If you wrote a script for an ECHL series to make it exciting, you might include the following factors:
- Teams fighting for a playoff spot
- Teams with identical .500 points percentage
- Teams with a long rivalry, one wins championships, one wins franchise of the year awards
- One team on a three game losing streak, one on a three game winning streak
- One team leading the league in penalty minutes, the other leading the league in fights
- Make the teams play five straight games to add to the drama
- Bring back your AHL contracted goalie with a 6-2-1-0 record, 2.74 GAA and .928 save percentage for the series
- One head coach with 1105 wins and one coach with 52
– The script may sound unrealistic, but it is exactly what will play out between Allen and Kansas City starting tonight at the CUTX Event Center. The first of five games between two teams scrambling for a playoff spot in the Mountain Division.
– Allen comes into the series with the most to prove. The Americans have lost three straight games, the Mavericks have won three straight. The teams have played three times this season and Kansas City has won all of them:
- Allen 2 @Kansas City 3 SO (January 15)
- Kansas City 7 @Allen 4 (November 13)
- Allen 5 @Kansas City 7 (November 6)
– If you compare averages per game, Allen scores more than Kansas City (3.2 vs 3.0) but also allows more goals (3.6 vs 3.4). The Americans take fewer shots (28.1 vs 32.9) and allow more shots (35.2 vs 31.4) than Kansas City.
– Both teams have struggled scoring goals recently. Kansas City has won three straight games but two of the wins were 2-0 and 2-1. In their the last five games the Mavericks have scored just 11 goals, an average of 2.2 per game. Allen has lost three straight but two of the loses were 3-1 and 2-1. Allen has scored one or two goals in five of the last nine game.
– Allen ran into the reigning ECHL Goalie of the Month against Tulsa last weekend. In the Kansas City series the Americans will face the reigning ECHL Goalie of the Week, Danil Chechelev who was 2-0 last weeks with a 0.50 GAA and .988 save percentage.
– Special teams will play an important role in this five game series. If you look at overall stats the Americans have a slight edge on the power play (19.1% vs 17.8%) and penalty kill (79.5% vs 78.5%). Allen’s special teams have been improving as the season has progressed and that could be key against the Mavericks. Kansas City is the most penalized team in the ECHL. They have taken 271 minor penalties compared to Allen’s 170. If you compare misconduct penalties (10 minute and game) the Mavericks have 28 compared to six by Allen. If the Americans can take advantage of the lack of discipline by the Mavericks by winning the special teams battles, Allen will have success.
– Can’t talk special teams without bringing up shorthanded goals because Allen leads the league in allowing shorties. The Americans have allowed 15 shorthanded goals, Kansas City has allowed just five. Allen had scored six shorthanded goals, Kansas City five.
– If any of the games in this series go extra time a big advantage goes to Kansas City. The Mavericks are 4-1 in overtime, Allen is 0-5. The Americans are 1-1 in shootouts, Kansas City is 2-0.
– The referee scheduled for tonight is Alec Rounds (#7). I would expect he will be in Allen for all three games. In his two prior games in Allen this season, Rounds called 20 penalties (12 power play opportunities) in a game against Wichita and 11 penalties (6 power play opportunities) in a game against Orlando. Would expect there will be plenty of power play opportunities tonight.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“Antoine Bibeau has been assigned to Allen for a few games. He will get the start in goal tonight.”
“It will be good to get Eric Roy back in the lineup tonight and Chad Butcher on Thursday.”
“I will make some changes to the power play tonight and more when Butcher returns.”
“The line combinations will also change when Butcher gets back in the lineup.”
– Chad Costello was given credit for a third assist in the overtime loss to Tulsa on Saturday and now leads the ECHL in scoring with 47 points (18G, 29A). Chad is the only player in ECHL history to win three scoring championships and has a chance to make it number four this season.
– The AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, Coachella Valley Firebirds, will start play next season. If the Americans are still affiliated with the Kraken next season, the Firebirds will become a familiar name in Allen. Here are some of the details on the Firebirds arena which is under construction:
- Name – Acrisure Arena (Acrisure is a financial services company)
- Location – Thousand Palms, CA
- Hockey Capacity – 9918
- Projected Cost – $250,000,000
- Schedules Completion – Fall 2022
Here is a video about the new arena: https://youtu.be/YGGYXl0yll4
– It sounds like the Firebirds will have something in common with the Allen Americans. Because of construction delays the arena will not open in time for the start of the AHL season. In 2009-10 the construction of the Allen Event Center was not complete so the Americans played the first seven games in franchise history on the road. The Firebirds arena may not be ready until December. AHL President had this to say in his recent interview, “The challenge will be when can they (Firebirds) play their first home game? That is still to be determined. Certainly we expect it to be in the fall some time, but are they going to have to spend a couple of weeks on the road? Six weeks on the road? We don’t know the answer to that.”
– The Toledo Walleye have a substantial lead in the ECHL standings with a .720 points percentage. Second place is Reading (.676) and third place is Jacksonville (.628). The Walleye have to be the favorite to win the Brabham Cup as the best regular season team. Is winning the Brabham Cup the kiss of death, is there a Brabham Cup curse? The regular season champion hasn’t won the Kelly Cup since 2014 (Alaska).
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about high scoring rookies. Gavin Gould was one of the top rookies in the league until an injury put him out for the season. His speed, ability to finish, along with his puck battle skills and willingness to finish every check is certainly missed.
38 ECHL players are averaging more than one point per game (minimum 20 games). Just seven of the 38 are rookies. Here are the ECHL rookies averaging more than one point per game:1.45 – Kris Bennett, Iowa1.17 – Brandon Cutler, Utah1.08 – Yauheni Aksiantsiuk, Idaho1.05 – Orrin Centazzo, Newfoundland1.04 – Gavin Gould, Allen1.04 – Benjamin Tardiff, Utah1.03 – Jack Doremus, Tulsa
The post Allen vs Kansas City Series Preview, Bibeau Returns, Coach’s Corner and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.