ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans take on Tulsa tonight for the seventh time this season. It is the first of three games in three nights against the Oilers with the game tonight and Friday in Allen and the third game on Saturday in Tulsa.
– Allen and Tulsa will play 14 times during the regular season. Allen has the edge in the six games they have played thus far with a record of 4-2. The last time these teams played was December 20 in Tulsa and Allen came out on top 6-3.
– Allen and Tulsa are teams on opposite paths this season with the Americans starting slow and coming on strong while the Oilers started strong but have faltered recently. You can never point to one game that turned around the season for Allen but a game against Tulsa at the BOK Center on November 29 certainly played a part. Allen entered that game with an 8-11-0-0 record which had them in last place in the Mountain Division. Tulsa at the time had a record of 14-5-1-0 which had them in first place in the Central Division. Allen won the game 1-0 in overtime on a Greger Hanson goal. It was the start of an amazing run for Riley Gill, who had five shutouts in the next month. Since that 1-0 overtime win against Tulsa at the end of November, Allen’s record is 19-4-2-2 and they have gone from last place to first place. Tulsa’s record since that game is 9-16-3-0 and they have gone from first to fourth place.
– Gill has been out of the lineup since the end of December and has participated in practice all week. If he is ready to go, and I think he is, he should be the starter tonight. Riley will return to the lineup with two straight shutouts to his credit. He has not allowed a goal in the last 156:21.
– Zach Hall is still listed as day to day but is not expected to be in the lineup tonight.
– Tulsa is 3-6-1-1 in their last 10 games but are currently on a five-game losing streak. The Oilers have not scored more than two goals in any game during the losing streak. Allen is 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games and has lost two of their last three home games.
– Here is a match up between Allen and Tulsa:
|Team Record||27-15-2-2 (58 points)||23-21-4-0 (50 points)|
|Conference Ranking||2nd – Western||8th – Western|
|Last Game||5-4 Win (Orlando)||3-2 Loss (Utah)|
|Power Play||18.6% (38/204)||9.4% (17/181)|
|Penalty Kill||84.5% (34/219)||80.8% (37/193)|
|Most PIM’s||Mathers (163)||Clark (158)|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (23-56-79)
– Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (19.65) – Tulsa 8th (15.10)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 5th (3.67) – Tulsa 22nd (2.85)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 5th (2.91) – Tulsa 6th (2.92)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 12th (32.26) – Tulsa 5th (33.27)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 24th (34.96) – Tulsa 11th (30.63)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 10th (18.6%) – Tulsa 27th (9.4%)
Penalty Kill Percentage; Allen 7th (84.5%) – Tulsa 21st (80.8%)
– The stats above that jump out at you are on special teams where Tulsa is the worst in the league on the power play and one of the worst on the penalty kill. Allen has used special teams to their advantage against Tulsa. In the last three games against the Oilers the Americans are 6-12 (50%) on the power play. Allen has allowed Tulsa just one power play goal in six games (1-24) for a penalty kill percentage of 95.8%. If Allen can continue to capitalized on their special teams advantage they should be in good shape.
– The cumulative numbers on the six head to head games show Allen outscoring Tulsa 19-15 and out shooting the Oilers 213-178. Allen is 6-23 (26.1%) on the power play and Tulsa is 1-24 (4.2%) on the power play.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrea Barone (#15) and linesmen Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Russ Coll (#40). If you aren’t familiar with Barone’s story it is very compelling as he is the only openly gay player or referee in professional hockey. Here is an article about his journey that appeared in Hockey News last October: https://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/while-the-hockey-world-awaits-its-first-openly-gay-player-an-echl-ref-has-opened-the-door
– I am sure putting together the ECHL schedule is extremely complicated but it always makes you wonder the way it works out. Allen plays Rapid City six times all season but five of the six games take place in the 12 days between February 8 -19. After the upcoming three games against Tulsa the Americans will play five of their next seven games against Rapid City.
– If you follow any sports team closely you learn quickly the different personalities, attitudes, and approaches of the players. This article talks about how important attitude and work ethic are to success. It is not a new story as I first read it a couple of years ago but it sure points out why some players succeed and some don’t. It is called “You Are Not That Special” and it is food for thought: https://thejuniorhockeynews.com/confessions-of-a-junior-hockey-coach-you-are-not-that-special/
– It is a short schedule in the ECHL tonight with only four games on tap. Allen is the only Mountain Division team in action and with a win tonight will take over sole possession of first place.
– Here is a Q & A with San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson during which he is asked about Aaron Dell as the Sharks’ backup goalie going into the playoffs. Wilson gives an interesting Answer: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/01/qa-with-doug-wilson-on-marleau-thornton-and-what-might-he-be-looking-for-in-the-trade-market/
DID YOU KNOW: Since joining the ECHL, Allen’s record against Tulsa is 21-13-1-3. At home the record is 10-7-0-0 and in Tulsa the record is 11-6-1-3.