The big news yesterday for Allen Americans fans was the suspension of Alex Lavoie by the team. This is the transaction the team must take to retain a player’s rights when they go overseas. Alex, who was returning to play in North America this season after spending the last four seasons in Europe (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria) is returning to Sweden to play.
– Lavoie returned to Allen this season with much fanfare having played in Allen as a rookie in 2013-14. In that rookie season Alex was the team’s leading scorer with 76 points (25G, 51A) in just 60 games. He helped lead the Americans to their second championship and was selected as the Central Hockey League Rookie of the Year.
– This season Alex could never find the spark he had as a rookie in Allen. In 12 games he had no goals and six assists. He is the only forward on the team that has played more than six games that doesn’t have a goal. You have to wonder after playing for four years on the bigger ice surfaces in Europe the adjustment to the smaller ice in North America was a factor. Clearly Alex’s style of play as a playmaker benefits him on the bigger ice in Europe. It is always difficult to see popular players like Alex move on but this move may prove to be good for both Alex and the Americans.
– I haven’t seen anything put out by the ECHL but keep hearing the number of players that can dress for each game has been reduce from 20 (18 skaters) to 19 (17 skaters). This isn’t a big adjustment since coaches are used to playing with 16 skaters which was the rule for years.
– Allen has played just 13 games and had a four game win streak early in the season and currently has a four game win streak. Checked last season and in 62 games the Americans had one six game win streak and two four game win streaks. This team is looking like it could have plenty of multigame win streaks this season.
– The Iowa Wild started their training camp yesterday with two goalies, eight defensemen and 16 forwards. None of the five contracted players assigned to Allen (Register, Mychan, Sheehy, Kielly, Beaulieu) are on the training camp roster. There are so many factors that can impact the Iowa roster as they get ready for their season that could have them recall players from Allen. Injuries and COVID issues in Iowa or Minnesota may necessitate call ups. There are Wild draft choices currently in Iowa that are junior players that will return to their junior teams when the WHL and OHL start playing. The bottom line is there are a lot of moving parts around the AHL startup and depending how it all plays out Allen could get more players assigned or have players recalled. The Iowa Wild open their season on February 5 at home against the Texas Stars.
– I was looking at the scoring by period stats this morning and noticed how the top teams all have something in common. Their second period is their worst but they excel in the third period. Allen has barely outscored their opponents in the second period (15-14) but have the biggest goal differential in the league in the third period (+10) outscoring their opponents 17-7.
– Indy is a stark example of good teams having poor second periods and great third periods. The Fuel have the best record in the ECHL (11-2) but only 10 second period goals compared to their opponents 17. Indy has outscored their opponents in the third period 16-8.
– Here is a statistical oddity. Allen has the ECHL high this season for saves in one period and saves in a game. On December 27, 2020 against Tulsa, Zach Sawchenko had 22 saves in the third period and 46 for the game. The oddity is Allen won the game 5-1. Stopping 46 of 47 shots computes to a save percentage of .979 for Zach.
DID YOU KNOW: Alex Lavoie had the best rookie season in the history of the Allen Americans that led to Rookie of the Year honors and a championship. Here are the Allen rookies that scored 30 or more points:
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)