ALLEN, Texas – Allen swept Rapid City over the weekend and the three wins put the Americans in a position to finish first in the Western Conference. It was an opportune time for Allen to get its only road series sweep of the season. The Americans hadn’t won three straight games against the same opponent on the road all year.
– There was some mixed news in the three wins against the Rush. The good news is Allen got off to a good start in all three games by scoring the first goal. Allen’s points percentage when scoring first is .780 with a record of 31-8-2-0. Allen outscored Rapid City 4-1 in the first period in the three games. However, the Americans were outshot in the first period in all three games managing a total of 17 shots (4,4,9). Rapid City had 31 first period shots.
– Allen was on the short end of the stick on totals for shots in all three games, 22-30, 23-28, and 26-32. Anytime you win three straight on the road it is reason for celebration, regardless of the stats. It is also noteworthy Allen was playing without Matt Register, Sam Laberge, Brett Neumann, Colby McAuley, and Tyler Sheehy.
– Each goalie got a start and a win in Rapid City and they all played great. Jake Paterson played on Friday and had a .931 save percentage. Frank Marotte played Saturday and had a .964 save percentage and C.J. Motte played Sunday and had a .938 save percentage. You could easily see all three goalies being on the playoff roster.
The Chase for the West
– Allen is now in control of its own destiny in winning the Western Conference. The first step is winning against Wichita tomorrow night and the Americans need to win the game in regulation. If Wichita gets a point, Allen will need help to win the conference. If Allen wins in regulation on Wednesday, they need to win the final two games against Rapid City in any fashion to claim the #1 seed and home-ice advantage through the conference finals.
– If you are interested in the details here it is for Wichita, Allen, and Fort Wayne:
Wichita has two road games remaining (at Allen and at Kansas City) and currently has 90 points. The most points they can earn is 94 (two wins) and the least is 90 (two regulation losses). Here are points percentage based on how many points they earn in the final two games:
.6619 – 4 points
.6549 – 3 points
.6468 – 2 points
.6408 – 1 point
.6338 – 0 points
Allen has three games remaining all at home, against Wichita on Wednesday and two against Rapid City this weekend. The Americans currently have 88 points and could end up with as high as 94 (three wins) and as low as 88 (three losses). Here is Allen’s points percentage based on how many points they earn in the final three games:
.6527 – 6 points
.6458 – 5 points
.6388 – 4 points
.6319 – 3 points
.6250 – 2 points
.6180 – 1 point
.6111 – 0 points
– You can see by comparing the charts that Allen has to beat Wichita to have any hope of finishing first. If Wichita loses both of their final two games in regulation Allen could lose one game to Rapid City and still finish first. If Wichita gains just one point in the last two games (an OT loss in either game) it forces Allen to get five points to finish first.
– Fort Wayne isn’t out of the picture, but it will require them to sweep the Grizzlies in Utah and hope Allen and Wichita lose. If the Komets win all three remaining games they would finish at .6372. Allen would need four of six points to finish ahead of Fort Wayne and Wichita would need one of four points to finish ahead of Fort Wayne.
Hunting Down Brabham
– It is a long shot but if Florida only gets two points from its three remaining games and Allen wins its final three games the Americans would finish with the best record in the ECHL this season. Florida plays two games at home against Greenville and closes the season on the road against Orlando.
“We control our own destiny now and that is all you can ask for. If we win our final three games we will win the conference and have a chance at the best overall record. We have the best home winning percentage (.742) in the conference and we need to take advantage of that.”
“We will practice this afternoon to work on some things that need improvement for the game against Wichita.”
“Tyler Sheehy and Matt Register will be in the lineup tomorrow night. Some of the other injured players are day-to-day and hopefully we will get more players back by the weekend.”
“All three goalies got a start in Rapid City and played well. I am not sure who will get the start against Wichita.”
– Recruitment for Europe is in full swing with reporting dates for some leagues just over a month away. Three Allen players have already been announced as signing in Europe; Corey Mackin, Chad Butcher, and Jake Paterson. Mackin and Butcher signed in Sweden with the same team. They will play for HC Vita Hasten in the Allsvenskan League which is the second-highest league in Sweden.
This past season, the team finished 11th in a 14-team league and did not make the playoffs. This is the same team Alex Lavoie signed with when he left Allen early this season. Lavoie signed with a different team in the league for 2021-22. HC Vita Hasten is located in Norrkoping (population about 96,000) which is located on an inlet of the Baltic sea. The arena where Corey and Chad will play is called Himmelstalundshallen and was built in 1977. The capacity for hockey is 4280.
– Paterson will be playing in the top league (Eliteserien) in Norway next season, signing with Sparta Sarpsborg, which is a team founded in 1928. Sarpsborg is 85 miles from Oslo and has the distinction of having the first indoor ice rink in Norway. Jake will be playing in Sparta Amfi which was built in 1963 but refurbished in 2006 and 2012. The capacity is 3900. This is the same league Chad Costello and Dante Salituro played in last season. Paterson’s team finished in eighth place last season and the league did not have a playoff.
– I am sure other Allen players have signed or are close to signing to play in Europe next season. One thing is for sure is they won’t have much of an off season.
Did You Know?
Physical teams with skill typically do well in the Kelly Cup playoffs. In 2019, Newfoundland won the championship while having the second-fewest fights (16) in the league during the regular season. However, the four years prior to 2019, the Kelly Cup champions had 85 fights (Colorado 2018), 62 fights (Colorado 2017), 59 fights (Allen 2016), and 63 fights (Allen 2015) in the regular season.
This season ECHL fight totals vary from a high of 40 (Allen) to a low of 14 (Kansas City). Here are the fight totals for all 14 teams including games played in parenthesis:
40 – Allen (69)
35 – Fort Wayne (48)
34 – Wheeling (65)
33 – Jacksonville (68)
32 – Indy (66)
31 – Florida (66)
31 – Rapid City (69)
30 – Utah (69)
29 – Tulsa (71)
28 – Wichita (69)
25 – South Carolina (67)
17 – Greenville (70)
16 – Orlando (68)
14 – Kansas City (69)