The Allen Americans begin a home-and-home series against the Wichita Thunder with a game in Wichita tonight and back at the Allen Event Center tomorrow (Saturday) night. The intrigue between Allen and Wichita dates back to the Americans first year as a franchise and endures to this day. You can call it a rivalry but it has been a one-sided rivalry for sure. That first season (2009-10) Allen and Wichita were in different conferences so only played twice. Allen won both games. In the 2012-13 season the teams met in the league championship (CHL) and the Americans won in game seven in overtime. In 2014 the owners of the Wichita Thunder franchise bought the Allen Americans and a whole new rivalry between the teams began both on and off the ice. Since joining the the ECHL in 2014-15 Allen has won two Kelly Cups while Wichita has yet to make the playoffs. It may look like a misprint but the Americans record against Wichita since joining the ECHL is 33-4-4-3. When playing in Wichita the record is 17-2-1-2. The record last season was 11-2-1-0.

– I share those one-sided stats because past is not prologue, what has happened in the past has no bearing on the outcome of the 12 times these teams play each other this season. Wichita is playing the best hockey in the ECHL with a 6-0-0-0 record and will present a real challenge for the Americans who have a five game losing streak headed into play tonight.

Here is a match up between Allen and Wichita:

ALLEN WICHITA
Team Record 3-2-2-0 (8 points) 6-0-0-0 (12 points)
Division Ranking 6th – Mountain 1st – Central
Conference Ranking 8th – Western 1st – Western
League Ranking 13th 2nd
Last Game 2-1 Loss (Utah) 4-1 Win (Kansas City)
Goals For 29 23
Goals Against 24 11
Power Play 11.9% (5/42) 14.3% (3/21)
Penalty Kill 89.7% (4/39) 85.7% (4/28)
Most PIM Moore (21) Stevenson (16)
Leading Scorers: Pierro-Zabotel (3-9-12)
Pochiro (6-5-11)
Platzer (5-6-11)
O’Brien (3-3-6)

 

–  Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 4th (22.25) – Wichita 13th (15.83)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 13th (3.63) – Wichita 10th (3.83)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 8th (3.00) – Wichita 1st (1.83)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 8th (35.13) – Wichita 23rd (28.67)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.38) – Wichita 17th (34.17)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 24th (11.9%) – Wichita 16th (14.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 6th (89.7%) – Wichita 12th (85.7%)

– What stands out in the stats above is nothing stands out. Given the difference in records, Allen and Wichita are statistically close. The one stat that does stand out and carries the utmost importance is goals allowed per game where Wichita is leading the ECHL allowing just 1.83 goals per game. The Thunder are not only leading in goals allowed per game they are leading by almost half a goal per game. Wichita is not great at scoring goals (10th), they don’t generate a lot of shots (23rd), they give up a lot of shots (17th), their special teams are only average with the power play ranked #16 and penalty kill ranked #12. What they do great is play defense and when you play great defense you win the close games. Wichita has not allowed more than three goals in any game this season.

– Getting off to a good start is always key but even more so in the game tonight. Wichita has scored first in four of their six games while Allen has scored first in only two of their eight games. Neither team has lost when scoring first. Even more telling is to compare scoring by period between these teams. Wichita is dominate in the first period, gets a lead and then plays a more defensive game. Allen typically gets off to a poor start and does better in the second and third period. Here are the numbers. The Thunder have outscored their opponents 11-2 in the first period, 8-5 in the second period and have actually been outscored 3-4 in the third period. Allen is just the opposite having been outscored by their opponents 9-10 in the first period but outscoring their opponents 10-5 in the second period and 10-7 in the third period. If Allen is going to beat Wichita it is imperative they win the first period. If Allen falls behind in the first period it may be a long night.

David Makowski will return to the lineup after serving a four game suspension. David gives the Americans more movement on the power play and has a cannon  for a shot. He will be key in helping to get the power play going.

Stephon Williams has returned from his call up to San Jose so the Americans will not have to use an EBUG (emergency back up goalie) tonight.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Andrew Bruggeman (#25) and linesmen Micheal Houle (#49) and Russ Coll (#40).

 

OTHER COMMENTS

– The Allen Americans have been testing a new way to capture game highlights using a video application from a company named Sporfie. The good news is fans can also use this application at no cost. The Allen Event Center and the Community rink are the third venue in the nation and the only location in Texas to have Sporfie installed. All you have to do is download the application, create an account and login. Events are created automatically for all Allen games. Anytime you attend a game all you have to do is open your Sporfie app and join the event. Sit back and enjoy the game! When something happens you want to save, you just click in the app to capture the 15 seconds that just happened. Your clips will be delivered instantly from all cameras filming the ice. You can share video clips instantly via email or text and on all of your social media platforms. The possibilities are endless.

The Allen Americans encourage everyone to test this product when they attend games. You can capture your favorite moments and share with family and friends following the play or after the game. The app also allows fans to view all other fan’s recorded moments.

To get started all you need to do is go to sporfie.com and download the app. It works on both apple and android devices. Here is the link:https://www.sporfie.com

– Fortunes can change quickly early in the hockey season. If Allen beats Wichita in regulation the next two nights they will be tied with the team that is currently undefeated with 12 points. If they lose both games in regulation they will be eight points behind the first place Thunder.

– All three remaining undefeated teams are in action tonight. Wichita (6-0) is at home to take on the Americans. South Carolina (4-0) is in Greenville to take on the Swamp Rabbits and Reading (4-0) travels to Worcester to play the Railers.

 

DID YOU KNOW: According to eliteprospects.com the oldest player in the ECHL is tough guy Trevor Gilles of the South Carolina Stingrays who will be 39 in January. The youngest player in the league is goalie Tyler Parsons of the Kansas City Mavericks who just turned 20 on September 18.

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