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Allen vs Utah Series Preview, Roster Update, Crone Returns, Starting Lineup, Best Team Save Percentages and More

Wednesday, February 1st
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It is game day for the Allen Americans which means yes, they did make it to Salt Lake City yesterday. It was a long day with a lot of time waiting on the plane, but they made it. The team boarded the plane at 8:00 am but didn’t take off until noon.

– Tonight, begins another important week for the Americans. Three games against Utah beginning tonight (8:10 pm CST) and then Friday and Saturday. These are the two best teams in the Mountain Division over the last 10 games and both had a great record in January. Utah was 8-2-1-0 in January, Allen was 9-4-0-0. Two teams fighting for a playoff spot should make for a great series.

– I had a lot of questions yesterday relating to the roster, here is an update:

– Hank Crone – Hank played in his second straight game last night as the Reign beat Colorado at home 5-2. Hank had an assist in the game and was +1. Ontario had two forwards returned from the NHL yesterday, so Crone is headed back and will meet the team in Utah and is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

– Zach Pochiro – Zach was traded to Maine yesterday to fulfill the future considerations trade that brought defenseman Dalton Gally to Allen on December 6. Pochiro played 36 games for Allen and had 22 points (7G, 15A). He also led the Americans in penalty minutes with 82. I think Zach would tell you it was difficult for him to adapt to the style of play in Allen and it wasn’t a good fit. A fresh start in Maine is a great opportunity. Maine has been the best team in the ECHL over the last two months with a record of 18-3-0-1.

– Kolten Olynek – Had several questions why Olynek was signed one day and released the next. When you consider the rules that typically apply to fulfilling future consideration trades, my guess, based on the timing, is it is related.

– Every healthy player made the trip to Utah. If you go by the official ECHL website the roster comprised of two goalies, eight defensemen and 10 forwards. It is a little misleading because Jared Bethune started the season as a defenseman, but has been playing forward, his natural position, for most of the season.

– Here is how the lineup looks for tonight:

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

Here is a weekly update issued by Utah. It does a much better job of providing team and individual stats to get you ready for the series than I could do. If you want to see what Allen is up against this week give this a read:  https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/en/grizzlies-news/grizzlies-weekly-homestand-continues-vs-allen

– Here are some comparisons between Allen and Utah.

  • Allen road record 10-13-0-0, Utah home record 9-8-0-0
  • Goals per game: Allen #18 (3.08) – Utah #24 (2.80)
  • Goals allowed per game: Allen #22 (3.65) – Utah #16 (3.35)
  • Power play: Allen #16 (20.1%) – Utah #11 (20.8%)
  • Penalty kill: Allen #15 (80.6%) – Utah #9 (82.7%)
  • Shorthanded goals: Allen (4) – Utah (3)
  • Shorthanded goals allowed: (3) – Utah (5)
  • Record when scoring 1st: Allen (13-5-1-0) – Utah (12-3-0-0)
  • Overtime Record: Allen (3-1) – Utah (2-1)
  • Penalty minutes per game: Allen #2 (17.10) – Utah #3 (16.08)

– One thing to keep in mind when you look at Utah stats is 11 of the Grizzlies 19 regulation losses have been to Idaho. The Steelheads lead the league is average goals scored (4.08) and allowed (2.03) and also has the best team save percentage at .928. Playing Idaho 15 times has to skew the Utah stats.

– As always, the three keys of scoring first, out shooting Utah and winning the special teams battle will be important in the series. Utah is almost unbeatable with a lead. The Grizzlies record when leading after the first period is a perfect 6-0-0-0 and when leading after the second period is 14-1-0-0. Allen doesn’t want to be playing from behind in this series.

– Both teams have goalies that have been hot recently. Chase Perry was selected as the ECHL Goalie of the Week yesterday. Since Perry joined the Americans, he is 4-1 with a 2.43 GAA and .932 save percentage. Utah’s top goalie, Trent Minor, has a 5-0-1 record in his last six starts with a GAA of 1.64 and .957 save percentage.

– For Allen to stay in the playoff race the goal is to win every series. Allen is going to need four of the possible six points this week to keep pace. Anything less than two wins in Utah will be a disappointment.

OTHER COMMENTS

– Liam Finlay was runner-up for ECHL Player of the Week. Utah’s Brandon Cutler (#29) was the winner. Cutler had eight points and five goals in three games so was certainly deserving. Finlay had five goals in four games but had three straight game winning goals, a rare feat for sure. You have to wonder if Chase Perry being selected as the Goalie of the Week hurt Finlay’s chances.

– Colton Hargrove and Hank Crone will try to extend point streaks tonight. Hargrove has the longest point streak in the ECHL this season (15 games) and Hank Crone has the second longest current points streak at 10 games.

– Just four games on the ECHL schedule tonight. Of interest to Allen fans will be how Kansas City fares in Cincinnati against the Cyclones. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/2/echl-today-feb-1

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats page is about team save percentages. Allen is one of the 12 teams with a save percentage under .900. The Americans team save percentage is. 894.

In today’s ECHL teams must have two good goalies and good team defense and even that doesn’t guarantee success. 12 ECHL teams have a team save percentages below .900. Just six teams have a percentage of .910+..928 – Idaho*.922 – Wichita.913 – Atlanta*.911 – Florida*.911 – Savannah.910 – South Carolina**Top 10 ECHL teams in points.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
NATIONAL HOCKEY MONTH CELEBRATION
Friday, March 1st
NATIONAL HOCKEY MONTH CELEBRATION
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM CST
Credit Union of Texas Event Center
Tulsa Oilers
TUL Tulsa Oilers
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Allen Americans
ALN Allen Americans
Credit Union of Texas Event Center
PUCKS N' PAWS/BISCUIT'S BIRTHDAY BASH
Sunday, March 3rd
PUCKS N' PAWS/BISCUIT'S BIRTHDAY BASH
Puck Drops:
2:10 PM CST
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Wichita Thunder
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Allen Americans
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RED OUT NIGHT (Wear Red)
Friday, March 8th
RED OUT NIGHT (Wear Red)
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM CST
Credit Union of Texas Event Center
Kansas City Mavericks
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Allen Americans
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Credit Union of Texas Event Center

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