It is game day for the Allen Americans. Game two of four this week and game 12 of the season series against the Kansas City Mavericks. The Americans have been playing their best hockey of the season over the last five weeks and hopefully that continues over the remaining eight days of the season. Here is a recap of Allen’s play since March 1st.
- Record: 11-4-1-0
- Points Percentage: .719
- Goals For: 60
- Goals Against: 49
- Power Play: 22.0%
- Penalty Kill: 86.0%
– Allen’s record against Kansas City this season stands at 7-4-0-0. The Mavericks started the season series winning the first three games. Since that time Allen has won seven of the last eight including five in a row. In the last five games the Americans have outscored the Mavericks 25-13.
– If you look at the Americans 7-4 win over Kansas City on Wednesday there was both good news and bad news.
- Allen scored seven or more goals for just the fourth time all season.
- Allen allowed four goals in the first 35 minutes of the game.
- Allen had 39 shots on goal, well above its average per game of 28.
- Allen gave up 39 shots to Kansas City, who averages 32 shots per game.
- Allen was 3-5 on the power play, the most power play goals all season.
- Allen allowed two power play goals and its league leading 20th shorthanded goal.
- Allen had a 2-1 lead after the first period.
- Allen was outshot 17-12 in the first period and allowed KC to score first.
– If you look at the list above it is clear what the keys to the game are for Allen to get another win against the Mavericks:
- Allen has given up the first goal of the game the last six games. Even though Allen is 4-2 in those games it is imperative the Americans get off to a better start tonight. By the seven minute mark of the first period on Wednesday, Kansas City had scored the first goal and outshot Allen 8-2. The Americans can’t keep having poor starts.
- Allen scored more power play goals (3) than Kansas City on Wednesday but also allowed two power play goals and a shorthanded goal. A key tonight will be to clean up the penalty kill mistakes.
- Allen’s 39 shots on Wednesday was the fourth highest total all season. The new line combinations coach Martinson put together worked well together. The key tonight will be to keep up the good play in the offensive zone while reducing the opportunities for the Mavericks.
COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON
“We still have this flu bug going through the team. I expect some more players will miss tonight because they are sick. I won’t know for sure who is in or out until I get to the rink this morning.”
“I expect to add a new player (maybe not so new) to the roster today and I expect he will be in the lineup tonight. A player that will add size, speed, skill to the lineup and will finish checks.”
“Chad Costello’s injury is not as serious as we first thought. He will not play this weekend but he could be back for the series with Iowa next weekend.”
“Frank Marotte will get the start in goal tonight. He played well against Kansas City last week (.963 save percentage) and deserves the start.”
“We had some breakdowns on the penalty kill Wednesday, allowing a pass thorough seam on one of the goals and we were out of position on the other. We will get those cleaned up tonight.”
“We need to get off to a better start tonight. We have to be ready to go from the opening puck drop.”
“The other area we need to improve is our backcheck. We need a better effort, especially from our veteran players.”
– The referee scheduled for the game tonight is the same as on Wednesday, Jack Young (#18). Young called 11 minor penalties on Wednesday, six on Allen and five on Kansas City. You can expect both teams to get a few power play opportunities tonight.
I am always interested in the back stories of the referees that come thorough Allen. Jack Young’s is one of the more interesting stories. Young’s dad (Wendell) had a long pro hockey career as a 5’9″ goalie, including 187 NHL games. Wendell Young is the long time general manager of the Chicago Wolves (AHL). Here is a story about Jack Young and his obsession of becoming a referee since he was a small child. https://www.nhl.com/news/jack-young-trying-to-become-nhl-official/c-308782638
Young is only 21 and is already a referee in the AHL and ECHL. Looks like his dream if making it to the NHL is well within in reach.
– It is a huge night in the ECHL with so many teams in must win situations if they expect to make the playoffs or win their division. In the Mountain Division in addition to Kansas City at Allen, Rapid City is at Greenville, Wichita is at Tulsa and Utah is at Idaho. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews on all 11 games on the schedule: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/4/echl-today-april-8
– Six of the 16 teams that will make up the Kelly Cup playoffs have already been decided, ranging from three teams in the South Division to none in the Mountain Division. Here is the list with points percentage in parenthesis:
- Reading (.685)
- Newfoundland (.664)
- Florida (.647)
- Atlanta (.647)
- Jacksonville (.590)
- Toledo (.705)
– The race for the leading scorer in the ECHL is all but over. Will Graber (Fort Wayne) has 83 points and a nine point lead over Patrick Watling (Wheeling) and TJ Hrnsick (Toledo). Chad Costello, who is out with an injury, has dropped to sixth place with 68 points. Graber could get the rare double by leading the league is points and plus/minus. He is +37 and has a +7 lead over second place.
DID YOU KNOW: Per rules approved by the ECHL Board of Governors for the 2022 Kelly Cup playoffs. The games corresponding to the team’s seed (i.e. higher or lower seed) must fit in the respective windows of the calendar.For instance, in the first round, the higher seed must host games 1-2 in a window between Wednesday 4/20 & Sunday 4/24. The lower seed must host games 3-5 in a window from Tuesday 4/25 & Saturday 4/30, and the higher seed must host games 6-7 between Monday 5/2 & Wednesday 5/4. The two Sundays are both flex/travel days.For example, if the lower seed only has availability to host 2 games in the window for games 3-5, that is all they would be entitled to host. The third game would revert back to the arena of the higher-seeded team.