The challenge continues for the Allen Americans tonight (8:10 pm CST) as they take on the Utah Grizzlies in the second game of a three-game series. After Allen’s big 4-1 win on Wednesday, you can look for Utah to come back strong tonight. The Grizzlies have not lost back-to-back games in over a month.
– The lineup for tonight’s game is the same as Wednesday with the exception of Luke Peressini will get the start in goal.
- Perry (backup)
- Skelly (healthy scratch)
– What does Allen have to do to win tonight. I posed that question to coach Gens. Here is what he had to say.
“We need to continue to limit any chances against. I thought our defensive play was good on Wednesday, but we are striving for greatness.”
“Offensively, we just need to keep making smart reads on the rush. If we have numbers, we want to try and make plays. If we don’t have numbers, we need to make smart chip ins, so we can retrieve the puck.”
“Overall, we love our team, we are playing with our hearts on fire with our head coach at the forefront of our minds.”
– More of the same would be the easy answer to how does Allen win tonight. On Wednesday the Americans scored first, won the special teams battle, out hit Utah 18-10, had a 21-14 advantage in blocked shots and Chase Perry had a 971 save percentage. But there are a few areas where Allen could improve.
- Allen was outshot by Utah 35-25 on Wednesday. The Americans record this season when being outshot is 11-18-0-0 and when outshooting their opponents, it is 8-3-1-0. Allen needs to keep the shots closer tonight.
- The penalty kill was perfect on Wednesday (0-4) and the power play was good (1-6) but it was only 16.7%. If the Americans get an advantage on power play opportunities tonight, they have to make Utah pay.
- Faceoffs won on Wednesday were dead even. Goal for tonight should be above 50% on faceoffs, especially on special teams.
– It is important to remember what is at stake this weekend. The Mountain Division standings are so close one win or loss can move a team two positions. Allen and Utah have identical records of 19-21-1-0 (.476). If either team wins both games this weekend its points percentage will improve to .500. If either team loses both games, its points percentage will drop to .453. It means after the weekend the Americans could be anywhere from fourth to seventh in the standings.
– While Allen is in Utah for two games this weekend here is the schedule for the other Mountain Division teams. If the Americans can take care of business in Utah, they will have a great chance of getting closer to that playoff spot the covet.
- Idaho is at Tulsa for three games (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
- Wichita and Rapid City are idle tonight, play each other in Wichita on Saturday and Sunday
- Kansas City is on the road in Toledo tonight and Indy on Saturday and Sunday
– Here is the ECHL Today with previews on all 12 games in the ECHL tonight: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/2/echl-today-feb-3
– The Belleville Senators fired head coach Troy Mann yesterday saying, “A change like this is a difficult decision, but we are aligned internally and feel this is necessary for the short- and long-term growth of the players in our organization as well as the cohesion in systematic play between Ottawa and Belleville.”
Certainly, an interesting statement if you read between the lines. It remains to be seen how this might change the affiliate relationship with Allen. Assistant coach David Bell will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Bell knows what it is like to play and coach AA hockey. As a player he won the Kelly Cup in 2001 playing for the Greenville Growl and he was the head coach for the Quad City Mallards in the Central Hockey League in 2011-12. Here is the press release from the Ottawa Senators with all of the details: https://www.nhl.com/senators/news/senators-announce-changes-to-the-belleville-senators-coaching-staff/c-340678764
– How much help has Allen received from its affiliation with Ottawa/Belleville so far this season? Two goalies, two defensemen and no forwards have been assigned to Allen. Here is the list with games played in Allen.
- 32 games – Zach Massicotte (D)
- 13 games – Xavier Bernard (D)
- 11 games – Logan Flodell (G)
- 6 games – Kevin Mandolese (G)
– Allen’s record over the last 10 games is 8-2-0-0. Only two ECHL teams, both in the North Division, have a better record. Newfoundland and Maine are 9-1-0-0 in the last 10 games. Allen is ranked #18 in average goals scored (3.10). The #1 ranked team is Newfoundland who averages 3.98 goals per game. However, if you look at the last 10 games the Americans have averaged 3.9 goals per game. That average is one of the best in the league.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about average attendance. Six teams are averaging 6000+ this season, a couple of them for the first time. The highest average attendance for Allen in franchise history was in 2015-16 when the Americans won their second Kelly Cup and averaged 4571 per game. This season Allen is averaging 3707 per game.
Six teams (FW, TOL, JAX, SAV, TUL, CIN) are averaging 6000+ in attendance this season. That is the most teams averaging 6000+ in the last 10 years. Here are the number of times since 2012-13 current ECHL teams have averaged 6000+ in attendance. No teams averaged 6000+ in 2020-21 when there were covid restrictions:9 – Fort Wayne9 – Toledo4 – Orlando4 – Tulsa2 – Jacksonville1 – Savannah1 – Cincinnati