Before I get to the preview of the game tonight against the Idaho Steelheads here is a feel good Thanksgiving story about Ryan Lohin that he posted on Twitter and got picked up by the media in Charlotte. The back story on Lohin, he is on a one-way AHL contract with Charlotte and has been a healthy scratch the entire season, He hasn’t played a single of the Checkers 17 games. Luckily for him and the Americans, Ryan was assigned to Allen for a couple of weeks at the end of October, played in six games and tallied eight points (6G, 2A) before being recalled to Charlotte on November 9. At the time of his recall he was leading the Americans in scoring.

 

– You can only imagine the frustration for a player as talented as Lohin to be a healthy scratch for so long and it is more exasperating by the fact that Ryan is living in a hotel on the road and in Charlotte. On Wednesday Lohin was waiting for an Uber outside of his hotel to take him to the rink for a game and noticed a women struggling to get some of her Thanksgiving meal items out of her car, so he pitched in and helped. His helping hand led to an invite to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner.  Lohin’s caption with the photo below said, “When helping a stranger with her groceries turns into a Thanksgiving dinner invitation. Thanks you Vivian and Family for having me!!

 

 

 

 

– I have said this before but it is hard to believe Seattle and/or Charlotte would prefer having one of its players not playing for such long periods of time. The Checkers have played eight games since recalling Lohin and he has been a healthy scratch in all of them. Why not send him to Allen where he can play and develop. C’MON, MAN!

 

ALLEN VS IDAHO PREVIEW

– It will be a little closer to normal tonight as Steve Martinson is back behind the bench and he will have two goalies and a full lineup of skaters. Allen will still be missing some key pieces of the roster (Combs, Roy, Bibeau, Troock, Butcher, Dudek) so it will take a big effort by the team to get a win against the Steelheads.

 

– Here is a comparison of many stats between Allen and Idaho. If there is a number in parenthesis (#1 to #27) it represents the team’s ECHL rank for that stat:

Points Percentage: Allen .385 (#24) vs Idaho .600 (12th)

Last 10 games: Allen 3-6-1-0 vs Idaho 6-4-0-0

Point Leader: Allen, Spencer Asuchak, 16 points, 5G, 11A vs Idaho, Will Merchant 13 points (6G, 7A)

Team Save Percentage: Allen .873 vs Idaho .911

Average Penalty Minutes: Allen 16.54 (6th) vs Idaho 10.33 (24th)

Record When Scoring 1st: Allen 2-3-2-0 (24th) vs Idaho 4-3-0-0 (18th)

Overall Power Play %: Allen 18.8% (10th) vs Idaho 22.4% (5th)

Home Power Play %: Allen 15.0% (19th) vs Idaho 27.6% (5th)

Road Power Play %: Allen 21.4% (7th) vs Idaho 17.2% (11th)

Overall Penalty Kill %: Allen 77.6% (23rd) vs Idaho 87.9% (4th)

Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 72.0% (26th) vs Idaho 93.8% (3rd)

Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 83.3% (10th) vs Idaho 82.4% (12th)

Shorthanded Goals Scored: Allen 2 (9th) vs Idaho 0 (27th tied)

Shorthanded Goals Allowed: Allen 7 (27th) vs Idaho 2 (12th tied)

Goal Differential 1st Period: Allen 0 vs Idaho +2

Goal Differential 2nd Period: Allen -6 vs Idaho +9

Goal Differential 3rd Period: Allen -12 vs Idaho -3

Shot Differential 1st Period: Allen -25 vs Idaho +20

Shot Differential 2nd Period: Allen -52 vs Idaho +52

Shot Differential 3rd Period: Allen -45 vs Idaho +7

Goals For Per Game: Allen 3.23 (7th) vs Idaho 2.93 (18th)

Goals Against Per Game: Allen 4.69 (27th) vs Idaho 2.33 (2nd)

Shots For Per Game: Allen 26.77 (26th) vs Idaho 31.60 (8th)

Shots Against Per Game: Allen 36.85 (27th) vs Idaho 26.33 (2nd)

Record When Trailing After 1st Period: Allen 0-4-0-0 vs Idaho 2-2-0-0

Record When Trailing After 2nd Period: Allen 0-5-0-0 vs Idaho 0-3-0-0

Team Shooting Percentage: Allen 11.8% vs Idaho  9.3%

Team Plus/Minus: Allen -90 vs Idaho -5

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

– Looking at all of the stats above and considering Idaho is at home, there is little doubt Allen will be the underdog in the game tonight, especially with so many key players out of the lineup.

 

– The stats that standout are the ones related to shots and goals where Allen is at or near the bottom of the ECHL while Idaho is near the top. Average goals allowed is the most glaring but shot differential also stands out. Allen did a decent job on Wednesday holding Idaho to 28 shots but the Americans managed just 23 shots of their own and didn’t generate enough offense.

 

– The one stat that stands out in Allen’s favor is shooting percentage. The Americans 11.8% shooting percentage is #3 in the ECHL. Newfoundland (12.0%) and Toledo (12.8%) are the only teams with a better shooting percentage than the Americans. If Allen can keep the goal differential close tonight they will have a good chance of winning the game.

 

– The other area to watch tonight is special teams. Allen has been hit or miss on the power play and needs more consistency. If they can win on special teams they will have a great chance of winning the game. This might be an area where having Steve Martinson back will have an impact. He told me yesterday to look for an emphasis on hockey 101, back to the basics approach to the power play.

 

– Here is the game preview issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/media/game-day-preview-allen-at-idaho-810-pm-cst/

 

COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINSON

– I had a chance to check in with Steve Martinson. He had just finished his morning workout and was about to head to the rink for morning skate. It is clear it is back to normal for the coach. Here are a few of his comments as the team gets ready to take on Idaho tonight.

“Statistically we are the worst defensive team in the league and that has to change.”

“We are not good on back pressure and our defensemen need to be better at the blue line so the opponents can’t carry the puck into our offensive zone.”

“We continue to have too many neutral zone and entry turnovers that create good scoring chances for the opposition.

“We have an extra player for the first time in three weeks which will give me some flexibility with the roster. After this road trip we will get more players back and I will have to make some roster decisions.

“I plan to make some adjustments to the power play for the game tonight.”

“We had a nice team Thanksgiving dinner last night provided by Mike and Debbie Holum from Advocacy Behavior Consulting.”

 

 

DID YOU KNOW: Gavin Gould’s hot streak since joining the Americans, nine points (4G, 5A) in four games has him in the top four in rookie points in the ECHL. Here is the ECHL Stats post from today with rookie scoring stats:

ECHL rookie scoring leaders with average points per game in parenthesis:
15 points – Kris Bennett (1.67), Iowa
15 points – Brandon Cutler (1.15), Utah
13 points – Chad Yetman (1.08), Indy
12 points – Gavin Gould (1.33), Allen
Here are the ECHL rookie scoring leaders by average points per game the last five seasons (minimum 35 games):
0.91 – Ben Finkelstein, Greenville (2020-21)
1.49 – Tyler Sheehy, Allen (2019-20)
1.27 – Jared Thomas, Tulsa (2018-19)
1.34 – Justin Danforth, Cincinnati (2017-18)*
1.15 – Tylor Spink, Toledo (2016-17)
*Currently in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jacke