It is game day as the Allen Americans begin another grueling four games in five days series tonight against the Kansas City Mavericks. This will be the third straight series an opponent arrives in Allen playing well. The Mavericks are on a three game win streak have beaten Tulsa by scores of 4-3, 5-0 and 7-1. Kansas City’s rookie goalie, Matt Greenfield, won all three games, had a GAA of 0.40 and a save percentage of .988. For his effort Greenfield was named the ECHL Goalie of the Week.
– The Americans are coming off a three game series with Utah where they won twice and lost the third game in a shootout. In the last 10 games Allen has a record of 5-3-1-1 and Kansas City has a record of 6-3-1-0.
– The game tonight will be the fifth between Allen and Kansas City this season but the first at the Allen Event Center. The teams split the previous four games. In the four head to head match ups both teams have score nine goals but Kansas City has the edge in shots 126-104. The totals are deceiving since in one game Allen held the Mavericks to 16 shots in a 3-0 win and the very next night gave up 42 shots in a 4-2 loss.
– Kansas City has played much better on the road than at home this season with a record of 7-10-5-0 at at home and 12-6-1-2 on the road. Allen on the other hand has played much better at home with a home record of 11-3-2-1 compared to a road record of 13-10-0-0.
– In the four head to head games Allen was 2-15 (13.3%) on the power play and Kansas City was 3-16 (18.8%). If you look at season averages Allen’s power play percentage at home is 13.7% and the penalty kill percentage is 87.9%. Kansas City’s road power play percentage is 17.3% and the penalty kill percentage is 87.8%.
– The Mavericks and Americans have split the four games they have played this season. I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that Allen scored first in the two games they won and Kansas City scored first in the two games they won. Both of these teams earn 78% of the points when they score first so it is a big key to get off to a quick start.
– If any of the four games against Kansas City go extra time the advantage is with Allen. The Americans have gone extra time in 8 of 40 games (20%) and have a record of 2-2 in overtime and 3-1 in shootouts. Kansas City has gone extra time in 12 of 43 games (28%) and has a record of 3-6 in overtime 1-2 in shootouts.
– Jake Paterson is back from his injury and both goalies will see action in this series. Frank Marotte will get the start tonight. Zane Franklin is also expected to be back in the lineup after sitting out the game on Saturday with an injury.
– Player’s to watch in this series include Les Lancaster who scored three goals in the four games against Kansas City. Conner Bleackley has been in a scoring slump but look for him to break out with a goal. Two of his four goals this season came in one game against the Mavericks. For Kansas City #18 Darik Angeli and #2 Brodie Reid led the way with two goals each against Allen. Another player to watch in this series is former Allen captain Jared VanWormer (#17) who has played 14 games for Kansas City since he was traded to the Mavericks about a month ago by Jacksonville. Jared has been playing on the top line and has seven goals in the 14 games since joining the Mavericks.
– Something to keep an eye on tonight and in the series is what you might call the game within the game. The last time Allen was in Kansas City (February 14) one of the Mavericks tough guys (#14 Loren Ulett) jumped Les Lancaster, a skill player that has never had a pro fight. Players have a long memory and what happened with Lancaster opens up Kansas City to have their skill players challenged. With Martinson having last change at home he certainly has the opportunity to make the night difficult for some opposing players.
DID YOU KNOW: Matt Register and Les Lancaster are #1 and #2 in assists on the Allen Americans and are both in the top four in points among all ECHL defensemen. The duo has more points than any other duo in the ECHL. Here is the ECHL Stats post from today: