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Allen’s Challenge the Next Three Weeks, Allen’s Goals and Plus/Minus Leaders for March, Some New Allen Fans, Most Empty Net Goals and More

Tuesday, March 29th
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I was looking at the remaining schedule for Allen, Idaho and Tulsa as they battle for the final two playoff spots in the Mountain Division and the good news and bad news hit me for the first time. The good news is Allen has three games in hand over the other two teams. The bad news is the Americans will have to play their remaining 11 games in the same number of days Idaho and Tulsa play their remaining eight games. With three weeks left in the regular season it means Allen will play four games in five days this week, four games in five days next week before finishing with three game the final week of the season.

– The back-to-back weeks with four games in five days means Allen will play eight games in the next 12 days. It will be crunch time in more than one way. Here is the remaining schedule for Allen, Idaho and Tulsa.

  • ALLEN
  • Mar 30 Kansas City
  • Apr 1    at Kansas City
  • Apr 2    at Tulsa
  • Apr 3    Tulsa
  • Apr 6    Kansas City
  • Apr 8    Kansas City
  • Apr 9    at Wichita
  • Apr 10  at Wichita
  • Apr 13  Iowa
  • Apr 15  Iowa
  • Apr 16  Iowa
  •  IDAHO
  • Mar 30  at Florida
  • Apr 1     at Florida
  • Apr 2     at Florida
  • Apr 6     Utah
  • Apr 8     Utah
  • Apr 9     Utah
  • Apr 15   at Utah
  • Apr 16   at Utah
  • TULSA
  • Apr 1   Wichita
  • Apr 2   Allen
  • Apr 3   at Allen
  • Apr 6   at Wichita
  • Apr 8   Wichita
  • Apr 13  at Rapid City
  • Apr 15  at Rapid City
  • Apr 16  at Rapid City

– Idaho clearly has the toughest schedule with five of eight games on the road and all games against teams headed for the playoffs. Florida has a .635 points percentage and Utah’s is .602. Both of Idaho’s opponents will be highly motivated to make sure they get home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Finishing the season with five straight games against Utah, which is Idaho’s its biggest rival, will be key. Both teams will be highly motivated to secure their place in the standings. Idaho is 6-5-0-0 against Utah this season.

– Tulsa also has five of its remaining eight games on the road. Obviously the two games against Allen will be critical and Tulsa has given Allen trouble this season (7-3-0-0). Wichita is in last place and out of the playoffs so you would think the three games against the Thunder would heavily favor Tulsa, but Wichita is 4-3-2-0 against the Oilers this season. The three games in Rapid City to finish the season will likely be important for both teams.

– Looking at the schedule the Americans have the advantage on paper, but games aren’t played on paper. Allen has eight of its remaining 11 games at home. None of the Americans opponents have a better points percentage than Allen. The two games against Tulsa this week will be critical. The Americans can’t afford to lose ground to the Oilers, so a minimum of two points is essential. The Americans finish the season against Iowa (at home), who will likely be out of the playoff picture by then. Here is Allen’s record against its remaining opponents:

  • 9-6-0-0: Wichita
  • 4-3-0-1: Kansas City
  • 3-5-2-0: Tulsa
  • 0-0-0-0: Iowa

– Allen’s record in the month of March (with one game remaining) is excellent. The Americans have played 11 games in March with a record of 7-3-1-0 and points percentage of .682. Here are the goal leaders and plus/minus leaders in March:

  • GOALS
  • 9 – Josh Winquist
  • 7 – Spencer Asuchak
  • 5 – J.C. Campagna
  • 5 – Branden Troock
  • PLUS/MINUS
  • +7: Jake Kearley
  • +5: Josh Winquist
  • +5: Jared Bethune
  • +4: Jackson Leppard

OTHER COMMENTS

– The ECHL is down to the last three weeks of the regular season and just one team (Toledo) has clinched a playoff spot. If you look at the top two spots in each division, which comes with home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs (best of seven), most are already decided. Mathematically there could still be changes but practically the picture is pretty clear. Here is the status by division:

North – Reading is #1 (.672) and could clinch a playoff spot tomorrow night. Newfoundland is #2 with a points percentage of .647. No other team in the division is above .525. Both of these teams will be very strong in the playoffs.

South – There is a three way battle for the top two spots. Atlanta (.656) and Florida (.635) have the edge over Jacksonville (.615). Atlanta has been surging and Jacksonville has been fading over the last six weeks and Florida is Florida. The Everblades have a recent history of under performing in the playoffs.

Central – Toledo has been the #1 team in the league for most of the season and they will only get stronger in the playoffs when they get a bunch of players back who are currently in the AHL. The Walleye will finish #1 in the division (.702) and Fort Wayne will be #2 (.621), no other teams are close.

Mountain – The Mountain Division is the closest of the four divisions. Utah (.602) has been in front for a long time, but is 6-7-0-0 in the last month. Rapid City is #2 (.587) but has a recent record of 10-2-1-3. Idaho is #3 (.555) and plays Utah the last five games on the season so they could make some noise down the stretch, but it is unlikely.

– Anything can and does happen in the playoffs but if I had to predict at this point it would be that a North Division team will win the Eastern Conference championship and a Central Division team will win in the Western Conference.

– Had my high school friends, Dave & Lin (Dave is my hunting buddy of 60+ years) from Minnesota visiting us recently and took them to the last Allen home game. It was a 3-1 thriller against Wichita  with Jack Combs scoring the winning goal late in the third period. Dave and Lin had a chance to see the game from my glass seats and also from the suite level (thanks Evan). They headed home with some swag for their two grandchildren who play youth hockey. Make it two more Allen Americans fans from the great state of Minnesota:

Ilsa and Louis Sundberg

– Here is a partial list of players from Minnesota that have played for the Allen Americans. I have listed the players in age order. Almost all are younger than current Allen captain, Chad Costello, who will be 36 in July:

  • 37 – Riley Gill
  • 37 – Jim McKenzie
  • 36 – Phil Fox
  • 35 – Aaron Gens
  • 34 – Brian McMillin
  • 34 – Kyle Follmer
  • 32 – Tyler Barnes
  • 31 – Tristan King
  • 30 – JP LaFontaine
  • 26 – Tyler Sheehy
  • 26 – Phil Beaulieu
  • 26 – Mike Brodzinski
  • 24 – Jack Sadek

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about empty net goals. Allen has nine empty net goals this season led by Chad Costello with three.

Hard to find any ECHL stat with a seven way tie for the lead. That is the case for empty net goals that range from a low of 3 (Cincinnati) to a high of 13. Here are the seven teams with 13 empty net goals this season:AtlantaIndyJacksonvilleNewfoundlandToledoUtahWorcester– All but Indy are in playoff positions.

The post Allen’s Challenge the Next Three Weeks, Allen’s Goals and Plus/Minus Leaders for March, Some New Allen Fans, Most Empty Net Goals and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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