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Allen vs Kansas City Preview, Tonight’s Lineup, Mountain Division Strength of Schedule and More

Wednesday, January 25th
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It is game day for Allen and the start of another critical week for the Americans. When you are in last place in the division with 50% of the season in the books and have hopes of making the playoffs, every week will be critical.

– Allen has a great opportunity to move up the standings with four games this week, starting with a home game tonight against Kansas City. The week concludes with three games in three days against Tulsa. Friday and Saturday they will play in Allen and then close out the series in Tulsa on Sunday (4:05 pm CST start). If Allen is to make progress in its goal to make the playoffs, it has to do better than a split this week. Anything less than six of the eight points available will be another week of opportunity wasted.

– The Allen roster will get a boost for the game tonight. Defenseman Dalton Gally, who has missed the last two games, will be back in the lineup. Gavin Gould, who the Americans recently acquired in a trade, will also be in the lineup. It was one year ago (January 22, 2022) that Gavin played his last game in Allen before having season ending surgery. He scored the first goal in that game so hope he can duplicate that tonight.

– With four games in five days this week you can expect both goalies will get two games. Coach Costello’s plan is to continue alternating the goalies. Alternating means Chase Perry will get the start tonight and Luke Peressini will start on Friday. Alternating can always change depending on how the goalies play. Most coaches will give a goalie the chance to start the next game if they have a shutout.

– Based on my observation at practice yesterday and a discussion with coach Costello afterwards this is the expected lineup tonight if nothing changed after the pregame skate this morning.

  • Crone-Hargrove-McAuley
  • Combs-Butcher-Finlay
  • Gould-Hebert-Bethune
  • Myllari-Saucerman
  • Bernard-Massicotte
  • Gally-Gagnon
  • Perry
  • Peressini (backup)

– The game tonight will be the fourth of the season between Allen and Kansas City. After tonight they will play just one more time. They will play for the last time in Allen on April 12.

– Here is an update from the game preview notes from last Sunday. In the four previous meetings between these teams, all this month, the visiting team has won:

January 3 in Kansas City – It took a Hank Crone overtime goal to give Allen a 3-2 win. It was the game that Colton Hargrove took charge and has been on a tear ever since. Hargrove had 11 of the Americans 27 shots and had both of Allen’s goals in regulation.

January 6 in Kansas City – Allen scored the only goal in the first period (Jack Combs) and second period (Ryan Gagnon) to lead the Americans to a 2-1 win. The star of the game was Luke Peressini. Allen was out shot 37-27 with Peressini making numerous great saves. His save percentage in that game was .973.

January 8 in Allen – This was the game where Allen had to play three games in three states in three days. They played in Tulsa on Saturday night and had to travel back to Allen to play Kansas City Sunday afternoon at 2:05. Meanwhile Kansas City did not play on Saturday and was in Allen resting while waiting for the Sunday game. Allen got blown out 8-1 in the game while giving up 48 shots.

January 22 in Kansas City – This was the game Allen was the more rested team having not played on Saturday while Kansas City had to travel to Wichita. The rested Americans jumped on the Mavericks in the first period with wave after wave of great scoring opportunities. Allen scored three times, but it could have easily been five or six. Allen had a 4-0 lead late in the second period when any thought of a blowout disappeared when Kansas City scored three times in less than two minutes. A safe 4-0 lead turned into a 4-3 nailbiter in 108 seconds. Allen righted itself in the third period and came away with a 5-4 win.

– If you look at season totals Kansas City has a slight edge in average goals scored (3.3 vs 2.9) and average goals allowed (3.4 vs 3.7). Allen has a slight edge in power play percentage (20.3% vs 18.6%) and penalty kill percentage (81.5% vs 80.3%).  In the four head-to-head games Allen was 3-14 (21.4%) on the power play and Kansas City was 3-16 (18.8%).

– Another way to look at special teams is home vs road records. On the power play Allen is 21.2% at home vs Kansas City at 8.5% on the road. The Mavericks have had 59 power play opportunities on the road and scored only five goals. On the penalty kill Allen is 82.7% at home, Kansas City is 80.8% on the road.

– Scoring first is typically a good indicator of which team will win the game but not so much with the Americans and Mavericks. If you look at season long data, both teams are under the league wide average for winning when scoring first. Allen has scored first in 17 of its 36 games and has a record of 11-5-1-0 (.676). Kansas City has scored first in 18 of its 35 games with a record 8-6-4-0 (.556). In the four head-to-head games between the Americans and Mavericks the team that scored first won three times.

– One of the four games between Allen and Kansas City went to overtime which Allen won. Season totals give Allen a big advantage if the game tonight goes extra time. Allen is 2-1 in overtimes and 1-0 in shootouts. Kansas City is 2-5 in overtimes and has not been in a shootout this season.

– Colton Hargrove and Hank Crone will be looking to extended long points streaks tonight. Hargrove has the longest current point streak in the ECHL at 11 games (16 points). Crone is not far behind with a nine-game point streak (14 points).

OTHER COMMENTS

– The final two Mountain Division playoff spots will likely be contested between five teams who have points percentages between .529 (Kansas City) and .431 (Allen and Tulsa). Rapid City (.526) and Utah (.446) are in between. I took a look at the remaining schedule for the five teams competing for the final two playoff spots. Here are a few of my observations:

  • Tulsa has just 14 home games remaining, Utah and Allen have 22.
  • Kansas City has the worst road record in the division (.267) and has 21 road games remaining.
  • Tulsa’s first six games in February are against Idaho.
  • Utah has 10 of its last 12 games of the season at home, all three-game series. In order they play Cincinnati, Wichita, and Idaho before finishing up against Tulsa.
  • Nine of Allen’s remaining games (25%) are against Utah, six of the nine in Utah.
  • Allen has nine of its remaining games outside the division all at home. Allen will play three game series against Fort Wayne and Florida in back-to-back weeks in February and against Savannah in April.
  • Ten of Rapid City’s remaining games (31%) are against the top two teams in the division, seven against Wichita and the final three games of the season against Idaho.
  • Rapid City has six games outside the division, three games against Toledo (home) and Fort Wayne (road).

– Here is another way to look at strength of remaining schedule. A breakdown for the five teams vying for the final two playoff spots of how many of their remaining games will be against teams with a points percentage currently above .600.

  • 43% (16 of 37) – Kansas City
  • 33% (12 of 36) – Tulsa
  • 22% (8 of 36) – Allen
  • 20% (7 of 35) – Utah
  • 9% (3 of 33) – Rapid City

– It you are scoreboard watching tonight or surfing the FloHockey games there will be plenty to follow. There are only seven games on the schedule but three of them are in the Mountain Division. In addition, Kansas City at Allen, Wichita is at Idaho and Rapid City visits Utah. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/1/echl-today-jan-25DID YOU KNOW: An exclusive club of four. Just four current ECHL players have 100+ goals and 125+ assists since 2017-18:133G, 127A: Spencer Watson, Indy115G, 127A: Andrew Cherniwchan, South Carolina111G, 131A: Blake Winiecki, Florida102G, 158A: Zach O’Brien, NewfoundlandHere are the top three current players in goals and assists (not combined) since 2017-18:GOALS133 – Spencer Watson, Indy120 – Justin Vaive, Cincinnati116 – Justin Taylor, KalamazooASSISTS193 – Michael Pelech, Atlanta177 – Shawn Szydlowski, Orlando170 – A.J. White, Idaho

The post Allen vs Kansas City Preview, Tonight’s Lineup, Mountain Division Strength of Schedule and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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