The Allen Americans will hit the halfway point of the season this week as they begin a long stretch of games at home. This morning I want to look at segments of the remaining schedule divided into three unequal parts. How the Americans fare in these three segments will dictate their chances for a fifth championship and third Kelly Cup.
March 24 – May 5 (22 games)
– As I mentioned yesterday the next six weeks will be a great opportunity for Allen to make up ground and take the lead in the Western Conference. Between March 24 and May 5 the Americans will play 19 home games and just three road games (one trip to Rapid City). This is clearly the sweet spot of the schedule for Allen after all of the road games early in the season. To give you an idea of the opportunity this presents for the Americans their road points percentage this season is .565 with a record of 13-10-0-0 compared to their home points percentage of .818 with a record of 8-1-2-0.
– The 19 home games will be made up of six against Utah, four against Kansas City and Wichita, three against Rapid City and two against Tulsa.
– It is hard to overstate the importance of this segment of the schedule. If the Americans expect to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference they must continue to perform at home at the same level (.818) they have thus far. If the Americans can have a points percentage above .800 during this long home stand they could be in first place after this segment.
May 7 – May 30 (13 games)
– After six weeks of home cooking and sleeping in their own beds the Americans will spend the last three weeks of May visiting Tulsa, Kansas City, Utah and Rapid City. A total of 13 games in this period 10 of which will be on the road. Included in the 10 road games is a four games in five days in Utah which will wrap up the 18 games between these teams this season. This could be a key series with playoff implications. The three home games in this period are against Tulsa (2) and Kansas City (1). From May 12 to May 30 the Americans are on the road for nine of 10 games. This will be a critical time with lots of travel, little time at home and few practice days.
June 2 – June 5 (3 games)
– This is a short segment of just three games but could prove to be critically important. It seems like every season there is a battle right to the end. It could be for first place in the conference, it could be to make the playoffs or it could be to get home ice advantage in the playoffs. This season Allen finishes at home with three games against Wichita (June 2) and Rapid City (June 4 & 5). Odds are these will be meaningful games for one or both teams.
– All of Allen’s remaining 38 games are against Western Conference teams ranging from 11 against Rapid City to none against Fort Wayne. Here is the break down of the 38 remaining games:
11 – Rapid City (5 home, 6 away)
10 – Utah (6 home, 4 away)
7 – Kansas City (5 home, 2 away)
5 – Tulsa (4 home, 1 away)
5 – Wichita (5 home, 0 away)
0 – Fort Wayne
– Fort Wayne started the season late (February 12) and will play only 50 games rather than the 72 the other 13 teams will play. Even more unusual is the fact that Fort Wayne will play just six games against teams in its conference. The Komets host Wichita for three games and end the season with three games in Utah. The schedule has Fort Wayne playing 76% (38 of 50) of its games against just two teams. The Komets play Wheeling and Indy 19 games each.
– Something to keep in mind in this unique season is the AHL will end its regular season on May 16, two weeks before the end of the ECHL regular season. It is unknown what the AHL playoffs, if any, will look like. Typically the AHL regular season is two weeks longer than the ECHL. What this means is you will see many AHL players assigned to ECHL teams from the middle to the end of May. This will likely have a big impact on the end of the ECHL season and into the playoffs.
– I have read several times that the AHL this season is much more about developing prospects than winning games. I have seen quotes from AHL owners and general managers that playoffs are not a focus this season. If it is true that prospect playing time is much more important than winning it could explain why fewer ECHL players are being loaned to AHL teams.
– Allen has the best record in the ECHL when it leads after the first period. Here is the ECHL Stats post from this morning with the details:
DID YOU KNOW: Based on their current goal production both Corey Mackin and Jesse Mychan are on pace to have 30+ goals this season. It is a pretty exclusive club in Allen history to reach the 30 goal mark. Here are all of the players that have scored 30+ goals in a season. Only Chad Costello and Bruce Graham made the list twice:
44 goals – Gary Steffes (2014-15)
41 goals – Chad Costello (2014-15)
35 goals – Greger Hanson (2016-17)
34 goals – Bruce Graham (2010-11)
34 goals – Nino Musitelli (2010-11)
34 goals – Zach Pochiro (2018-19)
33 goals – Chad Costello (2016-17)
33 goals – Colton Yellow Horn (2010-11)
31 goals – Bruce Graham (2009-10)