It is game day for Allen as the Americans are in Wichita to take on the Thunder tonight (7:05 pm). It seems hard to believe but the Americans are down to their last 15 games of the regular season. The game tonight will be the 11th time these teams have met this season. They will play for the 12th and final time tomorrow (Saturday) in Allen.
– The Americans will once again play shorthanded as Brett Pollock and Tyler Sheehy did not make the trip to Wichita. Coach Martinson shared with me that Mitch McLain (Iowa Wild) was meeting the team in Wichita to make a total of 15 skaters for the game. There will be nine forwards and six defensemen. Cole Fraser could get shifts on the blue line and upfront.
– Jake Paterson and Andrew Shortridge are the two goalies on the trip. If you have noticed, recently coach Martinson has gone away from a strict rotation of goalies and played a hot goalie in back to back games. Jake Paterson stopped 42 of 43 shots in Allen’s 2-1 overtime win over Tulsa last Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if Paterson gets the start in Wichita.
– Allen has earned at least one point in all 10 games they have played against Wichita this season with a record of 7-0-3-0.
– In their 10 head to head games Allen has outscored Wichita 50-32 and out shot them 366-310. Neither team has done a good job on the penalty kill. Allen has a power play goal in nine of the 10 games and a power play percentage of 25.6% (11-43). Wichita has a power play goal in seven of the 10 games including the last six and a power play percentage of 24.3% (9-37).
– The recent games against Wichita have turned into run and gun contests with Allen coming out on top. The scores of the last three games, all Allen wins, were 8-5, 7-6 and 6-3. While Allen should fare well tonight in a high scoring game I am sure coach Martinson would much prefer a more defensive minded game.
– Despite Allen’s great record against Wichita this season the Thunder have scored the first goal in seven of the 10 games. Would be a good sign to see Allen score the first goal tonight.
– Four of the 10 games Allen and Wichita have played this season ended up being decided in overtime. Wichita has won three of the four overtime games.
– Olivier Archambault leads Allen when playing Wichita with 20 points (7G, 13A) followed by Alex Breton with 13 points (4G, 9A) and Jordan Topping with 12 points (6G, 6A).
– Tyler Sheehy is eligible to come off the injured reserve list tomorrow and could be back in the lineup. Despite missing 13 games because of injury and call ups, Tyler still has a two point lead in the ECHL scoring race with 64 points. He has a 17 point lead in points scored by rookies.
– I decided to take a look at points scored by rookies over the 11 year history of the Allen Americans franchise. In the last 11 years just 10 rookies have scored 30 or more points. Alex Lavoie is the only one that led the league in rookie scoring and he was also selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year. Tyler Sheehy could become the second Allen player to win the rookie scoring title and the league Rookie of the Year Award.
76 points – Alex Lavoie (2013-14)
64 points – Tyler Sheehy (2019-20)
56 points – Spencer Asuchak (2013-14)
44 points – Braylon Shmyr (2018-19)
*41 points – David Strathman (2010-11)
41 points – Nick Layton (2011-12)
*39 points – Alex Breton (2018-19)
*39 points – Justin Baker (2014-15)
33 points – Tobias Whelan (2009-10)
*30 points – Eric Roy (2015-16)
– Two of Allen’s rookie defensemen could make the 30 point list, Jack Sadek has 29 points and Les Lancaster has 27 points. Lancaster is currently on loan to Stockton (AHL) and has also been loaned to Iowa and San Antonio this season. Les has 27 points but has played in only 34 games for Allen. Based on a full season he would have 55-60 points.
– Allen could punch their ticket to the Kelly Cup playoffs this weekend. Allen plays Wichita twice while Tulsa is in Rapid City for three games. Any combination of points gained by Allen or lost by Tulsa totaling five puts the Americans in the playoffs.
– There are 12 games tonight around the ECHL and it is worth some scoreboard watching for Allen fans. Utah is at Idaho and Tulsa is at Rapid City. Here is the ECHL preview on all 12 games: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2020/2/echl-today-feb-28
– The top two teams in the ECHL by winning percentage are both in the South Division. There are four teams in the league with a winning percentage above .700.
.768 – South Carolina
.723 – Florida
.719 – Allen
.708 – Newfoundland
If South Carolina is to be caught it will have to happen in the next two weeks. The Stingrays have lost players recently to the AHL and they are hitting the road for two weeks and seven games. Three of those games are in Idaho. If Florida, Allen and Newfoundland don’t make up ground in the next two weeks the Brabham Cup will most likely go to South Carolina. The Stingrays finish the season with eight of nine games at home.
DID YOU KNOW: The rivalry between Allen and Wichita goes back many years and was probably cemented when the Americans came back in game seven of the 2013 CHL championship to beat Wichita in overtime. More than any other team, Allen has dominated Wichita since the teams joined the ECHL in 2014. Even last season when Allen had the worst record in the ECHL their record against Wichita was 8-4-0-2. The Americans had only 25 wins last season which means 32% of their total wins came against Wichita. Here are the records over the last five years:
45-12-4-2: Allen’s overall record against Wichita
20-6-3-2: Allen’s record in Wichita
25-6-1-0: Allen vs Wichita in Allen