ALLEN, TX – With a 72 game ECHL schedule having as many as six days off between games is a rarity. It happens just twice all season for the Allen Americans. This week and the week of December 3, when the Americans have seven days off between games. Having six days between games early in the season is excellent timing as it gives coach Steve Martinson time to work on those system things that are difficult to get installed during a short training camp. This week started with a light practice yesterday that consisted mostly of a four-on-four scrimmage. Today and tomorrow there will be a lot of skating drills, and then things will slow down on Thursday and Friday with more emphasis on systems and special teams. There always is a recognition that a balance needs to be maintained between working hard, getting in shape and making sure everyone has fresh legs for the weekend.
– The game on Saturday will be the sixth opening night for Steve Martinson with the Allen Americans, but for owner Jack Gulati it will be his first. The game will be different for a few reasons. After four years of raising the championship banner, that will be missing. Gulati will be in attendance to show his support, something that rarely happened under the previous ownership group. There will be a new in-game host, Kayla McLain, as the face of a new and improved game operations effort. Some things will be the same. The Ice Angels will be performing and are hard at work at what promises to be a solid performance. The on-ice product with a combination of speed, skill, grit, and toughness will be as entertaining as ever.
The bottom line is Gulati has taken over the Americans and provided the team with the financial stability that was needed for several years. It has only been eight months, but Jack has signed Steve Martinson to a long-term contract, repaired relationships with many stakeholders, leased a new bus for the team, procured great housing for the players, increased staffing in the front office, added managerial oversight both locally and with the hiring of a COO and CFO to oversee operations in Reading and Allen. With Jack’s commitment his expectation, as he would say it is, “putting more butts in the seats.”
Saturday night will be the first opportunity to see if all of the effort produces the results that are expected. Since joining the ECHL in 2014-15 the opening night crowd has been 5006, 4745 and 5062.
– If you regularly monitor ECHL stats or your favorite team’s stats you may notice a change in the numbers even though the team hasn’t played a game. It is an interesting process with many steps that fans may not be aware of. The off ice officials keep track of the stats in real time via computer as a game is in process. If you look at echl.com all of the stats are updated as they happen. The off ice officials are able to communicate with each other and they get information from the on ice officials to make sure all of the goals, assists and plus/minus stats are correct.
After the game, there is a period (around 30 minutes) when each team can correct any information that has been recorded incorrectly. The game is then submitted as final and official. But even after the game is submitted final, changes can be made. As you might imagine players want to get credit for every stat, they feel they earn. They may say the next day the puck glanced off their stick, brushed their jersey or touched their skate, so they deserve to be credited with a goal or an assist. They may say they had just gotten on the ice when a goal was scored so they should get the plus. This starts a process that usually involves taking a close look at the game video to determine exactly what happened. The final arbiter is coach Martinson and if he feels a change is appropriate the team submits the change to the league office and the change is made.
The process above was apparently used after the two games in Rapid City because some of the Allen stats were changed yesterday. Here is the latest from echl.com on the Allen stat leaders:
7- Olivier Archambault
6 – Casey Pierro-Zabotel
5 – Zach Pochiro
3 – Zach Pochiro
2 – Olivier Archambault
2 – Jonathan Lessard
5- Olivier Archambault
5 – Casey Pierro-Zabotel
2 – Zach Pochiro
2 – Dalton Thrower
+8 – Casey Pierro-Zabotel
+7 – Olivier Archambault
+7 – Zach Pochiro
DID YOU KNOW: Spencer Asuchak is in his fifth season with the Allen Americans and can accomplish some special things this season depending on how much time he spends in the AHL. First and foremost he could win his fourth championship in Allen, a feat no other player has ever accomplished. He could also climb way up the ladder in most career categories. Here are a few examples:
Games played – Spencer is currently 10th all-time with 176 games. He could be as high as second (238) by the end of the season.
Points – Spencer is #8 all-time in points. He is just 16 points from #4 all time (162).
Goals – Spencer is #7 all-time in goals. If he matches his goals from last season (26) he would end up #4 all time.
Assists – Spencer is #6 all-time in assists (99). If he matches last year’s production (40) he will end the season #2 all time.
Penalty Minutes – Spencer is #11 all-time but is 61 minutes from moving into #3.
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