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Allen Loses 5-2, Game Recap, Video Highlights, All-Star Team Thoughts and Facts, Hat Tricks Down in 2022-23 and More

Thursday, December 29th
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So much for a fresh start after the Christmas break for the Allen Americans. The same could be said for the entire Mountain Division. The top teams (Idaho & Wichita) keep on winning, and the bottom teams (Allen, Tulsa, Utah) keep on losing. Idaho and Wichita have now won a combined 14 straight games. Allen, Tulsa and Utah have a combined record over the last 10 games of 8-21-1-0.

– The Mountain Division now has four teams with a points percentage under .500 and a fifth at exactly .500. The other three divisions combined have a total of five teams with a points percentage below .500. What it means is the third and fourth playoff spots in the Mountain Division are wide open despite the poor records. Here are the division points percentages after last night. The team’s overall points percentage rank is in parenthesis.

  • .870 – Idaho (1st)
  • .643 – Wichita (9th)
  • .500 – Kansas City (16th)
  • .483 – Rapid City (20th)
  • .423 – Utah (23rd)
  • .420 – Tulsa (24th)
  • .340 – Allen (27th)

– Allen went into the game in Wichita last night with high hopes after winning the last game before the Christmas break. Despite being outshot 13-7 in the first period. the score was tied 0-0 at the first intermission. It went from bad to worse in the second period as Wichita took 14 shots before Allen took its first. The game seemed to turn when the Thunder scored on both ends of a double minor penalty just 63 seconds apart. The Americans did score on their first shot of the period at the 14:01 mark to cut the score to 2-1. Just 41 seconds after Allen scored, Wichita took a 3-1 lead which they took into the second intermission. Total shots after two periods were 12 for Allen and 29 for Wichita.

–  Allen outshot Wichita 13-5 in the third period, but Wichita scored twice on its five shots. Allen managed one goal to make the final score 5-2. Goal scorers for the Americans were Zachary Massicotte (3) and Lord-Anthony Grissom (2).  Here are the video highlights that include the goals, some good saves and Jackson Leppard’s one-sided fight: https://www.echl.com/en/video/2022/12/allen-americans-vs-wichita-thunder—dec-28-2022-Ta4m2Ny4

–  Here are the game recaps from both teams with more details:

– It is easy to point at the shot stats to explain Allen’s poor record but here is an interesting stat. Overall Wichita takes fewer shots per game than Allen (28.8 vs 29.2) and allows more shots per game than Allen (36.2 vs 35.0). The reason Wichita has been more successful is the Thunder score on 11.3% of their shots compared to 9.6% for Allen. Though they take fewer shots, Wichita averages 3.25 goals per game compared to Allen’s average of 2.84 goals per game. The same is true on goals allowed. Wichita allows more shots but gives up an average of 2.79 goals per game. On fewer shots allowed Allen gives up an average of 3.72 goals per game.

– In addition to allowing the first goal of the game last night (usually a bad sign) the Americans lost the special teams battle. Allen was 0-6 on the power play, Wichita was 2-4. Add in the fact that at one point in the second period Wichita’s shot advantage was 27-7 and you can see Allen will have to play much better against the Thunder this weekend if they expect to win.

OTHER COMMENTS

– The ECHL All-Star teams were announced yesterday. One player from each team is selected to play in the All-Star game on January 16. Congrats to Allen’s representative, rookie Liam Finlay. The ECHL All-Star game has always been a showcase for young players. Every team gets one player on the team, which means some great young players are left off the team. It is clear if the league picked the best young players that Allen would have two players selected. In addition to Finlay, Hank Crone should be on the All-Star team. Crone leads all rookies with 31 points (13G, 18A) and is #6 in points among all ECHL players.

– The All-Star team is made up of a lot of younger players. I did a quick check and counted 20 of the 28 All-Stars in their first, second or third pro season. Six rookies were named to the team. The old timer of the group is 30-year-old Zach O’Brien of the Newfoundland Growlers who leads the ECHL in scoring with 42 points (11G, 31A) in 24 games. He has an eight-point lead in the scoring race. O’Brien has 522 pro games under his belt. His first pro season was 2013-14.

– The distribution of the 28 ECHL teams by current points percentage is quite unusual with a very broad range. Here is a breakdown:

  • .870: one team
  • .725-.740: two teams
  • .630-.685: nine teams
  • .519-.580: three teams
  • .500: four teams
  • .420-.485: five teams
  •  .340-.380: three teams
  •  .214: one team

As a frame of reference, last season the top points percentage in the playoffs was .708 (Toledo) and the lowest points percentage to make the playoffs was .514 (Maine). The Kelly Cup champions (Florida) had a .653 regular season points percentage.

As mentioned earlier the Mountain Division has four teams with points percentages below .500 so it is quite possible a team in that division will make the playoffs with a losing record (below .500).

– The Allen Americans record since November 23 is now 3-11-0-0 (.214). The team has still not won more than two games in a row all season. The Americans last won two straight games on November 12 (Utah) and 16 (at Cincinnati).

DID YOU KNOW: A rare occurrence, there were two hat tricks in the ECHL last night, both by the same team. Maine beat Worcester 9-3. The Mariner’s Alex-Olivier Voyer and Tim Doherty had hat tricks.With one third of the ECHL season completed, there have only been 19 hat tricks thus far. Based on that pace, 2022-23 could end up with about 60 hat tricks, which would be 40% fewer than last season.In 2021-22 there were a total of 102 hat tricks.

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