ALLEN, Texas – You never know what to expect from day-to-day at the Allen Americans practice session and Monday was no exception.
It was good to see Garrett Clarke on the ice and he looked good even though he hasn’t skated for a week. Also practicing for the first time since being injured were Dante Salituro and Johnny McInnis. Not at practice were Braylon Shmyr, who missed the last two games in Utah, and Josh Atkinson, who has been playing with an injury for a while.
– The team leaves around 1:00 pm this afternoon for their trip to Tulsa to take on the Oilers at 7:05 pm. There are so many players that are day-to-day it won’t be known until the team gets on the bus who is making the trip. The transactions from yesterday show Braylon Shmyr and Josh Atkinson being placed on reserve and Dante Salituro was placed on injured reserve effective November 12. It looks like they will be staying home even though players on reserve can change daily. One player definitely not making the trip will be Zach Pochiro, who will be serving his one-game suspension for shooting the puck into the crowd in Utah on Saturday night. Clarke will be making his first start for Allen since returning from Europe.
– In the biggest move of the day, coach Steve Martinson acquired goalie Kyle Hayton from Fort Wayne to complete the transaction that sent J.C. Campagna to the Komets on October 15. Hayton is a rookie who was not playing in Fort Wayne.
He played for three seasons at St. Lawrence University with save percentages of .937, .935 and .929. Hayton graduated from St. Lawrence with a degree in both Business and Economics and had a year of eligibility remaining so he signed on at the University of Wisconsin to pursue a graduate degree and play hockey. In 2016-17, Kyle was the ECAC (Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) Goaltender of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Mike Richter award as the NCAA’s most outstanding goaltender. Hayton is meeting the team in Tulsa and I would expect he will get the start against the Oilers.
The game tonight will be the fourth of 13 times Allen and Tulsa play this season. Allen’s only win in the last month came in a 2-0 victory in Tulsa on November 17 even though the Oilers outshot the Americans 43-23. C.J. Motte got the 43 save shutout and was called up to Iowa the next day.
– Allen’s record of 4-13-0-2 places them last in the Mountain Division. Tulsa’s record is 11-2-2-2 has them in second place.
– In the three head-to-head games this season, the goals are close with Tulsa leading 9-8. A big discrepancy exists in shots with Tulsa outshooting Allen 136-81. Allen does have the edge on special teams, going 3-9 (33.3%) on the power play compared to Tulsa’s 1-13 (7.7%)
– If you look at season totals Allen does have an advantage on special teams. The Americans road power play percentage is 17.5% (10-57) while Tulsa at home is 10.2% (5-49). Allen’s road penalty kill is at 84.6% (10-65) while Tulsa’s home penalty kill percentage is 81.4% (8-43). Allen has a slight edge on special teams but they may not be able to use that to their advantage. Tulsa is one of the least penalized teams in the league averaging 10.53 minutes per game compared to Allen’s 19.79. Tulsa has taken 67 minor penalties, the Americans have taken 113. In the three head-to-head games, these teams have taken a total of 50 minutes in penalties.
– Other than special teams, the stats heavily favor the Oilers. Tulsa is ranked #1 in average shots per game (35.88) and Allen is ranked #15 (31.68). The Oilers score an average of 3.29 goals per game, Allen just 2.47. Tulsa is ranked #5 in goals allowed (2.65) and Allen is ranked #25 allowing 3.95 goals per game.
– For Allen to come out on top they will need to be better defensively and that includes the goalie, forwards and defensemen. The Americans also have to find a way to score. In their last five games, they have scored a total of seven goals. A forward hasn’t scored a goal in the last three games.
-The referee scheduled is Stephen Reneau (#17) and the linesman will be Michael Miggans (#47) and Chuck Schamel (#97).
Possible Return of ‘WeaponX’
– It looks like Alex Penner, aka Weapon X, will be in Allen this weekend for the games against Wichita. Penner posted this on social media last night.
If you were not planning to attend the Allen vs Wichita game on Friday, I suggest you change your plans and arrive early. When these teams met on October 20, there were 10 fighting majors. It is hard to believe but you may want to take the over if you are betting on fighting majors on Friday. With Penner, Jake Doty, Garrett Clarke, Dalton Thrower, Josh Thrower, and Mike Gunn, the Americans will be prepared.
There hasn’t been anything official about Penner being signed by Allen in ECHL transactions but Penner’s social media post sure suggests he is coming to Allen this weekend. Stay tuned.
Did You Know?
In the Allen Americans first season (2009-10) they played in the Southern Conference of the CHL which was comprised of seven Texas teams and the Arizona Sundogs. Tulsa was in the Northern Conference. Allen played Tulsa just three times that season, winning twice. However, the first game ever between Tulsa and Allen took place on November 3, 2009 and the Oilers shut out the Americans 4-0. It was a penalty-filled game especially in the third period when the Oilers already had the 4-0 lead. The teams were a combined 0-19 on the power play (Allen 0-8, Tulsa 0-11). There were 70 penalty minutes called in the third period and three Allen players (Nathan O’Nabigon, Liam Huculak, and Justin Bowers) got fighting majors.