The Allen Americans lost to the Kansas City Mavericks last night by a score of 4-1 at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena before a Monday night crowd of 3550.
– Thought a good start this morning would be to see how the Americans performed compared to the keys to the game. After Allen beat Kansas City 3-2 Sunday afternoon the prognosis for the game Monday night was as follows:
Allen will be tempting fate if they don’t improve their performance in the game Monday night. The Americans will have to close the gap between shots taken and shots allowed if they expect to win. If Allen can score first and win the special teams battle they will win the game.
– Let’s take a look at the three keys:
Score first – Allen didn’t score first or second or third as the Mavericks had a 3-0 lead before Vincent Arseneau scored the Americans only goal of the game midway through the third period. When Allen scores first their record is 10-0-0-0. When the Americans don’t score first their record is 3-7-2-1.
Shots for & against – Allen was out shot last night 40-24 and it is hard to win games when being out shot by such a large margin. The Americans got away with it Sunday afternoon when they won despite being out shot 42-23. Allen played six periods in Kansas City and didn’t out shoot the Mavericks in any of them. The Americans were fortunate to split the two game series after being out shot in all six periods by a total of 82-47.
Win special teams – The good news is Allen was 1-2 on the power play last night and scored on 50% of their opportunities in the two games against the Mavericks. The bad news is they only had two power play opportunities in the two games. Kansas City was called for no minor penalties on Sunday and just two last night. The other bad news is the Allen penalty kill continues to kill the team’s chance for success. Last night the Americans gave up three power play goals in five opportunities. You will not win many games when your penalty kill percentage is 40% as it was last night. The penalty kill performance has been going downhill for a while which is unusual for a Steve Martinson coached team. The road penalty kill percentage, which was already the worst in the league, has now dropped to 70.0%.
– Given the stats above it is fair to say it was good to get a split in Kansas City. The team has been battling some adversity recently and has persevered through a lot of injuries. Allen has just one game in the next seven days so they will have time to heal and also have plenty of practice time to work on system issues that have been causing breakdowns. I had several Allen fans send messages about how poorly the team played in Kansas City. Sometimes it best to take a step back and look at the stats. The stats say Allen has the second best record in the Mountain Division over the last ten games with a record of 7-3-0-0.
– Vincent Arseneau had the lone goal for Allen last night. It was his seventh goal of the season. Arseneau has been the most consistent goal scorer for the Americans recently. His seven goals have all come in the last 10 games. Three of the seven goals were game winners.
– Here is the game recap issued by the Allen Americans: https://allenamericans.com/americans-fall-kc-4-1/
– Here is the game recap from the Kansas City Mavericks: https://kcmavericks.com/news/?article_id=1007
– The only comment I received from coach Martinson after the game was short and sweet, “Our forwards didn’t generate any offense.” I opted for no follow-up questions if you get my drift.
– The Mountain Division remains close with four teams fighting for the top spot while the three teams at the bottom are fighting to save their season. Tulsa has made some gains recently and is within striking distance of Allen for the fourth and final playoff spot. Tulsa is still five points behind but has a chance to cut the margin to three when they entertain Allen at home on Saturday. Here are the current Mountain Division standings with games played in parentheses:
35 points – Colorado (23 games)
34 points – Wichita (22 games)
32 points – Idaho (25 games)
29 points – Allen (23 games)
24 points – Tulsa (23 games)
21 points – Utah (25 games)
14 points – Rapid City (22 games)
– There is a new batch of items posted on the Allen Americans online auction site. Some great options for stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts that aren’t expensive. Among the items are autographed pucks in a case (Brodeur, Williams, Gill, Moore & Makowski and autographed mini-helmets (Pierro-Zabotel, Gunn, Arseneau plus several from the goalies including one Gill, Williams & Brodeur all signed). This auction will close on Sunday (9:00 pm CST). If you just want to browse the items here is the link (no credit card required). https://one.bidpal.net/goamericans/browse/all
– One of the downsides to so many teams in the ECHL and an unbalanced schedule is fans miss out on seeing great players from the Eastern Conference. Manchester Monarchs goalie Charles Williams is a good example. Rookie Williams leads all ECHL goalies in GAA (1.98) and save percentage (.936). He has a great backstory as he switched colleges for his fifth year of eligibility (medical redshirt) moving from Ferris State to Canisius. As a senior at Ferris State, he played in only 15 games with a 3-5-1 record and GAA of 3.48. Williams thought he could do better by transferring to another school and trying to rekindle his career. He transferred to Canisius for his final year of eligibility and to work on his master’s degree in sports administration. All Williams did at Canisius was backstop the team to a conference title, finish the season with a GAA of 1.82, a save percentage of .943 and garner a Hobey Baker nomination. As Williams, who grew up in Detroit, told the College Hockey News, he hopes to be a leader for young black kids, similar to the positive influence players like Willie O’Ree, the first African-American to play in the NHL and longtime NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes had on him. In Michigan, Williams participated in “Hockey in the Hood,” where he learned about the game directly from his role models. Check out this story from earlier this year about Charles Williams background and final year in college. Being a rookie and having the best goalie stats in the league, Allen fans can look forward to seeing him in the ECHL All-Star game next month if he doesn’t get called up to the AHL. https://colorofhockey.com/2017/03/09/canisius-college-scores-on-a-rebound-year-from-goalie-charles-williams
DID YOU KNOW: The Allen penalty kill performance has been going down hill for a while which is unusual for a Steve Martinson coached team. Allen is always near the top of the rankings for penalty kill percentage. It is definitely not a system issue, it is an execution issue that will get straightened out. How bad is the current 70.0% road penalty kill? Here is Allen’s road penalty kill percentage since joining the ECHL.
70.0% – 2017-18 (through 23 games)
86.1% – 2016-17
85.0% – 2015-16
86.0% – 2014-15
Allen is on pace to have the worst road penalty kill percentage of any team since they joined the ECHL. Here is the worst road penalty kill percentage in the ECHL for each season since the Americans joined the league.
70.0% – 2017-18 (Allen)
74.1% – 2016-17 (Tulsa)
75.9% – 2015-16 (Utah)
73.6% – 2014-15 (Gwinnett)