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A Look at the Month Ahead and Reasons for Optimism, Mountain Division Doldrums, How Good is Crone’s Season, Brabham Cup Curse, ECHL Attendance and More

Monday, December 26th
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It is hard to overstate the importance of the next month if the Allen Americans are going to turn around the poor start to the season. Making the playoffs is unlikely but not impossible. If you remember back to the Americans first Kelly Cup in 2015, the opponent in the finals was South Carolina. The Stingrays were out of the playoff picture, lost nine of 10 games the last three weeks in January and then reeled off an all-time ECHL record 23 straight wins to finish as the second seed in the South Division and went all the way to the Kelly Cup finals before losing to Allen in seven games. The Americans aren’t going to win 23 straight but there is plenty of opportunity to get better going forward.

– Allen doesn’t need to think about winning 23 straight games, the Americans need to think about winning more than two straight games. Yes, the Americans longest win streak this season is just two games. The post-Christmas schedule will give Allen the opportunity to make up some ground in the Mountain Division. As a reminder, here is the schedule through the end of January. The Americans playing only three teams (Wichita, Kansas City, Tulsa). A total of 16 games against longtime rivals. Ten of the 16 games will be on the road so it will be a challenge, but if Allen is going to escape the cellar, it will have to play above .500 over the next 16 games. Here is the breakdown:

  • Wichita – 1 home, 5 away
  • Kansas City – 2 home, 3 away
  • Tulsa – 3 home, 2 away

– How has Allen fared against these teams thus far in 2022-23?

  • Wichita: 3-3-0-0
  • Kansas City: 0-0-0-0
  • Tulsa: 1-2-0-0

– Coach Costello has made plenty of changes trying to improve the Allen roster. The Americans have already used 30 players and that doesn’t include all of the EBUGS. Here is the current Allen roster with an asterisk by the players that were not with the Americans on opening day:

Goalies

  • #31 – Luke Peressini
  • #34 – Kevin Mandolese*
  • #35 – Logan Flodell

Defensemen

  • #3 – Ryan Gagnon*
  • #4 – Kris Myllari
  • #19 – Jared Bethune
  • #22 – Dalton Gally*
  • #23 – Colton Saucerman
  • #24 – Dalton Skelly
  • #49 – Zachary Massicotte*
  • #55 – Lord-Anthony Grissom

Forwards

  • #7 – Colton Hargrove
  • #10 – Jackson Leppard
  • #15 – Liam Finlay
  • #17 – Chad Butcher*
  • #18 – Zach Pochiro
  • #21 – Jack Combs
  • #25 – Aidan Brown*
  • #26 – Spencer Asuchak (injured reserve)
  • #28 – Justin Young
  • #32 – Mikael Robidoux
  • #52 – Joe Widmar*
  • #67 – Hank Crone
  • #77 – Stephen Baylis (injured reserve)

– Allen will be missing Asuchak and Baylis long term with injuries and it is unknown at this point if or when they will be available. Defenseman Nick Albano, has been missing since being loaned to Belleville in November and recently signed in Sweden. Even with these losses, if the Americans can stay relatively healthy and the affiliate continues to provide support (two big ifs), Allen can have an improved record over the next month.

– Here is Allen’s record this season by month. As you can see the Americans need to reverse the trend now that the Christmas break is behind them.

  • October: 2-2-0-0
  • November: 3-6-1-0
  • December: 3-7-0-0

– If you are looking for a silver lining in the stats it would be special teams. The Americans are ranked #11 in both power play percentage (21.0%) and penalty kill percentage (82.6%). If you add the two percentages together, you get 103.6% which is very good. 105% is considered great special teams play. Allen has scored two shorthanded goals and allowed three. That is much improved from last season when the Americans scored seven shorthanded goals but allowed a league leading 20 shorthanded goals.

– Allen will get to test if they will play better over the next month with three games this week against Wichita. The teams play in Wichita on Wednesday and in Allen on Friday and Saturday. The goal for the week should be a minimum of three points from the three games. It will be a challenge for sure when you consider Wichita has won four straight games and over its last 10 games has a record of 7-3-0-0.

OTHER COMMENTS

– The combined record of the bottom five teams in the Mountain Division over their last 10 games is an abysmal 16-31-3-0 which is a points percentage of .350. Only Idaho (9-1-0-0) and Wichita (7-3-0-0) have a winning record over the last 10 games. The next month represents a great opportunity for all five poor performing teams to get their season back on track.

– Hank Crone is leading all ECHL rookies in scoring with 30 points (13G, 17A) in 24 games. How does Crone’s 1.25 points per game average stack up with Allen’s leading rookie point scorers in recent years. Here are the stats.

  • 1.25: Hanks Crone, 30 points (2022-23)
  • 1.13: Gavin Gould, 29 points (2021-22)
  • 0.53: Zane Franklin, 32 points (2020-21)
  • 1.49: Tyler Sheehy, 70 points (2019-20) *
  • 0.69: Braylon Shmyr, 44 points (2018-19)

*Sheehy led all ECHL rookies in scoring, was selected as the ECHL Rookie of the Year and finished second in the ECHL MVP voting. Sheehy now plays in the top league in Germany (DEL) and leads his team (Nurnberg) in goals (25) and points (43) in 49 games.

– With Idaho holding a commanding lead as the best team in the ECHL is it too early to talk about the Brabham Cup (regular season champion) curse? The last time the regular season ECHL champion won the Kelly Cup was in 2014 when the Alaska Aces (coached by current Tulsa coach Rob Murray) accomplished the feat.

– The ECHL gets back in action tomorrow night with two games on the schedule. Newfoundland is at Toledo and Adirondack visits Trois-Riviéres. A short Christmas break for these teams.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about ECHL average attendance. As a comparison here is Allen’s average attendance the last five seasons:

  • 3560: 2022-23
  • 3220: 2021-22
  • 1859: 2020-21 (attendance restricted)
  • 4001: 2019-20
  • 4073: 2018-19

– The 2022-23 ECHL attendance is ahead of the last two seasons but has not achieved pre-COVID levels. Here is average ECHL attendance for each season since 2012-13:4193: 2022-233935: 2021-222275: 2020-21 (14 teams played, restricted attendance)4327: 2019-20 (season canceled 3/14/20)4445: 2018-194424: 2017-184251: 2016-174385: 2015-164598: 2014-154706: 2013-144695: 2012-13

The post A Look at the Month Ahead and Reasons for Optimism, Mountain Division Doldrums, How Good is Crone’s Season, Brabham Cup Curse, ECHL Attendance and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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