ALLEN, Texas — In an effort to shore up a depleted roster the Allen Americans added forward Alexandre Ranger yesterday. Ranger was obtained from the Jacksonville Icemen. He is a 5’11” 181 pound right shot forward who is in his fourth professional season. Ranger spent last season with the Tulsa Oilers where he had 23 points (7G, 16A) in 47 games. He will not be in the lineup tonight but is expected to play on Saturday.

– Coach Martinson has spent a lot of time recently as general manager Martinson. Four players (Ranger, Adam Miller, Christophe Lalancette, Johnny McInnis) have been added to the roster in the last 10 days and Martinson isn’t done adding. I talked last week, after the two home losses to South Carolina, about the lack of toughness especially when measured by fighting majors. It seemed to me the Stingrays took some liberties that went unchallenged which is unlike an Allen team, especially at home. I know Martinson is trying to find a player that brings both skill and toughness to the table but they are hard to find.

– If you look at fighting majors in the ECHL this season the numbers are very different than what is typical for the Allen Americans. There are only nine teams with fewer fighting majors this season than Allen according to the drop your gloves website. Last season 22 teams had fewer fights than Allen and in 2016-17 all 26 teams had fewer fighting majors than the Americans.

– Allen has six fighting majors in 11 games but the number is misleading because five of the six fights came in one game against Wichita on October 20th. If you eliminate that one game, Allen has one fight in 10 games. When you consider the Americans have lost four straight games while being outscored 15-6 and have not dropped the gloves one time you know the team is missing some toughness, especially with Josh Thrower on the sidelines.

– That is a long-winded way of saying there is little doubt in my mind Martinson will bring in a player with grit and toughness. It may happen today, tomorrow or next week but Steve Martinson will not continue down a path of losing the way this team has been losing and have a team that drops the gloves one time in 10 games. Stay tuned.

ALLEN VS KANSAS CITY PREVIEW

– Anyway, you look at the stats the two home games against Kansas City this weekend will be a real challenge for the Americans. The Mavericks are ranked #2 in the ECHL in winning percentage (.813) while Allen is ranked #25 at .318. The teams have played twice so far this season, both in Kansas City and the games have not been close. The combined numbers show two wins for the Mavericks with a goal advantage of 9-2 and a shot advantage of 78-48. Allen’s power play is scoreless (0-6) against the Mavericks while Kansas City has a power play percentage of 27.3% (3-11) against the Americans.

– If you are looking for a silver lining in all of the bad stats there are a couple of things to point out. Kansas City has an overall record of 6-1-1-0. Their record at home is 5-0-0-0 but the road record is just 1-1-1-0. Since joining the ECHL in 2014 Allen’s record against Kansas City at the Allen Event Center is 15-4-3-0.

– Special teams will play a major role in this two-game series. That starts with staying out of the penalty box which Allen has not been able to do. The Americans are #2 in the ECHL with 68 minor penalties compared to Kansas City who has taken the fewest minor penalties (32) in the league. In the two games, these teams have played this season Allen has taken 13 penalties compared to seven for Kansas City.

– If you look at home vs road special teams stats the Mavericks and Americans are almost exactly the same. They are great on the penalty kill and horrible on the power play. On the road, the Kansas City power play is 6.7% (1-15) compared to Allen’s home power play of 5.6% (1-18). The Mavericks road penalty kill and the Americans home penalty kill are identical at 92.9% (1-14).

– I won’t bore you with a litany of stats because they all would point to a Kansas City victory but one is worth mentioning again. There is no bigger contrast between these teams than in shots allowed per game. Allen is dead last in the average number of shots allowed per game ranked #27 giving up 40.91 shots per game. Kansas City, on the other hand, is the best in the ECHL ranked #1 in shots allowed per game giving up only 27.00 shots per game. If both teams play to their average Allen doesn’t have a shot at winning this game. The Mavericks are 5-0-1-0 when outshooting their opponents. Allen is 0-3 when being outshot by their opponents at home. The Americans have to play better defensively and that starts with allowing fewer shots. How does that happen? Take fewer penalties, have a better forecheck, avoid neutral ice turnovers, play with speed and dump the puck if there is not a play.

– It is hard to say who may be the players to watch for Allen based on the head to head matchup with the Mavericks this season since the Americans scored only two goals in the two games, one each by Spencer Asuchak and Casey Pierro-Zabotel. The player to watch for Kansas City is #17 Jared VanWormer who has been a one-man wrecking crew against the Americans. He had six points in the two games (3G, 3A) and was the #1 star of the game in both games.

Mason McDonald is expected to be in goal for Kansas City. He was the backup goalie at the beginning of the season but the top goalie was called up to the AHL and he took over. He has been outstanding since taking over going 4-0 with a GAA of 1.95 and a save percentage of .918. Coach Martinson has been rotating C.J. Motte and Jeremy Brodeur recently so they may each get a game against Kansas City. Motte was in goal for the two previous games against the Mavericks.

– The referee scheduled for the game tonight is Chris Pontes (#12). the linesmen scheduled are Chris Provost (#50) and Micheal Miggans (#47).

OTHER COMMENTS

– You may see a pickup in trades and players being placed on waivers the next two days as teams need to reduce their active rosters from 21 to 20 players. Teams have until Sunday (3:00 pm ET) to get down. It is not an issue for Allen with all of the players on injured reserve but some teams around the league will have to shed a player.

– There are 12 games on the ECHL schedule tonight. Here is the ECHL Today with a preview on all of the matchups. https://www.echl.com/en/news/2018/11/echl-today-nov-9

– The ECHL’s leading goal scorer, Utah’s Caleb Herbert, was recalled by the Colorado Eagles (AHL) yesterday. When you lead the league in goals you get noticed. Braylon Shmyr was leading the ECHL in goals when he was called up by the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds play on the road tonight (Lehigh Valley) and Saturday (Hershey). Last weekend Shmyr played in one game and was a healthy scratch in one game. Will be interesting to see if he plays in both games this weekend.

– A couple of key Mountain Division games tonight in addition to Kansas City at Allen include Utah at Wichita and Tulsa at Idaho.

DID YOU KNOW: Here are the fighting majors for the Allen Americans for each season since joining the ECHL. Info courtesy of dropyourgloves.com.

2018-19: 6 (11 games)
2017-18: 64
2016-17: 85
2015-16: 71
2014-15: 79

Based on their current rate (six fights in 11 games) Allen would end the season with 39 fights.
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