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Allen vs Rapid City Series Preview, ECHL Top Special Teams and More

Thursday, March 30th
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Utah beat Wichita 8-5 at home last night to pass Allen for fourth place in the Mountain Division standings by points, but Allen has games in hand. Allen, Utah and Rapid City are in a battle for the fourth playoff spot. Here are the standings by points and points percentage for the fourth, fifth and sixth place with games remaining in parenthesis:

POINTS

  • 4. 63 points – Utah (8 games)
  • 5. 62 points – Allen (10 games)
  • 6. 61 points – Rapid City (9 games)

POINTS PERCENTAGE

  • 4. .500 – Allen
  • 5. .492 – Utah
  • 6. .484 – Rapid City

– How important is the game tonight when Allen takes on Rapid City? If Allen wins the Americans will be in fourth place by points. If they lose, they will be in sixth place.

– Allen will have a full lineup of 19 players for the series in Rapid City. Chad Butcher will be in the lineup for the first time since March 5. Rookie defenseman Ty Farmer will see his first pro action after signing with the Americans this week. Two goalies, six defensemen and 11 forwards made the trip. Aidan Brown, Dalton Gally and Dalton Skelly stayed home. Here is the roster for the Rapid City trip.Goalies

  • #31 – Luke Peressini
  • #35 – Chase Perry

Defensemen

  • #3 – Ryan Gagnon
  • #4 – Kris Myllari
  • #5 – Ty Farmer
  • #20 – Eric Williams
  • #23 – Colton Saucerman
  • #49 – Zachary Massicotte

Forwards

  • #7 – Colton Hargrove
  • #10 – Jakov Novak
  • #15 – Liam Finlay
  • #17 – Chad Butcher
  • #21 – Jack Combs
  • #28 – Justin Young
  • #29 – Colby McAuley
  • #32 – Mikael Robidoux
  • #44 – Stefan Fournier
  • #67 – Hank Crone
  • #77 – Grant Hebert

– Allen is 2-3-0-0 against Rapid City this season with all five games being played in Allen. The three losses (6-5, 8-2, 3-2) came in early December when the Americans were struggling. The two wins (3-2, 7-5) came in early March.

Stat Comparisons

  1. Allen is 4-5-0-1 in its last 10 games; Rapid City is 6-4-0-0.
  2. Allen has scored 221 goals and allowed 234 for a -12 goal differential.
  3. Rapid City has scored 214 goals and allowed 239 for a -25 goal differential.
  4. Allen averages 18.7 PIMS and 6 minor penalties per game
  5. Rapid City averages 13.9 PIMS and 4.7 minor penalties per game
  6. Allen is 19-8-1-0 (.696) when scoring first.
  7. Rapid City is 23-11-1-0 (.671) when scoring first.
  8. Allen’s road power play is 23.6% (33-140), road penalty kill is 81.2% (26-138)
  9. Rapid City’s home power play is 17.5% (20-114), home penalty kill is 75.5% (27-110)

– Special teams are always a key but even more so in this series. You can see from the stats above Allen has a big advantage on special teams. If you add overall power play and penalty kill percentages together Allen is at 105.2% which is considered outstanding. Rapid City’s percentage is 91.0% which is considered poor. Rapid City has the worst overall penalty kill percentage (75.2%) in the ECHL. Allen has to take advantage of its special teams in this series.

– Goaltending will also be a key to this series. With three games in three days, it is likely both teams will play two goalies. Here are the stats for the goalies:

Allen

  • Luke Peressini – 31 games, 3.73 GAA, .892 save percentage.
  • Chase Perry – 19 games, 3.20 GAA, .914 save percentage.

Rapid City

  • Daniil Chechelev- 38 games, 3.59 GAA, .893 save percentage.
  • Adam Carlson – 30 games, 3.36 GAA, .895 save percentage.

– Team defense is another key for the weekend and that covers everything from breakouts, getting shots on goal, avoiding turnovers in the neutral zone, fore checking, getting pucks in deep and goaltending. Allen is ranked #26 in shots allowed (35.6) and #23 in goals allowed (3.77). The Americans have allowed five or more goals in 60% of its games over the last seven weeks. Since February 1, Allen is 8-1-0-1 when allowing three or fewer goals. When allowing four or more goals the Americans are 3-8-0-0. It is hard to win trying to outscore bad defense.

– Don’t forget the importance of playing with the lead. Allen is 17-4-0-0 with a first period lead and 21-3-1-0 with a second period lead. Rapid City is 16-4-1-0 with a first period lead and 20-2-1-0 with a second period lead. Playing from behind will be bad news for both teams in this series.

– Neither team plays a lot of overtime games. Allen has gone to overtime just six times (9.7%), fewer than any team in the league. Rapid City has just eight overtime games (12.7%). With that said, Rapid City is ranked #1 in the league in overtime and shootouts. Rapid City is 5-1 in overtimes and 2-0 in shootouts for a points percentage of .875. Allen is 3-1 in overtime and 1-1 in shootouts for a .667 points percentage.

– Linemates Hank Crone and Colton Hargrove have had their way against Rapid City. In the five head-to-head games both players have 11 points. Crone has seven goals and four assists. Hargrove has three goals and eight assists. Combined they are averaging 2.0 goals per game and 2.4 assists per game.

OTHER COMMENTS

– There are only two games in the ECHL tonight. In addition to Allen at Rapid City, Newfoundland is at Norfolk. With all other Mountain Division teams idle tonight is a great opportunity for Allen to gain ground on the field.

– Here is a video where the Idaho broadcaster (Cam McGuire) is interviewing coach Everett Sheen. The first few minutes of the video has coach Sheen talking about the three game series in Allen last week and the undefeated season (8-0) against the Americans. He also talks about the role Allen played last season in eliminating Idaho from making the playoffs for the first time since the team joined the ECHL in 2003-04. Allen was 6-1-1-0 against the Steelheads in 2021-22.

– Here is another video you might find interesting. Bonnie Shea became the first girl to play organized hockey in Minnesota in 1951 and she is still playing at the age of 78. Here is her story:

DID YOU KNOW: Combined power play + penalty kill percentage of 105% is considered outstanding special teams play. Six ECHL teams currently meet the 105% standard. However, it doesn’t guarantee overall success. The teams overall rank in the ECHL standings by points percentage is in parenthesis:110.0% – Toledo (3rd)107.3% – Idaho (1st)106.9% – Savannah (23rd)105.5% – Fort Wayne (12th)105.7% – Wichita (18th)105.2% – Allen (19th)

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