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The Calm Before the Storm, The Playoff Push, The Role of the Equipment Manager, Allen’s 30 Goal Scorers and ECHL Bad Boys

Tuesday, April 5th
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It is the calm before the storm before another four games in five days for the Allen Americans. When Sunday rolls around the Americans will have played a brutal eight games in 12 days. This week starts with two home games against Kansas City on Wednesday and Friday and finishes with two games in Wichita on Saturday and Sunday. The good news about playing four games this week is Allen has the opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the two teams it is battling for playoff spots. Tulsa plays only two games this week and Idaho plays three. Here are the current points percentages for the three teams, figured to the fourth place since they are so close. Remember, the top two make the playoffs:

  • .5448 – Idaho
  • .5385 – Allen
  • .5373 – Tulsa

– I have sliced and diced the remaining schedules various ways. You can see Allen has the advantage in home versus road games. The Americans have five of seven games at home, Idaho has three of five at home and Tulsa has one of five at home. Here is the remaining schedule with each opponent’s record over the last 10 games and current points percentage:

  • ALLEN
  • Apr 6    Kansas City (2-4-3-1, .485)
  • Apr 8    Kansas City
  • Apr 9    at Wichita (2-7-1-0, .454)
  • Apr 10  at Wichita
  • Apr 13  Iowa (2-6-2-0, .477)
  • Apr 15  Iowa
  • Apr 16  Iowa
  •  IDAHO
  • Apr 6     Utah (5-5-0-0, .590)
  • Apr 8     Utah
  • Apr 9     Utah
  • Apr 15   at Utah
  • Apr 16   at Utah
  •  TULSA
  • Apr 6   at Wichita (2-7-1-0, .454)
  • Apr 8   Wichita
  • Apr 13  at Rapid City (6-2-1-1, .591)
  • Apr 15  at Rapid City
  • Apr 16  at Rapid City

–  I had chance to talk to coach Martinson briefly this morning as he was headed to the rink for the official team photo session that will take place before he has a light practice. It is too early to know what players will and won’t be available for the game against Kansas City tomorrow night. With players battling the flu bug, players getting MRIs and players working to return from injuries, it is a day to day decision on who will be able to play on Wednesday. Stay tuned for the game preview tomorrow.

– The Mountain Division isn’t the only division with extremely tight races for the final playoff spots. All four divisions will not decide the final playoff spots until the last weekend and some not until the last game of the season. Here is a breakdown of the points percentages for the other three divisions:NORTH DIVISION: The top two spots are locked in (Reading & Newfoundland) but there are three teams battling for the final two spots:

  • .515 – Maine (6 games remaining, 5 are against Reading and Newfoundland)
  • .508 – Trois-Riviéres (7 games remaining, 5 against Worcester)
  • .500 – Worcester (7 games remaining, 5 against Trois-Riviéres)

Maine is in the drivers seat but has the toughest schedule. The other two teams go head to head five times to decide who makes the playoffs.

SOUTH DIVISION: Atlanta and Florida have already qualified for the playoffs and will battle down the stretch for the #1 seed. Jacksonville will likely be the #3 seed. The final playoff spot is tightly contested between Orlando (.523) and Greenville (.515). Orlando has been fading with a record of  2-5-2-1 over the last 10 games while Greenville has been surging with a record of 6-2-1-1 over the last 10 games. Orlando has the lead but only five games remaining compared to seven for Greenville. The Swamp Rabbits will have something to say about the Mountain Division champion as they entertain Rapid City for three games this week, starting tomorrow night. Orlando and  Greenville play in Greenville on April 15 and that game could very well decide which team makes the playoffs.CENTRAL DIVISION: Toledo has already clinched the #1 seed and has the highest points percentage in the league (.715). Fort Wayne will likely be the #2 seed with three team battling for the final two playoff spots. Here are the three teams with their record over the last 10 games in parenthesis:

  • .553 – Cincinnati (5-5-0-0)
  • .538 – Wheeling (3-4-3-0)
  • .531 – Kalamazoo (6-3-1-0)

Cincinnati has the lead but plays one less game (6) than the others and five of the six are on the road, all against the two Canadian teams. Wheeling and Kalamazoo have seven games remaining and they both play Toledo and Fort Wayne twice. They play each other once, in Kalamazoo on April 13, which could very well decide which team makes the playoffs.

– I saw a couple of comments on the blog about the stars of the game on Sunday. Apparently, there was some confusion about the three star selections. I used to comment on the three stars of the game a lot but not so much anymore. Back in the CHL days they had a season long competition for cumulative star of the game points. Some teams only pick their own players and it is just someone’s opinion with no criteria for selection. Sometimes the three stars are selected before the games is completed, even in close games. Bottom line it is not very significant. With that said, the official three stars of the game on Sunday as indicated in the box score were:

  • #1 – Luke Peressini
  • #2 – Spencer Asuchak
  • #3 – Joe Garreffa

– I was looking back at some quotes from the past that meet the moment. In the middle of eight games in 12 days, with guys sick, guys hurt and everyone dinged up, this quote from Jerry West, the former Lakers player, coach and executive caught my eye, “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”

– Four ECHL players have already reached the 30 goals plateau. Ten players have 28+ goals and most should make 30 goals by the end of the season. The odd stats of the day is four of the 10 players with 28+ goals play for the Florida Everblades.

– It is unlikely any Allen player will score 30 goals this season. Allen’s top goal scorers are Costello (26) and Asuchak (25). It is an exclusive club of players that have scored 30+ goals in a single season:

  • 44 goals – Gary Steffes (2014-15)
  • 41 goals – Chad Costello (2014-15)
  • 35 goals – Greger Hanson (2016-17)
  • 34 goals – Bruce Graham (2010-11)
  • 34 goals – Nino Musitello (2010-11)
  • 34 goals – Zach Pochiro (2018-19)
  • 33 goals – Chad Costello (2016-17)
  • 33 goals – Colton Yellow Horn (2010-11)
  • 31 goals – Bruce Graham (2009-10)
  • 30 goals – Corey Mackin (2020-21)

– It you were watching closely on Sunday you may have seen a familiar face on the Allen Americans bench. Former Allen Americans equipment manager, Kacee Coberly has been helping out while the current equipment manager, Tim Abbott, has been out with an injury. If you want to know all of the duties of an equipment manager in great detail and what it takes to be one of the best, I encourage you to read this story I wrote about Kacee back in 2013.  https://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/meet-kacee-coberly-equipment-manager.html

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL stats post today is about the leaders in average penalty minutes (30 games minimum). Darian Skeoch leads Allen with an average of 2.67 PIMS per game.

The real ECHL bad boys. Players with the highest average penalty minutes per game (minimum 30 ECHL games played):6.54 – Mikael Robidoux, Kansas City4.10 – Shaw Boomhower, Wheeling*3.90 – Sean Leonard, Norfolk*3.80 – Riley McKay, Indy3.71 – Sean Allen, Cincinnati*Rookies

The post The Calm Before the Storm, The Playoff Push, The Role of the Equipment Manager, Allen’s 30 Goal Scorers and ECHL Bad Boys appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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