The Allen Americans head to Tulsa today for a rare Tuesday night hockey game (7:05 pm CST) against their most familiar foe over the last 13 games of the regular season. Five of the Americans 13 remaining games (39%) are against the Oilers.
– Playing on the road against a team that is fighting for its playoff life will make the game against Tulsa tonight a real challenge for the Americans. Allen’s record versus the Oilers this season is 6-2-0-0 and in the five games played in Tulsa the Americans are 4-1-0-0. The last time these teams met (February 23 in Tulsa) Allen won 2-1 in overtime.
– Based on practice yesterday the Americans will have a full squad of 10 forwards and six defensemen available tonight. Brett Pollock was a full participant in practice and should see his first game action since February 18th. Another forward is day to day and questionable for the game tonight.
– You never know from game to game who will get the start in goal but if you look at how the goalies have been deployed this season the most likely choice against Tulsa is Andrew Shortridge. With three goalies on the roster coach Martinson tries to give them all work and Shortridge has not started the last three games.
– A key to look for tonight is shots on goals. Tulsa is #1 in the ECHL in shots on goal (36.67) while Allen is ranked #5 (33.83). If the Americans can keep the shots close it will give them the edge because they have a much better shooting percentage (11.9% vs 8.6%) than Tulsa.
– Scoring first is so important and the stats bear that out. Allen is 24-3-1-1 when scoring first while Tulsa is 18-7-1-1. In their eight head to head games this season Allen has scored first in six of them.
– Special teams will also play a key role tonight. Neither team has done well on the power play in the head the head matchups. The Americans have scored power play goals in three of the eight games for an overall percentage of 13.3% (4-30). Tulsa scored two power play goals in one game (they won the game) but were blanked in the other seven. The Oilers power play percentage is 8.0% (2-25).
– Allen is the highest scoring team in the ECHL with 239 goals compared to Tulsa who has scored 195 goals. Allen has allowed 187 goals compared to 193 for Tulsa. That computes to a goal differential of +52 for the Americans and +2 for the Oilers.
– The number of games remaining in the regular season varies from a high of 17 for Toledo and Wheeling to as low as 10 for the Tulsa Oilers after the game with Allen tonight.
– Last season just two teams (Cincinnati & Florida) finished with a winning percentage above .700. There are still three teams above that mark this season.
.776 – South Carolina
.737 – Florida
.712 – Allen
– When Allen won the Kelly Cup in 2014-15 they finished the regular season with a winning percentage of .736. The next season (2015-16) the Americans won their second Kelly Cup after finishing the regular season with a winning percentage of .618.
– With two games left in the regular season, Chad Costello still leads his league (Germany – DEL) in scoring. In 50 games, Chad has 52 points (20G, 32A) and a one point lead over another American, Wayne Simpson. Simpson was the top scorer in the 2015 Kelly Cup playoffs, playing for the South Carolina Stingrays when Allen beat them in seven games in the championship finals. Chad was the #1 star of that game seven with two goals and an assist. Hockey is a small world.
DID YOU KNOW: Here are the ECHL points leaders for defensemen. In addition to Breton (#1) and Falkovsky (#4), Jack Sadek is tied for #17 with 31 points (6G, 25A). Also, Falkovsky’s 15 goals leads the league.
ECHL’s top scoring defensemen:
50 points (10G, 40A), Alex Breton, Allen Americans
45 points (11G, 34A), Miles Liberati, Tulsa Oilers
45 points (8G, 37A), Patrik Parkkonen, Wichita Thunder
40 points (15G, 25A), Stepan Falkovsky, Allen Americans
38 points (12G, 26A), Logan Roe, Florida Everblades