The Allen Americans hit a couple of snags yesterday because of delays in getting COVID test results back. I don’t pretend to know all of the ECHL COVID protocols and will definitely not try explaining them but the bottom line is Frank Marotte is not in Idaho and with Antoine Bibeau sidelined with an injury, the Americans are down to one goalie. Tonight Hayden Lavigne will be in goal and the backup will be an EBUG. If all goes as planned Marotte will join the team for the games this weekend.

 

– Coach Martinson will also miss the game tonight so bench duties will fall to Jack Combs again, with help from player/assistant Chad Costello. The duo did well last week as the team won two of three games in Rapid City. It will take a big effort against Idaho tonight; the Steelheads have won five of their last seven games. Martinson will join the team for the games on Friday and Saturday.

 

– Here is the updated roster for the game tonight which includes one goalie (plus EBUG), seven defensemen and nine forwards.

Goalies

#35 – Hayden Lavigne
# ?? – EBUG

 

Defensemen:

#3 – Darian Skeoch
#4 – Kris Myllari
#15 – Josh Burnside
#20 – Ben Carroll
#23 – Ben Owen
#24 – Nolan Kneen
#25 – Philip Beaulieu

 

Forwards

#5 – Gavin Gould
#10 – Jackson Leppard
#13 – Chad Costello
#19 – Jared Bethune
#26 – Spencer Asuchak
#28 – D-Jay Jerome
#29 – Kelly Bent
#41 – Tyler Poulsen
#?? – Zach Hall

 

 

Zach Hall

 

 

– Former Allen player Zach Hall was officially announced yesterday and after one practice with the team will be in the lineup tonight. Hall played 56 games for Allen over two seasons (2016-18). As a rookie in 2016-17 he had 28 points (11G, 17A) in 33 games. Zach has only played eight games in the ECHL since the 2017-18 season. When I asked Steve Martinson about signing Hall he noted he has been in contact with Zach since last summer. Zach has made some changes in his life, has a business back home in developing young hockey players and spends a lot of time on the ice. Hall’s strength as a player is his skating, playmaking and vision. To quote Martinson, “Zach has great vision on the ice and that is a skill that is hard to teach.”

 

– I went back to the blog archives to look at the player profile on Zach when he joined the Americans as a rookie. He was traded to Allen as a rookie (for Matt Willows) after playing two games with the Reading Royals. Here are a few facts from that player profile:

Zach is from Belleville, Ontario and played his junior hockey in the OHL (Barrie Colts) where he played for five seasons and had 224 points (68G, 156A) in 221 games.

Zach’s favorite number is #28 which he wore during his junior career and #8 which he had in Allen. While #28 is taken (D-Jay Jerome) the #8 may be available.

His preferred nickname is “Hallsie”

He started skating at the age of two in full hockey gear. He has video to prove it.

Away from the rink he likes to play video games and go fishing.

As a 15 year old, playing minor midget AAA, his team played over 100 games (regular season and playoffs) and won the championship against a team they hadn’t beaten all season.

 

ALLEN VS IDAHO PREVIEW

– Allen makes just one trip to Idaho during the regular season, for the three games this week (tonight, Friday, Saturday). Idaho will visit Allen twice for a total of five games. The Steelheads will be in Allen for three games on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and January 2. They will return to Allen for two games on March 4 and 5.

 

– Comparing records, Allen’s overall record is 4-6-2-0 for a points percentage of .417 which is ranked #23 in the ECHL. However, Allen is 3-3-0-0 on the road. Idaho’s overall record is 8-6-0-0 for a points percentage of .571, ranked #13 in the league. The Steelheads home record is 4-2-0-0.

 

– Allen has played well in Idaho in the past. In the last five seasons the Americans have a record of 7-3-3-1 in Idaho.

 

– The key to this series can be seen in the stats. Allen scores enough to win games. The Americans average 3.3 goals per game compared to 2.9 for Idaho. The big difference is in goals allowed. Allen gives up an average of 4.8 goals per game compared to just 2.4 by Idaho. Better team defense will be a must to win tonight and in this series. Everything from goalie play to blocking shots to breaking out of the defensive zones to neutral zone turnovers to getting pucks in deep will have to improve to win this series.

 

– It won’t be easy to score against Idaho. The Steelheads have allowed a total of five goals in their last four games. Idaho goalie Jake Kupsky leads the ECHL in GAA (1.33).

 

– As always, special teams will be key in this series. Rather than look at overall stats it is more instructive to look at home vs road stats. On the power Allen is 24.0% (6-25) on the road and Idaho is 26.9% (7-26) at home. On the penalty kill Allen is 85.7% (3-21) on the road and Idaho is 92.3% (1-13) at home.

 

– Shorthanded goals have been a factor in many Allen games this season. The Americans lead the league in allowing shorthanded goals, having given up seven so far. Allen has scored two shorties including one by Spencer Asuchak in the last game. Idaho has given up two shorthanded goals but has yet to score one of its own.

 

– The line of Costello-Asuchak-Gould seems to work very well together. The threesome had 10 points in Allen’s last game and a total of 17 in the series in Rapid City. The Americans will need their continued leadership in Idaho to be successful.

 

– This series in Idaho is so important to show this team is headed in the right direction and to keep things trending up after winning two of three in Rapid City. There are plenty of obstacles in the way when you consider coach Martinson will miss the game tonight as will Jack Combs, Eric Roy, Branden Troock and two of three goalies. Even with the obstacles, getting at least four points from this series is essential.

 

– It is a busy Wednesday around the ECHL with 10 games on the schedule. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview of all of the games. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/11/echl-today-nov-24

 

DID YOU KNOW: Allen fans spend a lot of time watching that black disc fly around during games. Here are some facts about the modern hockey puck.

– The puck is made of vulcanized rubber. Vulcanization is a process to harden rubber.

– The puck measures one inch in thickness and three inches in diameter.

– It must weigh between 5.5 and 6.0 ounces.

– The puck has diamond textured edges to increase friction between the puck and stick for more control.

– The NHL rule is pucks are kept frozen at a temperature between 14 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them from being too bouncy when they are put in play.

– While pucks are made in several countries around the world if you look at the Allen Americans pucks you will see “Made in Slovakia” imprinted on the edge.