First place Allen takes on second place Quad City on Friday and Saturday in Moline , IL. and the games are important for both teams. Allen is in a tight race for the best overall record in the ECHL and home ice advantage during the playoffs. Quad City is in a tight race for a playoff spot in the Central Division.

Because of the bad weather the team did not leave last night (Wednesday) as scheduled and will leave today for Quad City.

Quad City coach Terry Ruskowski will have the Mallards ready for the weekend series with Allen even though they were shutout 2-0 last night at home by Tulsa. For only the second time in his long coaching career he had a practice after the loss. And it was the kind of practice/skate players hate with no nets and no pucks. Ruskowski has not been happy with the inconsistent performance by the Mallards and apologized to the fans after the game calling the way the team played unacceptable.

– The two games this weekend will be the final of five regular season games between Allen and Quad City this year. Here are the results of the first three games. On December 10th Allen won 5-2 at the AEC in a game the Americans outshot the Mallards 40-27. The game was most memorable because it was the night Jack Combs had four goals. Quad City won at the AEC on February 16 beating Allen 2-1 while out shooting the Americans 34-26. Allen won the last meeting which was in Quad City February 25 by a score of 4-2 in a game where the Mallards had a 2-0 lead and gave up four unanswered goals to the Americans.

–  Here is a statistical comparison of Allen and Quad City:
Points: Allen (81) – Quad City (63)
Goals For: Allen (225) – Quad City (165)
Goals Allowed: Allen (156) – Quad City (151)
Goal Differential: Allen (+69) – Quad City (+14)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+240) – Quad City (+20)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Quad City is ranked #11.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.17). Quad City is #19 (2.89).
Allen is ranked #8 in average goals allowed (2.89). Quad City is #5 (2.65).

– Allen’s record is 37-10-4-3 compared to Quad City at 28-22-4-3. In their last ten games Allen is 5-2-2-1 while Quad City is 5-4-0-1.

– Allen has a small advantage on special teams when you look at overall stats but when you look at the home and away stats the Allen advantage is substantial on the power play. On the road Allen is #1 on the power play at 23.6% and #3 on the penalty kill at 87.8%. Quad City at home is #17 on the power play at 16.7% and #4 on the penalty kill at 87.0%.

– Quad City has only one player (Mario Lamoureux) scoring at a point a game clip. Allen has three players averaging a point a game (Costello, Steffes, Hanson). Allen has four defensemen (Gens, Young, Baker, Tyler Ludwig)  in the top twelve in the league in scoring by defensemen, Quad City has none.

– The key to victory for Allen will be to got off to a fast start and get shots on goal.  In addition the  Americans need to get traffic in front of the net and pick up some of those dirty goals. This has been an area of emphasis by coach Martinson this week. Finally, the Americans need to take advantage of having the better special teams and get some power play goals.

– The Americans have been struggling recently but that has been primarily at home where they have lost six games in a row. The road has been another story as Allen has won five in a row on the road and seven of the last eight. This road trip may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.

– Quad City has been struggling at home as the loss last night to Tulsa was their fourth straight home loss.

– You never know how games will evolve and both of the teams need a win but Allen may be looking to even the score for what they saw as a sucker punch thrown by Paxton Leroux which injured Garrett Clarke. Quad City may be looking to even the score for what they saw as Riley Gill repeatedly shoving Mario Lamoureux’s head into the ice and only getting a minor penalty. You can bet neither team has forgotten these incidents. The only question is, will what happened a week ago in Quad City carryover into the upcoming series?

OTHER COMMENTS

– Congrats to Tyler and Taylor Ludwig on the birth of their second daughter yesterday. Hayden Tyler Ludwig was born at 11:28 am, weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz and was 21.5 inches long.

Hayden Tyler Ludwig

– Happy Birthday to Jesse Messier who turns 27 today.

Happy Birthday Jesse Messier – photo by scenebykimberly.com

– The Allen “French Connection” from last year both scored goals last night. Alex Lavoie got is 13th goal of the season as his Florida Everblades shutout Cincinnati 3-0 and Jonathan Lessard got is 14th as his Bakersfield team lost 6-5 in overtime to Colorado.

– In other former player news Bruce Graham was injured last night as his Nottingham Panthers beat the Hull Stingrays. According to a Nottingham press release, “X-rays have shown the potentially serious hand injury suffered by Bruce Graham when he was checked from behind into the boards during the home game against Hull is not a broken bone. But there are other just as serious possibilities and Bruce is booked in to see a specialist.” Hope it is not as serious as the press release sounds.

– The race for the final three Central Division playoff spots tightened up again last night as Tulsa beat Quad City 2-0 and Wichita beat Rapid City 3-2 in overtime. Only four points separates second and fifth place. Here are the standings for first thru fifth place.
1. Allen (81 points)
2. Quad City (63 points)
3. Tulsa (60 points)
4. Wichita (59 points)
5. Rapid City (59 points)

– The Brampton Beast announced yesterday that Phil Oreskovic who retired from playing earlier this week has been named as the assistant head coach for Brampton.

 

DID YOU KNOW: Penalty minutes don’t predict how good a team is. Case in point is the last place team in the Western Conference (Stockton) has the most penalty minutes in the ECHL (1277). The team with the best record in the ECHL (Allen) has the second most penalty minutes in the ECHL (1261).

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