ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans have had their last practice of the season this morning and are on the bus making the 460-mile trip to Wichita this afternoon. Allen will play the Thunder on Friday and Saturday night to close out the season. The team that will take the ice tomorrow night in Wichita will be vastly different from the team that visited Wichita for the second game of the season back on October 13 when the Americans shutout the Thunder 4-0. Ten of the 18 players from that October 13 game will not take the ice tomorrow night (Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Alex Breton, Tate Olson, Chase Lang, Josh Thrower, Jordy Stallard, Pavel Jenys, J.C. Campagna, Dalton Thrower and Jeremy Brodeur).
– How much turnover has there been on the Allen roster? Spencer Asuchak has played in every Allen game this season, a total of 70 games. These eight players, who will all be on the trip to Wichita, combined have played 63 games for Allen this season.
0 games – Jack Sadek
1 game – Duggie Lagrone
2 games – Nick Boka
5 games – Ben Owen
7 games – Lukas Hafner
8 games – Malcolm Gould
18 games – Gary Steffes
22 games – Etienne Boutet
– As it turns out the two games in Wichita this weekend will be important at least for those hoping the Americans do not finish with the worst record in the league. That honor will go to Allen or Greenville. The race got closer last night as the Swamp Rabbits went on the road and beat Norfolk 5-4 in overtime. A couple of former Americans who now play for Norfolk tried to help out their old team. Greenville had a 4-2 lead midway through the game before Eric Roy and Ben Duffy scored to tie the score. Norfolk couldn’t take the lead and Greenville won in overtime.
The Swamp Rabbits will play Norfolk on Friday and Saturday. After the win last night Greenville’s record against Norfolk this season is 1-4-1-0. The Americans play Wichita on Friday and Saturday. Allen’s overall record against Wichita this season is 8-2-0-2. In the six games played in Wichita, the Americans have won four and lost in a shootout twice.
With two games remaining Allen has a two-point lead (56-54) over Greenville. If the teams end up tied the Swamp Rabbits will come out on top based on the first tiebreaker which is wins minus shootout wins.
The bottom line is Allen’s magic number is three points. Any combination of three points lost by Greenville or gained by the Americans will give Allen the better record.
– Spencer Asuchak and Gary Steffes could reach individual milestones in Wichita that I will be watching for this weekend. Spencer needs to play in both games to become an ironman for the second time. Asuchak is the only player on the team that has played in every game this season. He left practice yesterday with a cut I would expect required stitches but that won’t deter him whatsoever. Steffes needs two goals this weekend to become Allen’s all-time career leader in goals. He has 97 career goals and is currently tied with Bruce Graham. Chad Costello and Greger Hanson lead with 98 goals.
– C.J. Motte has signed a contract for next season with the hockey team in Innsbruck, Austria which plays in the EBEL, the top league in Austria. The EBEL is a 12-team league. Innsbruck finished in ninth place and out of the playoffs this season. A couple of former Allen Americans that played in the EBEL this season are Colton Yellow Horn and Alex Lavoie. Yellow Horn plays for the Graz 99ers and they are still playing but trailing 3-0 in the semifinals of the playoffs. Lavoie played for Innsbruck this season.
– The ECHL announced the all-rookie team yesterday and Alex Breton was selected as one of the two defensemen on the team. The team is selected by a vote of coaches and media from around the ECHL.
Alex missed six weeks of the season because of loans to the AHL and has been in Springfield since March 1st. He is still tied among defensemen for most goals by a rookie (14) and is #5 in points. Earlier this season Breton was selected for the ECHL All-Star game and finished second in the fastest skater competition. Here is the press release from the ECHL on the All-Rookie Team: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2019/4/echl-announces-2018-19-all-rookie-team
– Cincinnati beat Toledo 3-2 last night for their 50th win of the season and in the process clinched the Brabham Cup as the regular season champion. Keep in mind in the history of the ECHL only three teams have won the Brabham Cup and gone on to win the Kelly Cup. Alaska has done it three times (2014, 2011, 2006), Cincinnati did it in 2008 and South Carolina in 1997. Some call it the curse of the Brabham Cup, will it bite Cincinnati this season or will they repeat what they did in 2008 and win both Cups?
Did You Know?
The final tally on the number of players that have played at least one game with Allen this season will be 45, just one shy of the all-time record of 46 in 2015-16. If you look across the ECHL the team that has used the most players is the Maine Mariners, who have used 57 players this season. Cincinnati has used only 28 players, which is the fewest in the league.