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Allen vs Florida Series Preview, Tonight’s Lineup, Kevin Mandolese’s NHL Debut, ECHL Games Played Record and More

Wednesday, February 15th
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Tonight, the Allen Americans begin a three-game series against the Florida Everblades. It will be yet another important series for the Americans as they are in a close race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mountain Division. Allen is currently tied with Rapid City for the final playoff spot and trail Kansas City by four points for third place in the division.

– For Allen fans this week it is a rare opportunity to see a team from the Eastern Conference and to see an ECHL team for the first time. Florida is tied for first place in the South Division and the Everblades are the defending Kelly Cup champions. Two former Allen Americans are on the Florida roster. Defenseman Nolan Kneen played in Allen the last two seasons and forward Kyle Neuber was on the Americans 2016 Kelly Cup championship team. Unfortunately, Neuber has been on injured reserve since January 22nd so he will likely not be on the trip to Allen.

– Allen will be without coach Chad Costello on the bench tonight as he will be serving a one game suspension that was announced yesterday after he was ejected from the game against Fort Wayne on Saturday. From my understanding when a coach is suspended, he can be in the locker room until two hours before game time and then must not have any contact with the team during the game. He can still be in the building but with absolutely no communication with the team. What this means for Allen is Costello will handle all of the pregame preparation. Assistant coach Aaron Gens and assistant coach (manager of hockey administration) Chris Meriney will be sharing duties on the bench.

– The first game of this series will be critical for Allen. The Americans were riding high after the Utah trip and the first game against Fort Wayne. The Americans had a four-game win streak, were averaging 6.25 goals per game, and were full of confidence. Two games later Allen is now on a two-game losing streak having allowed 14 goals in the last two games against Fort Wayne and allowing Allen 50 shots on Saturday. All of the momentum from the four-game win streak evaporated to the two losses to the Komets. The Americans need to snatch that momentum back with a good performance tonight.

– Florida plays a similar style of hockey as Allen so you can expect an enjoyable series this week. The Everblades are 5-3-1-1 in the last 10 games compared to 7-3-0-0 for Allen. Both teams have lost its last two games. Florida’s record on the road is 10-6-4-2 (.591) compared to Allen’s home record of 9-10-1-0 (.475).

– When you compare overall stats Florida has the edge as you would assume given the Everblades are #5 in the league in points percentage (.678) and Allen is #18 (.489). Here are some key comparative stats.

– Allen is ranked #11 in average goals scored (3.37) but is ranked #22 in average goals allowed (3.63) for a differential of -0.26. Florida is ranked lower in average goals scored at #14 (3.33) but is one of the best defense teams in the league ranked #5 (2.78). The Everblades goal differential is +0.55.

– Shots and goals by period are very telling between these team and the third period tells the story. Allen has been outshot 503-429 in the third period and outscored 61-51. Florida has outshot its opponents 444-401 in the third period which produced a 58-34 third period goals advantage.

– The likelihood of fisticuffs in this series is pretty high. Florida is ranked #2 in the ECHL in fighting majors (26) and Allen is ranked #5 (22). Keep in mind players no longer on the Allen roster (Pochiro, Blachman, Leppard) represent nine of the 22 fighting majors.

– Allen has a clear advantage if any of the games against Florida go extra time. The Americans have gone extra time just five times (11%) this season but have one of the best records in the league (.800). Allen is 3-1 in overtimes and 1-0 in shootouts. Florida has gone extra time 11 times (24%) and has one of the worst records in the league (.364). The Everblades are 4-4 in overtimes and 0-3 in shootouts.

– When it comes to scoring first the advantage goes to Florida. Allen has scored first in 50% (23 of 46) of its games with a record of 16-6-1-0 (.717) The Americans record when they give up the first goal is 6-17-0-0 (.261). Florida has scored first in 44% of its games (20 of 45) with a record of 17-1-1-1. The Everblades record when they give up the first goal is 10-10-3-2 (.500). A good start will be key for both teams but even more so for the Americans. Florida is the only team in the league that is still perfect when leading after the first period (11-0-0-0). Allen’s record when trailing after the first period is 3-13-0-0.

– Special teams will play a key role in this series. Allen leads the league in penalty minutes (895) and minor penalties (295). Florida is ranked #7 in penalty minutes (661) and has taken 213 minor penalties. Allen’s home power play percentage is ranked #17 (20.7%) and the home penalty kill is ranked #8 (82.4%). Allen has scored four shorthanded goals and allowed four shorthanded goals. On the road Florida is ranked dead last on the power play (9.6%) and #24 (73.3%) on the penalty kill. Florida has scored eight shorthanded goals (ranked #3) and allowed six shorthanded goals.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP

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

OTHER COMMENTS

– Colton Hargrove will try and extend his 21-game point streak to night. Hargrove has at least one point in every Allen game since December 30. Just as amazing is he has scored 20 goals in the last 20 games.

– The leading scorer in the ECHL, Zach O’Brien, is back with Newfoundland after spending time in the AHL (Newfoundland). OBrien has 61 points and leads Hank Crone and Jack Combs by just one point. Newfoundland is idle tonight so if Crone and/or Combs have multi point night they will take over the ECHL lead in points.

– I am sure you have heard by now that goalie Kevin Mandolese made his NHL debut last night for Ottawa and came away with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Islanders. According to the NHL his 46 saves is the second most in a victorious NHL debut in league history (since 1955-56 when shots on goal began being tracked). According to the ECHL press release it is #1 all-time, but I will go with the NHL on this one. Ken Wregget made 48 saves in his NHL debut playing for Toronto on December 12, 1983, in a win over the Hartford Whalers.

– Kevin Mandolese joins the goalie club that has won games in the ECHL, AHL and NHL in the same season. Here are his records at all three levels:

  • ECHL – six games played (4-1-0), GAA 2.45, save percentage .927.
  • AHL – 13 games played (4-7-2), GAA 3.60, save percentage .879.
  • NHL – one game played (1-0-0), GAA 1.85, save percentage .958.

– I had a couple of questions asking about whether Chad Costello had ever been ejected from a game as a player and the and the answer to that question is yes. However, tonight will be his first ever suspension.

– There are eight games on the ECHL schedule tonight. Here is the ECHL Today with all of the previews.  https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/2/echl-today-feb-15

DID YOU KNOW: Stick taps to Atlanta’s Michael Pelech who set the ECHL all-time record for games played last night. Here are the ECHL active players with most games played. Number of ECHL seasons played is in parenthesis:860: Michael Pelech, Atlanta (14)769: Justin Taylor, Kalamazoo (13)520: Shawn Szydlowski, Orlando (11)518: Matt Register, Idaho (10)452: Anthony Collins, Kalamazoo (10)437: Andrew Cherniwchan, South Carolina (11)430: A.J. White, Idaho, (7)

The post Allen vs Florida Series Preview, Tonight’s Lineup, Kevin Mandolese’s NHL Debut, ECHL Games Played Record and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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