The Allen Americans had a good night last night even though they were idle. There are four teams vying for the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division and Allen was the only one that didn’t lose last night. The Americans could have been in last place in the division this morning had Tulsa, Wichita and Kansas City won last. Since they all lost in regulation, Allen is now in fifth place in the division and within striking distance of fourth place. Here are the points percentages:
- .520 – Tulsa
- .500 – Allen
- .490 – Wichita
- .480 – Kansas City
– If Allen wins tonight in Cincinnati the Americans points percentage will .5102. If Tulsa loses tonight at home against Rapid City in regulation time, its points percentage will be .5100. It is possible Allen could be in a playoff spot by the end of today.
– Being in a playoff spot can’t be the goal for the Americans, if they would like to be a factor in the Kelly Cup playoffs. Allen needs to start playing better hockey and put some winning streaks together. Backing into a playoff spot with a points percentage just above .500 will not cut it.
– The only task coach Martinson was concerned about when I talked to him this morning was finding a way to win the game tonight (6:35 pm Allen time) in Cincinnati.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“I plan to mix up the lines tonight to try and get a better balance of physicality and puck pursuit on all three lines.”
“For us to be successful we need to put more pressure on the puck and play better defensively. Playing defense is a personal choice. When players don’t but pressure on the puck, don’t back check and don’t hit, they either don’t care or aren’t smart.”
“We need to be ready right from the start. Cincinnati had a lot of chances in the first period on Thursday that Bibeau saved. We have to get off to a better start tonight.
“Antoine Bibeau will get the start in goal.”
“With Kneen loaned to Charlotte, we will have five defensemen tonight and 11 forwards. Kolten Olynek will be back in the lineup and Jared Bethune will help out at defense if needed.”
“I talked to Chad Butcher yesterday and he should be ready to go when we play Idaho at home next week.”
“Ben Carroll will not be ready next week. He will be out for at least two more weeks.”
– The stats certainly back up the comments from Martinson. Allen has scored first in less than half of its games (23 of 48). While Allen has improved recently it is still ranked #22 in average goals allowed at 3.50.
– Allen was outshot in every period on Thursday and 35-27 for the game. The Americans haven’t lost a game in regulation all season when outshooting their opponent on the road (5-0-1-0). When they get outshot on the road, Allen’s record is 5-10-2-0. Generating more shots would be big in the game tonight.
– The referee scheduled tonight is Matt Menniti (#10). He was not the referee on Thursday.
The Americans will be down to five defensemen as Nolan Kneen played just one game and then headed back to Charlotte yesterday. That wasn’t the plan when Kneen was sent back to Allen but a roster change in Charlotte had them asking for his return. Don’t forget, Kneen is not under contract (SPC) with Charlotte, he is on loan from Allen.
– The ECHL season is quickly winding down with several teams having less than 25% remaining after this weekend. The cream is rising to the top in most divisions. Four teams (Newfoundland, Jacksonville, Toledo, Wheeling) have won eight of their last 10 games and they are all first or second in the division. Two teams outside of the playoffs but playing well with seven wins in the last 10 games, are Iowa and Wichita.
– The ECHL Stats post today (see below) is about veteran players that have recently hit major milestones. Steve Martinson has also just hit a couple of milestones recently. In the ECHL Official Guide and Record Book for 2021-22, Section 9, Coaching Register, it starts out recognizing Steve Martinson. It says, “Allen Americans head coach Steve Martinson enters the 2021-22 season fourth all-time in ECHL history with 483 regular-season wins and fifth with 854 game coached. Martinson is third in ECHL history with 53 postseason wins and second with 99 postseason games coached.”
Martinson has 21 wins this season and recently became just the third coach in ECHL history to reach the 500 win plateau. He also just reached the 900 ECHL games coached milestone, which is fourth all-time.
Martinson’s overall pro coaching records are umatched. He has two ECHL championships but has a total of 10 championships, won in four different leagues. His total wins as a pro coach now stands at 1109.
– There are 12 games on the schedule around the ECHL tonight. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/news/2022/2/echl-today-feb-26
DID YOU KNOW: Sure, it’s fun watching rookies, young development players and NHL/AHL contracted players, but core veteran players make the ECHL tick. Here are recent milestones for some of these great players. ECHL Hall of Fame credentials for all of them. Current team is in parenthesis:1000 pro games: Derek Nesbitt (Atlanta)1000 pro points: Jesse Schultz (Cincinnati)800 ECHL games: Michael Pelech (Atlanta)700 pro games, 900 pro points: Chad Costello (Allen)700 ECHL games: Justin Taylor (Kalamazoo)