Don’t look now but the Allen Americans only venture outside the Western Conference this season, a trip to Greenville, has taken on more importance. With Allen having its two games against Kansas City over the weekend postponed, along with wins by Wichita, Fort Wayne and Utah yesterday, the conference standings are tighter than a tree knot (only clean one I know). The Americans are still in second place in the conference but they are closer to fourth place than first place. Here are the Western Conference standings:

.727 –  Wichita
.674 – Allen
.667 – Fort Wayne
.640 – Utah
.481 – Tulsa
.457 – Kansas City
.389 – Rapid City

 

– Allen’s next seven games are against just two teams with six of the seven on the road. The Americans play in Greenville on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then play Utah four straight games. They play the Grizzlies at home on March 3 and then travel to Utah for three games on March 12, 13 and 14.

 

– Greenville is in third place in the Eastern Conference with a point percentage of .540 and will be a tough opponent for the Americans. While Allen is playing Greenville, Wichita will be playing against Kansas City and Rapid City. Utah will be in Wheeling for three games. The schedule definitely favors Wichita and Utah. Only Fort Wayne, who is in Indy for three games, has a tougher schedule this week than Allen. Needless to say the top four spots in the Western Conference could look quite different by the end of the week.

 

– The Eastern Conference is looking more and more like a two team race between Indy (.804) and Florida (.780). Four teams, Greenville (.540), Orlando (.522), South Carolina (.522) and Jacksonville (.500) will battle for the final two playoff spots. It is hard to bet against South Carolina as it hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2007 and always seems to play better toward the end of the season. Orlando has made the playoffs five of the seven years they have been in the league. The underdogs based on past performance would be Greenville who has missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons and Jacksonville who made the playoffs just one time going all the way back to 2013 when the Icemen were in Evansville.

 

– Here is the post from this morning on my ECHL Stats & Information pages on Facebook and Twitter (@ECHLStats). An interesting post if you are an Allen Americans fan.

Just five ECHL goalies currently have a save percentage above .925 (minimum 420 minutes played). The top goalies:
.934 – Jake Hildebrand, Florida
.932 – Jake Paterson, Allen
.927 – Evan Weninger, Wichita
.926 – Dan Bakala, Indy
.926 – Zach Sawchenko, Allen
What do four of the five on the list have in common? All but Bakala have played for the Allen Americans.
– Another former Allen goalie, Joel Rumpel, got his first start of the season for the Iowa Wild yesterday. Joel got his first action for Iowa in the third period on Saturday in a relief role with the Wild trailing 9-0 against Chicago. Joel stopped 12 of 13 shots in the third period as Iowa lost the game 10-2. Joel’s reward for the good performance was a start in the rematch against Chicago on Sunday. Iowa dominated the game everywhere but  on the scoreboard. The Wild out shot Chicago 41-14 but lost the game 4-1.

 

–  Former Dallas defenseman Dalton Thrower has just signed to play in Sweden. Dalton signed to play for Boras HC which plays in the third tier professional league in Sweden.

 

– Former Allen forward Zach Pochiro who led the Americans and was #3 in the ECHL in goals (34) in 2018-19 is playing for Fort Wayne this season. Zach had a hat trick yesterday against Wheeling, just the fourth in the ECHL this season. Zach is off to a great start with the Komets with a goal in his last four games. In five games he has six goals. After just five games Zach is tied for #26 in goals scored in the ECHL.

 

– Here are the plus/minus leaders for the top four teams in the Western Conference.

Wichita – Jacob Graves & Cam Clarke (+15)
Allen – Conner Bleackley (+11)
Fort Wayne – Anthony Petruzzelli (+5)
Utah – Matt Abt & Jack Jenkins (+8)

The ECHL leader in plus/minus is Logan Roe of Florida who is +27. In second place is Willie Raskob of Indy who is far behind at +17.

 

DID YOU KNOW: In Allen’s franchise history a plus/minus above +30 has happened just four times. Here is the list of the all time best plus/minus seasons:

+47   Joel Chouinard (2016-17)
+43   Chad Costello (2014-15)
+35   Greger Hanson (2014-15)
+31   Gary Steffes (2014-15)