The Allen Americans are in Fort Wayne for game three of their best of five series which is tonight (6:30 CDT). It is not a must win game or a win or go home game but if the Americans lose tonight the hole they have dug will be as deep as it can go. Allen is looking for a response to the disappointing loss at home on Saturday when they literally gave the game away and allowed Fort Wayne to tie the series 1-1. Over the seasons the Americans have played well after bad losses and they have rarely lost back to back games this season (five times in 77 games.

 

– Both teams have now played enough playoff games to see strengths and weaknesses that don’t show up looking at regular season stats. Here is an Allen vs Fort Wayne comparison looking at playoff only stats.

Goals Scored (average per game)
4.00 – Allen
3.00 – Fort Wayne

Goals Allowed (average per game)
2.60 – Allen
3.29 – Fort Wayne

Goal Differential (goals scored minus goals allowed)
+7:  Allen
-2:  Fort Wayne

Shots For (average per game)
33.40 – Allen
31.86 – Fort Wayne

Shots Against (average per game)
31.20 – Allen
32.00 – Fort Wayne

Shooting Percentage (goals as a percent of total shots)
12.0% – Allen
9.4% – Fort Wayne

Power Play Percentage
11.1% – Fort Wayne
8.0% – Allen

Penalty Kill Percentage
88.9% – Allen
88.9% – Fort Wayne

Power Play Goals Scored
3 – Fort Wayne
2 – Allen

Plus/Minus
+33:  Allen
-9:  Fort Wayne

Goals Against Average (GAA)
2.36 – Allen
3.25 – Fort Wayne

Save Percentage
.917 – Allen
.905 – Fort Wayne

Playoff Record
4-0-1 – Allen
4-3-0 – Fort Wayne

 

– Allen has to like their chances given most of the numbers above. If the Americans play to their potential you have to like their chances.

 

– The stat that is hard to explain is the power play percentage. These teams have gone from the top two teams during the regular season (25.9% – Fort Wayne, 20.5% – Allen) to the bottom two teams in the playoffs (11.1% – Fort Wayne, 8.0% – Allen). A power play goal played a big part in Fort Wayne’s big comeback win on Saturday. Special teams will likely determine the winner tonight. There were 23 power play attempts in the first two games but just two goals (one for each team). There is little doubt both teams will get some power play opportunities tonight, the question is which team will execute the best. In the first two games of the series the team with a power play goal won.

 

– Scoring first is always important even though it didn’t work for Allen on Saturday. With that one exception both Allen and Fort Wayne have won every game in the playoffs when it scored first.

 

– Even though they have played several fewer games than their competitors, Corey Mackin is the ECHL overall leader in playoff points (8) and Les Lancaster leads all defensemen (5). Brett Neumann is second in goals (4).

 

– Referees scheduled for tonight are Alex Normandin (#26) and Andrew Bruggeman (#25). It is Normandin’s third conference finals and Bruggeman’s second. I know coach Martinson is looking for consistency in what is called a penalty and hopes it is the same for both teams.

 

COACH’S CORNER

“C.J. Motte will get the start in goal, Jake Paterson will be the backup.”

“Frank Marotte and Darian Skeoch did not make the trip but we could fly them in if we need them.”

“Dyson Stevenson has not been cleared so he will be helping me on the bench.”

“Kris Myllari will go into the lineup tonight, Phil Beaulieu will be out.”

“We need to play better defensively tonight and make better use of our speed.”

“With Fort Wayne you know you will get power play chances, we need to convert on our chances.”

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– The Eastern Conference Finals could end tonight. South Carolina leads Greenville 2-1 in that series with game four tonight in South Carolina. The Stingrays are playing in their practice facility (capacity 550) which could be an advantage. If Greenville wins tonight, game five will also be in the practice facility on Wednesday.

 

– Here is the ECHL Today with previews of both games on tap tonight: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/6/echl-today-june-21

 

– Average playoff attendance for the four conference finalists with rank among the eight playoffs teams:

#2:  3348 – Fort Wayne
#5:  2217 – Greenville
#6:  2067 – Allen
#8: 550 – South Carolina (playing in practice facility)

 

DID YOU KNOW: Best playoff goalies by save percentage (minimum 120 minutes). Playoff GAA and record is in parenthesis:
.949 – John Lethemon, Greenville (1.68, 2-0)
.929 – Ryan Bednard, Greenville (2.44, 2-3)
.927 – C.J. Motte, Allen (2.00, 2-0)
.914 – Billy Christopoulos, Indy (2.39, 1-2)
.911 – Jake Paterson, Allen (2.56, 2-1)