ALLEN, TX – It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Idaho Steelheads, the ECHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, at the Allen Event Center (AEC) tonight with a 7:05 pm puck drop. The teams will play again tomorrow (Saturday) night.

– Both teams are looking to move up in the Mountain Division after a less than stellar start to the season. Allen’s record is 5-4-2-0, while Idaho’s is 4-2-3-1. With 12 points each, the only team with fewer points in the division is last place Rapid City who has six points. The good news for the Americans and Steelheads is they are only four points behind division-leading Wichita and two points behind second-place Colorado. If either team can sweep this two-game series, they will vault from near the bottom of the standings to near the top.

– Both teams enter the game tonight on a positive note. Allen snapped a five-game losing streak last weekend and won two of three games. Idaho has scored points in five straight games though they lost three of the five (2 OT & 1 SO).

Riley Gill was placed on the 21-day IR this week (effective October 22) so the Americans goalies for the weekend will be Stephon Williams and Jeremy Brodeur. Bryan Moore will be playing in his first game since returning from San Jose. And yesterday forward Colby McAuley was loaned to Allen by the San Jose Barracuda. Finally, Zach Pochiro was placed on reserve so I wouldn’t expect to see him in the lineup tonight.

– Allen’s record at home is 2-2-2-0 (the two wins came last weekend), and Idaho is still looking for their first road win of the season (0-1-1-1).

– I don’t normally pre-game previews issued by other teams, but this one by Brian McCormack of the Idaho Steelheads is well done. Brian is the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Steelheads. Check it out:

– Here is a comparison between Allen and Idaho:

Team Record 5-4-2-0 (12 points) 4-2-3-1 (12 points)
Conference Ranking 6th – Western 7th – Western
Last Game 2-1 Win (Tulsa) 7-3 Win (Colorado)
Goals For/Against 37/31 33/32
Power Play 13.0% (7/54) 19.2% (10/52)
Penalty Kill 89.6% (5/48) 82.1% (10/56)
Most PIMs Eberle – 27 Moroz – 49
Leading Scorer Pierro-Zabotel (4-10-14) Brassart (5-7-12)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 5th (20.73) – Idaho 4th (22.50)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 13th (3.36) – Idaho 15th (3.30)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 7th (2.82) – Idaho 13th (3.20)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 6th (35.27) – Idaho 1st (42.10)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 23rd (36.55) – Idaho 2nd (27.70)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 22nd (13.0%) – Idaho 7th (19.2%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 4th (89.6%) – Idaho 15th (82.1%)

– Maybe the most striking stat above is Idaho leads the ECHL in shots per game(42.10) and ranks second in shots allowed per game (27.70) for a differential of +14.4. Allen’s differential is -1.28. The Americans will have to work hard, use puck possession and play good defense to hold down the number of shots Idaho gets in the games this weekend.

– Allen and Idaho are two of the most penalized teams in the ECHL which should make for an exciting matchup this weekend. Idaho has been called for 70 minor penalties (second-most in the league) and 11 major penalties in 10 games. Allen has 64 minor penalties and ten major penalties in 11 games.

– The overall special team stats between Allen and Idaho show the Americans with an advantage on the penalty kill (89.6% vs. 82.1%) and the Steelheads with the advantage on the power play (19.2% vs. 13.9%. However, if you look at home/road special team stats the percentages change in favor of Allen. On the power play, Allen is 15.6% at home while Idaho is 13.3% on the road. On the penalty kill, Allen is 93.3% at home while Idaho is 75.0% on the road.

– Both teams have had trouble scoring first. Allen has scored first in only three of 11 games and is 3-0 when scoring first. Idaho has scored first in four of their ten games and has a record of 3-0-1.

– The referee scheduled for the game tonight is Matt Menniti (#10) and the linesmen will be Brian Bull (#95) and Eli Rivera (#59).

Other Comments:

– It sure seems like the Allen Americans have had more than their share of scheduling conflicts with other sporting events this season. If it isn’t the Cowboys playing at 3:25 pm every time the Americans play at home on Sunday afternoon it is the Stars playing at home the same night as the Americans. Even the seventh game of the world series was a conflict. With the Stars at home tonight and the Cowboys playing Sunday afternoon look for Saturday night to be a big crowd for the Americans. Maybe some Stars fans will come out to watch the Steelheads. Great entertainment at a great value including free parking.

– Speaking of attendance, the ECHL is averaging 4257 per game thus far which is about the same (4251) as last season but that is good news. Attendance typically increases quite a bit after the first of the year. There are three teams (Toledo, Fort Wayne, Jacksonville) averaging over 7000 per game led by Toledo at 8300. There are six teams (Quad City, Reading, Rapid City, Adirondack, Manchester, Norfolk) averaging less than 3000 per game with Norfolk at the bottom at 2077.

– San Jose Barracuda broadcaster Nick Nollenberger writes a weekly blog on the happenings with the team and it is always interesting. In his latest edition, Nick talks about Bryan Moore, Colby McAuley, and Oliver Archambault.

New Allen Americans forward Colby McAuley. Photo Courtesy: San Jose Barracuda

Colby McAuley

Left Wing — shoots L
Born May 28, 1996 — Sherwood Park, ALTA
[21 yrs. ago]
Height 6.00 — Weight 185 

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2013-14 Spruce Grove Saints AJHL 6 2 1 3 6
2014-15 Prince George Cougars WHL 57 5 6 11 75 -8 5 0 0 0 0
2015-16 Prince George Cougars WHL 66 13 17 30 156 9 4 0 0 0 0
2016-17 Prince George Cougars WHL 68 26 29 55 87 16 6 4 4 8 8
2016-17 San Jose Barracuda AHL 4 0 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0
2017-18 San Jose Barracuda* AHL 7 0 0 0 14 0

– Colby’s coach last season when he scored 26 goals and had 55 points for the Prince George Cougars was former Allen Americans assistant coach Richard Matvichuk.

DID YOU KNOW: With the ECHL emphasizing slashing penalties and face-off infractions this season is it leading to more minor penalties? It is still early in the season but thus far it may be having some impact. Last season there was an average of 9.28 minor penalties called per game. So far this season the average is 11.17 minor penalties per game.

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