ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans are back home preparing for two games this weekend against the Wichita Thunder. The Americans haven’t played a home game in a month and in that time have watched the Colorado Eagles take over the Mountain Division lead with a 17 game win streak. However, Allen won all five of their road games over the past month and despite the Colorado win streak the Americans trail the Eagles by just four points with 11 games remaining.
– The Americans have played some pretty good hockey to stay in contact with Colorado. They are 14-2-1-1 over the last 18 games, 8-1-1-0 over the last 10 games, have won eight straight road games and have a five-game win streak.
– Allen has a great opportunity to overtake Colorado for the division lead which would give the Americans home-ice advantage for the first and second rounds of the playoffs. It won’t be easy but Allen has some advantages. Eight of the Americans last 11 games are at home while Colorado has eight of their last 11 games on the road. Advantage Allen.
– Colorado has three games remaining with Idaho, five with Utah and three with Rapid City. Against these three teams Colorado’s record this season is 15-7-1-3. Allen has four games remaining with Wichita, four with Tulsa and three with Missouri. Against these three teams Allen’s record this season is 22-6-2-0. Advantage Allen.
– The three teams Colorado has to play in the last 11 games have been playing well. Their combined record over the last 10 games is 17-11-2-0. The three teams Allen has to play over the last 11 games have not been playing well. Their combined record over the last 10 games is 9-19-1-1. Advantage Allen.
– Allen can certainly catch Colorado to win the Mountain Division and also has a chance to be the #1 seed overall. To do so they will have to play their best hockey of the season and almost win out in the last 11 games. 18 points in the last 11 games is a realistic goal and would put the Americans over 100 points for the season. To get the #1 overall seed they would need some help from Toledo who has a six point lead and a game in hand over Allen.
– I know it is early but just a reminder the tiebreakers for the playoffs start with regular season wins excluding shootout wins. As of today Toledo has 40, Colorado 39 and Allen 38. The second tiebreaker is goal differential. As of today Toledo is +88, Allen is +68 and Colorado is +59. These are just the first two of eight tiebreakers with number eight being a coin toss.
– Everyday I get questions about when will the two AHL players that are expected to be assigned to Allen arrive and what impact will that have on the roster. The answer as to when is I don’t know but a couple of factors to keep in mind. As college and junior players finish their seasons they are being signed by the NHL, AHL and ECHL teams. College playoffs are currently taking place and as teams lose players are turning pro. With the influx of these players on NHL and AHL rosters other players will get reassigned to ECHL teams. My guess is if players currently in the AHL are going to be assigned to Allen it will happen sooner rather than later. As to the question of roster changes when additional players are assigned to Allen, from my conversations with coach Steve Martinson I would not expect any roster changes. Injures, call ups and loans may impact the roster over the last 11 games but if you are concerned your favorite player will get released when players get assigned that will not happen.
– Allen is getting close to surpassing their win and point totals from last season. They need two more wins and six more points to match the 41 wins and 89 points they earned last season on the way to winning the Kelly Cup.
– I mentioned above how the signing of college players by the NHL and AHL has begun now that college playoffs have started and many college seasons have come to an end. This will force more players in the AHL to be sent to ECHL teams. Here is a story that talks about the college to pro process that takes place this time of year. http://www.tsn.ca/the-nhl-s-college-signing-season-begins-1.695343
– As Allen gets ready for two home games this weekend there are several streaks worthy of note. Greger Hanson has an assist in nine straight games and a point in 10 straight. He has a goal in his last four home games. Chad Costello has an assist in his last six home games and his 106 points leads the ECHL scoring race by 30 points. David Makowski continues his charge up the ECHL leader board in scoring by a defenseman. He has a point in 16 of the last 17 games and in those 17 games has 11 goals and 16 assists. David is third in scoring by a defenseman. He has 47 points in just 37 games, second place is 51 points but has played 56 games and first place is 59 points in 61 games.
DID YOU KNOW: This year’s Allen Americans team is one of the most geographically dispersed ever when you look at where they grew up. Based on the roster from the team’s website there are players from three countries including eight different US states and five different Canadian provinces. Here is the breakdown with the number of players in parenthesis. Michigan (2), Minnesota (2), Pennsylvania (1), North Carolina (1), North Dakota (1), Massachusetts (1), Iowa (1), Missouri (1), Ontario (4), Saskatchewan (4), British Columbia (2), Quebec (1), Manitoba (1) and Sweden (1).