Another late season pheasant hunting trip to North Dakota is in the books. It was cold (never got above zero one day), it was windy and it was snowy which made for great hunting. I missed Allen’s only multiple game win streak of the season as the Americans beat Wichita three straight. Allen fans had a chance to see Seattle Kraken prospect Luke Henman, who had six points (4G, 2A) in three games with the Americans before being recalled to Charlotte (AHL).
– Just when the Americans looked like they had things turned around with a three-game win streak they laid an egg, losing 6-2 at home on Friday to an undermanned Orlando team. Orlando had a COVID breakout and was playing with the minimum of 13 skaters. The Solar Bears had seven players out on COVID protocol including their top goalie. To add insult to injury the number #1 star of the game was former Allen player, Joe Garreffa, who had two goals and two assists. Had Allen not lost its affiliation with San Jose midseason last year, Gareffa as well several of his teammates would be with the Americans.
– Allen gave up two shorthanded goals in the Orlando game (one was empty net) and now has allowed 10 shorthanded goals in 20 games played. The 10 shorties allowed is twice as many as any other team in the ECHL. Allen’s power play has scored 14 goals this season but has allowed 10 shorthanded goals for a net +4 over 74 power play opportunities. Coach Martinson will be making some changes to the power play units in both makeup and time on ice. Players that work hard at both ends of the ice will be getting more power play time.
– I have had several questions concerning the postponement of the game against Orlando on Saturday. The bottom line is the game was postponed because Orlando didn’t have the minimum of 13 skaters. The Solar Bears were at the 13 player minimum Friday night but had a player injured in the game so were down to 12 skaters. Coach Martinson was asked to help identify players that could be signed by Orlando and be available Saturday. Martinson told me he found three players, two from SPHL teams and one local player but Orlando opted not sign them, thus the game was postponed.
– The impact of the new COVID variant (Omicron) is causing changes at all levels of hockey. The NHL has paused its season briefly and withdrawn from the Beijing Olympics. The NHL has postponed 49 games this season with 44 coming in the last two weeks. More than 15% of the league’s players are in COVID protocol.
– The AHL is postponing games and also recalling players from ECHL teams because of players in COVID protocol.
– Yesterday Newfoundland implemented a new policy that will affect the Growlers. Fully vaccinated travelers now have to isolate for five days and complete a rapid test all five days starting on the day of arrival. Isolation ends if all five tests are negative, and five days (120 hours) have passed since arrival. Some teams are reducing capacity at games and it sounds like more changes are likely.
– Teams in Scotland (Dyson Stevenson , Colton Yellow Horn) and Wales (Matt Register, Josh Lammon) will play with no fans in the stands. While the government in both countries will provide some financial support, it is uncertain if these team can keep competing if this goes on too long.
– I also heard a rumor yesterday that Canadian college hockey (U Sports) is considering shutting down. This could free up a lot of college players to turn pro.
– Bottom line is a lot of moving parts that could impact the Allen roster. One thing is certain is Steve Martinson will be working overtime to improve his roster if opportunities arise. It is during these uncertain times that experience, networks, connections and hard work pays off.
– Per coach Martinson, Chad Butcher, who has been on reserve for over a month taking care of personal issues at home, is on his way back to Allen and will be available for the Americans next game (12/29 at Wichita). Zach Hall, who has been on injured reserve, should also be ready for the game in Wichita.
– Averaging a point per game is a high standard that very few players accomplish for a full season. Thus far this season six Allen players are averaging a point per game. Here is the list with games played in parenthesis:
2.00 – Luke Henman (3 games)1.45 – Gavin Gould (11 games)1.40 – Jack Combs (10 games)1.33 – Ryan Lohin (6 games)1.10 – Chad Costello (20 games)1.00 – Branden Troock (14 games)
DID YOU KNOW: Allen has played 20 games, so 28% of the season is in the books. Just five players have played in all 20 games (Chad Costello, Spencer Asuchak, Jared Bethune, Ben Carroll, Kris Myllari). These five players have a chance to join one of the toughest clubs possible, the Ironman Club, by playing in every game this season. Congrats and stick taps to all Allen Ironmen past and present! It is a very exclusive club.
2020-21 – Les Lancaster2019-20 – None2018-19 – Spencer Asuchak2017-18 – Joel Chouinard, Casey Pierro-Zabotel2016-17 – Chad Costello, Joel Chouinard2015-16 – Chad Costello2014-15 – Chad Costello, Aaron Gens, Jamie Schaafsma2013-14 – Spencer Asuchak, Daniel Tetrault, Mike Berube2012-13 – Jamie Schaafsma, Jason Deitsch2011-12 – Jason Deitsch2010-11 – Colton Yellow Horn, David Strathman2009-10 – Bruce Graham, Christian Gaudet