ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans returned home early yesterday morning (around 5:30 am) after the two shorthanded goal debacle in Wichita Saturday night. Would imagine it was a little somber on the bus ride home but when you play 72 games a year, pros typically move on quickly. While some players watch a movie, spend time on their phone or hole up in their bunk and sleep, you know there is always a card game in progress so some guys don’t sleep at all.
After they got home and had a few hours of sleep the players could spend the rest of the day on Sunday with the family, go shopping, golfing, fishing, run errands or hang around their apartments relaxing, playing video games, and watching sports on TV.
It will be back at practice today for the Americans as they prepare for the game on Wednesday against Colorado. If he hasn’t already made a move, Steve Martinson will have to decide how to deal with having only four healthy defensemen. Aaron Gens was injured in the game on Friday in Wichita and did not play Saturday. Would not expect to see Gens back on the ice this week. From what I have heard Travis Brown is not ready and Eric Roy is a ways away. Looking at the Barracuda roster it does not appear they are in a position to help because of their own injuries and call-ups. Martinson may have to sign a free agent on a short-term basis until he gets some guys back. If he does bring someone in, it could be a player that is sitting at home or someone from the SPHL. I will attend practice today and share the answer tomorrow.
– Fans should expect a hard-nosed game as usual against Colorado. The game pits the ECHL’s most penalized team in Allen (485 penalty minutes) against the second most penalized team in Colorado (479 penalty minutes).
– Vincent Arseneau seems to have been inspired after being presented with his championship ring from last season following the Allen win on Friday night Wichita. He was the #1 star of the game on Saturday (1 goal 1 assist) as Wichita beat Allen 5-4 in overtime. Arseneau was the #1 star again Sunday afternoon (2 goals 1 assist) as Wichita beat Missouri 4-3. The photo below is some of the guys presenting Arseneau with his Kelly Cup championship ring.
– After scoring five goals in his first four games since being traded to Orlando, Chris Crane has not played in the last four games for the Solar Bears. Would assume he is injured but there has been nothing on transactions to put him on the regular or injured reserve. Hopefully, he is day to day and will be back in the lineup soon. The Americans will be in Orlando for two games at the end of January and it would be a good road trip for Allen fans. The games are on Thursday (26th) and Sunday (29th) so there are a couple of days between games for sightseeing or visiting the amusement parks. All that and you also get to see three Allen alumni who are with the Solar Bears. Chris Crane and Trevor Ludwig on the ice and John Snowden behind the bench. John is the assistant coach in Orlando.
-Toledo was in Anchorage to take on the Aces with the typical three games in three days. Toledo won 4-3 on Friday in a 10 round shootout. Alaska won a score fest on Saturday as the teams combined for the most goals in an ECHL game all season as the Aces came out on top 8-6. In the rubber match on Sunday Alaska had a 4-1 lead midway through the second period only to see Toledo score four unanswered goals including the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Three very odd games from two very good teams. Toledo has the highest winning percentage (.818) in the league while Alaska is fourth (.682).
– Alaska’s Peter Sivak had quite a weekend. At 34 years old Sivak is the fourth oldest player in the ECHL and now leads the league in scoring. Sivak is from the Czech Republic and spent 12 years playing in Europe before coming to the US to play hockey in 2012. He has bounced around the ECHL playing in San Francisco, Orlando, Stockton, Fort Wayne and Alaska. He has been an ECHL all-star and won a Kelly Cup with Alaska in 2014. Sivak leapfrogged Chad Costello in the ECHL scoring race over the weekend. In three games he had nine points (5 goals 4 assists). Sivak is first in scoring with 36 points (20 goals 16 assists) in 22 games. Costello is second in the scoring race with 34 points (10 goals 24 assists) in 26 games.
– When all else fails you can always bring back a couple of videos to make you smile or reminisce. Check these out. The first one is from the very first home game in team history. Some of you old timers may recognize yourself in the many crowd shots in this video. The second one is just for fun:
– I was having a conversation yesterday with a couple of the players about fighting in the ECHL. Somehow the conversation turned to a league in Canada (LNAH) that is often referred to as the toughest league in the world. Several years back I wrote a story about the LNAH after one of the Allen players (Alex Penner) was suspended by the Central Hockey League for his part in a line brawl with the Fort Worth Brahmas and ended up playing in the LNAH. Here is that story: https://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/penner-to-lnah-toughest-league-in-world.html
– Here is a much better and more recent story about the LNAH that talks about how the league has evolved over time. The story is about more than the LNAH. It talks about fighting in hockey in a much broader sense. It is an excellent read: https://sports.vice.com/ca/article/quebecs-notorious-fight-happy-hockey-league-tries-to-evolve-with-the-times
DID YOU KNOW: In 1985-86 Steve Martinson played 72 games for the Hershey Bears (AHL) between the regular season and playoffs. In those 72 games, he had 488 penalty minutes for an average of 6.78 penalty minutes per game. He had 49 major penalties that season which still stands as the AHL record for most major penalties in a single season.