ALLEN, TX – As the Allen Americans prepare to take on the Rapid City Rush on Friday and Saturday night the big question is will Steve Martinson have enough players or will the team have to play shorthanded. Here is my take on who’s in and who’s out for the weekend.

Vincent Arseneau:  OUT – Arseneau was suspended for two additional games for leaving the bench during an altercation in the game in Idaho Friday night. He missed the Idaho game on Saturday and will now miss both games against Rapid City this weekend. This is one of those incidents that you could say “where you sit is where you stand” as Allen fans may see a three-game suspension as harsh given the circumstances and miscues by the on-ice officials. The ECHL, however, probably would say they gave Arseneau a break as leaving the bench under rule 70.1 normally comes with an automatic five-game suspension.

Spencer Asuchak: IN – Asuchak has returned to Allen after playing one game for the San Jose Barracuda. Spencer, who is under contract with San Jose, was called up because of injury and the injured player has now returned.

Zach Hall: OUT – Zach hasn’t played since November 19 and based on his injury I do not expect him to play this weekend.

Alex Schoenborn: IN – Alex was a full participant in practice so expect to see him back in the lineup this weekend.

Zach Pochiro: OUT – Zach has not played since being injured in a game on November 5th. Best case scenario was four weeks to heal. It is possible he could be back after this weekend.

Jonathan Lessard: IN – Lessard played injured last weekend in Idaho but should be ready to go this weekend.

Dalton Thrower: OUT – Another player that has been playing hurt and will most likely not play against Rapid City.

Riley Gill: OUT – There is still no return date for Gill who is recovering from an injury he sustained on October 21st. Stephon Williams and Jeremy Brodeur will be the netminders against Rapid City and both have been playing well.

Peter MacArthur: DOUBTFUL – MacArthur was injured when he got slew footed in Idaho in the game on Friday. He missed the game on Saturday.

Making assumptions about who is in or out of the lineup two or three days before a game is always iffy at best. Players can be injured in practice, guys can get sick, there can be call-ups, and hockey players can make miraculous recoveries from injuries. Bottom line is there may be changes from what I observed at practice on Tuesday to when the team takes the ice Friday night. It is possible Allen could go into the game with nine forwards and six defensemen which would leave the team short one forward. The good news is the Americans have a week off after the games this weekend.

– I will have a complete game preview tomorrow but don’t expect to see the same Rapid City Rush team this weekend that Allen outscored 13-6 in two lopsided wins in Rapid City on opening weekend. Rapid City is still mired in last place in the Mountain Division, but the Rush has played much better hockey recently. Over the last ten games, Allen is 6-3-0-1 while Rapid City is 6-4-0-0.

– Here is a story written by Missy Zielinski who works in the San Jose Sharks PR department that talks about the ECHL being a development league for the Sharks organization, how Barracuda coach Roy Sommer started his coaching career in the ECHL and all that is required of an ECHL coach.

The article ends by saying this about the Allen Americans, “As for San Jose’s double-A affiliate, the Allen Americans, they will continue to play an integral part of the organization’s development system. Having won two Kelly Cups over the last three years and four championships in the last five, the Sharks hope breeding a winning culture in the ECHL has a trickle-up effect where they have the right staff to keep players’ careers on the upward trend.”

Check it out; it is a great read: https://www.nhl.com/sharks/news/barracuda-head-coach-sommers-echl-past-propels-success-in-sharks-development/c-293492466

– There will be a lot going on at both games this weekend it is hard to keep everything straight. Jack Gulati will be in attendance so you can expect him to be on the concourse before the games to meet and greet everyone.

On Friday night it is Ladies Night, with Hockey 101 with coach Steve Martinson before the game. It is also Autograph Friday with Connor Reilly, Colby McAuley, Josh Thrower and Stephon Williams signing autographs by the team store following the game.

Saturday night features SpongeBob on the first ever Nickelodeon Night so look for SpongeBob on the concourse before the game and on the ice during intermission. Saturday is also the annual Teddy Bear Toss game so make sure to bring a teddy bear to the game (unwrapped) to toss on the ice after the Americans score their first goal. Saturday is also Boy Scout Night so look for scouts in attendance. The first 1500 kids through the doors get a Biscuit ornament so make sure to arrive early. Here is the front and back of the specialty jersey the team will be wearing on Saturday.

Photo Courtesy: Allen Americans

– Nine of the SpongeBob specialty jerseys are posted on the Allen Americans auction site (BidPal). The auction ends Saturday night, and the minimum bid for the jerseys is $249. Here is the link to browse the auction items and make a bid if you are interested. https://one.bidpal.net/goamericans/welcome

– After trailing 3-1 the Idaho Steelheads came from behind, scoring the game-tying goal with 93 seconds left in the game and beat the Tulsa Oilers in a shootout last night. With the win, Idaho leapfrogged Allen in the Mountain Division standings. Allen is in fourth place with 23 points, Idaho is in third place with 24 points, and Colorado is in second place with 25 points. Wichita is solidly in first place with 30 points.

DID YOU KNOW: If you are in the camp that believes Allen plays Tulsa and Wichita too many times this season keep in mind the ECHL plays unbalanced schedules with a disproportionate number of games with teams that are geographically close as a cost savings effort. The Americans play Tulsa 13 times and Wichita 12 times which amounts to 35% of the schedule with these two teams. However, that is a big improvement from just three years ago (2014-15) when close to half (46%) of the games on Allen’s schedule were with Tulsa (16 games) and Wichita (17 games).

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