ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans returned to the ice yesterday after the long trip home from Rapid City on Sunday. As practices go for the Americans you would have to put this one in the practice-lite category. Coach Steve Martinson never took the ice as skating mechanics coach, Luke Chilcott, worked with the team and then there was the cross ice scrimmage that seems to be the most fun type of practice.

Allen is fortunate to have Luke working with the team both as a group at the beginning of practice and with individual players who want to stay after practice to get one on one instruction.  Luke is also working with the players in San Jose and is part of a growing group of former figure skating champions helping professional hockey players become better. You would think all players would embrace the idea of improving their skating but you can tell it is a hard sell for some.

Here is an article from 2015 that talks about the evolution of NHL players and teams using figure skaters to teach pro hockey players how to skate better. Many of the coaches are female.

Zach Hall looks ready to go for Wednesday. He is eligible to come off the 21-day injured reserve list and will be in the lineup against Indy. It was good to see Dyson Stevenson practicing after being injured in Rapid City. That kid is as tough as nails. Dyson will most likely not be in the lineup on Wednesday as he is waiting to hear how many additional games he will be suspended. The ECHL should make that announcement today. Best case scenario is Stevenson just gets one more game.

Kyle Neuber was also on the ice yesterday skating around in his warm-ups. Kyle was injured in the second game of the season and is back in Allen to continue his rehabilitation. Travis Brown and Aaron Gens are making progress but are still a ways away from getting back on the ice.

– Coach Martinson said at the beginning of the season that he was going to have more players on the roster this season than in the past because that will help improve the chances of winning a third straight Kelly Cup. He also said there will be times when everyone is healthy and good players will have to sit out. That will be the case during this homestand. With Hall returning to the lineup on Wednesday someone will have to sit. If Stevenson is back on Friday two healthy scratches will be necessary and when Tanner Eberle returns in a couple of weeks there will be three extra forwards. All of this assumes there are no further injuries, call ups or trades and that is a bad assumption. The point being is there will most likely be times as the season winds down that the Americans will have too many players and good players will have to sit.

– It seems like the Americans have struggled over the last month even as they have continued to win. They had such a dominating month of December where they averaged close to five goals per game and allowed less than two. Compared to December, the last six weeks seems like a struggle. But, it is important to keep things in perspective when you look at how Allen has played over the last two and a half months. As a reminder at the end of November Allen was 8-11 and in last place in the Mountain Division, 11th (out of 14) place in the Western Conference and in 20th (out of 27) place leaguewide. Since that time the Americans have the best record in the league at 24-5-2-2. They are now tied for 1st in the division, 2nd in the conference and 3rd leaguewide.

– With the best record in the ECHL since the end of November, several Allen players have shot up the leader board in many statistical categories.

Here is a list of the stats where an Allen player is ranked #1 in the ECHL. Again, this is only those categories where the player leads the entire ECHL.

Chad Costello – Points (95)
Chad Costello – Assists (67)
Chad Costello – Power play points (38)
Chad Costello – Power play assists (29)
Chad Costello – Season streak for games with an assist (8)
Greger Hanson – Goals in a game (4)
Greger Hanson – Power play goals (11)
Greger Hanson – Most points in one game (5)
Greger Hanson – Scoring first goal of game (7)
Greger Hanson – Shootout goals (3)
Greger Hanson – Shootout percentage (100%)
Greger Hanson – highest plus/minus in single game (+5)
Spencer Asuchak – Power play goals (11)
Derek Mathers – Penalty minutes (212)
Derek Mathers – Major penalties (24)
David Makowski – Power play assists by defenseman (20)
David Makowski – Power play points by defenseman  (23)
David Makowski – Current streak for games with an assist (6)
Eric Roy – Overtime Goals (3)
Bryan Moore – Consecutive games scoring a goal (6)
Bryan Moore – Season streak for games in a row with a goal at home (7)
Riley Gill – GAA (2.19)
Riley Gill – Save percentage (.936)
Riley Gill – Shutouts (5)

DID YOU KNOW: At the beginning of the season, many thought the Mountain Division was the best division in the ECHL. There is little doubt it is the toughest division in the ECHL. Here are the average penalty minutes per team by division.

851 minutes – Mountain Division
718 minutes – Central Division
655 minutes – South Division
568 minutes – North Division

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