There were seven ECHL games on Wednesday, three on Thursday, nine last night and another 10 tonight but the Allen Americans are on the sidelines waiting for Sunday afternoon (2:05 pm) when they take on the Rapid City Rush. Wichita is also idle not playing until Sunday. Must have been facility conflicts that prevented these teams from playing on the two best nights of the week for attendance. The conflict for Allen is the Dallas Sidekicks who play at home tonight.
– The Americans had another spirited and rather lengthy practice yesterday and from my observation is in a much better place than when they last played at home in the middle of November. You never know if what you see in practice translates to the game tomorrow but there is little doubt this team will be ready to play.
– With an early start on Sunday the team will have a very short practice today, more like an expanded pregame skate. Rapid City played in Tulsa last night (lost 4-2) and will have today to rest up before playing the Americans tomorrow.
– The bottom three in the Mountain Division standings are very tight after last night. Allen was idle, Kansas City won in a shootout and Rapid City lost. The points percentage at the bottom of the division is now Allen (.433), Kansas City (.441) and Rapid City (.447). Kansas City plays Idaho at home tonight and is idle tomorrow. If Allen beats Rapid City on Sunday afternoon they could finish the weekend in fifth place. More importantly a win against Rapid City would be the first time the Americans have won back to back games all season. That’s right, Allen’s longest win streak so far this season is one game.
– Had a chance to talk to Francis “Frank” Marotte after practice yesterday and and clear up two questions I have been asked numerous times. First, while his given name is Francis, he prefers to be called Frank. If you have been using Francis now is the time to switch to Frank. The second question I had for Marotte was why he doesn’t go to the bench during the 75 second timeouts. Instead, he moves out of the goal into the slot and takes a knee. Frank told me it is something he started doing in college. It is a way for him to focus and center himself after the intensity of game action.
– Four of seven Mountain Division arenas have had a name change in the last year or two:
Allen – name changed to CUTX Event Center from buy ambien over the counter Allen Event Center. CUTX stands for Credit Union of Texas.
Rapid City – name changed to The Monument from Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. This was a rebranding between the Civic Center and Monument Health, a community based health care system headquartered in Rapid City.
Idaho – name changed to Idaho Central Arena from CenturyLink Arena. This is another credit union sponsor, Idaho Central Credit Union.
Kansas City – name changed to Cable Dahmer Arena from Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. Cable Dahmer is an automotive group.
– The three hottest teams in the ECHL right now are Trois-Rivières (5-0-0-0), Wheeling (4-0-0-0) and Wichita (8-0-1-0). All three teams were below the playoff cut before these winning streaks. Now Trois-Rivières is in second place (North Division), Wheeling is in fourth place (Central Division) and Wichita is in first place (Mountain Division).
– Average attendance in the ECHL after 222 games is 3692. While attendance is way up from last season (2275) it is way behind 2019-20 (4327) and 2018-19 (4445).
– I will have a complete game preview tomorrow but Rapid City arrives in Allen having lost four of its last five games. Allen has won three of its last six. The Americans won two of three in Rapid City two weeks ago.
– Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of the 10 games on tap tonight: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/12/echl-today-dec-4
– Ryan Lohin was in the lineup for the first time for Charlotte last night and Antoine Bibeau was the backup goalie. The Checkers beat Lehigh Valley 5-3. The Charlotte game tonight against Wilkes-Barre has been postponed along with Rochester at Syracuse, Hershey at Lehigh Valley and Utica at Hartford. A serious COVID breakout with the northeast AHL teams.
DID YOU KNOW: The standings in a nutshell for each ECHL Division, by points percentage:North Division: the most lopsided Division, one team (NFL) is at .824, the other five teams are all below .564 with the bottom team (WOR) at .406. From top to bottom the spread is .418.South Division: the tightest Division, the top team (ORL) is at .605, the bottom team (GRN) is at .500. From top to bottom the spread is .105.Central Division: the haves and have-nots Division, three teams (TOL, FW, KAL) are above .600 and two teams are below .400 (IND, IA). The only teams in the .300’s in the league. From top to bottom the spread is .361Mountain Division: the Division with a top bundle and bottom bundle, three teams are in the .600’s, (WIC, TUL, UTA) and three teams are in .400’s (RC, KC, ALN). From top to bottom the spread is .223.