ALLEN VS IDAHO SERIES PREVIEW
– Allen will make two trips to Idaho during the regular season. Three games this week (tonight, Friday, Saturday) and two games in March (10 & 11). Idaho will visit Allen just once for three games (March 22, 24, 25).
– Comparing records, Allen’s overall record is 5-5-1-0 for a points percentage of .500 which is ranked #14 in the ECHL. Allen is 3-3-0-0 on the road. Idaho’s overall record is 10-2-0-1 for a points percentage of .808, ranked #4 in the league. The Steelheads home record is 4-1-0-0.
– Allen has played well in Idaho in the past. In the last five seasons the Americans have a record of 5-1-4-1 in Idaho.
– The key to this series can be seen in the stats and they all favor Idaho. The Americans average 2.9 goals per game, but Idaho is a full goal per game better, averaging 3.9 goals per game. The big difference is in goals allowed. Allen gives up an average of 3.1 goals per game which is mid-pack in the league. However, the Steelheads are the best defensive team in the ECHL, allowing a paltry average of 1.85 goals per game. Better team defense will be a must to win tonight and in this series. Everything from goalie play to blocking shots to breaking out of the defensive zone to neutral zone turnovers to getting pucks in deep will have to improve to win this series.
– Last week (three games) Allen was 2-1, scoring 11 goals but allowing 12. In three games last week Idaho was 3-0, scoring 13 goals and allowing three. Allen’s two wins were both by scores of 5-4. A high scoring game against Idaho is unlikely. The Steelheads haven’t allowed five goals in a game all season. Idaho has given up two or fewer goals in 10 of their 13 games.
– As always, special teams will be key in this series. Rather than look at overall stats it is more instructive to look at home vs road stats. On the power play Allen is 19.4% (6-31) on the road and Idaho is 15.8% (3-19) at home. On the penalty kill Allen is 80.0% (5-26) on the road and Idaho is 100% (0-19) at home.
– Based on the past history of games Allen has played in Idaho where 50% of the games went beyond regulation, it is highly likely you will see overtime in this series. Allen has gone extra time in three games this season winning once and losing once in OT and winning its only shootout game. Idaho has gone extra time just once this season and lost in a shootout.
– Scoring first is always important but even more so in this series. The combined record for Allen and Idaho when scoring first this season is 12-0-1-0. Allen is 5-0-1-0 and Idaho is 7-0-0-0. Another stat to keep in mind is record when leading after the first period as neither team has lost. They are a combined 7-0 when leading after the first period. Needless to say, a good start will be very important for Allen in this series.
– The line of Combs-Finlay-Crone is working very well together. The threesome had 20 points (8G, 12A) in Allen’s three road games last week. They accounted for 80% of Allen’s points in the three games. The Americans will need their continued leadership in Idaho to be successful but will also need more scoring from other lines. Look for the Leppard-Hargrove-Pochiro line to have a good series.
– This series in Idaho is so important to show this team is headed in the right direction and to keep things trending up after winning two of three road games last week. There are plenty of obstacles in the way when you consider Allen is missing three players with long term injuries, one to a long-term suspension and two called up/loaned to Belleville. Even with the obstacles, getting four points from this series is essential.
– The referee scheduled for the game tonight is #16 Jake Jackson. He was the referee for Allen’s first two games of the season. In the opening game a missed call resulted in an injury to Spencer Asuchak. The next night in Wichita, Jackson made a goalie interference call that Allen thought was a clear tripping on a breakaway. Would love to be a fly on the wall at the mandatory pregame meeting with the coaches and the referee tonight.
– It is a busy Wednesday around the ECHL with 11 games on the schedule. In addition to Allen at Idaho, other Mountain Division action has Tulsa at Wichita and Kansas City at Rapid City. Utah is idle. Here is the ECHL Today with previews of all 11 games: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/11/echl-today-nov-23
– Here is a weekly recap issued by Idaho. Take a look at the “Steelheads Standouts” section if you are interested in knowing the players to look for in this series: https://www.idahosteelheads.com/en/articles/idaho-steelheads-weekly-week-6-11-21-22
– Kelly Bent, who left the Americans at Thanksgiving last season to go home to pursue a career in law enforcement has just signed with the Wichita Thunder. Bent played 13 games for Allen last season, had two assists and 40 penalty minutes.
– Three-time ECHL Defenseman of the Year, Matt Register has a habit of of signing with teams that make deep playoff runs and win championships. He won three straight Kelly Cups, one with Allen and two with Colorado. He signed with Idaho this season and it looks like the Steelheads will be a factor in the playoffs. It has been a different type of season for Register thus far, as he has just five points in 13 games and is third in scoring among Idaho defensemen. It doesn’t mean he is not contributing in other ways. Matt leads the team in plus/minus at +15 and is ranked #3 in the league.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about goal scoring by period. FYI, Allen’s best period has been the second. The Americans goals for and against by period are 6-7 in the first period, 16-14 in the second period and 8-12 in the third period.Four ECHL teams have points percentages above .800. Playing well in the 3rd period is a sign of a good team. Three ECHL teams have 3rd period goal differentials greater than +10. All have points percentages above .800 (goals for and against in parenthesis):+17 Idaho (23-6)+14 Newfoundland (20-6)+12 Cincinnati (17-5)The fourth team with an .800 points percentage is Worcester. The Railers 3rd period goal differential is only +4 (16-12) but Worcester is the best 1st period team in the league. The Railers have scored 25 goals in the 1st period and have a +12 goal differential (25-13).