It is a fresh start for the Allen Americans as they arrived home Sunday afternoon and will not leave again until they travel to Utah for three games starting March 12. The only game on the schedule in the next 11 days is against Utah on Wednesday. Lots of practice time starting today.
– Utah was involved in a donnybrook yesterday in Wheeling. A line brawl including the goalies broke out with 9.1 seconds remaining in the game and the Grizzlies trailing by a score of 6-1. It was the last of three games in three days and Utah lost twice to the last place Nailers. When the dust settled the teams combined for 146 penalty minutes which is 54 more PIMS than any game in the league this season. Wheeling is now ranked #1 (71 minutes) for PIMS in a single game this season and Utah is ranked #2 (67 minutes).
– Allen is about to have the strongest lineup of the season with the recent addition of five players from San Jose. You never know when players will get recalled but the San Jose players will all be in Allen for the game on Wednesday. Josh Maser, however, who played two games in Greenville, is already headed back to Iowa.
– Allen will also benefit from players returning after going through COVID protocol. Per coach Martinson, Conner Bleackley, Jesse Mychan, Zane Franklin and Nolan Kneen have been cleared and will return to practice today. The others won’t be cleared until Thursday. Martinson emphasized again this morning that COVID issues will not be a problem going forward since almost all of the team has had the virus.
– You could see the potential from the contracted players in the series in Greenville. Joe Garreffa has picked up where he left off before he was recalled by San Jose. Joe had a goal and an assist in Greenville but more importantly his puck carrying skills will help. Defenseman Chaz Reddekopp did not have a point in Greenville but he was the only Allen defensemen that did not have a negative game in plus/minus. He finished the weekend with a +3 and his physical presence was a factor. Krystof Hrabik had a goal in Greenville but was a big factor in offensive zone faceoffs. Kyle Topping had three assists in Greenville second only to Josh Lammon who had four. A lot of skill and toughness has been added to an already strong lineup.
– Fort Wayne made a statement on its trip to league leading Indy this weekend. The Komets lost 3-2 in overtime on Friday but beat the Fuel 8-1 on Saturday and 3-0 on Sunday. In this strange COVID season Fort Wayne didn’t start playing until February 12, hasn’t played a single game against a team in the Western Conference and yet lead the conference with a .722 points percentage.
– Overall the ECHL standings are getting closer. If you look at points percentages there are now no teams over .800. Four teams (Florida, Indy, Fort Wayne, Wichita) are in the .700’s. Two teams (Allen, Utah) are in the .600’s. Three teams (Orlando, Greenville, South Carolina) are in the .500’s. Four teams (Kansas City, Jacksonville, Tulsa, Rapid City) are in the .400’s and just one team (Wheeling is in the .300’s.
– The number of ECHL hat tricks has picked up significantly. From the start of the season on December 11 until February 20 there were just two hat tricks. In the last week there have been four, Zach Pochiro (Fort Wayne), Nick Henry (Utah), Danny Moynihan (Tulsa) and Jake Coughler (Orlando).
– Zach Pochiro has scored eight goals in eight games since Fort Wayne started its season on February 12. His start is reminiscent if the start Scott Howes had for the Americans in 2012-13 when he scored 21 goals in 22 games to start the season. Scott’s start earned him a promotion to the AHL and he never returned to Allen. Pochiro has a ways to go but if he continues to average a goal per game he will be in the AHL soon.
– Former Allen defenseman Cole Fraser has had at least one penalty in every game he has played since December 27, the longest streak in the ECHL this season. Cole leads the ECHL with 19 minor penalties and is #3 in total penalty minutes with 83.
DID YOU KNOW: This could prove to be a big advantage for Allen down the stretch. The Americans have played half the homes games (8) that Florida, Indy, Greenville and Kansas City have played. Eight of 14 ECHL teams have played 14+ home games. By March 23 Allen’s home games will total only 11.
How big of an advantage is playing at home? Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season Allen’s home record is 28-8-3-0 for a points percentage of .756. The Americans road record over the same period is 28-15-4-2 for a points percentage of .632. This season Allen is 6-1-1-0 at home and 10-8-0-0 on the road. All of the late season home games will be welcome for sure.