ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans schedule for the 2017-18 season has been out for some time (May 13) and congratulations to the ECHL for having the schedule out so early for what will be the league’s 30th anniversary season.

Now that the focus is starting to sharpen on the upcoming season and with training camp just over three weeks away, I thought it would be a good time to do the annual “deep dive” on the Americans schedule. It is probably more information than you would ever want to know about the schedule but it will give you many different views of what coach Martinson and the team will be dealing with.

Four trips to the mountains in the west and a trip to Florida in the east would have made for a challenging year for the oldest tenured Allen American, “Big Red” (the bus). A quick calculation shows if the Americans do not fly to any away games this season the bus travel would come in right at 15,000 miles or about 250 hours of bus time. Thanks to new Allen Americans owner, Jack Gulati, Big Red has gone to the great bus graveyard in the sky. The Americans will be flying much more this season and when they do travel by bus they will be traveling in a newer, recently converted sleeper bus. More on that in a later blog post.

– One of the goals of the ECHL when preparing the schedule is to balance cost along with having a schedule that avoids teams playing each other too many times. Allen will be playing 13 different teams this season compared to 14 last season. The bad news is five of the 13 teams (Atlanta, Florida, Fort Wayne, Jacksonville, Indy) Allen will only play on the road. Allen will play Orlando twice at home but will not play the Solar Bears on the road.

– Below is a complete list of Allen’s 72 games by opponent. Teams with an asterisk are Mountain Division foes.

13 games – Tulsa (7 home 6 away)*
12 games – Wichita (6 home 6 away)*
10 games – Idaho (4 home 6 away)*
8 games – Kansas City (4 home 4 away)
8 games   – Rapid City (5 home 3 away)*
6 games – Colorado (4 home 2 away)*
6 games – Utah (4 home 2 away)*
2 games – Fort Wayne (0 home 2 away)
2 games – Orlando (2 home 0 away)
2 games – Florida (0 home 2 away)
1 game   – Indy (0 home 1 away)
1 game – Atlanta (0 home 1 away)
1 game – Jacksonville (0 home 1 away)

Note there is much more emphasis on divisional play this season as Allen will play 55 of their 72 (76%) games against Mountain Division foes. The only new team on the schedule is Jacksonville and that will be one game on the road. With Kansas City moving to the Central Division this season the schedule has Allen playing the Mavericks just eight times compared to 12-14 times in past seasons.

– Here is a breakdown of the schedule by day of the week. This is a very similar breakdown as last season.

Sunday – 10 (5 home, 5 away)
Monday – 2 (1 home, 1 away) – The home game is the MLK Kid’s Day (January 15)
Tuesday –  3 (1 home, 2 away)
Wednesday – 10 (7 home, 3 away)
Thursday – 1 (1 home 0 away)
Friday – 21 (10 home, 11 away)
Saturday – 25 (11 home, 14 away)

Allen has always tried to get more road games early in the season to avoid conflicts with football. The schedule is not as favorable this season. In November they will play six home games and six road games. Last season they played just three home games and 10 road games in the month of November.

The following lists the games by month.

October – 7 games (3 home 4 away)
November – 12 games (6 home 6 away)
December – 13 games (8 home 5 away)
January – 12 games (5 home 7 away)
February – 11 games (4 home 7 away)
March – 14 games (8 home 6 away)
April- 3 games (2 home 1 away)

– One of the many things the team looks at when the schedule comes out are how many times they have to play three games back-to-back-to-back. Three games in three days is stressful especially if there is travel involved. Players are more prone to injuries in these situations. This past season, the Americans played three games-in-three days only four times. In 2017-18 that will happen six times. Here are back-to-back-to-back games for the Allen Americans.

Notice that in four of the three games in three days, travel is involved.

October 27, 28, 29 – Tulsa (A), Tulsa (A), Tulsa (H)
November 3, 4, 5 – Wichita (A), Wichita (H), Tulsa (H)
December 29, 30, 31 – Wichita (A), Wichita (A), Wichita (H)
January 19, 20, 21 – Indy (A), Fort Wayne (A), Fort Wayne (A)
February 1, 2, 3 – Colorado (H), Colorado (H), Tulsa (A)
February 9, 10, 11, – Florida (A), Florida (A), Jacksonville (A)

–  Four games in five days is really brutal and that only happened once last season. This season the Americans will play four games in five days three times but notice two of them take place in consecutive weeks. Allen will play eight games in 13 days at the end of December with the three-day Christmas break separating two periods of four games in five days. A real oddity is playing four games in five days against the same opponent which will happen to close out the calendar year against Wichita. Should be an interesting series.

Here is the list of four games in five days.

November 1, 3, 4, 5 – Utah (H), Wichita (A), Wichita (H), Tulsa (H)
December 19, 20, 22, 23 – Kansas City (H), Kansas City (H), Tulsa (H), Tulsa (H)
December 27, 29, 30, 31 – Wichita (H), Wichita (A), Wichita (A), Wichita (H)

– Six of the 13 teams on Allen’s schedule this season didn’t make the playoffs last season. Of Allen’s 72 regular season games 44 (61%) will be against the six teams that did not make the playoffs.

– Allen will play four teams with a winning percentage above .600 last season. Allen will play 20 games against the four teams that had winning percentages above .600 last season. The Americans will play 36 games against teams that were below .500 last season. Here is a complete list in winning percentage order with the number of games Allen will play each team this season in parentheses:

.688 – Colorado (6)
.681 – Fort Wayne (2)
.674 – Florida (2)
.646 – Idaho (10)
.569 – Orlando (2)
.549 – Utah (6)
.521 – Kansas City (8)
.431 – Tulsa (13)
.431 – Atlanta (1)
.417 – Rapid City (8)
.368 – Indy (1)
.340 – Wichita (12)
.000 – Jacksonville (1)

– The easiest part of the schedule for Allen will be a period between November 26 and December 15. The Americans will play just four games in 20 days. A back to back on December 1 & 2 at home against Rapid City and a back to back on the road against Kansas City on December 10 & 11. At the other end of the spectrum is December 19 to December 31 when Allen plays eight games in 13 days.

– If you have ever wanted to go on a road trip to cheer on the Americans, mark your calendars for February 9, 10, 11 when the Americans will visit Florida for two games against the Florida Everblades and one against the Jacksonville IceMen.

– Another alternative for a road trip is early in the season when Allen plays Tulsa back to back on Friday (October 27) and Saturday (October 28). It is only 230 miles to Tulsa and it is a great facility.

– The schedule is much more balanced this season than in the past when the Americans seemed to play Tulsa a lot early in the season and Wichita later. They play Tulsa every month of the season with the exception of February. Allen plays Wichita four times in November, four in December, twice in January, once in March and once in April.

–  It is interesting the Americans longest road trip and longest homestand both take place in March. Allen plays six games on the road at Idaho, Utah (2), Rapid City, Colorado (2) from March 7-18 followed by six games at home against Tulsa (2), Kansas City, Wichita and Colorado (2) from March 21-31.

DID YOU KNOW: Allen plays Orlando for the home opener on October 21. Opening night at the Allen Event Center has been a mixed bag for the Americans since joining the ECHL. Their first year in the ECHL (2014-15) they opened at home against Tulsa and got beat 9-6 despite a hat trick from Greger Hanson. In 2015-16 Allen opened at home against Quad City and lost 2-1. It was definitely an auspicious opening game as Allen’s only goal was scored by Garrett Clarke and assisted by Justin Courtnall and Joel Rumpel. Last season the results were better as Allen beat Missouri 6-3 even though the Mavericks outshot Allen 47-39. Riley Gill was great in goal. Interestingly five of the six goals scored by Allen in the home opener last season were scored by players no longer with the team. Greger Hanson, Chris Crane, Kale Kerbashian (2) and Chad Costello. The exception was Eric Roy who will be back on the blueline for Allen this season.

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