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Allen vs Wichita Series Preview, ECHL All-Stars Announced Today, Idaho’s Historic Season and More

Wednesday, December 28th
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In a way today marks a fresh start to the 2022-23 season for the Allen Americans. The team has had a few days off to recharge. In the next month the Americans will only play Wichita, Kansas City and Tulsa. This represents a great opportunity for Allen to escape the cellar in the Mountain Division.

– Allen is in Wichita tonight and then returns home to play the Thunder on Friday and Saturday. The Americans have split six games with Wichita this season, which is pretty good considering the Thunder are the #2 team in the Mountain Division with a .630 points percentage.

– I had a chance to talk to coach Costello yesterday as the team was headed to Wichita on the bus. Here is what Costello had to say:

  • Liam Finlay and Colton Saucerman did not make the trip to Wichita because of injuries, but they may be available for the home games this weekend.
  • Luke Peressini and Kevin Mandolese were the two goalies that made the trip, Logan Flodell stayed home. Costello hadn’t decided who will start tonight, but his thought when talking to me was all three goalies will get a start against Wichita. That decision, however, is subject to change.
  • It is clear to me in talking to coach Costello, he is not giving up on the season. He is very aware of what the team is up against, but is determined to do whatever it takes to get things turned around. The team is getting closer to being as healthy as it has been for a long time. Other roster changes could come in the form of trades. Additional sources for players, which Allen has used in the past, include players returning from Europe (that deadline is February 15) and players completing their collegiate eligibility.

– As you would expect given the difference in records between Allen (8-15-1-0) and Wichita (16-9-2-0), the Thunder score more goals per game than Allen (3.2 vs 2.9) and allow fewer goals per game (2.8 vs 3.7). However when you look at shots the stats are quite different. Allen averages more shots for (29.4 vs 28.6) and fewer shots against (35.0 vs 36.6) than Wichita.

– Special teams are also very close with Wichita having the edge on power play percentage (22.0% vs 21.0%) and Allen having the edge on penalty kill percentage (82.6% vs 81.5%).

– One thing you can expect in this three games series based on the first six meetings between these teams is close games. Four of the six games were one goal margins and the other two were two goal margins. One of the two goal margin games had an empty net goal.

– Four Allen players are averaging a point or more per game in the six head to head meetings against Wichita:

  • 8 points (4G, 4A) – Jack Combs
  • 8 points (2G, 6A) – Liam Finlay
  • 7 points (2G, 5A) – Zach Pochiro
  • 6 points (2G, 4A) – Hank Crone

– A Wichita player to keep an eye on in this series is #22 Michal Stinil, the reigning ECHL Player of the Week. Stinil has played in eight games over the last three weeks and had points in all but one. His total for the eight games was 18 points (7G, 11A).

– Scoring first is always a key and the stats show that to be the case, but not as significant as in past seasons. Allen has scored first in 50% of its games with a record of 7-4-1-0. Wichita has scored first in 41% of its games with a record of 8-3-0-0. Odds would say the team that scores first will win two of the three games in this series.

– Wichita has been outshot in 21 of its 27 games but has a great record when outshot by its opponent. It is a strange stat but Wichita is 2-3-0-0 when outshooting its opponent and 13-6-2-0 when outshot by its opponent.

– Here is a preview of the series with Wichita issued by the Allen Americans:  https://allenamericans.com/media/game-day-preview-americans-open-post-christmas-schedule-in-wichita/

OTHER COMMENTS

– The ECHL will announce its all-star teams this afternoon (2:00 pm EST). The all-star game will take place in Norfolk on January 16. The all-star game historically has been a showcase for young players rather than a true all-star game. Each team gets a representative. I have no idea who will be the Allen player named to the all-star team but it is obvious it will be one of the rookies that have led the team, Hank Crone or Liam Finlay. Both are deserving but only one will make the team. Finlay had a better start to the season (including a hat trick) and Crone has scored more the last month. It may come down to when the league made the decision on the all-stars.

– A big night around the ECHL tonight with 12 games on the schedule. All Mountain Division teams will be in action:

  • Allen at Wichita
  • Tulsa at Rapid City
  • Idaho at Utah
  • Kansas City at Indy

– Here is the ECHL Today with a short preview on all 12 games: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/12/echl-today-dec-28

– The hottest teams in the ECHL early in the season were Newfoundland (started 12-0-1-0) and Worcester (started 13-2-0-0). They had a big lead in the North Division standings. Both have cooled off recently. Newfoundland is 5-5-0-0 over the last 10 games and Worcester is 3-7-0-0. The best team in the division recently is Reading (8-2-0-0). The Royals have taken over first place in the division (by points percentage):

  • .688 – Reading
  • .685 – Newfoundland
  • .661 – Worcester

DID YOU KNOW: With 36% of its season completed, the Idaho Steelheads are off to a great start that has them on pace for a historic ECHL season. Here are some of Idaho’s projected numbers based on its current pace that would break the all-time ECHL record by a wide margin:125 points – all-time record is 116.856 points percentage – all-time record is .80661 wins – all-time record is 56141 goals allowed – all-time record is 153– Based on its current pace, Idaho will score 318 goals and allow just 141 for a goal differential of +177.

The post Allen vs Wichita Series Preview, ECHL All-Stars Announced Today, Idaho’s Historic Season and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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