It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on Rapid City tonight (8:05 pm Allen time) in the second of a three game series against the Rush. After losing game one 1-0 on Wednesday the Americans will look to get back on track offensively while continuing their improved defensive play.
– A key for Allen will be to get the power play going again. After scoring at least one power play goal in seven of eight games, going 13-34 (38.2%), the Americans have gone scoreless in their last 14 power play attempts. The penalty kill has also struggled recently even though they were perfect (0-4) on Wednesday. If you look at the last four games the penalty kill was 75% (4-16). If Allen can win the special teams battle tonight it will go a long way to getting a win.
– Obviously with a 1-0 score on Wednesday the team that scored first was Rapid City. A reminder of the uphill battle when you give up the first goal of the game. Allen is 21-3-1-1 when scoring first, Rapid City is 22-5-3-0. A good start will be another key for the Americans tonight.
– I haven’t talked to coach Martinson since Wednesday and he doesn’t like to tip his hand on starting goalies but this may be a game where he doesn’t do the typical goalie rotation. This is an important game for Allen as they try to avoid losing three straight regulation games for the first time all season. In his last three appearances (San Jose and Allen) Andrew Shortridge has a save percentage of .937 including stopping 25 of 26 shots on Wednesday. It wouldn’t surprise me see coach Martinson going with the hot goalie and start Shortridge tonight.
– One player that will be in the lineup tonight is newly acquired defenseman Cody Corbett. Coach Martinson has a way of finding players who are struggling in their current situation that strive in his system. Corbett could be another one of these players. Martinson always says he likes to look at percentages and if a player had done well in the past they can do it again. In juniors Corbett was part of two WHL championships (2012 & 2014) and in 2014 his team won the Memorial Cup and he was the highest scoring defensemen in the tournament.
– In his final year in juniors, Cody wore an “A” and set franchise records for most points (61) and goals (17) by a defenseman in a season. He finished his junior career with 129 points (30G, 99A) which was also a franchise record for a defenseman.
– In 2014 Cody signed a three year free agent NHL contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He has 95 AHL games to his credit and also 27 Kelly Cup playoff games to his credit. At the NHL trade deadline in 2016-17, Corbett was traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Washington Capitals and assigned to the South Carolina Stingrays. That was the season the Stingrays went to the Kelly Cup finals before losing to the Colorado Eagles. Cody played in all 22 playoff games and was tied for most points by a defenseman (9) and was second on the team in plus/minus (+6).
– With the day off yesterday you may have seen this photo of Les Lancaster and Josh Lammon on a visit to Mt. Rushmore. Les and Josh have been friends since they were kids growing up in Michigan. They played with and against each other in youth hockey. They player together for two years in junior hockey for the Springfield Jr Blues (NAHL). After junior hockey they played three years together at Mercyhurst College. In 2018-19 Lancaster was a graduate transfer to the University of Denver and finished his collegiate career with the Pioneers while Lammon stayed at Mercyhurst. The best friends reunited again this season in Allen. How close are these guys? They are roommates, they are always together, if you are in the concourse early on game day you can see them warming up and stretching together and I have heard they even do crossword puzzles together rather than individually.
– Coach Martinson is going to sign another player this morning but it is uncertain whether he will be in the lineup tonight. With the recent trade of Mitch Vandergunst I would assume Martinson is looking for a player that brings physicality to the team.
– Zach Hall, who last played in the 2017-18 season with the Allen Americans, signed yesterday with the Jacksonville Icemen. Interestingly, the last game Zack played for Allen was on February 11, 2018 and it was against the Jacksonville IceMen. Zach has battled through injuries so I am sure Allen fans wish him the best of luck in his comeback with Jacksonville.
– There are 12 games on tap around the ECHL tonight. Here is the ECHL Today with the matchups and previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2020/2/echl-today-feb-14
DID YOU KNOW: Allen has now played 71% of the regular season (51 games) and has an 11 point lead in the Mountain Division. If the Americans play .500 hockey over their last 21 games, second place Utah would have to play .750 hockey and third place Idaho would have to play .795 hockey to pass the Americans for first place. The odds certainly favor Allen when you consider the season long winning percentage for these three teams:
.725 – Allen
.630 – Utah
.610 – Idaho