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ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans are currently riding their longest winning streak of the season (six games) and their longest road winning streak of the season (four games). With that said, the games against division-leading Colorado tonight (8:05 pm CDT) and Sunday afternoon (4:05 pm CDT) are very important for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of them.

– Allen has earned eight of eight points in the first four games of the longest road trip of the season. They need to finish the road trip strong before they head home where they will play eight of their last nine games.

– Colorado is the best team in the Mountain Division and has been playing like that recently. The Eagles have won three in a row and are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games. As the saying goes if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.

– Colorado could be Allen’s first-round foe in the playoffs so these games will be a good measuring stick to see how well the Americans are playing.

– Since Allen joined the ECHL in 2014 Colorado has been the one team that has caused them problems. The Americans overall regular season record against the Eagles is 5-6-0-0 and in Colorado, the record is 1-3-0-0. The teams have met only once in the playoffs (last season) and that didn’t go well for Allen as Colorado dispatched the Americans in six games.

– The good news is Allen has won the only two games against Colorado this season. If you recall there was a period from the end of December to the end of January where the Americans lost 11 of 13 games. Colorado came to the Allen Event Center on February 1st and 2nd leading the ECHL in points and winning percentage. Allen not only won both games, they did so handily by scores of 5-2 and 5-1.

– In roster news Colorado just got two players assigned that were playing in the AHL. Defenseman Cliff Watson had been on loan to the San Jose Barracuda and forward Julien Nantel was with the San Antonio Rampage.  The ECHL’s leading goal scorer with 39 goals, Michael Joly, will be missing from the Colorado lineup because he has been recalled to San Antonio (AHL). Allen should have a new player in the lineup who recently completed his collegiate career but will be missing Vincent Arseneau, who is on loan to Utica (AHL).

Here are the updated stats between Allen and Colorado:

ALLEN COLORADO
Team Record 31-24-4-2 (68 points) 40-16-4-2 (86 points)
Conference Ranking 7th – Western 3rd – Western
Last Game 5-4 Win (Rapid City) 6-1 Win (Rapid City)
Goals For/Against 203/194 222/184
Power Play 16.6% (44/265) 18.7% (50/268)
Penalty Kill 80.0% (52/271) 85.2% (34/230)
Leading Scorer Pierro-Zabotel (17-42-59) Joly (39-23-62)
Most PIM Moore (189) Ratelle (174)

– Here is how Allen and Colorado rank in the ECHL in major statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (21.00) – Colorado 2nd (18.39)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 8th (3.33) – Colorado 4th (3.58)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 15th (3.18) – Colorado 10th (2.97)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 20th (31.38) – Colorado 16th (31.76)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.31) – Colorado 10th (31.84)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 19th (16.6%) – Colorado 7th (18.7%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 11th (18.7%) – Colorado 12th (18.5%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 19th (14.8%) – Colorado 6th (18.9%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 21st (80.8%) – Colorado 7th (85.2%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 12th (84.5%) – Colorado 6th (87.6%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 25th (77.5%) – Colorado 15th (82.2%)

– It is no surprise when the number one team in the division is playing the fourth place team but the stats above show Colorado is better then Allen in goals scored (3.58 vs 3.33), goals allowed (2.97 vs 3.18), shots for (31.76 vs 31.38), shots allowed (31.84 vs 36.31), power play percentage (18.5 % at home vs 14.8% away) and penalty kill percentage (87.6% home vs 77.5% away).

– What is most encouraging for Allen is they have averaged 4.50 goals per game over the last six games while allowing an average of 2.83.

– Special teams could very well decide both of these games in Colorado. Allen did score a power play goal in their last game but during this six-game win streak they are only 3-24 (12.5%) on the power play and since February 1st they are 6-72 (8.3%). The penalty kill since February is at 83.3% and has been very good in the last six games (88.5%). Allen will need to outperform Colorado on special teams if they are to be successful this weekend.

– A good start is always important but even more so against a team like Colorado. Both of these teams are best in the first period with Allen outscoring their opponents 64-45 and Colorado outscoring their opponents 69-48. When scoring the first goal of the game Allen and Colorado have a combined record of 48-9-4-2. With a a lead after the first period at home Colorado is 14-1-0-1. The Americans don’t want to get behind.

– You can expect two rough and tumble games against Colorado who lead the ECHL with 70 fighting majors this season according to hockeyfights.com. Allen has been called for 51 fighting majors. Colorado had six fights in their last game (Sunday) against Rapid City. Allen also played Rapid City in their last game (Wednesday) but there were no fights. When Colorado visited Allen at the beginning of February there were no fights in the first game but three in the second game.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Alex Garon (#9) and linesmen Chris Wilson (#88) and Robert Keltie (#83).

OTHER COMMENTS

– Allen received no help last night as Wichita and Tulsa both won. In the battle for the playoffs Wichita is in third place (72 points), Allen is in fourth place (68 points), Tulsa is in fifth place (67 points) and Utah is in sixth place (63 points). All four teams are in action tonight on the road with Allen at Colorado, Utah at Manchester, Tulsa at Kansas City and Wichita at Rapid City.

Olivier Archambault had the overtime game-winner for the Syracuse Crunch last night as they beat Springfield 3-2. Archambault’s goal was spectacular. Here is the game recap with a great description of the game-winning goal: https://syracusecrunch.com/news/2018/3/16/syracuse-crunch-crunch-victorious-in-overtime.aspx

– Here is a link to a video of Archambault’s goal if you haven’t already seen it. Even if you have seen it it is worth another look. t.co/QHOy8ZUOIy

Colby McAuley also had a goal last night for the San Jose Barracuda but it was in a losing cause as they lost to Bakersfield 8-4. Vincent Arseneau played for Utica and had all zeros across the score sheet. Alex Schoenborn and Stephon Williams did not play in the San Jose loss to Bakersfield.

DID YOU KNOW: The style of play is very different between the two divisions in the Western Conference.

The Central Division has just one team with over 1000 penalty minutes, four teams with less than 800 penalty minutes and two teams with less than 700 penalty minutes. The Mountain Division has six teams with over 1000 penalty minutes with the seventh team at 920 penalty minutes.

The question is will the style of play have an impact come playoff time?

What is true is the last three Kelly Cup champions have been big, tough, physical, finish your check teams with high penalty minutes who wear down opponents in long playoff series.

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