Preparation for the Western Conference Finals continues for the Allen Americans as they get ready to meet Fort Wayne on Friday. The four practice days this week started with a fun scrimmage on Monday between the right shots and left shots. The scrimmage actually had to be finished yesterday because they ran out of ice time on Monday. The “Lefties” came out on top. Obviously practice has ramped up as the week has progressed and the focus has centered on Fort Wayne.

 

– One good piece of news is the team will be flying to Fort Wayne rather than busing. Flying is more expensive and the plan if Allen had played the Komets in the first round was to bus the 1000 miles. With the short turnaround time in the upcoming series and the importance of the conference finals a decision was made to fly.

 

– When I talked to coach Martinson this morning he was pleased with how practice has been going. He also mentioned defenseman Phil Beaulieu, who was injured on April 25, has been cleared to play. Colby McAuley is still listed as day to day.

 

– Today I wanted to revisit the regular season comparison/matrix I put together for the first round of the playoffs which, incidentally, predicted Allen and Fort Wayne would advance. Here are the regular season stats plus I have added in parenthesis the playoff stats for each category. Playoff stats are a small sample given Allen played only three first round games and Fort Wayne played just five.

 

Goals Scored (average per game)
3.33 – Fort Wayne (2.80)
3.28 – Allen (3.67)

Goals Allowed (average per game)
2.67 – Fort Wayne (2.80)
2.72 – Allen (2.00)

Goal Differential (goals scored minus goals allowed)
+40 – Allen (+5)
+34 – Fort Wayne (0)

Shots For (average per game)
32.59 – Fort Wayne (30.40)
31.40 – Allen (30.67)

Shots Against (average per game)
25.22 – Fort Wayne (29.80)
31.67 – Allen (28.33)

Shooting Percentage (goals as a percent of total shots)
10.3% – Allen (12.0%)
10.2% – Fort Wayne (9.2%)

Power Play Percentage
25.9% – Fort Wayne (11.8%)
20.5% – Allen (8.3%)

Penalty Kill Percentage
86.8% – Fort Wayne (87.0%)
81.7% – Allen (87.5%)

Power Play Goals Scored
57 – Allen (1)
51 – Fort Wayne (2)

Plus/Minus
+114:  Allen (+23)
+49:  Fort Wayne (+1)

Goals Against Average (GAA)
2.62 – Fort Wayne (2.42)
2.67 – Allen (1.74)

Save Percentage
.914 – Allen (.929)
.896 – Fort Wayne (.918)

Record Last 10 Games
7-2-1-0 – Allen (3-0 playoff record)
4-5-0-1 – Fort Wayne (3-2 playoff record)

 

– Look for a tough and physical series between Allen and Fort Wayne. These teams finished #1 and #2 in fighting majors during the regular season. Allen led the ECHL with 41 fights followed by Fort Wayne with 37. When you consider the Komets played just 51 regular season games they fought at the highest rate in the league. You don’t typically see a lot of fighting in the playoffs but roughing, scrums, physical play and big checks will be seen in abundance.

 

– The ECHL  has announced the officials for the conference finals. Here is the press release from the ECHL with the names. I will have more info on the referees later in the week. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/6/officials-named-for-conference-finals

 

– I will have more series preview information tomorrow and will also look at the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between Greenville and South Carolina.

 

DID YOU KNOW: The last time the Allen Americans appeared in the Western Conference Finals was in 2016 when they beat Fort Wayne in five games (4-1) on the way to their second consecutive Kelly Cup. The series was a lot closer than the final outcome. Two of Allen’s wins were in overtime (6-5 and 3-2) and the Americans only loss was 2-1 at home. Here is some info on the four teams still vying for the Kelly Cup:

 

ECHL Final Four – reseed rank with regular season points percentage, last trip to Conference Finals and Kelly Cups:
Reseed Rank & Points Percentage
#1 Allen – .653
#2 Greenville – .632
#3 Fort Wayne – .618
#4 South Carolina – .579
Last Conference Finals Appearance
Allen – 2016 defeated Fort Wayne 4-1
Greenville – 2014 lost to Cincinnati 4-2
Fort Wayne – 2018 lost to Colorado 4-3
South Carolina – 2017 beat Manchester 4-3
Kelly Cups Won
South Carolina: 2009, 2001, 1997
Allen: 2016, 2015
Fort Wayne: None
Greenville: None