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Coach’s Corner with Steve Martinson Plus Some Daily Dish

Tuesday, April 12th
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COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON

 “This stomach flu is still causing issues for some players. I won’t know who will be able to play in the first game against Iowa until tomorrow morning.”

“Justin Young being released yesterday was the process you have to use when a player has played five games or 10 days under the ATO (Amateur Try Out) immigration rules. He will now be signed to a SPC (Standard Player Contract).”

“We will have a light practice today with quite a few players not participating. I will go over video of the goals against from the last game before we take the ice.”

“Playoff rosters can be a maximum of 24 players, 20 on the active roster and four on reserve. The 20 active players must fit under the salary cap.”

“I am only concerned about what I have control of and that is trying to beat Iowa this week. We are in control of our own destiny and don’t need help from any other team if we take care of business against Iowa.”

DAILY DISH

I will have a complete Allen vs Iowa series preview tomorrow so today will be a bunch of this and that covering a lot of miscellaneous items.

– The Mountain Division is down to the final two or three regular season games and still only one team (Utah) has qualified for the playoffs. Kansas City and Wichita are the only teams out of the playoff picture.

– Whenever I hear Wichita fans talking about the intense rivalry between Allen and Wichita, I always think it hasn’t been much of a rivalry on the ice. The Americans have dominated Wichita since the teams joined the ECHL in 2014. Allen has won two Kelly Cups while Wichita has only made the playoffs twice. Here is Allen’s record against Wichita for each season since the teams joined the ECHL.

  • 2014-15: 9-2-3-3
  • 2015-16: 13-0-0-0
  • 2016-17: 11-2-1-0
  • 2017-18: 6-6-0-0
  • 2018-19: 8-4-0-2
  • 2019-20: 8-1-3-0
  • 2020-21: 7-3-1-0
  • 2021-22: 10-7-0-0

You add it all up and the Americans record against Wichita in the eight seasons since the teams joined the ECHL is a one sided 72-25-8-5, which computes to a point percentage of .714.

– Allen, Idaho, Rapid City and Tulsa all have critical games this week, which will determine the teams that will join Utah in the playoffs. Here is what is happening with all four teams:

  • Allen has three games at home against Iowa. It is the only matchup of teams from two different divisions. The teams have never met. Iowa is out of the playoff picture. If the Americans sweep Iowa they could finish as high as second place. If Allen gets swept they could finish out of the playoffs.
  • Idaho has two games on the road against Utah, the top team in the division. Idaho’s record against Utah this season is 7-7-0-0. The two games are important for Utah in order to clinch the #1 seed in the division.
  • Rapid City has three games at home against Tulsa. The Rush has a record of 5-5-0-0 against Tulsa. The series is critical for Rapid City who could win the division with a sweep of Tulsa or miss the playoffs in they get swept by Tulsa.
  • Tulsa is on the road for three games against Rapid City. With a sweep they will finish in second place in the division. If they get swept that could miss the playoffs. Tulsa is 5-5-0-0 against Rapid City this season.

–  The ECHL MVP award usually goes to the leading scorer, but not always. Going into the final week of the season, here are the leading scorers:

  • 83 points, Will Graber, Fort Wayne
  • 78 points, Zach O’Brien, Newfoundland
  • 77 points, Patrick Watling, Wheeling
  • 76 points, TJ Hensick, Toledo
  • 71 points, Kris Bennett, Iowa

– Allen fans will have a chance to see Kris Bennett when Iowa comes to town this week. Bennett is a lock for the ECHL Rookie of the Year. He leads all ECHL players in goals (35) and has a 12 points lead in the rookie scoring race. This despite playing only 47 games. Keep an eye on #20 if you watch the Allen games against Iowa, as Bennett averages a ridiculous .77 goals per game.

 – Talk about a player that has scored a lot of points in a few games, the Defensemen of the Year in the ECHL typically goes to the defenseman with the most points. Ben Finkelstein (Newfoundland) leads with 59 points followed by Charle-Edouard D’Astous with 57. Finkelstein has 59 points (11G, 48A) in just 34 games for a points per game average of 1.74. A 1.74 points per game average is unheard of for a defenseman. He leads all ECHL players in points per game average.

– The eight teams that have qualified for the Kelly Cup playoffs have very different styles of play. A case in point is penalty minutes. Fort Wayne is ranked #3 in penalty minutes (1196) and Reading is ranked #27 in penalty minutes (612). Fort Wayne has taken 378 minor penalties compared to 216 by Reading.

–  Of the eight teams that have qualified for the playoffs thus far, only Newfoundland is in the top five in both power play and penalty kill percentage:

  • Power Play – #1 – 28.3%
  • Penalty Kill – #3 – 85.2%

– Charlotte is the top team in the Atlantic Division of the AHL and is poised to make a deep run in the Calder Cup playoffs. The Checkers are the hottest team in the league with a record of 8-1-1-0 over the last 10 games. The only player on the Charlotte roster who is eligible to be assigned to Allen for the playoffs is Antoine Bibeau. He has been the third goalie in Charlotte and has played sparingly. His record in Charlotte is 4-1-2-0. His record in Allen is 7-4-2-0. I would guess coach Martinson will save a spot on the playoff roster just in case Charlotte wants to assign him.

– Allen has five players with 20+ goals this season. Since joining the ECHL in 2014 the Americans have never had more than five 20+ goal scorers in a single season. Here is the list for the last five seasons:

  • 2021-22: Costello (26), Asuchak (25), Troock (24), Combs (20), Leppard (20)
  • 2020-21: Mackin (30), Lancaster (26), Asuchak (21)
  • 2019-20: Sheehy (26), Topping (26), Gagne (24), Guptill (23), VanWormer (22)
  • 2018-19: Pochiro (34), Salituro (22), Shmyr (20)
  • 2017-18: Guptill (27), Moore (21)

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about overtimes in the playoffs. Last season Allen had 43% (3 of 7) of its playoff games go to overtime. The Americans won a double overtime game in the first round in Utah to eliminate the Grizzlies. In the second round Allen lost two overtimes to Fort Wayne including in game two when Fort Wayne came back from a 4-1 deficit in the last 12 minutes of the game. In 3-on-3 overtimes this season, Allen’s record is 2-8.

Based on history, up to 25% of Kelly Cup playoff games will go to 5-on-5 overtime. Here are the eight teams that have qualified for the playoffs (in points percentage order) with their regular season OT records (3-on-3). Is it apples and oranges or will this carry over to the playoffs?8-1 Toledo4–7 Reading2-3 Newfoundland4-6 Florida6-3 Atlanta3-6 Fort Wayne6-2 Utah5-3 Jacksonville

The post Coach’s Corner with Steve Martinson Plus Some Daily Dish appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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