ALLEN, TX – It is game day for the Allen Americans and the fans are ready since it has been nearly two weeks since the last home game. The team is ready as they have had five days without a game. Coach Steve Martinson always says with so many practice days between games he gets tired of yelling at the players and they get tired of listening to him yell at them. Add in the fact that the game tonight is against the Colorado Eagles and former Allen’s most popular player, Darryl “Booter” Bootland, who leads the ECHL in penalty minutes and you have a recipe for a fun night of hockey.
Allen will play Colorado seven times (4 home, 3 away) this year and tonight will be game number five. The teams have split the first four games. Here are the results of the previous meetings.
October 21 – Allen comes from behind in Colorado to win 3-1 in a game with four fighting majors including a Stevenson vs Bootland tilt.
November 14 – Colorado scores the first seven goals of the game and wins 8-1 in Allen, giving the Americans their worst defeat in team history. The Americans were humiliated in that game and what upset coach Martinson the most was the team didn’t even fight back. Just one fight in the game.
November 15 – After the embarrassing defeat the night before, things looked bleak when Colorado took a 2-0 lead. This was the game where the Americans put the puck in their own empty net early in the first period when they had an extra attacker because of a delayed Colorado penalty. Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Americans came roaring back with four unanswered goals and won the game 4-3. Eight fighting majors in this one including a Bootland vs Arseneau match.
December 16 – This was the now famous week from hell road trip where the team ran into snow, ice and wind, which caused all kinds of travel problems. Allen was never in the game and scored their only goal on the power play with less than a minute left to play. Final score was 4-1. Six fighting majors in this one.
– Here is a comparison between Allen and Colorado:
|Team Record||19-13-1-0 (39 points)||15-16-2-0 (32 points)|
|Division Ranking||2nd – Central||4th -West|
|Conference Ranking||4th – Western||10th – Western|
|Last Game||4-1 W (Quad City)||1-0 L (Idaho)|
|Power Play||20.1% (27/134)||19.8% (22/111)|
|Penalty Kill||84.3% (20/127)||87.1% (18/140)|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (12G, 33A = 45pts)||Daavettila (14G, 21A =35pts)|
– Here is how Allen and Colorado rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (17.88) – Colorado 1st (20.12)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 13th (2.94) – Colorado 26th (2.61)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 14th (2.91) – Colorado 7th (2.55)
Shots For Per Games: Allen 24th (27.88) – Colorado 21st (29.06)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 17th (30.24) – Colorado 2nd (25.82)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 15th (19.6%) – Colorado 4th (21.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 11th (84.8%) – Colorado 3rd (88.3%)
– Based on their prior games, look for plenty of penalties in this game. In the previous four games, Allen and Colorado have averaged 20 penalties and 60 penalty minutes per game. There have been 20 fighting majors in the four games. It is almost a guarantee newcomer Reid Halabi will have his first fight for Allen tonight.
– Special teams are always a key to victory but even more so in this game that pits the top two teams in the league in penalty minutes. Overall, Colorado is better on both the power play and penalty kill but if you breakdown special team stats into home and road it is a little different picture than the overall special team stats. Allen’s power play has struggled at home going just 8-60 (13.3%) while Colorado is 9-47 (19.1%) on the road. Allen’s home penalty kill is 8-55 (85.5%) while Colorado is 10-60 (83.3%) on the road.
– In the four games Allen and Colorado have played this season the Americans are 2-22 on the power play and the Eagles are 3-15. The team that wins the special teams battle will most likely win the game.
– Colorado will have Jesse Mychan back in the line up tonight after he spent a couple of games with the San Jose Barracuda (AHL). Mychan is second on the team in goals scored (13), second in points per game and third in penalty minutes per game. He has been the leading scorer for Colorado against Allen with seven points (4 goals 3 assists) in four games. Keep an eye on #29 tonight.
– Officials scheduled for the game tonight are referee Stephen Thomson (#27) and linesmen Brian Bull (#49) and Aaron Schacht (#32).
– Allen starts a five game home stand after spending the last four games on the road. The Americans won three of the four road games and need to continue that momentum at home to secure their position in the Western Conference.
At this point, it is a foregone conclusion the Missouri Mavericks will win the Central Division as they currently have a 16 point lead on Allen with two games in hand. The way the seeding works for the playoffs is that the three division champions are seeded one, two and three so the realistic goal for the Americans is to have the fourth seed in the playoffs, which goes to the team with the best record outside of the division champions. The Americans currently occupy that spot but will need to continue to win to maintain that position.
– The Americans have lost their last three home games and have only scored a total of four goals in the three losses.
– Riley Gill will start in goal for the Americans but Joel Rumpel will be the back up goalie. Great to have Joel back.
– The Americans are in the midst of playing six game against teams outside of their division. They won in Quad City, have two games against Colorado this weekend and then three against Cincinnati next weekend. Allen will have a chance to build on what is already a great record against teams outside the division which currently stands at 11-6-1-0.
DID YOU KNOW: There is a website that is dedicated to tracking fights in hockey (dropyourgloves.com) and they have all kinds of data on fights. According to this website Allen’s Dyson Stevenson has had nine fights this season and leads the ECHL in win percentage, winning 65% of his fights. He is also rated as the most entertaining fighter in the ECHL. Not bad for guy so valuable to his team the coach tells him not to fight.