It is game day for the Allen Americans but the Toledo Walleye made it a meaningless game by destroying the Indy Fuel 10-0 last night to claim the Brabham Cup and the #1 overall seed in the playoffs. So the main goal this afternoon (4:05 pm ) in Wichita is to make sure everyone comes out of the game healthy. It is too bad the game has to be played at all since the official end of the ECHL season was yesterday and the playoffs begin on Wednesday. This game was originally scheduled for March 8 and was rescheduled so Wichita could make up games with Greenville.
– According to coach Martinson the plan today for Allen is to split the goalie duties and give the younger players more ice time than normal. If Bryan Moore is 100% you could see him dress today. Zach Hall will not play but was not seriously injured in the game in Tulsa on Friday and is officially listed as day to day.
– The game today will be the 14th between Allen and Wichita this season. Allen’s record in the first 13 games is 10-2-1-0. While the Americans spent Saturday resting in Wichita, the Thunder traveled to Tulsa for a game against the Oilers. Wichita won the game 5-1.
– Not that it is very meaningful in a game like today but here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in a few key statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.11) – Wichita 4th (18.15)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 2nd (4.08) – Wichita 26th (2.63)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 2nd (2.84) – Wichita 25th (3.86)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 3rd (24.5%) – Wichita 23rd (14.7%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 5th (84.3%) – Wichita 24th (78.8%)
– Statistically there is no doubt Allen is the better team and under normal circumstances would be a big favorite to win this game but under the circumstances today anything could happen.
– In the 13 head to head games this season Allen has outscored Wichita 58-27, but the Thunder has out shot the Americans 486-418. The reason for this discrepancy is Allen has a much better shooting percentage than Wichita (13.0% vs 8.0%) and much better goaltending (GAA 2.77 vs 3.82).
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Lucas Martin (#29) and linesmen Chuck Schamel (#97) and John Tallieu (#52). Martin was the referee in Tulsa on Friday night.
– Coach Martinson will have a short time to come up with his playoff roster as it is due to the ECHL office tomorrow (Monday) at 3:00 pm EDT. Unless something unforeseen happens in the game today you can expect the playoff roster to look something like this. Remember, the playoff roster can include 23 players. Martinson has said before his plan would be to save one roster spot to add one of the San Jose qualified players (Mike Brodzinski, Alex Schoenborn, Jonathan Martin) if needed in case of injuries. Only one of these players can be added but Martinson can choose which one if and when the need arises. The one player can be added at any time until San Jose is eliminated from the playoffs. Once they are eliminated the player has to be added within two days or that option goes away. The other 22 roster spots will be made up of the players that have been playing recently along with Tanner Eberle who will miss the first round and Eric Roy who should be ready to go for the playoffs. Mike Brodzinski will head back to San Jose after the game today.
– The San Jose hockey family (Sharks, Barracuda, Americans) has been a real success during the regular season and could all make a deep run in the playoffs. Allen clinched their division on Friday, the Barracuda clinched their division last night and the Sharks finished their season last night with a 3-1 win over Calgary behind a stellar performance by Aaron Dell. The Sharks finished third in their division and will open the playoffs on the road. By the way, Dell finished the season with an 11-6 record, GAA of 2.00 and save percentage of .931.
– Here is the schedule for the first round of the playoffs against Utah. All times are EDT.
– Rick Gosselin and Mike Heika have been gracious enough to retweet my blog to their followers many times over the past year. With the Dallas Stars season now over I would like to make a special offer to any followers of Rick and Mike, who are Stars fans, to come out and watch the Allen Americans pursue their third straight ECHL championship (Kelly Cup). You will see great hockey in a family friendly environment, every seat is close to the action and free parking right across the street from the Allen Event Center. Try it once and you will be hooked. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. If you use the special promotion code “goalie” you can get center ice seats for just $27 and end zone seats as low as $16. Even better, I will have a drawing for free tickets to the first two playoffs games (April 12 & 14) for anyone that has never attended an Americans playoff game. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, which date you are interested in and whether you want two or four tickets. I will have a drawing Tuesday morning and leave the tickets at will call.
DID YOU KNOW: Thanks to Mark Costello who was kind enough to share some work he did about playoff experience of the four Western Conference teams that made the playoffs. If prior playoff experience is a positive and many feel it is, this is interesting information. Here is the total professional playoff games played by team.
647 – Allen
304 – Colorado
252 – Utah
134 – Idaho