ALLEN, Texas – There have been many low points and disappointments for the Allen Americans this season but maybe the lowest point came on the weekend of February 16 and 17. The Americans had started the month of February with their longest win streak of the season (four games) but then lost three of four games on a trip to the South Division.
– On February 16th, the Americans were solidly in the playoffs and about to embark on a very favorable part of the schedule where they played only six games in three weeks against opponents that had losing records.
First up was the Utah Grizzlies who came to Allen in sixth place in the division. Utah had lost three games in a row and six of their last seven. The Grizzlies were 12 points out of a playoff spot with little hope of making up that much ground. Utah had made numerous roster changes including four that were announced the day before. The Grizzlies traded for former Allen goalie Joel Rumpel a week before. Everything looked set up for an Allen sweep of the Grizzlies. Instead, Utah beat Allen 5-4 and 3-1 to start a streak that is still intact. They have earned points in nine straight games (8-0-0-1).
– How ironic that three weeks later Allen is in Utah tonight with a new goalie (Jake Paterson) and four new players (King, Frazee, Carrier & Campagna). After beating the Americans twice in Allen and being the hottest team in the league, I would assume the Utah fans are expecting a sweep this weekend. A chance for Allen to turn the tables just like the Grizzlies did in Allen.
– Tonight will be the fifth of six games (4 home, 2 away) between these teams this season with the previous four games in Allen. Utah won three of the four. The Americans lone win came on January 10 when Allen beat Utah 6-3 led by Alex Guptill who had a hat trick and Olivier Archambault who had two goals.
– Allen is 4-6-0-0 in the last 10 games but has won three in a row. Utah is 8-1-0-1 over their last 10 games.
– Here is a comparison between Allen and Utah this season:
|Record||28-24-4-2 (62 points)||25-23-6-5 (61 points)|
|Division Ranking||5th – Mountain||6th – Mountain|
|Last Game||2-1 Win (Idaho)||4-1 Win (Indy)|
|Power Play||16.7% (42/251)||17.9% (48/268)|
|Penalty Kill||80.3% (51/259)||82.7% (43/249)|
|Leading Scorer||Pierro-Zabotel (15-40-55)||Walters (28-27-55)|
|PIMs Leader||Moore – 189||Howe – 151|
– Here is how Allen and Utah rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (21.50) – Utah 11th (16.42)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 14th (3.21) – Utah 9th (3.27)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (3.14) – Utah 21st (3.44)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 18th (31.43) – Utah 12th (32.83)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.62) – Utah 9th (30.56)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 17th (16.7%) – Utah 12th (17.9%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 10th (18.7%) – Utah 11th (18.6%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 20th (14.8%) – Utah 13th (17.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 21st (80.3%) – Utah 16th (82.7%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 12th (84.5%) – Utah 25th (78.2%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 25th (76.2%) – Utah 4th (86.3%)
– Allen averages 3.21 goals per game but has exceeded three goals only twice in their last 10 games, have been shut out twice and had one goal twice. Utah, on the other hand, has averaged almost five goals (4.89) per game during their nine-game point streak while allowing an average of three goals per game. Based on the stats the Americans will have to put more pucks in the net tonight than normal if they expect to win.
– Allen’s recent struggles on special teams are well documented but their only goal in the shootout win in Idaho on Wednesday came on the power play and the penalty kill was 1-7 (85.7%). Special teams tend to be streaky so hopefully, he positive streak can continue tonight.
– Scoring the first goal of the game has been key when playing Utah. The team that scored first has won every game. Overall Allen’s record when scoring first is 22-5-1-0 and Utah’s is 17-8-2-0. Winning the first period is always important but even more so in Utah. At home the Grizzlies are 10-2-1-0 when leading after the first period and 1-6-1-2 when trailing after the first period.
– Utah captain Ryan Walters (#15) is a player to keep an eye on tonight if you watch the game. Walters is the current ECHL Player of the Week. He had seven points (5 goals 2 assists) in four games last week. Former Allen forward Jake Marchment is another player to keep an eye on. Jake was assigned to Utah 10 games ago and has five goals and 10 points including the first goal of the game in both Grizzlies wins in Allen on February 16th and 17th.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrew Wilk (#24) and linesmen Andrew Collin (#49) and James McKenna (#31).
– The Allen Americans are sponsoring an “Americans Fight Cancer Weekend” on April 6th and 7th and will be wearing special purple jerseys featuring the names of those in the Americans family who have been affected by cancer. The jerseys will be auctioned and funds donated to UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center to fund future research. If you have a friend or family member who has battled cancer you can nominate them for the inclusion of their name on the background of the jersey (see below). But you need to hurry as nominations must be submitted by Monday (March 12). Here are all of the details with a link to the nomination form: https://allenamericans.com/americans-fight-cancer-weekend
– With the standings so tight between Wichita, Tulsa, Allen, and Utah there could be some shuffling this weekend as the teams play each other. Allen and Utah play tonight and Saturday while the Wichita Thunder will be in Tulsa Saturday and Sunday to play the Oilers.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL trade deadline passed yesterday with seven trades involving nine players on the final day. With that in mind here is a list of the ECHL teams that have used the most and fewest number of players this season.
Most Players Used:
51 – Wheeling
50 – Brampton
47 – Norfolk
Fewest Players Used:
26 – Kalamazoo
30 – Tulsa
30 – Colorado
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