ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans extended their winning streak to four games Sunday evening with a 5-1 win over the Tulsa Oilers before a crowd of 1797 at the Allen Event Center. The game had many similarities to the Americans 4-1 win over Tulsa on Saturday night. Allen scored first and had a 1-0 lead after the opening period both nights, they won both games by a comfortable margin, and it took outstanding goaltending by Zach Zawchenko, the first star in both games, to secure the win.
You would be hard-pressed to believe you could give up 47 shots on goal, including 23 in the third period, going scoreless on the power play, give up a power-play goal and win the game 5-1. You do it by having the best statistical goalie in the league stop 46 of 47 Tulsa shots for a save percentage of .979. In the first two weeks of the season, it is clear that Sawchenko has been the difference-maker.
The offensive talent and depth of the Americans are hard to deny. Allen is second in the ECHL, averaging 4.00 goals per game. When you consider the Americans have scored 20 goals in five games and 10 different players have a goal, it shows plenty of depth. Even more amazing is Matt Register, Spencer Asuchak, and Alex Lavoie are not one of the 10 players that have scored a goal, but they are at the top of the team in assists.
Allen has struggled on special teams with a power-play percentage of 11.1% and a penalty kill percentage of just 81.3%. However, at even strength, the Americans have excelled, outscoring their opponents 18-7. Four players (Mychan, Garreffa, Kneen, Franklin) have shooting percentages above 20%, which is outstanding.
Five games into the season, Jesse Mychan leads the team in points with six, but there are 14 players with three or more points. Again, an indication of the depth on this team.
There were five different goal scorers last night, Jake McGrew (4), Nolan Kneen (2), Zane Franklin (2), Corey Mackin (1), and Jesse Mychan (5).
The Americans are off until Thursday when they start three-games-in-three-days against Wichita. New Year’s Eve, they play at the AEC and then head to Wichita for games on January 1 and 2. The players have today off but will be back at practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. You can bet plenty of time will be devoted to defensive zone coverage and improvements on special teams.
– You couldn’t find two players with more different playing styles than Bryan Moore and Les Lancaster, but in the strange stat of the day, they are first and second in the ECHL in penalty minutes. Moore leads with 29 PIMs, followed by Lancaster with 21.
Rookies scored three of Allen’s five goals last night. Half of Allen’s 20 goals in their five games thus far have been scored by rookies. There are 16 ECHL rookies with three or more points, and five of them play for the Americans. Three of the top seven in rookie scoring play for Allen (McGrew, Garreffa, Kielly).
– Allen’s eight rookies are making an impact and will be a big part of Allen’s success this season. The unknown is how many of them will be playing in the AHL after that league gets going. Here are some rookie stats. Jake McGrew is first among ECHL rookies in plus/minus (+6) and second in goals scored by rookies. Jake has four goals in five games. Kameron Kielly is first in rookie assists (4), while Zane Franklin leads all rookies in penalty minutes (16) and is second in shooting percentage (40%).
– The AHL return to play committee met over the weekend, and the full AHL Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on Wednesday. Later this week, it could be known how and when the AHL plans to move forward. Here is a great article by Patrick Williams with Elite Prospects Rinkside that talks in detail about all of the AHL start-up issues: https://eprinkside.com/2020/12/24/around-the-ahl-the-nhls-top-developmental-league-fights-to-save-its-season
Did You Know?
After 54 games, the average penalty minutes per game in the ECHL this season is 13.70, ranging from 18.80 (Florida) to 7.00 (Utah). As a comparison, last season, the ECHL average was 12.87 minutes ranging from 16.84 (Fort Wayne) to 8.51 (Wheeling). Here are Allen’s average penalty minutes per game since joining the ECHL.
Total penalty minutes and ECHL rank are in parenthesis:
2020-21 – 13.40 (67, #6)
2019-20 – 12.02 (745, #18)
2018-19 – 23.49 (1691, #1)
2017-18 – 19.60 (1411, #1)
2017-17 – 19.89 (1432, #1)
2015-16 – 16.51 (1189, #5)*
2014-15 – 22.83 (1644, #1)*
*Won Kelly Cup
For all things Allen Americans, follow Barry Janssen on Twitter @AllenAmericans1. For the latest stats and trends in the ECHL, follow @ECHLStats. And for the latest news on your favorite AHL & ECHL team, “Like” The Sin Bin on Facebook!