ALLEN, Texas – On my way to Allen Americans practice yesterday, I made a decision the blog today would be called “Positive News Wednesday,” since it seems like all I have been writing about lately is what isn’t working with the Americans. It didn’t take long for that idea to sink into the background when I arrived at practice and learned that Miles Liberati had been traded. Liberati has been a great role player since arriving in Allen in 2016, doing whatever was asked of him whether it was playing defense or playing forward or being a healthy scratch. He is a true professional.
– When you look what is behind the Liberati trade it makes sense from the standpoint of improving the roster under some special circumstances.
First, with nine defensemen on the roster, there is just not enough ice time for everyone. Miles was a healthy scratch in four of the Americans eight games and in the games he played, Allen was playing with seven or eight defensemen because they were short forwards. I am sure Steve Martinson‘s thought process was he needed fewer defensemen and more forwards especially with the injury situation. Kevin Sundher is on injured reserve, Casey Pierro-Zabotel was injured in Rapid City and it is not known how long he will be out. If Liberati was only getting in the lineup to play forward it makes sense to trade for a forward and that is what Martinson did. Johnny McInnis, who Allen acquired from the Indy Fuel, is a 6’2″ 205 pound, right shot forward that scored 20 goals last season. This trade will also be good for Liberati as he will get more ice time in Indy and it will be at defense, his natural position.
Positive News Wednesday
Last season, Allen started out with three straight wins but then lost five games in a row. The Americans have just finished a three-game road trip where they won two of three games.
– Seven of Allen’s first eight games were on the road. Five of their next seven games are at home.
– Spencer Asuchak is off to a great start this season with eight points (3G 5A) in the first eight games. He is second on the team in scoring. Last season Spencer didn’t get his eighth point until November 22.
– Braylon Shmyr has 14 points (7G, 7A) in eight games. Talk about a great start for the rookie, he is the #2 scorer in the entire ECHL. He leads the rookie scoring race by five points. Martinson always says points get you noticed by AHL teams and there is no doubt Braylon’s start has gotten him noticed. Shmyr has been called up by the Springfield Thunderbirds. He will be missed but a great opportunity at the next level for Braylon.
– Another rookie having a great start is defenseman Alex Breton. Alex is averaging a point a game (2G, 6A) and is tied for the league lead in scoring by a defenseman.
– Allen leads the ECHL in penalty minutes with 180. No other team has more than 151 PIMS. A good reminder that the last four Kelly Cup champions were at or near the top of the league in penalty minutes.
– Allen is undefeated (3-0) when scoring the first goal of the game.
– Allen’s road penalty kill is ranked #11 at 88.9%. A big improvement over last season when it was ranked #25 at 78.8%.
– Despite a losing record and being ranked #20 in the ECHL in winning percentage (.438) the Allen goalies have the fourth best team save percentage in the ECHL at .916.
– Goalie C.J. Motte is ranked second in the ECHL in minutes (368) and saves (232).
– Allen’s team shooting percentage is historically low at 8.4% but the Americans have three players with historically high shooting percentages.
33.3% – Zach Pochiro
24.1% – Braylon Shmyr
20.0% – Spencer Asuchak
Did You Know?
You can’t end on a more positive note than Steve Martinson’s record in Allen. He has 10 championships in his 22 years as a coach including four in six years at the helm in Allen. His regular season record in Allen is 251-124-24-21. That computes to a winning percentage of .651. He has coached in 17 playoff series with the Americans and has a record of 15-2. He is 5-1 is seven-game playoff series including 2-0 in seven-game championship finals.
You can’t end “Positive News Wednesday” without a video and I have chosen my favorite championship which was the first in 2013. Maybe it is because Allen beat their two biggest rivals and it took seven games. Missouri in the semifinals and Wichita in the finals in overtime. If you were at that game or are just an Allen fan, whether you have never seen this video or watched it dozens of times it is impossible to watch without getting chills. Enjoy!