It is always fun going to an Allen Americans practice and a hockey game breaks out. Thus was the case yesterday as there were no coaches, no drills, just a bunch of guys having having fun playing the game they love. It was another three on three cross ice tournament. There were three teams; the defensemen, the young forwards and the old forwards. A series of six minute running time contests leading to a final match where the losing team had to represent the team at a Twin Peaks event tonight.

 

– My observations of this three on three tournament:

The defensemen were dominate, winning four of the five games they played, winning most games by lopsided scores. Their only loss was 1-0 to the young forwards. Looked like defensemen play offense better than forwards play defense.

While the games were fun these guys take any competition seriously.

With his size and reach Stepan Falkovsky seems to cover the entire ice surface in a cross ice game.

The “old” forwards took it in the shorts and will be spending their evening at Twin Peaks tonight. Knowing them they will probably claim they lost on purpose.

It is a long season so it is nice to see a few practice days where the goal is to have some fun.

 

– It was good to see Tyler Sheehy and Brett Pollock, who have been out with injuries, back on the ice playing in the three on three tournament. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will be playing on Friday but there is a chance. Josh Brittain who had been out sick, is also back.

 

– The NHL trade deadline passed on Monday with the Minnesota Wild making no moves. The next critical date to keep an eye on is next Monday (March 2) which is the AHL trade/loan deadline. Then March 5 is the ECHL trade deadline.

 

– One of the recruiting tools Steve Martinson uses is his reputation for loaning players. He is arguably the best recruiter in the league which is a big part of his success. This season he has outdone himself with number of players he recruited and signed who have spent time in the AHL. Several have earned AHL contracts (SPC). Here is the list of players signed by Martinson in the off season who have seen time with AHL teams. This list doesn’t include players like Alex Breton and Olivier Archambault who Martinson helped get AHL deals before the season began.

Josh Atkinson (signed SPC with Iowa)
Matt Register (signed SPC with Iowa)
Jake Doty (signed SPC with Ontario)
Turner Ottenbreit
Les Lancaster
Brett Pollock
Gabe Gagne
Jordan Topping
Jared VanWormer
Jake Paterson

 

– It is possible every player on the list above with the exception of Atkinson could be on Allen’s playoff roster. One of the best things about loaning players during the season is they will be better players after spending time in the AHL.

 

– A big three game series between second place Utah and third place Idaho takes place tonight, Friday and Saturday in Boise. Even though Utah is currently in second place, Idaho has dominated their head to head series with the Grizzlies with a record of 6-1-0-1. Eight of Utah’s 15 remaining games (53%) are against Idaho with six of the eight in Boise. Utah also has three games in Allen.

 

– Idaho doesn’t have an easy schedule by any means. In addition to eight games against Utah they have to play league leading South Carolina three times (all at home) and two games in Allen.

 

– There are six games on tap around the ECHL today. Here is the ECHL preview on the six games: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2020/2/echl-today-feb-26

 

– Congratulations to former Allen Americans defenseman Aaron Gens who starts a new full time job today as the Hockey Programs Manager at the Children’s Health StarCenter in McKinney. Along with a co-manager, Aaron will be responsible for all of the youth and adult hockey coming through the rink. He also plans to continue coaching one of the youth teams.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW: Allen is having one of their best regular seasons since joining the ECHL but is doing it in a different way when it comes to penalty minutes. Allen has always been at or near the top of the list in all categories of penalties. Not the case in 2019-20. Here is how Allen ranks in the PIMS categories:

15th – Average penalty minutes per game
7th – Minor penalties
17th – Five minute major penalties
13th – 10 minute misconduct penalties
21st – Game misconduct penalties