Welcome to the ECHL schedule. The Allen Americans returned home last night after taking four of six points on the road trip to Cincinnati and Fort Wayne. They will be back on the road tomorrow as they fly to Boise to take on the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Idaho leads the Mountain Division with a record of 10-2-0-1 (.808).
CHAD COSTELLO COACH’S CORNER
I had a chance to check in with coach Costello after he landed back in Dallas last night to get his perspective on the past week. The Americans handed Cincinnati its first regulation loss of the season and beat Fort Wayne, who had won three straight games. Here is what Costello had to say:
“I was proud of the effort from the guys on the road trip this week.”
“We are learning a lot about ourselves as we played against two good teams in their buildings and now, we know we can hang with anyone in the league.”
“We need to be more consistent in our game plan to have longer stretches of success, rather than game to game success.”
“We have a few things to improve upon as a team, but effort, attitude, leadership and caring for one another will never be a problem with this group. It is just some systems related things we can improve on.”
“We will be getting healthier soon and that will make us stronger.”
“Hank and Finns are very talented and I have told them I will give them room to show their talent, but it needs to stay in the team concept. It is kind of like giving them the keys to the sports car but helping them keeping it on the road mentally. We believe in them, and they are a big part of our team.”
“Watching the two young guys (Crone & Finlay) with the old man (Combs) is sure a lot of fun. They have great chemistry together.”
“Every player on our team has a role in our success and growth. We are still learning those roles, but we are getting there.”
“We will have an optional practice tomorrow (Monday) and will fly to Boise on Tuesday.”
– Special teams have been a bit of mixed bag for Allen. The good news is after giving up a league leading 22 shorthanded goals last season the Americans are one of just five ECHL teams that have not allowed a shorthanded goal this season. On the flip side, Allen joins Jacksonville as the only two teams that have not allowed a shorthanded goal but have also not scored a shorthanded goal.
– Allen’s overall power play percentage is ranked #18 at 16.3% (7-43). Over the last nine games the power play percentage was 12.5% (4-32). On the road trip last week, the power play was 2-14 (14.3%) which included 1-9 in Fort Wayne. The team spends a lot of time working on the power play and that will bear fruit going forward. When Allen was winning championships and Costello was quarterbacking the power play, the Americans power play percentage always exceeded 21%. A realistic goal for the current team would be 18%-20%.
– On a positive note the Americans have cut down on the penalties that have resulted in power plays for the opponent. In the three-game road trip last week Allen had 14 power plays compared to nine for the opponent. In the three games prior to last week, Allen had eight power plays compared to 20 for the opponent.
– Allen’s overall penalty kill percentage is ranked #12 at 80.7% (11-57). In the three games last week the penalty killers allowed just one goal on nine power plays for a penalty kill percentage of 88.9%.
– If you look at goal differential (goals for minus goals against) by period the best teams typically excel in the third period. Allen has scored eight goals in the third period and allowed 12 for a -4 goal differential. As a comparison, division leading Idaho has scored a league leading 23 goals in the third period and allowed just six for a +17 goal differential. Allen’s best period has been the second period when it has outscored opponents 16-14.
– Liam Finlay leads the Americans in shooting percentage followed closely by Jack Combs. Finlay has scored on 23.8% of his shots (5-21) and Combs has scored on 21.9% of his shots (7-32). As a team the Americans’ shooting percentage is 8.9% which is ranked #18 in the ECHL.
– How well is Jack Combs playing? Combs leads the Americans in points (15) and goals (7). At his present pace and if he played in all remaining games (61), Jack could finish the season with 100 points and 45 goals with a plus/minus of +52.
DID YOU KNOW: Here is my ECHL Stats post for today which compares attendance between the ECHL and AHL. The ECHL is doing very well this season and that is also true for Allen. The Americans are averaging 3900 per game this season which is an improvement of 680 per game over last season.
Average ECHL attendance is up 320 per game from last season. Four ECHL teams have average attendance above 7000, which is higher than most AHL teams. 27 of 32 AHL teams average below 7000. Here are the teams averaging more than 7000 per game in both leagues:ECHL (28 teams)7946 – Jacksonville7670 – Fort Wayne7235 – Toledo7100 – TulsaAHL (32 teams)8400 – Chicago7955 – Cleveland7736 – Hershey7449 – San Diego7250 – Grand Rapids– ECHL attendance ranges from 7946 to 1683 with an overall average of 4256.– AHL attendance ranges from 8400 to 2202 with an overall average of 5118.