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Allen vs Savannah Series Preview, Magic Number, ECHL Defensemen Used and More

Wednesday, April 5th
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It is game day for Allen as the Americans begin a three-game series against the Savannah Ghost Pirates tonight. Allen seems to go from one obstacle to the next this season and will play shorthand again. The team will play two skaters short tonight with six defensemen and just nine forwards. Here is the roster update:

  • Dalton Skelly: On injured reserve since March 26. Unavailable for Savannah series.
  • Chad Butcher: Listed as day to day. Will not play tonight.
  • Liam Finlay: Listed as day to day. Will miss the game tonight and is unlikely to play against Savannah.
  • Mikael Robidoux: Listed as day to day. Will not play tonight but could possibly return Friday.
  • Stefan Fournier: On bereavement leave. Will miss game tonight but should return Friday.
  • Spencer Asuchak: Activated from injured reserve yesterday and will be in the lineup tonight. Asuchak was injured in the first game of the season (10/21) and has missed 64 games.
  • Oskar Autio: Goalie added to roster yesterday after signing an amateur tryout agreement. Will not be in the lineup tonight.

– It is difficult to play two forwards short anytime but even more so tonight when you consider the team just came of a grueling three games in three days road trip. Two of the three games went to overtime and Allen played four or five players short for part of the series. The team is sore and tired going into this series.

– The Americans and Ghost Pirates come into this series from totally different perspectives. Allen is in a fight for its life with the playoffs on the line. Savannah is locked in the last place spot in the South Division and has nothing to play for other than pride and jobs for next season. Teams already out of the playoff hunt are often very dangerous, playing a relaxed game against an opponent with everything on the line. To prove the point, last place Savannah is 8-3-0-0 in its last 11 games and has beaten playoff bound teams Florida, Jacksonville and Greenville.

– Both teams come into this series feeling good about how they are playing as both are on three game winning streaks. It is also notable the overall records are not that much different. Savannah is in last place in the South Division with 62 points and a record of 26-30-9-1. Allen is in second place in the Mountain Division with 68 points and a record of 33-30-1-1. If Allen was in the South Division the Americans would be out of playoff contention. The top four teams in the South Division have 85, 82, 81 and 80 points.

– It is always fun for Allen fans to see teams visit from the Eastern Conference and even more so given Savannah is a first-year team. The Ghost Pirates have made quite a splash in the first season. The logo has been a real hit and the team has become very popular very quickly. The team is averaging 6800 fans per games (#5 in the league). Even more impressive is Savannah has had sellouts in 32 of 35 games.

– Allen clearly has a better offensive team based on average goals scored per game. The Americans are ranked #7 averaging 3.58 goals per game and that number is closer to five goals per game in the last two months. Savannah averages just 2.86 goals per game, ranked #25 in the league. If you are looking for a game with a lot of shots this series should deliver. Allen and Savannah are two of the three worst teams in the ECHL in shots allowed. Combined they allow 75 shots per game.

– It might be surprising a last place team like Savannah has one of the best special teams stats in the league but that is true. If you add power play and penalty kill percentages together anything above 105% is considered outstanding. Just a handful of ECHL teams meet this standard. Savannah and Allen are identical in this stat at 105.7%. Here is a breakdown of home vs road special teams which is a different perspective:

  • 23.8% – Allen home power play
  • 16.3% – Savannah road power play
  • 81.8% – Allen home penalty kill
  • 84.8% – Savannah road penalty kill

Staying out of the penalty box will be key for Allen in this series. The Americans have given up 298 power play opportunities this season compared to 221 for Savannah.

– Allen has scored first in 46% of its games with a record of 21-8-1-0 (.717). Savannah has scored first in 49% of its games with a record of 19-9-4-0 (.656). That tells you all you need to know about the importance of a good start. Neither team should expect good results when playing from behind. Allen’s record when trailing after the second period is 5-26-0-1 (.179). Savannah’s record when trailing after the second period is 5-21-2-0 (.214).

– Allen has only gone to overtime eight times (including the last two games) this season the second fewest in the league. Savannah has gone to overtime 18 times the second most in the league. Allen has a big advantage in overtime with a record of 5-1 compared to Savannah’s record if 3-9. However, if games go to a shootout the advantage switches to the Ghost Pirates. The Americans are 1-1 in shootouts, Savannah is 5-1 in shootouts.

–  Players to watch for Savannah would include points leader #12 Pat Guay who averages 1.08 points per game and the Ghost Pirates leading goal scorer #10 Brent Pedersen. Savannah’s leader in penalty minutes is a familiar name for Allen fans, Darian Skeoch. He has been out injured since the beginning of March. Allen will see a lot of Savannah goalie, Michael Bullion who has taken over the top spot after the two goalies that played the majority of the games (53) both ended up in the AHL. Bullion was playing in the SPHL when he was loaned to Savannah. He has carried the load playing in eight of the last nine Ghost Pirates games. He has played in 13 games since arriving in Savannah with a record of 8-3-0-0, GAA of 2.75 and .920 save percentage.

– Allen will be shorthanded tonight but if you look at the leading scorers over the last seven games only Liam Finlay will be missing. Plenty of firepower for Allen to come away with a win tonight.

  • 10 points (4G, 6A) – Colton Hargrove (missed 2 games)
  • 8 points (3G, 5A) – Hank Crone
  • 7 points (2G, 5A) – Jack Combs (missed 2 games)
  • 7 points (2G, 5A) – Colby McAuley
  • 5 points (4G, 1A) – Jakov Novak
  • 5 points (1G, 4A) – Colton Saucerman
  • 4 points (2G, 2A) – Kris Myllari
  • 4 points (2G, 2A) – Liam Finlay (missed 2 games)
  • 4 points (0 G, 4A) – Grant Hebert

OTHER COMMENTS

– Rapid City beat Kansas City on the road last night by a score of 3-2 in the only ECHL game on the schedule. That helped Allen keep its second-place position. Allen and Kansas City are tied with 68 points, but the Americans have played two fewer games. With Rapid City winning the gap between second place and sixth place in the division is just three points.

– There are five games on the ECHL schedule tonight with Mountain Division teams involved in three of them. In addition to Savannah at Allen, Tulsa is at Wichita and Utah is at Idaho. Jacksonville is at Florida and will clinch a playoff berth with a win. If Idaho wins it will be the Steelheads 31st home win of the season and break the all-time ECHL record for most home wins in a single season. Five teams going back 20 years currently share the record with 30 home wins. If Idaho loses tonight it will have one more chance to break the record in the Steelheads last home game on Friday against Utah. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/4/echl-today-april-5

– Fifth place Wichita has 66 points with six games remaining. If the Thunder win out and end up with 78 points, Allen would have to earn 10 points in its last seven games to make the playoffs. Any combination of Allen points earned, and Wichita points lost that equals 10 will put the Americans in the playoffs. However, Allen’s goal is a lot higher than just making the playoffs. The journey continues tonight.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about defensemen used by ECHL teams. Allen falls in the middle of the pack. Ty Farmer who was just signed by the Americans is the 13th defenseman that has played for Allen this season.

The ECHL has used 361 defensemen this season. Average per team is 13 ranging from 10-23. Teams with most and fewest defensemen used. Those in a playoff position have an asterisk:

MOST23: Savannah20: Indy*19: Fort Wayne*19: Kalamazoo18: Iowa18: WheelingFEWEST10: Idaho*11: Kansas City*11: Maine*12: Rapid City12: Tulsa

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