It is game day and another critical weekend for the Allen Americans as they try to move into a playoff spot in the Mountain Division. A great opportunity to do just that as the Americans take on the team just ahead of them in the standings, Tulsa Oilers, in a home and home series. The teams play in Allen tonight and in Tulsa tomorrow night.
– In case you were wondering, the game is definitely being played tonight. The Americans put that out on social media yesterday and this morning shared the officials are already in Allen. It is a same day trip for Tulsa, heard the Oilers are scheduled to leave at 11:00 am so they will have plenty of time to make the 230 mile journey to Allen. The referee scheduled is Matt Menniti (#10) who was the referee on Wednesday against Wichita, so he just stayed in Allen. He called 10 penalties on Wednesday, all minors, with five against each team.
– Allen has played Tulsa five times this season, all in the month of January. Here are the results of the prior games:
- January 16: Allen 8 @ Tulsa 0
- January 14: Allen 1 @ Tulsa 2 (OT)
- January 12: Tulsa 4 @ Allen 1
- January 8: Allen 2 @ Tulsa 4
- January 7: Tulsa 3 @ Allen 6
The easy conclusion to draw from the five games in January is if Allen scores two or fewer goals they are going to lose, if they score four or more they will win. Allen is not the type of team that is going to win 1-0 or 2-1 games. It has happened once this season when Allen scored two or fewer goals in a game and won. They have lost 15 of 16.
– Coach Martinson mentioned yesterday how the team has been inconsistent taking two steps forward and then two steps back. If you look at Allen’s record since the end of December it certainly bears that out. The Americans won five straight, then lost eight of nine, then beat Newfoundland three straight before the 3-1 home loss to Wichita on Wednesday. The question is whether this weekend will start a winning streak or a losing streak.
– Here is a comparison between Allen and Tulsa:
- Points Percentage: Allen’s .513, Tulsa .551
- Last 10 games: Allen 4-5-0-1, Tulsa 6-4-0-0
- Goals Scored: Allen 123, Tulsa 120
- Goals Allowed: Allen 137, Tulsa 116
- Goal Differential: Allen -14, Tulsa +4
- Power Play Percentage: Allen 18.8%, Tulsa 14.8%
- Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 80.9%, Tulsa 82.4%
– The stats above are season long stats and in Allen’s case, it got off to such a poor start on special teams, the stats are skewed. The Americans penalty kill unit has allowed just one goal in the last 11 games for a penalty kill percentage of 96.6%. Over the last nine games the power play percentage is 22.9%.
– In the five head to head games last month against Tulsa the Americans were 5-18 (27.8%) on the power play and Tulsa was 4-14 (28.6%). Both teams had two power play goals twice in the five games.
– The team that scored first has won four of the five previous games between these teams.
– If you are looking for players to watch tonight the veterans have led both teams in scoring in this series. Adam Pleskach has always played well against Allen. He leads Tulsa with two goals and five assists in the five games against Allen this season. Allen’s top scorers in the five games against Tulsa the season are Chad Costello with 10 points (5G, 5A), Jack Combs with eight points (1G, 7A) and Spencer Asuchak with seven points (3G, 4A). Maybe Combs and Costello play well against Tulsa because they played for the Oilers in 2010-11. The Allen stats are lofty, in part, because the Americans beat Tulsa 8-0 the last time they played the Oilers.
– Allen’s success tonight is directly proportional to the performance of the top line (Costello-Asuchak-Combs), especially given so many players are out of the lineup. The last time Allen played Tulsa these three players accounted for three goals and 11 assists on the way to an 8-0 win. On Wednesday they had no points and Allen lost 3-1. These three have close to 1000 (979) ECHL games played, more than the rest of the roster combined. They will have to lead and produce if the Americans want to take two steps forward this weekend.
– While the top line has to lead, they can’t do it alone. Allen needs all three lines contributing to win against a team like Tulsa who throws a lot of shots at the net.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“I won’t know until I get to the rink and talk to some players how many skaters we will have tonight. It is possible we could have a full lineup of 16 skaters.”
“Luke Peressini will get the start in goal.”
“We have been playing better defensively but we need to generate more offensive and we have to do that without cheating.”
“We will get in trouble if players cheat to score.”
– The odd stat of the days is there were four games in the ECHL last night and the road team won all four and the home teams had trouble scoring. Newfoundland lost 9-2, Orlando lost 4-1, Trois-Riviéres lost 2-1 in OT and Utah lost 4-1.
– The Charlotte roster now shows 17 forwards, 12 defensemen and four goalies after the Checkers got players back from the now disbanded AHL taxi squads. I know Charlotte has some injuries, but it would sure be nice to get some players playing time by sending a few to Allen.
– A big night in the ECHL with 11 games on the schedule. In addition to the Tulsa at Allen game, other Mountain Division teams in action include Rapid City at Kansas City, Idaho at Wichita and Jacksonville at Utah. Here are the ECHL Today previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/2/echl-today-feb-4
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the rule that suspends players after 10 fights. Allen players are not close to this threshold, Dawson Butt has five, Darian Skeoch four and Andrew Jarvis has three. Jarvis had three fights in the last eight games before he was injured. At that rate he will have to slow down, given Allen still has 34 games to play in the regular season.
Two ECHL players now have eight fights, three players have seven and another seven players have six fights. Teams vary but all have at least 40% of the season remaining. It may be time to remind everyone of ECHL Rule 23.7:In regular League games, any player who incurs a total of ten (10) fighting major penalties shall be suspended automatically for the next League game of his team. For each subsequent fighting major penalty the player shall be suspended automatically for the next League game of his team.In regular League games, any player who incurs a total of fourteen (14) fighting major penalties shall then be suspended automatically for the next two (2) League games of his team. For each subsequent fighting major penalty the player shall be suspended automatically for the next two (2) League games of his team. In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major penalty assessed shall not count towards the player’s total for the purpose of this rule.