Final Regular Season Records:
Allen Americans: 49-17-4-2 (104 pts — 1st in Mountain Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Colorado Eagles: 47-20-2-3 (99 pts — 2nd in Mountain Division, 3rd in Western Conference)
Division Semifinals Results:
Allen Americans defeated Utah Grizzlies 4-1
Colorado Eagles defeated Idaho Steelheads 4-1
Series Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Friday, April 28 – Colorado at ALLEN 7:05 pm CT
Game 2 – Saturday, April 29 – Colorado at ALLEN 7:05 pm CT
Game 3 – Wednesday, May 3 – Allen at COLORADO 7:05 pm MT
Game 4 – Thursday, May 4 – Allen at COLORADO 7:05 pm MT
*Game 5 – Sunday, May 7 – Allen at COLORADO 3:05 pm MT
*Game 6 – Tuesday, May 9 – Colorado at ALLEN 7:05 pm CT
*Game 7 – Wednesday, May 10 – Colorado at ALLEN 7:05 pm CT
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
Colorado took both games in the season series, 4-3 at home in November, and 5-4 in Texas in December.
How Allen Wins:
- Score first: Allen was 40-2-3 in the regular season when scoring first. The Eagles, however, were a league-best 10-17-3 when trailing AFTER the 2nd period.
- Continue to be effective on the power play: There will be a lot of power play opportunities in this series featuring the two most penalized teams in the league. Allen was 3rd best in the entire ECHL on the man advantage scoring on 24.4% of its chances. Colorado was 2nd at 24.8%. The Eagles also led the league with 20 short-handed goals during the regular season. In the first round of the playoffs, the Americans had a red-hot power play, humming along at a 30.0% clip. Meanwhile, the Eagles had a 26.3% power play efficiency in round one.
- Get outstanding goaltending: ECHL Goaltender of the Year Riley Gill finished 2nd in the league with a sparkling 2.22 GAA in 43 games played. His stellar play has continued in the postseason thus far with a 2.15 GAA and a .928 SV%.
- Chad Costello continues to play at an MVP level: Costello won the Most Valuable Player award for the third time in his career. He also led the league in scoring for the third consecutive season with 122 points (33g-89a) in 72 games.
How Colorado Wins:
- Score first: Like Allen, the Eagles excelled when scoring first, compiling a 35-2-1 recording when doing so. Allen struggled when playing from behind, however, finishing the regular season a record of 4-15-3 when trailing after one period.
- Fix the Penalty Kill: A team that takes a lot of penalties needs to be particularly good on the PK. Colorado was 10th during the regular season coming in at 83.4%. The first round of the playoffs against Idaho featured a huge drop off as the Eagles struggled at 73.7%.
- Get continued production from skilled players: Alex Belzile leads the Eagles with 5g-4a for nine points in five playoff games. ECHL defenseman of the year, Matt Register also has nine points on 3g-6a. Colorado had three players rank in the top 10 in league scoring during the regular season. Casey Pierro-Zabotel (2nd), Matt Garbowsky (7th), and Luke Salazar (9th) will need to produce if the Eagles want to advance to the Western Conference final.
- Can Lukas Hafner or Kent Simpson steal a game between the pipes? With the Eagles #1 goaltender Clarke Saunders currently up with the Americans’ AHL affiliate San Jose Barracuda on a 25-game professional tryout, Hafner or Simpson will be called upon to stop a lot of rubber this series. Hafner won four straight against Idaho after Simpson lost the series opener 4-2 at home.
Who Ya Got?
Let us know who you think will win this series!