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ALLEN, Texas – It is game day and the Allen Americans are in Wichita to take on their biggest rival. It would be a big game under normal circumstances but these aren’t normal circumstances since one of these teams might be playing golf next week, while the other is playing hockey. It will be the 12th and final time these teams will face each other this season and the series thus far has been close. Allen has a slight edge in the overall record (6-5-0-0) and games played in Wichita (3-2-0-0).

– Here are the combined numbers in the 11 previous meetings between Allen and Wichita. The numbers show just how evenly matched these teams have been this season.

Goals – Allen leads 35-32
Shots – Wichita leads 364-363
Power Play –  Allen leads 22.9% (8-38) to 17.1% (7-41)
Penalty Infractions – Allen leads 68-65
Penalty Minutes – Allen leads 215-197

Here are the updated stats between Allen and Wichita:

ALLEN WICHITA
Team Record 34-27-6-2 (76 points) 33-28-6-2 (74 points)
Division Ranking 3rd – Mountain 4th – Mountain
Last Game 5-4 Win (Colorado) 3-2 Loss (Tulsa)
Goals For/Against 227/222 215/222
Power Play 17.3% (51/295) 14.9% (35/235)
Penalty Kill 81.5% (56/302) 80.4% (52/265)
Leading Scorers Pierro-Zabotel (19-50-69) Cuddemi (30-30-60)
Most PIM Moore (214) Stevenson (163)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.22) – Wichita 14th (14.48)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 10th (3.29) – Wichita 13th (3.12)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 16th (3.22) – Wichita 16th (3.22)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 20th (30.91) – Wichita 18th (31.36)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.09) – Wichita 20th (33.59)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 13th (17.3%) – Wichita 22nd (14.9%)
Home Power Play %: Allen 11th (18.8%) – Wichita 20th (15.0%)
Road Power Play %: Allen 15th (15.9%) – Wichita 19th (14.8%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 20th (81.5%) – Wichita 22nd (80.4%)
Home Penalty Kill %: Allen 12th (84.3%) – Wichita 21st (80.9%)
Road Penalty Kill %: Allen 25th (78.5%) – Wichita 20th (79.9%)

– You have to believe special teams will play a big role in the game tonight. Allen has struggled with an inconsistent power play for a couple of months but their penalty kill has been much improved.

Wichita’s power play is ranked #22 in the league and their penalty kill is ranked #22. I decided to take a look at the last five games for both teams to see how the special teams have been performing recently and the stats are quite telling.

Allen has a power-play goal in four of the last five games going 4-16 (25%) and has given up a power goal in only one of the previous five games for a penalty kill percentage of 88.2% (2-18).

Wichita has a power-play goal in two of their last five games going 2-18 (11.1%) and has given up a power-play goal in four of the last five games for a penalty kill percentage of 68.0% (8-25).

Advantage Allen.

Tristan King and Zach Hall did not make the trip to Wichita but as promised after the Colorado game on Saturday, Steve Martinson has added a player to the roster. An announcement from the team will be out sometime today. Look for Jake Paterson to get the start in goal for the Americans. Jake was in goal last Wednesday when Allen beat Wichita 4-1 and he stopped 32 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .970. Since joining the Americans a month ago, Paterson’s record is 8-2-1-0 with a GAA of 2.82 and a save percentage of .917.

– Here are a few other stats to consider going into the game tonight. Scoring first is usually a huge advantage but in five of the 11 games, Allen and Wichita have played this season, the team that scored first lost the game. None of the 11 games these teams have played has gone to overtime. Allen has won their last two games while Wichita has lost their last six.

– Wichita has a home record of 20-12-2-1. Allen’s road record is 16-17-1-1. In their last ten games, Allen’s record is 5-3-2-0 and Wichita’s is 3-5-2-0.

– Allen has an edge in shooting percentage 10.5% to 9.9%.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Sean MacFarlane (#4) and linesmen Addison Brush (#80) and Chuck Schamel (#97).

OTHER COMMENTS

– Allen and Wichita got some help last night as Kansas City beat Tulsa 6-3. The standings now have Allen in third place (76 points), Wichita in fourth place (74 points) and Tulsa in fifth place (73 points). They all have three games remaining. Here is the schedule.

Allen
Tuesday, Wichita (away)
Friday, Idaho (home)
Saturday, Idaho (home)

Wichita
Tuesday, Allen (home)
Friday, Colorado (away)
Saturday, Colorado (away)

Tulsa
Wednesday, Idaho (home)
Friday, Rapid City (home)
Saturday, Rapid City (home)

– It is looking more likely each day that tiebreakers will be needed to determine who makes the playoffs between Allen, Wichita and Tulsa. Here is how the tiebreakers look with three games remaining.

1st tiebreaker (wins minus shootout wins)
32 – Wichita
31 – Allen
31 – Tulsa

2nd tiebreaker (goal differential)
+5 Allen
-7 Wichita
-12 Tulsa

– The Central Division is just as tight as the Mountain Division with Kalamazoo, Indy and Kansas City battling for the final playoff spot. One point separates the three teams. Kansas City had a big win at home against Tulsa last night. They will need a similar effort tonight when they host Indy.

DID YOU KNOW: Peter MacArthur had a season-ending injury on December 22 and is at home in San Antonio rehabbing from his shoulder surgery.

Did you know Peter works for a company called Coast 2 Coast Player Development which is a full-service company that helps aspiring hockey players with services including mentoring, advice, placement services, nutrition recommendations and hockey specific workout programs?

I came across the information below on the Coast 2 Coast twitter page and it struck me as inspiring for any hockey player but also for life in general. If you want more information about their hockey development programs you can get on their website: http://www.coast2coastpd.com/

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