The records keep falling for the Allen Americans and unfortunately they are not good records. Last night the Tulsa Oilers shutout the Americans 4-0 before a crowd of 4011 at the Allen Event Center. It was the eighth time this season Allen has been shutout (a record), the 43rd loss of the season (a record), the 242nd goal allowed (a record) and the winning percentage fell to .385 (a record) which is the worst in the entire league.
– I was on the radio/ECHL-TV broadcast between periods last night talking with Maurice Fitzgerald about the game and the season and afterwards got a message from one of the blog readers and long time season ticket holder that said, “WOW Barry….That has got to be the most depressing report I have ever heard you deliver on air, and you are normally the glass half-full type of guy.”
– There is no longer any way to sugarcoat what has transpired this season. There are numerous reasons to explain what has happened this season from injuries that averaged almost five players missing per game to a record of 5-24 when C.J. Motte was recalled to Iowa or injured to everything in between.
– The records being set are off the charts compared to Allen’s previous seasons in the ECHL. Here are a few examples:
Allen’s winning percentage is .389, the lowest before is .542.
Allen has been shutout eight times, in their first three ECHL seasons the total shutouts were five.
Allen has allowed 242 goals, 10 more than ever before and they have seven games remaining.
Allen has scored 183 goals, the fewest they have ever scored in the ECHL is 222.
Allen’s goal differential is -59, the worst it has been in the past is +3.
Allen’s team plus/minus is -267, just two years ago it was +334.
– In losing 4-0 last night Allen missed all of the keys to the game. They gave up the first goal to a team that is 23-1-3-1 when scoring first. They managed just 21 shots on goal, one of the five fewest shot totals of the season, while allowing 42 shots to the Oilers. The Americans lost the special teams battle and took too many penalties that gave Tulsa six power plays compared to Allen’s three.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Tulsa Oilers: https://tulsaoilers.com/oilers-blank-americans-4-0/
STEVE MARTINSON’S POST GAME COMMENTS
“Tulsa was just better than us and faster than us tonight and we just got out played.”
“Tulsa got a couple of guys down from the American League and were a better team than when we played them on Saturday. We had a hard time matching their speed.”
“We had a crappy practice yesterday, I didn’t like the practice and I didn’t like the effort.”
“Doty hurt his hand in that fight so he is out.”
“I will spend the next couple of days trying to get some amateurs signed. Guys that can skate and work hard. Boutet will be back and Motte is close but will not be ready by Sunday.”
“We gave up six power plays and that ends up with our few good penalty killers spending too much time on the ice killing penalties. We emphasized before the game we couldn’t afford to take bad penalties.”
“Each year the league gets faster and that will be true next season. Players that are big, physical and also fast are getting harder to find and are in high demand. If players are having trouble keeping up this season it will be harder to play here next year. That is just the way the league is going.”
– Allen has seven games remaining, four against Wichita and three against Utah. The next five games are at home with the last two in Wichita. If Allen has any chance to pass Wichita for the worst record in the Mountain Division they will have to sweep the four remaining games with the Thunder. That is not out of the question since Allen’s record against Wichita this season is 6-2-0-2.
– Veteran spots are always a premium since there can only be four vets on the roster. The definition of a veteran is a players with more than 260 pro games played. The other unique aspect of becoming a veteran is they are free agents and can sign with any team. Here are the players from this season that are veterans or will be vets next season:
Some of these players may sign in Europe, some may retire and some may sign with other ECHL teams but it is clear only four could return and coach Martinson may be recruiting other veterans in the off season.
– Here are a few other veterans from the past that could sign with Allen if they so desired. I would say these are not likely but one can dream:
Chad Costello – already signed to play in Europe next season
Greger Hanson – playing in Europe
Vincent Arseneau – just passed vet status and has AHL contract for this season
Dyson Stevenson – just passed vet status and could sign with any ECHL team
Emerson Clark – under AHL contract for this season
– Of all of the players on the vet lists above the one that is most intriguing to me is Dyson Stevenson. If the Thunder don’t make the playoffs and there is a coaching change in Wichita is it possible Stevenson would return to Allen to help lead the team back to prominence? He would be a great building block in retooling the team for the 2019-20 season.
– It is the time of year where the battle for the Brabham Cup, given to the ECHL regular season champion, gets decided. It looks like a two team race with Cincinnati the clear favorite. Here are the top three teams with games remaining:
91 points – Cincinnati (13 games remaining)
89 points – Florida (10 games remaining)
83 points – Newfoundland (11 games remaining)
– Winning the Brabham Cup is not an indication of success in the Kelly Cup playoffs. In the 31 year history of the ECHL only three teams have accomplished that feat. Alaska (2014, 2011, 2006), Cincinnati (2008) and South Carolina (1999). Some call it the curse of the Brabham Cup. Will the curse live on again this season?
DID YOU KNOW: When you think back to Allen’s two Kelly Cups in 2015 and 2016 they were two very different teams in the regular season. The 2015 team was an offensive juggernaut that lead the ECHL in goals (292) and penalty minutes (1644). They had the only two 40 goals scorers in team history in Gary Steffes (44 goals) and Chad Costello (41 goals). Aaron Gens lead the league in points by a defensman and Riley Gill led the league in wins (33). Allen’s winning percentage was .736 and their goal differential was +89.
The 2016 Kelly Cup team was only average in the regular season with a winning percentage of .618 and a goal differential of +18. Chad Costello led the team in goals (24) and Gary Steffes was second (22). The team was ranked #11 in goals scored and #13 in goals allowed. Riley Gill had only 13 regular season wins. The team had 1189 penalty minutes which is the fewest of any Allen team since joining the ECHL.
Two very different regular seasons that both ended up with Allen raising the Kelly Cup.