Needless to say this will be a critical week for the Allen Americans as they play three games in three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) on the road against the Utah Grizzlies. Until recently the schedule had the series beginning on Wednesday but that game was changed to Sunday at the request of the Grizzlies because of a scheduling conflict at their arena, the Maverik Center. Turns out the conflict is professional wrestling. A relatively new company (2019) called “All Elite Wrestling” will have a nationally televised (TNT) event on Wednesday.
– The schedule change will allow coach Martinson to have some concentrated practice time before the team leaves for Utah on Thursday, something that is hard to find this time of the season.
– It is hard to overstate the importance of the three games against Utah this weekend. If Allen sweeps the series with three regulations wins they would have a 94-79 point lead over Utah and could not be caught by the Grizzlies. However, if Utah gets the sweep the Americans point lead will be down to 88-85 with seven games remaining.
– I have heard from many of you recently about the inconsistent play of the Allen Americans and that observation is certainly accurate. If you look back over the last month, Allen’s record is a mediocre 7-6-0-0 and the team has lost games by scores of 1-0 to 6-1 to 6-4. The Americans have won games by scores of 1-0 to 8-5 to 5-4. Three of their last four wins have come in overtime.
– It is worth noting the number of players that were expected to be in Allen that are not. Teams always lose players to the AHL but this season has seen more than anyone expected when the season began. Here is a list of players coach Martinson signed for Allen that have spent the majority of the season in the AHL. Included in the listed below are the games they have played for Allen. FYI the Americans have played 62 games.
Josh Atkinson – 0 games
Matt Register – 3 games
Jake Doty – 3 games
Turner Ottenbreit – 17 games
Les Lancaster – 34 games
Gabe Gagne – 36 games
– In addition to the six players above the last month has seen other key players miss time. Tyler Sheehy (injury), Brett Pollock (injury) and Jared VanWormer (AHL loan) have missed a total of 17 games in the last month. Olivier Archambault, Alex Guptill, Cole Fraser, Stepan Falkovsky and Corey Durocher have also missed games with injuries. Nick Boka hasn’t played since the end of January and is out indefinitely. In the last three days Jack Sadek and Mitch McLain have been recalled by Iowa.
– It all adds up to coach Martinson scrambling to find more college players, in addition to Ben Carroll, to sign for the remainder of the season. It is also possible the Wild are looking to sign some players just finishing their collegiate eligibility which could benefit the Americans.
– Coach Martinson has mentioned in the past he expects Jake Doty to be sent back to Allen for a weekend before the end of the season to get enough games (needs two more) to qualify for the playoffs. Seems like this weekend against Utah would be perfect timing. Allen may be shorthanded and more importantly it is an easy trip to get from Ontario (Los Angeles) to Salt Lake City.
– While Allen is playing three games in Utah this weekend, Idaho will be in Rapid City for three games and Tulsa will play Kansas City three times. The playoff picture could clarify a lot this weekend.
DID YOU KNOW: Here are the average penalty minutes per game leaders since the 2014-15 season. Looks like the new fighting rules for the 2019-20 season have impacted the average penalty minutes per game. The ECHL is on pace to have 755 major penalties (mostly fighting majors) this season. Last season there were 1061 major penalties. FYI, Allen’s average penalty minutes per game this season is 12.02.
16.95 – Fort Wayne Komets (2019-20)
23.49 – Allen Americans (2018-19)
19.60 – Allen Americans (2017-18)
19.89 – Allen Americans (2016-17)
19.82 – Colorado Eagles (2015-16)
22.83 – Allen Americans (2014-15)