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Allen vs Rapid City Playoff History, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Possible First Round Upsets and More

Tuesday, April 19th
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The excitement of winning on Saturday and making it into the Kelly Cup playoffs has given way to the preparation for the first round of the playoffs against Rapid City. I talked to Steve Martinson this morning and he shared the following information:

“We will be bussing to Rapid City and will leave on Wednesday at 6:00 pm.”

“I have requested ice time in Rapid City on Thursday afternoon as some players like to skate after the long bus ride.”

“I won’t know until after practice tomorrow who is going on the trip. Since it is a long trip and we only play two games, it doesn’t make sense to take players that are doubtful or day to day.”

“We will practice today and tomorrow as we prepare for this series. Having six days to prepare is a luxury, it gives us extra time to review video and put a game plan together.”

– Allen has a long history against Rapid City dating back to the Americans first season in 2009-10. However, in all of those years the teams have met in the playoffs only two times.

  • 2010 – The Central Hockey League was divided into two conferences. Rapid City was the #1 seed in the North Conference and Allen was the #2 seed in the South Conference. The teams ended up meeting in the Championship finals. Allen beat Laredo (4-3) and Odessa (4-3) to get to the finals. Rapid City beat Missouri (4-0) and Bossier-Shrevport (4-3) to make it to the finals. The Americans took a 2-1 lead in the series before Rapid City reeled off three straight wins to win the series 4-3 and take home the Presidents’ Cup.
  • 2015 – The only other playoff meeting between Allen and Rapid City came in the first season after the CHL joined the ECHL. Both teams were in what was called the Central Division at the time. Allen was the #1 seed and Rapid City was the #2 seed. Allen beat Tulsa 4-1 and Rapid City beat Quad City 4-3 to set up the Division Final. Allen beat Rapid City 4-2 before going on to beat Ontario (4-3) and South Carolina (4-3) to win the Americans first Kelly Cup.

– Allen clearly has more playoff experience than Rapid City going into this series. Seven players on the Allen roster have playoff experience with the Americans. Allen’s #1 and #2 all time leaders in playoff games are Spencer Asuchak, with three championships and 73 playoff games as an Allen American and Chad Costello, who is right behind Spencer with two Kelly Cups and 60 playoff games.

– Since Allen and Rapid City met in 2015 the Rush have not made the ECHL playoffs until this season. Allen has been to four playoffs, played in 49 playoff games and won a second Kelly Cup.

– If you look at coaching experience this series has a first year head coach with 36 regular season wins  against a head coach that has won 1123 regular season games and has won 10 championships.

– The most important question is whether Allen’s player and coaching experience advantage can overcome the Americans underdog status in this series. Rapid City has the higher seed, home ice advantage and a record of 3-1-0-1 against Allen this season.

– There are some interesting match ups in the first round of the playoffs. There are always first round upsets and if you look at all the series, some higher seeds may be more likely to struggle than others. I took a look at regular season records for each series:

  • NORTH DIVISION
  • #1 Reading is 3-3-0-0 vs #4 Maine
  • #2 Newfoundland is 10-3-1-0 vs #3 Trois-Riviéres
  • SOUTH DIVISION
  • #1 Florida is 5-5-0-0 vs #4 Greenville
  • #2 Atlanta is 7-3-0-1 vs #3 Jacksonville
  •  CENTRAL DIVISION
  • #1 Toledo is 6-1-0-0 vs #4 Cincinnati
  • #2 Fort Wayne is 7-1-2-0 vs #3 Wheeling
  • MOUNTAIN DIVISION
  • #1 Utah is 4-3-1-0 VS #4 Tulsa
  • #2 Rapid City is 3-1-0-1 vs #3 Allen

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about Rookies of the Year. Gavin Gould led all Allen rookies with 29 points, even though he played in just 28 games. If you take his points per game average over the 23 games he played in Allen (he played 5 games in Greenville) over a full 72 game season he would have 81 points. Hopefully he returns next season.

Congrats to Iowa’s Kris Bennett, named ECHL Rookie of the Year (ROY) yesterday. Bennett won the rookie scoring title by 14 points and joins an exclusive club of standout Rookie of the Year winners who won the rookie scoring title by more than 10 points (since 2007-08):2021-22 – Kris Bennett, Iowa won by 14 points2019-20 – Tyler Sheehy, Allen, won by 15 points2011-12 – Dustin Gazley, Elmira, won by 19 points2009-10 – Justin Donati, Elmira, won by 29 points2008-09 – Bryan Ewing, Wheeling, won by 17 points2007-08 – David Desharnais, Cincinnati, won by 22 points

The post Allen vs Rapid City Playoff History, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Possible First Round Upsets and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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