Tonight is a slow night for hockey around the ECHL with just two games on the schedule but a big night for the teams that are playing. The Florida Everblades take on the South Carolina Stingrays and with a win or overtime loss will take over the top spot in the ECHL. The Allen Americans travel to Tulsa to take on the Oilers for their third of fifteen meetings this season. With a win, Allen will take over the top spot in the Western Conference.
– Allen and Tulsa have split their two games this season with the Americans winning at home 4-2 on October 17th and the next day Tulsa winning at home by a score of 3-1. Last season these two teams played each other 17 times in the regular season with Allen winning 12 of the games. Add in five more games in the first round of the playoffs (Allen won 4-1) and the grand total was 22 games played with Allen coming out the victor 16 times.
– Last year’s success against Tulsa is not very meaningful this season because Tulsa is a different team led by their new coach, Jason Christie, who is just six wins from becoming the winningest coach in ECHL history. Christie was in Ontario last year when the Americans and Reign had that epic seven game battle in the Western Conference final.
– The combined stats from the first two meetings between Allen & Tulsa show two pretty evenly matched teams. Each team has scored five goals, each has taken 58 shots on goal, penalty minutes are almost identical (Allen 22 minutes, Tulsa 23 minutes) and the power play has been close (Allen 1-9 & Tulsa 0-10). The key to victory tonight maybe how these teams have progressed since they played twice the opening weekend of the season.
– Here is a match up between Allen and Tulsa:
|Team Record||5-2-0-1 (10 points)||3-3-0-0 (6 points)|
|Division Ranking||2nd – Central||4th – Central|
|Conference Ranking||2nd – Western||12th – Western|
|Last Game||2-1 W (Missouri)||4-3 W (Missouri)|
|Power Play||11.8% (4/34)||15.0% (3/20)|
|Penalty Kill||92.6% (2/27)||88.9% (3/27)|
|Leading Scorer||Hanson (3-4-7)||Wong (3-2-5)|
– Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 20th (13.57) – Tulsa 24th (12.17)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 9th (3.00) – Tulsa 21st (2.50)
Goals Allowed per Game: Allen 6th (2.29) – Tulsa 7th (2.67)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 22nd (11.8%) – Tulsa 14th (15.0%)
Penalty Kill Percentage; Allen 1st (92.6%) – Tulsa 4th (88.9%)
– Five different players (Courtnall, King, Makowski, Steffes, Costello) scored the goals in the first two games against Tulsa but if you are looking for who might be the hero tonight watch Gary Steffes and Chad Costello who always seem to play well against their former team.
– This is another case of getting off to a good start is essential. Both teams have not lost when scoring first combining for a prefect 7-0. Neither team has lost when leading after the first or second period with a combined 8-0 record.
– Riley Gill is expected to make his first start of the season for Allen after spending time on reserve due to illness.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Stephen Reneau (#17) and linesmen Erik Contino (#92) and Mitch Macpherson (#48).
– Would expect attendance will be down for this midweek game but hats off to the Tulsa Oilers who are ranked #3 in the ECHL with average attendance of 6516.
– Lots of bus time for the team this week with a 460 mile round trip to Tulsa today then departing tomorrow night for a 2166 mile round trip to Rapid City for games Friday and Saturday. The team saves one night in a hotel and some per diem by driving back to Allen after the game tonight and then leaving for Rapid City tomorrow night, so assume that is why they don’t leave for Rapid City directly from Tulsa. Seems like another instance of doing whatever is cheapest, not what is best for the team.
– Greger Hanson leads the ECHL with the longest road goal scoring streak. Greger has a goal in his last three road games.
– Rookie defenseman Eric Roy leads the Americans in plus/minus with a +4 (tied with Greger Hanson). Eric has not had a minus game yet this season.
-David Makowski & Rick Pinkston will not play for Allen tonight against Tulsa. Riley Gill will start in goal.
DID YOU KNOW: After 92 games, the ECHL average attendance is 4046 which is way below the average attendance for all of last season of 4598. The top drawing team in the league thus far has been Fort Wayne (7602) and the worst drawing team has been Brampton (1746). Allen has averaged 4305 in their first three home games.