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Getaway Day, Travel Roster, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Bad Things Come In Threes, Playoff Primer and More

Thursday, March 24th
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It seems like I say this every week but it is definitely true this week. It will be a critical week for the Allen Americans as they fly to Toledo this morning for three games against the Walleye on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Game time on Friday and Saturday is 6:15 pm (Allen time – CDT) with a Sunday start time of 4:15.

– This season has been plagued by injuries and every time it looks like the team is getting healthier somebody else gets injured. This has been especially true for the defensive group which seems to always be playing shorthanded. In five of Allen’s last seven games the Americans played with four or five defensemen. Forward Jared Bethune, who has never played defense prior to this season, has pitched in many times on the blueline to help out.

– It looked like things would be better for the trip to Toledo with Ben Carroll returning to the lineup but then Allen had more set backs. The Americans best puck moving defensemen, Eric Roy, was injured and won’t return until the playoffs. Jake Kearly is also out for a couple of weeks with an injury.

– Making the playoffs is completely in the hands of the Allen Americans, but they got no help last night as Idaho beat Wichita 7-4 (at home) and Tulsa beat Utah 4-2 (in Utah). The same teams play again on Friday and Saturday.

– Allen is still in the fourth playoff spot but by the slimmest of margins. Here is the latest standings by points percentage with wins above .500 in parenthesis. One of these teams will not make the playoffs.

  • .540 – Idaho (5 games)
  • .526 – Allen (3 games)
  • .524 – Tulsa (3 games)

– If it seems to you whatever can go wrong does go wrong this season, you are not alone. Yesterday was a perfect example of bad news coming in three’s. The hope of Idaho and Tulsa losing and helping Allen went down the drain last night. Earlier in the day, when I attended practice, it became clear the Americans could be playing shorthanded on defense again. Eric Roy and Jake Kearley will not make the trip to Toledo and Darian Skeoch is still day to day, but will make the trip. Then to make matters worse, I found out after practice that Joe Garreffa, who played 18 games for Allen last season and had 21 points (9G, 12A) has been assigned by San Jose to Tulsa.

– Garreffa was put up for reassignment by San Jose so he could have gone to any ECHL team. Of course, Allen was never an option because of what happened last season when San Jose severed its relationship with Allen and pulled it players from the Americans and sent them to Orlando. It really hurts because it didn’t have to happen and to make it worse Garreffa ends up in Tulsa. Here is the quote from Tulsa coach, Rob Murray, about acquiring Garreffa.

“Joe brings a lot of speed and scoring to our lineup. I coached against him when he was in Allen last season. I can tell you I held my breath every time he was on the ice. I am really excited to get him here!”

– No time to focus on the woulda, coulda, shoulda with three road games against the #1 team in the ECHL staring you in the face. Here are the players that will make the trip to Toledo today. Allen will enter the series with as strong a forward lineup as they have had all season. Having defenseman Ben Carroll back after being out since February 11 is huge given Roy and Kearley are out.

Goalies

  • #31 – Luke Peressini
  • #40 – Frank Marotte

Defensemen

  • #3 – Darian Skeoch
  • #4 – Kris Mylari
  • #20 – Ben Carroll
  • #23 – Nick Albano
  • #24 – Nolan Kneen
  • #25 – Phil Beaulieu

Forwards

  • #9 – Josh Winquist
  • #10 – Jackson Leppard
  • #11 – Branden Troock
  • #13 – Chad Costello
  • #16 – J.C. Campagna
  • #17 – Chad Butcher
  • #18 – JD Dudek
  • #19 – Jared Bethune
  • #21 – Jack Combs
  • #26 – Spencer Asuchak
  • #41 – Tyler Poulsen
  • #44 – Ryan Lohin

– I will have a complete series preview tomorrow but Allen should go into this series feeling pretty good. Yes, Toledo is the #1 team in the ECHL with a .703 overall points percentage (.690 at home), but the Walleye have played similar to Allen recently. Over the last eight games Allen is 6-2-0-0 and Toledo is 5-3-0-0. Toledo hasn’t won more than two games in a row since February 25.

– I had a chance to check in with coach Martinson at the airport just before the team took off for Toledo and asked him for his thoughts on the series this weekend:

“I look at this series as a battle of two teams that are similar. High end, veteran, skilled teams.”

“Toledo has been #1 in points percentage for a long time, but how teams play down the stretch is important. The series will be a good test to see where we are at.”

“Our forward group is the best we have had all season. All three lines are capable of scoring on every shift.

“This series is like a playoff series for us. To beat good teams like Toledo we will have to play consistent, disciplined hockey at both ends of the ice.”

OTHER COMMENTS

– While mathematically there are a lot of different scenarios how the Mountain Division could end up, realistically two teams are vying for the top spot, three teams are vying for the final two playoff spots and two teams are trying to avoid last place. Here are the latest Mountain Division standings with games remaining in parenthesis:

  • .605 – Utah (10 games)
  • .583 – Rapid City (12 games)
  • .540 – Idaho (10 games)
  • .526 – Allen (14 games)
  • .524 – Tulsa (10 games)
  • .492 – Kansas City (8 games)
  • .459 – Wichita (11 games)

– How good is the forward group on this trip? Eight players are averaging .90+ points per game including five averaging more than a point per game. As a group of 12, their points per game average is a lofty .80 points per game.

– Who are the hottest teams in the ECHL right now? Two teams have a record of 8-2-0-0  over the last 10 games, Atlanta and Newfoundland.

– It will be a large and wild crowd in Toledo this weekend. The Walleye are #1 in attendance averaging 7328 per game. Allen is ranked #19 in attendance, averaging 3047 per game.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about the Kelly Cup playoffs. If the playoffs started today Allen would play Utah in a seven game series.

KELLY CUP PLAYOFF PRIMERThe top four teams in each division, based on points percentage, will qualify for the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs.In the Division Semifinals, the first-place finisher in each division will play the fourth-place team while the second-place team meets the third-place finisher. The two winners in each series will meet in the Division Finals.The winner of the North Division Finals will meet the winner of the South Division Finals in the Eastern Conference Finals while the winners of the Central Division Finals and Mountain Division Finals will meet in the Western Conference Finals.The 2022 Kelly Cup Finals will feature the Eastern Conference champion taking the Western Conference champion.All series in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs will be best-of-seven series.April 18 – Playoff rosters dueApril 20 – Kelly Cup playoffs begin

The post Getaway Day, Travel Roster, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Bad Things Come In Threes, Playoff Primer and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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