ALLEN, Texas – Allen’s three-game series in Rapid City resumes tonight at 8:05 pm CDT after the Americans lost game one 4-2 on Wednesday. It is an important game for the Americans, given they have lost three of the last four games they have played against the Rush.
Allen has been playing great hockey and had a seven-game point streak snapped on Wednesday. Coach Steve Martinson talked about one factor in the loss on Wednesday: overall team defense, which has been excellent recently. In the seven-game point streak, Allen never allowed more than three goals, and the goals allowed average was just 2.29 per game. On Wednesday, Allen allowed four goals and gave up too many odd-man rushes. Two of Rapid City’s goals were scored when players on the weak side were left uncovered.
Game Two Preview
Allen will have some lineup changes tonight. Jake Paterson will be in goal. Martinson has been alternating goalies since Paterson returned from injury, but at some point, based on performance, a goalie will get back-to-back starts.
Darian Skeoch (I think it is pronounced Skee-Oh) will make his Allen debut tonight after being acquired in a trade from Indy. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound, 24-year-old, right-shot defenseman will bring some of the toughness Allen has lost recently. Martinson’s quote about Skeoch says it all:
“Skeoch is one of the toughest players to come out of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in the last 10 years.”
Skeoch’s recent fight card defies his toughness. He fought twice in the 13 games he played in Indy. During his two years in college (Carleton University), he couldn’t fight. If you go back to his last season in the WHL (2017-18), he had 10 fights.
A big key for Allen tonight will be to get off to a better start. The Americans fell behind 2-0 in the fourth minute of the game on Wednesday and could never recover. Scoring first and leading after the first period makes Allen almost unbeatable, so a good start will be key.
The other key tonight will be special teams. The referee scheduled is the same as Wednesday night (#29 Logan Gruhl), and he called only six minor penalties in that game. It is never wise to predict penalties, especially in a game between Rapid City and Allen but based on Wednesday, there may not be many power-play opportunities.
Allen’s power play has been outstanding recently. The Americans were 1-2 on Wednesday, have at least one power-play goal in four straight games, and had a power-play goal in eight of their last nine games. In those nine games dating back to March 27, Allen’s power-play percentage is 25.6% (11-43).
Allen’s penalty kill has not allowed Rapid City a power-play goal in the last eight games these teams have played. They have played nine games this season, and Allen’s penalty kill percentage is 97.0% (1-33).
The leading scorers in the head-to-head games between these teams are Josh Lammon for Allen, who has eight points (4G, 4A), and Tyler Coulter for Rapid City, who has nine points (5G, 4A).
Other Allen players to watch tonight are Corey Mackin, who has three goals and three assists in the last four games; Spencer Asuchak, who has four goals in the last four games; and Matt Register who has seven assists in the last four games.
I had a question about the AHL loan deadline coming up next week (April 21) for ECHL teams? I haven’t been able to verify this, but my understanding is the loan deadline date is the last time AHL teams can move a contracted player from one ECHL team to another. AHL teams could still send players from their roster to the ECHL after April 21, and the players could qualify for the ECHL playoffs as long as they play five games before the end of the AHL season (May 16).
Did You Know?
Allen plays Utah 18 times which ranks in the top five for most games two ECHL teams play each other this season. Here is the ECHL Stats post from today:
If absence makes the heart grow fonder these teams are not very fond of each other. Most games played against each other this season:
27 – Florida & Orlando
19 – Fort Wayne & Wheeling
19 – Fort Wayne & Indy
19 – Indy & Wheeling
18 – Allen & Utah
18 – Jacksonville & Greenville
— ECHL Stats (@EchlStats) April 16, 2021