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Barry the Blogger – Allen vs Idaho Series Preview and More

Wednesday, March 22nd
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It is game day, and the stakes couldn’t be much higher for the Allen Americans. I know I say this every week, but with 13 games remaining in the regular season and the difference between second and fifth place in the division being exactly one point, it is definitely crunch time. 

– The task couldn’t be more difficult for Allen with league leading Idaho in town. Being the best team in the ECHL on pace to set all-time records for points, points percentage and wins is plenty of motivation for Idaho. The Steelheads are the long time ECHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars. Add in the fact the Stars are at home with an off night tonight so there will be Dallas brass at the game to give Idaho players even more motivation to play well.

– Allen will be playing without some key players. Colton Hargrove will be serving the first of his two-game suspension tonight. Chad Butcher is still on injured reserve, and I heard another player could be missing as well. It means Allen will be playing with some new line combination tonight. The term next man up will be the case in this game.

–  Allen is 0-5 against Idaho this season and the games have not been close for the most part. Allen has lost 7-4, 5-1, 5-2, 6-4 and 5-0 in the five games. That totals a goal advantage for Idaho of 28-11. The Americans will have to play much better defensively if they expect to take points this week. At the same time the Americans can’t expect to win if they score 0, 1 or 2 goals as they did in three of the losses to Idaho this season.

–  When you look at the ECHL stats so many of them show why Idaho is on pace to have the best points percentage in the history of the league. Maybe the most impressive stat is Idaho is #1 in average goals scored (4.12) and also #1 in average goals allowed (2.15). That makes for a goal differential of +118. Allen’s average goals scored is 3.63 and its average goals allowed is 3.73. That makes for a goal differential of -6.

– Here is the latest weekly update issued by Idaho which will give you a much better synopsis of the team and this three-game series than I could put together. Game previews usually include players to watch on the opponent’s team. In Idaho’s case it is half of the team. Check this out and you will be all ready for the series and you are forewarned this will make you wonder just how Allen is going to take points in this series. My answer to that is how many times have you seen in March Madness the last week a team that isn’t supposed to win on paper pull an upset. Don’t count the Americans out in this series even though they will be underdogs:  https://www.idahosteelheads.com/en/articles/idaho-steelheads-weekly-week-23-3-20-23

– Here is the weekly update from the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-recap-idaho-makes-a-stop-in-texas-for-the-next-three-games/

– A couple of the stats that standout from the link above include depth scoring, 14 Steelhead players have scored double digit goals (Allen has five). Idaho leads the ECHL in points from the blueline 209 (39G, 170A). Allen’s blueline has 142 points (30G, 112A). Finally, another Idaho stat that is hard to comprehend is the Steelheads are 12-0-0-0 when being outshot by their opponent.

– Idaho certainly doesn’t want to underestimate the Americans. Yes, Allen has not beaten Idaho this season and trails the Steelheads by 37 points. However, the Americans have been one of the best teams in the league since January 1 with a record is 21-10-0-1 which is a points percentage of .672. Idaho’s record over the same time period is 23-6-1-1 (.800).

– The Americans can match Idaho’s offensive firepower; Allen has averaged 4.7 goals per game over the last 24 games. This series will turn on the defensive end of the ice and that is where Allen will have to excel. Idaho gives up an average of 2.15 goals per game and has a team save percentage of .926. The last game these teams played Idaho shutout the Americans (5-0). It was the first time Allen had been shutout in 126 games. Allen gives up an average of 3.73 goals per game and has a team save percentage of .895. For Allen to be successful this week the Americans will have to be much better defensively but still create offense.

– Allen has a better overall power play percentage than Idaho (23.3% vs 22.6%). However, Idaho has a better road power play percentage (24.7%) than Allen’s home power play percentage (22.9%). The penalty kill favors the Americans. Idaho’s penalty kill on the road is 82.0%%. Allen’s home penalty kill is 83.3%. When it comes to penalty minutes and power play opportunities there is a big discrepancy. Allen has taken 1117 penalty minutes including 361 minor penalties. Idaho has taken 698 penalty minutes and just 260 minor penalties. A key to the game will be Allen staying out of the penalty box.

– A shorthanded goal could also be a factor in this series. Idaho has scored 10 and given up seven. Allen has scored six shorties and given up six.

–  Both of these team are excellent when they score first. Allen is 19-7-1-0 (.729) and Idaho is 32-4-1-1 (.868). Odds are the first goal will win in this series.

– Neither of these teams have gone to overtime this season very much. Allen has gone to overtime six times (10%) and Idaho seven times (12%). If there is an extra time game this weekend Allen has a slight advantage. The Americans are 3-1 in overtime and 1-1 in shootouts (.667). Idaho is 3-1 in overtime and 1-2 in shootouts (.571).

OTHER COMMENTS

– Scoreboard watching will be in full force the week with the division standings so close. Here are the Mountain Division matchups this week with current points percentage:

  • Allen (.525) hosts Idaho (.825) on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
  • Kansas City (.517) hosts Tulsa (.390) on Friday and Saturday and visits the Oilers on Sunday.
  • Wichita (.500) visits Iowa (.369) on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
  • Utah (.508) hosts Cincinnati (.730) on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
  • Rapid City (.492) visits Fort Wayne (.550) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

– The odd stats of the week:

  •  Allen had two players (Eric Williams and Jakov Novak) score their first goal on their first shot after joining the team. For Novak it was his first pro goal.
  • Rookie Ryan Cox (Toledo) scored goals in his first two pro games on Friday and Saturday, and they were both game winning goals.
  • Rookie Austin Magera (South Carolina) scored his first two pro goals on Wednesday and Saturday and they were both game winning goals.

–  There are seven games on the ECHL schedule tonight. Here are the previews from ECHL Today:  https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/3/echl-today-march-22

DID YOU KNOW: Three NHL defensemen are currently leading their team in points. Erik Karlsson (San Jose) – 87 points, Roman Jossi (Nashville)- 59 points and Vince Dunn (Seattle) – 57 points.In contrast, just two ECHL defensemen have led their team in points in the last 15 years. Both are currently playing in Europe.2020-21Les Lancaster, Allen, 62 points2019-20Patrik Parkkonen, Wichita, 45 points

The post Barry the Blogger – Allen vs Idaho Series Preview and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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