ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans take on the Colorado Eagles tonight in an effort to get back on the winning track after losing five of their last six games. It will be the Americans only game in Colorado this season. The Eagles will visit Allen for one game on December 14.
Colorado and Allen are always near the top of the ECHL in penalty minutes and the Eagles are always tough at home. Last season Allen played three times in Colorado, winning once (3-1) and losing twice (4-1 & 3-1). Total penalty minutes in the three games were 40, 66 and 68 so you can anticipate plenty of penalties tonight which may not be a good sign for Allen given their special teams woes recently. The Americans have yet to score a power-play goal on the road (0-15) and their road penalty kill is just 64.3% (5-14).
There will be several roster changes for the game tonight. Riley Gill is expected to start in goal and that should provide a lift to the team. Gill was outstanding in the three games he played prior to getting injured. His save percentage is currently at .946. Coach Steve Martinson indicated at his press conference after the loss to Alaska on Sunday that J.P. LaFontaine and Dyson Stevenson would also play in Colorado. The final roster change will be the addition of defenseman Harrison Ruopp, who has been released from his tryout contract by the San Jose Barracuda. Ruopp may be just what the Americans need being a right shot, physical, in your face type of stay at home defenseman.
– Allen tough guy Derek Mathers will also be in the lineup in Colorado. Mathers was given a game misconduct on Sunday for a secondary altercation and there was the possibility of a suspension. Mathers was not suspended and will play tonight. Derek had three fights in the two games against Alaska this weekend and his presence will be important against the Eagles.
– Here is a comparison between Allen and Colorado:
|Team Record||4-6-0-0 (8 points)||4-3-1-2 (11 points)|
|Division Ranking||5th – Mountain||2nd – Mountain|
|Last Game||5-1 L (Alaska)||4-3 L (Idaho)|
|Power Play||4.5% (2-44)||23.3% (7-30)|
|Penalty Kill||80.4% (10-51)||81.4% (8-43)|
|Most PIM’s||Mathers (61)||Zahn (36)|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (2-10-12)||Mychan (7-7-14)|
– Here is how Allen and Colorado rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (21.90) – Colorado 3rd (20.40)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 18th (3.10) – Colorado 14th (3.30)
Goals Allowed per Game: Allen 24th (3.50) – Colorado 19th (3.30)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 25th (4.5%) – Colorado 2nd (23.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 23rd (80.4%) – Colorado 19th (81.4%)
– Just looking at the special teams stats you would give Colorado a huge advantage in this game but you really need to throw out the stats. There is no way Allen is going to continue to have the special teams stats they have accumulated in the first ten games of the season. With the roster changes for the game tonight it may be just what is needed to get the team going.
– Colorado has a better overall record than Allen but the Eagles have struggled at home losing four of seven games.
– It will be a family reunion of sorts in Colorado tonight as there are four former Allen Americans on the Eagles roster. Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Darryl Bootland, Matt Register, and Jessey Astles.
– Officials scheduled for the game tonight are referee Chris Pontes (#2) and linesmen Robert Keltie (#83) and Seth Mukai (#47).
DID YOU KNOW: Chad Costello was the ECHL MVP in 2012 when he played for the Colorado Eagles. Chad had 76 points (29 goals 47 assists) in just 47 games to win the award. His 1.62 average points per game led the league. In 2015, the Americans first in the ECHL, Chad scored 125 points (41 goals 84 assists) and won the ECHL scoring title by a record 45 points. His points per game average was 1.74, yet he didn’t win the ECHL MVP award, go figure.