14 - Allen opened the season in Wichita and beat the Thunder 4-3 in a shootout. Allen had a 3-0 lead midway in the game on two goals by Darryl Bootland and one by Jonathan Lessard but let Wichita come back. The hero in the shootout was Kale Kerbashian who scored in the fifth round to win the game.

2014-15 - The worst opening night ever for Allen as they opened at home and got beat by Tulsa 9-6. Greger Hanson was the lone bright spot for Allen with a whopping 11 shots on goal, four points and a hat trick. Aaron Dell was in goal for the Americans and gave up seven of the nine goals. Whatever happened to that Dell guy? Actually, it was Dell's only regulation loss in the 12 games he played for Allen that season. By the end of January he was in the AHL on his way to the NHL.

2015-16 - Another opening night loss as the Quad City Mallards came to the Allen Event Center and beat the Americans 2-1. Allen's lone goal was scored by Garrett Clarke with assists going to Justin Courtnall and goalie Joel Rumpel. You didn't see those three in the boxscore very often let alone on the same play.

2016-17 - It was an opening night win as Allen was at home and beat Missouri 6-3. Kale Kerbashian had two goals and Riley Gill was peppered with 47 shots.

2017-18 - It was an opening night like no other as the Americans went on the road and beat the Rapid City Rush 8-3. The eight goals is the most ever scored by the Americans in a season opener. The five goal margin of victory is the largest ever in a season opener and the first goal of the season was a shorthanded goal scored by Jonathan Lessard. Lessard and Zach Pochiro each had two goals for the Americans.

2018-19 - Allen opened the season in Kansas City and took it on the chin with a 5-1 loss while being out shot 43-21. The game was tied 1-1 after the first period as Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored the Americans only goal of the game. Over the last two periods the Mavericks out shot Allen 32-14 and outscored the Americans 4-0. The #1 star of the game with a goal and two assists for the Mavericks was Jared VanWormer who would go on to become captain of the Allen Americans.

 2019-20 - Allen opened the season at home against Rapid City and came away with a 3-2 overtime victory. Jordan Topping tied the score 2-2 with 91 seconds left in the game and then got the game winning goal at 2:58 of overtime.

2020-21 - It was the latest opener in the history of the team as COVID delayed the season until December 12. Allen opened on the road and lost to Tulsa 4-3 before a restricted crowd of 2590 at the BOK Center which has a capacity of  of over 17,000. Allen scored first (Jake McGrew) but Tulsa took a 3-1 lead early in the second period. Allen tied the score 3-3 by the end of the second period on goals by McGrew and Zane Franklin. Tulsa scored the only goal of the third period to take the win 4-3. McGrew played 11 games in Allen and scored six goals after being loaned to Allen by its affiliate at the time (San Jose). He returned to San Jose after his great start in Allen and played the rest of the season with the Barracuda.      

2021-22 -  Allen opened the season at home against Wichita and got shellacked 7-0, the worst shutout in the history of the team. The excitement of having Chad Costello and Jack Combs back in Allen was quickly tempered as the Americans allowed 39 shots on goal, gave up three power play goals (3-5) and were 0-6 on the power play. 

2022-23 - Allen opened the season in Tulsa and lost to the Oilers 4-3. Allen never led in the game after giving up the first goal early in the opening period. Allen's first goal of the season was scored by Hank Crone giving fans a glimpse of what would be come a historic season (team record 49 goals). After falling behind 3-1 early in the third period the Americans came back to tie the score 3-3 on goals by Liam Finlay and Zach Pochiro but ended up losing the game 4-3. 



Friday, October 20, 2023

Allen Begins 15th Season, Complete Roster, Idaho Preview, Game Keys, Best ECHL Road Teams and More


The day has finally arrived as Allen begins its 15th season tonight in Idaho. With new ownership, more resources and Chad Costello starting his second season as coach and general manager, the expectations are lofty. 


- Ironically, Allen's last game was against Idaho 158 days ago (May 14) when the Steelheads eliminated the Americans in the second round of the Kelly Cup playoffs.


- It looks to be a tall task for the Americans in this two game road trip to Idaho, but an opportunity to turn around the struggles Allen had against the Steelheads last season. As a reminder, last season the Americans were 0-8-0-0 against Idaho in the regular season and 1-4 in the playoffs. You can be assured Allen's record against Idaho in 2023-24 will be improved though it won't be easy. The Americans play Idaho 11 times this season, however, eight of the 11 are in Idaho including five times in the next month (October 20, 21 and November 15, 17, 18).


-  The Americans will be playing this weekend without captain Colton Hargrove (personal business) and Mikael Robidoux (serving the final two games of a three game suspension from the end of last season). 


- There have been a lot of moving parts over the last couple of days including the publication of the season opening roster. It should be noted this roster is merely a starting point and changes can be made to the roster immediately after its publication through the daily transactions. Here is what has happened to the Allen roster over the last few days:

  • October 17 - Allen trades with Kalamazoo (cash) for Brandon Yeamans (F)
  • October 18 - Tryout players Zane Schartz (F) and Hunter Bersani (F) released, Dalton Gally and Colton Hargrove placed on reserve, Ty Farmer and Dalton Skelly placed on injured reserve.
  • October 19 (morning) - Season opening rosters announced, with 23 total players.
  • October 19 (afternoon transactions) - Philippe Daoust assigned from Belleville by Ottawa, Dalton Gally activated from reserve, Spencer Asuchak placed on reserve.


-  I have had several questions about the three players assigned to Allen from Belleville on October 17th per AHL transactions. The three players were forward Philippe Daoust and defensemen Ryan MacKinnon and Donovan Sebrango. All three ended up in different situations which caused some confusion. MacKinnon was recalled by Belleville the same day he was loaned to Allen. Daoust arrived in Allen and traveled with the team to Idaho so he was included in transactions. Sebrango was meeting the team in Idaho and will be in transactions today.


- Here is the current Allen roster including jersey numbers and player status. The roster includes three goalies, nine defensemen and 13 forwards:



  • #31 Mark Sinclair 
  • #34 Leevi Merilainen
  • #35 Chase Perry (Stayed home)


  • #2 Ty Farmer (injured reserve)
  • #3 Ryan Gagnon
  • #4 Kris Myllari
  • #5 Stanislav Demin
  • #20 Eric Williams
  • #23 Matt Brassard
  • #24 Dalton Skelly (injured reserve)
  • #27 Donovan Sebrango (meeting team in Idaho)
  • #52 Dalton Gally


  • #7 Colton Hargrove (reserve) 
  • #9 Chad Butcher
  • #10 Philippe Doust 
  • #11 Brandon Yeamans
  • #14 Jordan Ty-Fournier
  • #15 Liam Finlay
  • #19 Brandon Puricelli
  • #21 Matt Marcinew
  • #26 Spencer Asuchak (reserve)
  • #29 Colby McAuley
  • #32 Mikael Robidoux (suspended)  
  • #44 Andrew Durham
  • #77 Grant Hebert 


- The roster above is the oldest in the ECHL with an average age of 26.00. Ten players on the roster have AHL experience ranging from one to 259 games for a total of 611 AHL games. Here are the individual AHL games played:

  • 259 - Colton Hargrove
  • 135 - Donovan Sebrango
  • 64 - Spencer Asuchak
  • 41 - Matt Marcinew
  • 41 - Colby McAuley
  • 35 - Eric Williams
  • 24 - Philippe Daoust
  • 7 - Chad Butcher
  • 4 - Leevi Merilainen*
  • 1 - Mark Sinclair  

*Also has two NHL games played


- It is hard to compare Idaho and Allen statistically when you consider nine of the 19 players on the trip to Idaho did not play with the Americans last season and five others played fewer than 40 games in Allen. It should be noted that Allen's top three scorers from last season will not be in the lineup. Hank Crone (105 points), Jack Combs (95 points) and Colton Hargrove (85 points) accounted for 48% of Allen's goals and 41% of the points last season. 


- Idaho has also had turnover after a record setting season in 2022-23. A reminder the Steelheads had the #1 offense (4.03 goals scored per game) and the #1 defense (2.13 goals allowed per game) in the ECHL last season. Allen had the #8 offense (3.61) and #23 defense (3.65).


- Here are my keys to the game:

  • Allen has to get off to a good start and avoid having to play from behind. Idaho had the best record in the league last season when scoring first (39-5-1-1). Idaho's home record last season was 32-4-0-0. It will be a long night for the Americans if they fall behind.
  • Allen will not have the same high powered offense this weekend as they had last season. The Americans will have to be more defensive minded to be successful. Allen cannot afford to get outshot by a wide margin and expect to win the game. Last season Allen was ranked #23 in shots allowed per game (36.4) while Idaho was ranked #2 (28.8).
  • Allen will have to win the special teams battle to earn points in Idaho. The Americans were excellent on special teams last season finishing #4 on the power play (23.9%) and #5 on the penalty kill (82.5%). You add the PP and PK percentages together and it totals 106.4%. Anything above 105% is considered outstanding special teams play. 
  • Allen will be in much better shape from a roster perspective for the home opener next week against  Atlanta, but the goal this week against Idaho is too find a way to scratch out some points.



- If you haven't seem the season opening rosters press release, here is the link with the rosters for all 28 teams: 


- There are seven games on the schedule today. Here is the ECHL Today with previews of all of the games: 


- Here is a list of former Allen Americans on  ECHL season opening rosters:

  • Jeremy Brodeur - Adirondack 
  • Xavier Bernard - Fort Wayne
  • Tanner Eberle - Greenville
  • Lordanthony Grissom - Greenville
  • Matt Register - Idaho
  • Zane Franklin - Idaho
  • Chase Lang - Indy
  • Chaz Reddekopp - Kalamazoo
  • Nico Blachman - Kalamazoo
  • Josh Thrower - Norfolk
  • Justin Young - Norfolk
  • Zachary Massicotte - Orlando
  • Ben Carroll - Orlando
  • Connor Bleackley - Rapid City
  • Tyson Fawcett - Reading
  • Darian Skeoch - Savannah
  • Cole Fraser - South Carolina
  • Jackson Leppard - South Carolina
  • Jakov Novak - Trois-Rivières
  • Andrew Jarvis - Tulsa
  • Tyler Poulsen - Tulsa
  • Gavin Gould - Wichita
  • Kelly Bent - Wichita 
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about teams that had a better road record than home record last season. Allen has always been a good road team. The Americans had more road wins (19) than home wins (18) last season but points earned were 39 at home and 38 on the road. Allen's road record was 19-17-0-0 (.528) and the home record was 18-15-2-1 (.542).
The ECHL season got underway last night with road teams winning both games. Winning on the road is one of the keys to success in the ECHL.
Last season (2022-23) ECHL road teams had a cumulative points percentage of .495 vs home teams .595. However, six teams played better on the road than at home and all made the playoffs. Here are the road vs home points percentage for those six teams:
Toledo - .764 vs .597
Maine - .667 vs .542
Indy - .653 vs .611
Cincinnati - .722 vs .708
Jacksonville - .653 vs .639
Fort Wayne - .528 vs .514
The exception to the rule was the 2023 Kelly Cup champion. Florida had a big discrepancy between road and home points percentage, playing much better at home:
Home - .681 (24-11-0-1)
Road - .500 (14-14-4-4)

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Preseason Games Conclude with Loss, Recap, Costello Comments, Rule Changes, Importance of a Good Start and More

 After a 4-1 loss to Tulsa on Friday in Texas the Americans were hoping for a better outcome in Tulsa last night but it wasn't to be. Playing without top players Colton Hargrove, Liam Finlay, Colby McAuley, Matt Marcinew and Kris Myllari the Americans were shutout by the Oilers 6-0. Preseason games are not indicative of how the team will perform during the regular season, but Allen has never lost two preseason games since joining the ECHL. Mostly because the Americans haven't played two preseason games very often. Here is Allen's preseason record for each season since joining the ECHL.

  • 2023-24: 0-2 (4-1 & 6-0 losses to Tulsa)
  • 2022-23: 1-0 (5-1 win vs Tulsa)
  • 2021-22: 0-0 (No preseason games)
  • 2020-21: 0-0 (No preseason games)
  • 2019-20: 1-0 (3-2 OT win vs Kansas City)
  • 2018-19: 2-0 (4-3 & 3-2 wins vs Kansas City)
  • 2017-18: 1-1 (3-1 loss & 3-2 win vs Kansas City) 
  • 2016-17: 1-0 (2-0 win vs Wichita)
  • 2015-16: 0-1 (7-2 loss vs Wichita)
  • 2014-15: 0-1 (4-2 loss vs Tulsa
The moral of this story is the two preseasons prior to this year that Allen played games and didn't win (2014-15 & 2015-16) the Americans went on to win the Kelly Cup. Maybe this is a sign. 

- Here are the cumulative totals in the two losses to Tulsa:

  • Allen was outscored 10-1
  • Allen was outshot 88-52
  • Both teams were 1-9 (11.1%) on the power play
  • Allen's plus/minus was -45

-  It is important to remember the team Allen will have this season will be significantly different than the roster for either preseason game. Three of the four players that attended Belleville's training camp (Grant Hebert, Mikael Hebert, Ryan Gagnon) didn't play in the first game on Friday. Hargrove, Finlay, McAuley, Marcinew and Myllari didn't play last night. Spencer Asuchak and Ty Farmer didn't play in either game. Farmer had surgery in the offseason and will be on injured reserve the first part of the season. It is expected Allen will get some skaters from Belleville assigned soon. And don't forget the Americans hold the ECHL rights to Hank Crone so it is possible he could see time in Allen. You add it all together and the Americans will have a competitive team in 2023-24. 

- Here is what coach Costello had to say about the preseason games when I contacted him after the game last night, "Obviously the scores from the two preseason games were not ideal. But we feel when we put the final product together, we are a very strong team. The preseason games were more about getting the players back on the ice in game conditions to get use to competing again."

- Opening day rosters are due in the league on Wednesday (3:00 pm EDT) so you can expect numerous cuts from the ECHL training camp rosters over the next few days. Many teams have already started to release players. Now that the preseason games are over for Allen look for the tryout players to be released. 

- With the regular season beginning in a few days here is a reminder of the rule changes for 2023-24 you might want to keep an eye out for. 

  • Rule #9 – Uniforms

Altered uniforms of any kind (i.e. Velcro inserts, over-sized jerseys, altered collars, etc.) will not be permitted. Any player or goalkeeper not complying with this rule shall not be permitted to participate in the game.

  • Rule #9.6 – Helmets

A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back (the chin strap may be unfastened if helmet is on player’s head).

  • Rule #20.4 – Fighting Game Misconducts

An automatic game misconduct shall be applied to any player who has been assessed a second fighting major in the same game. The misconduct will be waived for a player if an opposing player is assessed a penalty for instigating.

  • Rule #46.10 – Fighting prior to or at the drop of the puck

A player or players who enter into a fight prior to, at the drop of the puck, or immediately following any face-off during the game, shall be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to any penalties assessed.

  • Rule #67.2 – Handling the Puck

A minor penalty shall be assessed for “Delay of Game – Face-Off Violation” to a player taking the face-off who attempts to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand. The two players involved in the actual face-off (the centers) are not permitted to play the puck with their hand without incurring a penalty under this rule until such time as a third player (from either team) has at least touched the puck. Once the face-off is deemed complete (and a winner of the face-off is clear) hand passes shall be enforced as per Rule 80 – Hand Pass.

  • Rule #74.4 – Faceoff procedure

At the eight face-off spots (excluding the center ice face-off spot), the defending player shall place his stick within the designated white area first followed immediately by the attacking player. When the face-off is conducted at the center ice face-off spot, the visiting player shall place his stick on the ice first.

  • Rule #83 – Off-side
A player is on-side when either of his skates are in contact with the blue line, or on his own side of the line, at the instant the puck completely crosses the leading edge of the blue line. “On his own side of the line” shall be defined by a “plane” of the blue line which shall extend from the leading edge of the blue line upwards. If a player’s skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck completely crossing the leading edge, he is deemed to be on-side for the purpose of the off-side rule.

- It will be important for Allen to get off to a good start this season, something the Americans were not able to do last season. Coach Costello will be in a much stronger position from a roster standpoint at the beginning of 2023-24 than he was in 2022-23. The first two road games in Idaho will be a challenge because the Steelheads are a strong home team (32-4-0-0 last season) and Allen will be short a couple of players. Allen then opens at home with two games against Atlanta before traveling to Tulsa for two games. After Tulsa the Americans play four straight games against Kansas City before returning to Idaho for three games. The totals for the first month of the season (through November 18) is 13 games with eight on the road and five at home. Five of the eight road games are in Idaho. These first 13 games will tell the tale of how strong the Americans will be this season. 

DID YOU KNOW: It is always informative to look back at Allen's Kelly Cup winning seasons. Looked up how they fared the first month of the season to see the record after 13 games. Here are the results. You can see a good start was key to both championship seasons.

2014-15 - 10-3-0-0
2015-16 - 9-4-0-0

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Allen Loses Preseason Game, Rematch Tonight, Some Future and Past Facts and More


It was an inauspicious start last night as the Allen Americans prepare for the 2023-24 hockey season. In the first of two preseason games against the Tulsa Oilers the Americans lost 4-1. The game was a "home" game for Allen but was played at the NYTEX Sports Centre, where 991 spectators saw the Oilers outshoot the Americans 43-16 and outscore Allen 3-0 over the first two periods. Tulsa took a 4-0 lead in the third period before the Americans scored a power play goal late in the game to avoid a shutout and make the final score. 4-1. It was a very different outcome than Allen's first preseason game a year ago against Tulsa when the Americans beat the Oilers 5-1. 

- Preseason games are intended to get ready for the regular season and it is important to not read too much into the results. There are six or seven players that will be on Allen's opening day roster that did not play last night. With that said, giving up 43 shots in the first two periods and being outshot 51-24 for the game has to be a concern for coach Costello, who watched the game from a suite above the action. 

- Allen will travel to Tulsa today for the second and last preseason game. The game starts at 7:05 pm CDT but will not be broadcast. You can expect a different mix of players in the game tonight.

- There were a couple of bright spots in the game last night. Allen had one of the best special teams in the league last season with the #4 power play (23.9%) and #5 penalty kill (82.5%). The Americans lone goal against Tulsa was on the power play and the Americans killed all six Tulsa power play opportunities.    

- The other bright spot was the play of rookie goalie, Leevi Merilainen, the third-round draft choice of the Ottawa Senators in 2020. The 21-year-old played four games with Belleville last season, won them all, had a 2.06 GAA and .933 save percentage. He played the first two periods against Tulsa last night, faced 43 shots and made 40 saves for a save percentage of .930. 

- One big unanswered question is how much help Allen will get from Ottawa/Belleville. 20 ECHL teams already have five or more NHL/AHL players assigned. Allen is at the bottom of the list with just two goalies assigned. I know coach Costello expects to get some skaters assigned and barring injuries in Ottawa/Belleville this weekend, Allen could see some skaters assigned before the season opener in Idaho on Friday (October 20).

- The Newfoundland Growlers won't start training camp until next week, just named a head coach and were the only ECHL team that didn't have any NHL/AHL players assigned. You knew it was a matter of time and it all changed yesterday when the Toronto Marlies assigned 11 players to Newfoundland. The Growlers now have more assigned players than any team in the ECHL with more to come. 

- The top four ECHL players in points last season will be elsewhere when the season opens next week:

  • 105 points - Hank Crone, Allen, signed an AHL deal with the Chicago Wolves.
  • 95 points - Jack Combs, Allen, retired and is coaching at Lindenwood University.
  • 87 points - Alex Ierullo, Greenville, signed with a team in Asiago, Italy.
  • 87 points - Zach O'Brien, Newfoundland, signed with a team in Bratislava, Slovakia.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL is about to begin its 36th season and the Allen Americans will be celebrating its 15th season as a franchise. If Allen wins the Kelly Cup this season it will be the fifth championship for the Americans. Allen won four straight championships, two CHL championships in 2013 and 2014 followed by two ECHL championships in 2015 and 2016. If Allen can win the Kelly Cup this season it would join four teams with three ECHL championships and the Americans would reach three championships in just eight years. Here are the four teams with three ECHL championships. Included is each team's total years in the ECHL and its championship years:

  • Alaska - 11 years (2006. 2011, 2014)
  • Hampton Roads - 11 years (1991, 1992, 1998)
  • Florida - 23 years (2012, 2022, 2023)
  • South Carolina - 27 years (1997, 2001, 2009)

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Allen Americans Update - 10/12/2023

I am back from the hinterlands after another very successful pheasant hunting trip. I have been hunting pheasants since I was nine years old growing up in South Dakota and it is still as exciting as it was in 1956. The crisp fall air, two old guys and an old black lab walking through sloughs and fields with the only sounds the sounds of nature and the distance roar of combines as farmers were harvesting their crops. Where we were this year in small town North Dakota which is a special place in the fall. There was wildlife in abundance with ducks and geese in every pothole in the area. Also saw big flocks of sandhill cranes, lots of deer and the occasional moose.  Most enjoyable were the people who are the salt of the earth and so friendly. 

Alot has happened in the last week with the Allen Americans. Here is a recap of a few of the items on my list:

  • Allen announced the signing of forward Matt Marcinew who played for Rapid City last season and led the Rush in points (68) and goals (30). Matt adds to the Allen Americans connection to the University of Denver. He was a teammate with Liam Finlay in 2017 when Denver won the NCAA national title.
  • Another Denver connection signed by coach Costello is defenseman Stanislav (Slava) Demin. The ECHL rookie was a teammate of Hank Crone and Liam Finlay on the 2019-20 University of Denver team. Demin was at the Montreal Canadiens training camp before signing with the Americans. 
  • Spencer Asuchak is back with the Americans for his 11th season. Spencer has played in 585 games regular season and playoffs games for the Americans (CHL and ECHL) which is 238 more games than second place Chad Costello (347 games). 
  • The four Allen players that attended Belleville's training camp (Ryan Gagnon, Grant Herbert, Mikael Robidoux, Eric Williams) have returned to Allen. Always a good opportunity for players to become known by Allen's affiliate.

- If you haven't had a chance to see the new look Allen American website the format has been changed to match the other Zawyer operated teams. It is a very familiar format around the ECHL. I asked team President, Jonny Mydra about the change, "On Wednesday we made the change to the ECHL's official website platform. I would like to thank Jackie and his team at Atomic DC for providing us with a great website for many years." I spent some time looking at the new website format and it is very user friendly. I am sure there will be some hiccups as is the case with any change of platforms, but this is an exciting change for fans. Go to to check it out.

- Allen's first preseason game against the Tulsa Oilers is tomorrow night (7:30 pm) at NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills. A chance for Allen Americans fans to get the first look at the 2023-24 roster in game conditions. You can buy tickets at Allen will wrap up its preseason games on Saturday with a rematch against the Oilers in Tulsa.  

- Here are the upcoming dates leading to the first Allen games of the season:
  • October 18 - Season opening rosters due to the league office (3:00 pm EDT). Allen could have as many as 21 players on the active roster but they all must fit under the salary cap so don't expect the Americans to be at that number. In addition, up to four players can be put on regular reserve and don't count against the salary cap. Allen will also have players on the 14-day injured reserve to start the season.
  • October 19 - regular season begins with two games (Florida at Orlando and Rapid City at Iowa).
  • October 20 - regular season begins for Allen on the road in Idaho. 
  • October 28 - Allen's home opener against Atlanta.

- Talk about ECHL experience, here are the six players that will be playing in the ECHL in 2023-24 that have 500 career ECHL games played (regular season plus playoff games):

  • 867 games - Justin Taylor, Kalamazoo
  • 779 games - Garet Hunt, South Carolina
  • 686 games - Matt Register, Idaho
  • 611 games - Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne
  • 538 games - Mathieu, Roy, Norfolk
  • 505 games - Spencer Asuchak, Allen 

DID YOU KNOW: My ECHL stats post today was about the five ECHL teams that have won back-to-back championships trying for a three-peat. This season Florida will try to be the first ECHL three-peat winner ever, but based on history it will be a tall task. Here is how the previous four fared:

- Colorado won back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018 but never had a chance to three-peat as the Eagles moved to the AHL after the 2017-18 season.
- Allen won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016 but lost to the eventual Kelly Cup champion (Colorado) 4-2 in the second round in 2017.
- Toledo won back-to-back championships in 1993 and 1994. The three-peat effort in 1995 fell short when Toledo lost in the first round to Nashville (3-1)
- Hampton Roads won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. The three-peat effort in 1993 fell short when Hampton Roads lost in the first round to Raleigh (3-1).

Thursday, October 5, 2023

New Ownership Announced, Player Announcement Today, Belleville and Allen Training Camps and More

I am in Minnesota and will make the long drive (625 miles) to northwest North Dakota tomorrow morning for the opening of pheasant season on Saturday, so wanted to share what I have been able to gather from afar on the latest Allen Americans news.


- The new ownership of the Allen Americans was made official yesterday as the ECHL announced the Board of Governors have approved the transfer of controlling interest of the team to former NFL linebacker Myles Jack and his mother, LaSonjia Jack. If you didn't get a chance to attend the press conference announcing the new ownership, the Americans will be posting it for everyone to watch, hopefully sometime this afternoon. 

- While the Jacks and their company (Amsomia Sports) will be the majority owners of the team, other owners include Zawyer Sports and Entertainment and REV Entertainment, who will operate and manage the team. They will oversee the day to day operations of the club, including all marketing, brand, sales, and strategy. Zawyer Sports owns, manages, and operates several sports franchises including the ECHL Jacksonville Icemen, Savannah Ghost Pirates and the new franchise in Lake Tahoe. REV Entertainment, the official events partner of the Texas Rangers, is a full-service entertainment company specializing in a variety of fields including booking venues, operating sports franchises, and venue management. The Americans will gain some experienced partners with this new ownership group. 

- One of the comments I heard was said at the press conference is the new ownership group wants to provide more resources and bring more championships to the Allen Americans.

- Other comments from the press conference included Myles Jack saying he can't wait to get started and become a resource for the players. His mom (LJ) said she wants to be big in the Allen community and grow the game. She also mentioned they are likely to get a house in the area soon and be at as many games as they can.

- If you look at the business model in Jacksonville and Savannah where Jacks is a minority owner, I expect you will see other minority owners added to the initial group in Allen.

- Four players are attending training camp with Allen's AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators. Defensemen Ryan Gagnon and Eric William are joined by forwards Grant Hebert and Mikael Robidoux at the Belleville camp with an opportunity to show the Ottawa organization what they can do if they are loaned during the season. The plan is for all four of the players to get playing time in one of Belleville's two preseason games. Belleville plays Toronto on Friday and Laval on Sunday. These four players will miss the start of Allen's training camp but will be back for the Americans preseason games against Tulsa on October 13th and 14th.

- There will be some tryout players on the ice when training camp begins with captain practices tomorrow. The last I heard there will be four PTO players joining the rest of the group. 

- The top forward I have talked about the last few updates will be announced this afternoon and will be on the ice tomorrow. He was under AHL contract last season, was a leading scorer on his ECHL team last season and is great signing by coach Costello.  

- I have not seen anything issued by the Americans but assume all of the training camp practices will be open to fans to attend. If you are interested in attending, I would contact the team and inquire if you don't see anything posted about training camp today. 

DID YOU KNOW: There are two Allen Americans at the top of the list of my ECHL Stats post today. Lots of firepower returning to Allen this season. Don't forget that Allen holds the ECHL rights to Hank Crone who signed an AHL deal with the Chicago Wolves for 2023-24. Everyone hopes Hank will stay in Chicago, but if he does get sent to Allen this team will be stacked.

Just seven players on 2023-24 ECHL rosters have career points per game average of more than 1.00 (minimum 50 games played).

1.33 - Colton Hargrove, Allen

1.30 - Liam Finlay, Allen

1.08 - Orrin Centazzo, Toledo

1.08 - Brett Kemp, Greenville

1.07 - Brandon Hawkins, Toledo

1.06 - Louie Caporusso, Cincinnati

1.03 - Aaron Luchak, Orlando