ALLEN, TX – It is a practice day for the Allen Americans as they have a chance to work on adjustments before flying to Boise, Idaho tomorrow to continue their best of seven series with the Steelheads. The series is tied 1-1 with the the first two games being played at the Allen Event Center. The next three games (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) will take place at CenturyLink Arena in Boise. The arena is a multi-purpose arena built in 1997 at a cost of 50 million dollars with a capacity of 5002 for hockey.
– One thing apparent from the games Allen and Idaho have played in the regular season and the first two playoff games is these teams are evenly matched. They have played a total of six times (regular season and playoffs) and each team has won three games with two games being decided in extra time. Allen has scored a total of 16 goals, Idaho has 15 goals. Shots are 169-160 in favor of Allen. Despite both teams having excellent penalty kill units (ranked #2 & #3), both teams have done well on the power play. Allen is 6-19 (31.6%) and Idaho is 5-26 (19.2%). The Idaho number includes one game where they were 1-9. Exclude that game and they are 4-17 (23.5%) on the power play against the Americans.
– The bottom line is you can expect the series to be close and momentum to go back and forth. Would expect at least one of the games in Boise to go to overtime.
– It will be interesting to see what players travel to Idaho tomorrow. With a three game series it makes sense to have all hands on deck in case of injury so you would assume everyone will travel that is healthy with the exception of goalies. Pretty sure just two goalies will make the trip. Heard the team will travel in two groups to Boise with one flight leaving early in the morning and one in the afternoon. Would assume the rookies will have the early wake up call.
– Congrats to the San Jose Barracuda who beat Stockton last night in the last game of the season to qualify for the playoffs. Aaron Dell led the way for the Barracuda with a 41 save shutout as San Jose won the game 6-0.
– It is nice to see the entire San Jose organization (Sharks, Barracuda, Americans) in the playoffs. The Barracuda take on division leader Ontario in the first round. Game one is April 21st and it is a best of five series with game five scheduled for May 1st. I share those dates for those of you on Nikita Jevpalovs watch.
– It is great for playoff hockey that the San Jose Sharks are taking on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. They have one of the best rivalries in the NHL. Now their AHL affiliates will play each other in the first round as the Ontario Reign take on the San Jose Barracuda. If you are wondering about the ECHL affiliates meeting in the playoffs it is possible but it would have to be in the Kelly Cup final. The Kings ECHL affiliate is Manchester who plays in the Eastern Conference and of course, Allen is the ECHL affiliate of the Sharks and play in the Western Conference. Both teams are in the playoffs so it is possible even if it isn’t probable. Manchester trails 3-0 in their first round series against Adirondack.
– It was quite a night last night for former Allen American Darryl Bootland who led his team to a 5-4, three overtime victory in Colorado over the Utah Grizzlies. Bootland scored the go ahead goal for the Eagles in the third period only to have Utah tie the score later in the period to send the game to overtime. “Booter” then scored the game winner at 2:31 of the third overtime. For his efforts, Bootland was awarded the #1 star of the game. It was a critical win for the Eagles as they evened the series 1-1 and head to Utah for the next three games.
– In the only other playoff action last night, Missouri beat Quad City 2-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. They now go to Quad City for the next three games. The #8 seed Mallards have given the top seed Mavericks all they can handle in the first two games. Quad City has out shot Missouri in both games and has a 70-52 shot advantage. Despite the courageous effort by the Mallards this series looks like it will be a short one. In case you forgot, the winner of this series will take on the winner of the Allen vs Idaho series in the next round.
– After getting off to a horrible 0-7 start the home teams have made quite a comeback. However, the away teams still have a winning record and are 10-7 thus far in the playoffs. Three teams (Kalamazoo, Fort Wayne, Manchester) went 0-2 at home.
DID YOU KNOW: The Idaho Steelheads are named for a species of seagoing rainbow trout native to Idaho streams and rivers and popular with local anglers.