Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Allen vs Wichita Preview, Allen's Revamped Defense, ECHL Shot Leaders and More


Tonight starts a big week for the Allen Americans as they try to snap a six game losing streak. After losing three straight against a team with a .857 points percentage (Kansas City) and three straight against a team with a .846 points percentage, this week the American plays teams with a .367 (Wichita) and .458 (Tulsa) point percentage. Allen will play Wichita tonight (6:05 pm CST)) and Tulsa on Friday and Saturday (7:05 CST)


- It won't be easy for the Americans when you consider Allen has more players on IR (7) than any other team in the ECHL. The Americans also have fewer players assigned by its affiliate (1) than any team in the ECHL. Allen also has one player (Hank Crone) assigned by the Chicago Wolves. As a reminder here are the current updated stats for Allen's opponents this week:

  • Wichita  - one player on IR, two players assigned by affiliate  
  • Tulsa - three players on IR, seven players assigned by affiliate 


- The week starts in Wichita tonight where Allen will take on the Thunder for the first time this season. Uncharacteristically, Allen and Wichita will play each other only nine times this season and six of the nine games will be in Wichita.


- Here is a stats comparison between Allen and Wichita:

  • Overall Record
  • 3-10-0-0: Allen
  • 5-9-1-0: Wichita 
  • Average Goals For
  • 2.7: Allen
  • 3.3: Wichita
  • Average Goals Against
  • 4.8: Allen
  • 4.1: Wichita
  • Average Shots For
  • 28.0: Allen
  • 30.1: Wichita
  • Average Shots Against
  • 45.8: Allen
  • 37.0: Wichita
  • Power Play Percentage
  • 22.4%: Allen
  • 23.6%: Wichita
  • Penalty Kill Percentage
  • 78.3%: Allen
  • 75.4%: Wichita

- The stats above show these teams are similar though Wichita has a slight edge in most. Here is how Allen and Wichita have done against common opponents. Neither team has fared well against the top two teams in the Mountain Division:

  • Idaho
  • 1-4-0-0: Allen
  • 0-2-1-0: Wichita
  • Kansas City
  • 0-3-0-0: Allen
  • 0-3-0-0: Wichita 


- Scoring first is typically a good indicator of  the team that will win the game, close to 75% of the time it is successful. Not the case with Allen who is 2-3-0-0 when scoring first and Wichita who is 3-3-0-0 when scoring first. While scoring first hasn't been a good indicator a first period lead has been. Allen is 3-0 when leading after the first period, Wichita is 3-1.


- When looking at special teams it is worthwhile looking at home vs road stats. Allen has just three wins this season, but they all came on the road. The Americans have a better power play percentage on the road (23.3% vs 21.1%) and a much better penalty kill percentage on the road (85.4% vs 67.9%). Wichita's home power play percentage is 24.1% and home penalty kill percentage is 76.7%. 


-  The Allen lineup will have a new look tonight with all of the roster changes, especially on defense. Ten players that were on the ice for opening night on October 20 will not be on the ice tonight. It is expected the Americans will have recently acquired defensemen Joe Gatenby (#16) and Nolan Orzeck (#44) in the lineup for the first time. Here is a list of other players recently added to the roster with games played for Allen.

  • Hank Crone, F - 3 games
  • Andrew Jarvis, D - 2 games
  • Justin Allen, D - 3 games
  • Solag Bakich, F - 3 games


- Allen will be missing Chad Butcher who is now with Fort Wayne. The forward acquired in the Butcher trade, William Provost (#9), is expected to meet the team in Tulsa. As I mentioned yesterday, it is possible Coach Costello could add another forward and get a goalie assigned before the weekend is completed. 


- The referee schedule tonight is #8 Tyler Hascall. He tends to let the teams play even though in any Allen vs Wichita game predicting low penalty minutes is fools gold. You may remember a road game on March 25, 2022 when the Americans beat Toledo 4-3 while being outshot 44-20. Tyler Hascall was the referee that night and had the very rare no penalty game. 


- Here is a game preview/ weekly update from both teams:



- Atlanta was red hot when it beat Allen twice (6-3, 6-0) early in the season The Gladiators went on to win their first eight games, which is second all-time for wins to start a season. Atlanta has fallen on hard times recently losing four straight games. Last season Worcester set the all-time record for wins to start the season (9) and ended up missing the playoffs. Atlanta plays Greenville, who has a record of 11-2-0-0, at home tonight.


- The ECHL daily report has a section for overall stats leaders. Two Allen Americans are among the leaders:

  • Mikael Robidoux is second in penalty minutes (56)
  • Kris Myllari is first in power play points (10)
  • Kris Myllari is first in power play assists (8)   


- There are 11 games in the ECHL tonight. The Mountain Division's two stalwarts are both on the road. Kansas City takes its 8-0 road record to Tulsa and Idaho takes its 4-1 road record to Rapid City. The points percentage gap between Idaho and Kansas City (.857 & .856) and the rest of the division (.464 to .231) is about to get insurmountable if the rest of the division can't slow down the top two. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews on all of the games:


-  If Kansas City wins tonight in Tulsa the Mavericks will tie the all-time record for road wins to start a season. The record of nine games was set by Newfoundland in 2021.


DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the shot leaders in the league. Matt Marcinew leads the Americans in shots with 51 and has a 15.8% shooting percentage.

ECHL leaders in shots including shooting percentage in parenthesis. Note the difference in shooting percentages. Some players do a lot better job in converting shots into goals:
59 shots: Brandon Hawkins, Toledo (16.9%)
58 shots: *Keaton Mastrodonato, Idaho (12.1%)
56 shots: Alex Whelan, Atlanta (14.3%)
55 shots: Jacob Hayhurst, Kansas City (9.1%)
54 shots: Mark Rassell, Idaho (18.5%)
54 shots: Patrick Curry Kansas City (5.6%)



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