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Allen vs Utah Series Preview, Allen Signs Northeastern University’s Jakov Novak, Trade Deadline is Today, 50+ Win Seasons Since 2008-09 and More

Thursday, March 16th
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It is game day for Allen as the Americans start a three-game series against the Utah Grizzlies tonight (7:05 pm). All eyes will be on this game since it is the only one on the ECHL schedule. The three games against Utah this week will be the final games between these teams during the regular season. In the previous nine games Allen has a record of 6-2-1-0 against Utah.

– Allen and Utah enter this series separated by two points in the standings and a playoff spot is literally on the line. Allen currently occupies fifth place in the Mountain Division playoff with 57 points. Utah and Rapid City are just ahead of Allen with 59 points. If either team takes all six points available in this series, they could end the week in second place. If they get no points, they will fall to fifth or sixth place.

– Here are some comparisons between Allen and Utah.

  • Allen home record 13-11-1-0, Utah road record 15-13-3-0
  • Goals per game: Allen #7 (3.57) – Utah #22 (3.02)
  • Goals allowed per game: Allen #23 (3.77) – Utah #21 (3.61)
  • Power play: Allen #2 (24.2%) – Utah #17 (19.3%)
  • Penalty kill: Allen #9 (82.0%) – Utah #17 (78.6%)
  • Shorthanded goals for: Allen (6) – Utah (4)
  • Shorthanded goals allowed: Allen (6) – Utah (8)
  • Record when scoring 1st: Allen (17-7-1-0) – Utah (19-5-0-0)
  • Overtime Record: Allen (3-1) – Utah (3-3)
  • Penalty minutes per game: Allen #3 (18.02) – Utah #2 (18.19)

– What stands out to me in the stats above is how much Allen has improved. A couple of examples. On February 1st Allen was ranked #18 in average goals per game (3.08), today the Americans are ranked #7 (3.57). Allen has seen a similar improvement on the power play. On February 1st Allen was ranked #16 at 20.1%, today it is ranked #2 at 24.2%.

– The games in this series should be high scoring affairs if the recent past says anything. In the last 12 games both teams have scored 52 goals, an average of 4.33 goals per game. What will likely decide which team wins this series is at the defensive end of the ice. Allen ranks #23 in the league in average goals allowed and Utah ranks #21. In the last 12 games Allen has allowed an average of 4.83 goals per game. The Americans will have to be better defensively to win the series against Utah. When I say defensively, I mean team defense from the goalies to the forwards to the defensemen.

– Another stat that jumps out from the list above is the fact Utah and Allen are two of the most penalized teams in the ECHL. One thing you can count on is there will be a lot of penalties in this series. Here is a comparison of season totals:

  • Minor penalties: Allen 337 – Utah 321
  • Major penalties (5 minute): Allen 25 – Utah 27
  • Misconduct penalties (10 minute): Allen 14 – Utah 19
  • Game misconducts: Allen 5 – Utah 7
  • Match penalties: Allen 2 – Utah 0

– If you look at the six games Allen and Utah have played since February 1st the Americans have a big advantage on special teams. Allen had at least one power play goal in all six games with a power play percentage of 34.4% (11-32). Utah’s power play percentage in the six games was 13.8% (4-29).

– As always, the three keys of scoring first, outshooting 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 12-0-0-0 and when leading after the second period is 21-1-0-0. Allen doesn’t want to be playing from behind in this series.

– When playing Utah, it is always worthwhile to mention the Grizzlies have played Idaho 15 times this season. Idaho is still on pace to have the best season in the history of the ECHL. Utah’s record against Idaho is 4-11-0-0. Utah has a current overall record of 28-26-3-0 which is a points percentage of .518. If you eliminate the 15 games against Idaho, the record for the Grizzlies is 24-15-3-0 which is a points percentage of .607. The point being, Utah is a better team than its record reflects.

– The Allen goal for the week is the same as every week. Win two out of three games and take a minimum of four of the available six points. A sweep would be great, but four points are a must.

– Here is the Grizzlies Weekly which will give you a lot more information about Utah to prepare you for this vital three game series: https://www.utahgrizzlies.com/en/grizzlies-news/grizzlies-weekly-utah-earned-3-game-sweep-at-maverik-center

– Here is the Allen Americans Weekly with additional information on last week and this week:  https://allenamericans.com/media/americans-weekly-37/

– Here is the ECHL preview of the game. The only game on the schedule today. Short and sweet. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/3/echl-today-march-16

– Here is the lineup for the game tonight. Defenseman Eric Williams (#20) gets his first start for the Americans:

FORWARDS 

  • Crone-Hargrove-McAuley   
  • Combs-Hebert-Finlay 
  • Brown-Young-Robidoux
  •                            Fournier

 DEFENSEMEN

  • Myllari-Saucerman 
  • Massicotte-Williams
  • Gally-Gagnon 

 GOALIES

  • Perry
  • Peressini  

OTHER COMMENTS

– Allen added Jakov Novak to the roster yesterday. Novak has been a center and left wing in his college career so would expect he will start out playing center for the Americans. He is about to graduate from Northeastern University with a masters degree. He started his collegiate career at Bentley University and transferred to Northeastern University in 2021-22. He was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL draft. I will have a complete player profile tomorrow.

– The NHL general managers met this week and rule changes were part of the discussion. Here is a story about what was discussed with the pros and cons about potential rule changes: https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-general-managers-gather-for-day-2-of-meetings/c-342222468

– The ECHL trade deadline day has finally arrived. No more trades after 2:00 pm Allen time this afternoon. The likelihood of an Allen trade is slim but not impossible. Five players were traded yesterday according to ECHL transactions. Would assume a similar number will be moved today. 

– How is this for success among an affiliate group:

  • 1st Place, Idaho Steelheads, ECHL Mountain Division
  • 1st Place, Texas Stars, AHL, Central Division
  • 1st Place, Dallas Stars, NHL, Central Division  

– If you didn’t see my stand-alone post on a story written by Rick Gosselin about Colton Hargrove, “Hockey Fun Again for Colton Hargrove” it is a must read. Here is the link: https://rickgosselin.com/hockey-fun-again-for-colton-hargrove/

DID YOU KNOW. The ECHL stats post today is about teams reaching 50 regular season wins. Allen has never reached that milestone but came close a couple of times. In 2016-17 Allen had 49 wins and in 2014-15 Allen had 48 wins. Note that none of the teams that have achieved 50+ wins in the last 15 years went on to win the Kelly Cup.

Idaho (46 wins) and Newfoundland (40 wins) have a shot at 50 wins this season. Idaho is a lock to make it to 50 wins and could threaten the all-time record of 56 wins set in 2001-02. Here are the ECHL teams with 50 or more wins since 2008-09. FYI, none of these 50+ win teams went on to win the Kelly Cup.2018-1951 – Cincinnati50 – Florida2017-1853 – Florida50 – Toledo2016-1751 -Toledo2015-1652 – Missouri2014-1550 – Toledo

The post Allen vs Utah Series Preview, Allen Signs Northeastern University’s Jakov Novak, Trade Deadline is Today, 50+ Win Seasons Since 2008-09 and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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