The Allen Americans lost to Kansas City 8-1 Sunday afternoon at CUTX Event Center before a huge crowd of 5799 on Nickelodeon Double Dare Day. Not sure the stats would back this up but longtime fans will swear it is a double jinx when Allen wears specialty jerseys and there is a big crowd in the building.
– My advice to coach Costello is forget about this game, burn the tape and never bring it up again. When the schedule has the team playing four games in a week it is bad enough, but that happens all the time in the ECHL. When Allen has to play three complete games in 45 hours and 25 minutes from Friday night to Sunday afternoon in three different states it it bad enough. When the opponents on Saturday and Sunday didn’t play, they day before taking on the Americans, it is over the top. Allen beat the Mavericks twice in Kansas City when both teams were on equal rest. The outcome of the game yesterday was not a surprise.
– I am going to follow my own advice and spend no time breaking down the game as it makes no sense given the situation. I am burning the tape so to speak and looking forward.
– Last week was a good beginning (2-0) and a bad ending (0-2) for the Americans, but .500 hockey is pretty good given the situation. The schedule is much more friendly this week with just three games. The Americans play Tulsa at home on Wednesday and then travel to Wichita for games on Friday and Saturday. If Allen wants to move forward in the standings the goal for the week is four points.
– Coach Costello has been spending an inordinate amount of time on his general manager duties and that will continue this week. Last week Belleville loaned defenseman Xavier Bernard to Allen. It always helps to get players from the affiliate, but Allen now has nine defensemen, Jared Bethune has been playing both positions all season (defense and forward) and Dalton Skelly helped up front yesterday, but Costello will not be able to carry nine defensemen very long. Yesterday the Americans had a team plus/minus of -35 and only two players did not have a negative plus minus were Bernard and Massicotte, the two defensemen from Belleville.
– Allen may get two forwards in the lineup this week. Liam Finlay has been day to day for a while and could return. Recently signed rookie forward, Grant Hebert, who joined the team in Kansas City on Thursday, only to have his equipment lost by the airlines and miss all three weekend games has found his luggage and should be good to go by Wednesday.
– If you listened to any interviews with coach Costello this week you heard him, say several times, he is almost done with roster changes. That suggests to me Costello has one more player on his radar he is trying to get to Allen. Based on the current roster that would have to be an impact player that is a forward. Stay tuned!
– Maybe the biggest issue Costello will deal with this week is a hearing with the league office regarding the indefinite suspension of Mikael Robidoux for a kneeing penalty he was assessed in the game in Tulsa on Saturday. Robidoux has been suspended twice this season, 14 games and six games for off ice incidents and probably escaped another suspension in a game in Wichita recently when there was no video of the incident. Being a repeat offender will not serve Robidoux well in the hearing with the league despite its stated goal, “Suspensions imposed by the Commissioner shall be in general in accord with prior decisions for like conduct.” If you have watched the replay of the Robidoux kneeing penalty in Tulsa, it was definitely a dangerous play. You have to expect the fact that there is going to be a hearing, the end result will be another long suspension. Again, quoting from the CBA, “For suspensions that exceed 20 games, the Commissioner must hold a hearing upon adequate notice to the player and PHPA of the date and time of the hearing.
– Some ECHL teams will hit the midway point of the season this week. After three games this week Allen will have 47% of the season in the books. If the Americans win all three games this week their points percentage would go up to .426. Utah is just ahead of Allen in the standings and has the pleasure of playing Idaho three more times this week. Utah has already played Idaho 12 times this season with a record of 2-10. The Americans will have another chance this week to get out of the Mountain Division cellar and may get some help from Idaho.
– The other Mountain Division team with a losing record is Tulsa. The Oilers will play four games this week. After Tulsa visits Allen on Wednesday, it will play Rapid City at home on Friday and Saturday and then close out the week on Sunday in Wichita. A tough week for Tulsa and if Allen wants to gain ground this week, the home game against the Oilers on Wednesday is a must win.
– Last season Toledo led the ECHL and won the Brabham Cup with 102 points. This season Idaho already has 55 points and is on pace for an all-time record of around 124 points. To match the 102 points Toledo earned last season, Idaho only has to play .500 hockey over its last 40 games. A record of 19-19-2-0 in their remaining 40 games will give the Steelheads 102 points for the season. Right now, Idaho has a huge 10-point lead with 55 points. Second place teams Indy and Newfoundland have 45 points.
– Idaho lost a game in Wichita on Friday, just its second loss since November 17 versus 19 wins. Despite the loss, Matt Register padded his league lead in plus/minus and is now +41 for the season. Matt has had three minus games all season and they were all -1. The best plus/minus in a single season since the 1990’s was +49 in 2013-14. Matt has a real chance of adding this record to the many records he already holds.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL stats post today is about attendance. Allen was in Tulsa on Saturday when the Oilers had the best attendance in the league. Allen had close to a sellout on Sunday (5799) and raised its average attendance to 3791 which is an increase of 571 per game over last year’s average of 3220.
Stick taps to the ECHL sales and marketing staffs. In 12 games on Saturday the league drew 83,054 fans, an average of 6921 per game. Attendance was led by two teams that drew 10000+ and five teams above 7000. Just one team drew fewer than 4300 fans. Here is the Saturday night attendance for all 12 games:14,013 – Tulsa12,187 – Cincinnati8298 – Fort Wayne7299 – Florida7253 – Jacksonville6876 – Savannah6003 – Wichita5316 – Reading4732 – Newfoundland4412 – Rapid City4333 – Adirondack2332 – IowaAfter 439 games the ECHL this season, average attendance is now 4377 per game. Last season (966 games) the average ECHL attendance was 3936.