ALLEN, TX – It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Missouri Mavericks in game four of their best of seven series at 7:05 pm. The Americans lead the series 2-1 and have a chance to take a commanding lead with a win tonight.

If Allen loses tonight it would mean the series will finish in Missouri, no matter what the outcome of game five on Sunday.

Here is how Allen and Missouri rank among the eight teams remaining in the playoffs.

Goals Against Average: Allen 6th (2.49) – Missouri 3rd (2.29)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 8th (2.50) – Missouri 4th (3.14)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 5th (2.50) – Missouri 3rd (2.29)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 4th (30.70) – Missouri 7th (28.29)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 3rd (28.00) – Missouri 5th (29.75)
Shooting Percentage: Allen 8th (8.1%) – Missouri 2nd (11.1%)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 1st (25.6%) – Missouri 3rd (20.0%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 7th (82.2%) – Missouri 4th (85.7%)
Plus/Minus: Allen 8th (-18) – Missouri 4th (+13)

The totals for the three playoff games thus far have Allen leading in goals (9-6) and shots (86-80). Both teams have scored three power play goals with Allen going 3-18 (16.7%) and Missouri going 3-16 (18.8%). The difference in power play goals is the Americans have one in each game while the Mavericks scored three in one game and had none in the other two games.

If you look at home versus road special teams play in all playoff games there is a striking difference on the power play. At home Allen is 6-21 (28.6%) while on the road Missouri is 2-15 (13.3%). It is a different story on the penalty kill as both teams have been outstanding. At home Allen at 92.9% on the penalty kill but Missouri is even better as their road penalty kill is at 93.8%.

Allen has taken 21 penalties for 42 minutes in the first three games while Missouri has taken 23 penalties for 46 minutes. Missouri was one of the least penalized teams in the regular season and Allen was one of the most penalized teams. Allen had 61 major penalties (mostly for fighting) while Missouri had just 23.

An early goal has proved to be very telling in the first three games of this series. The team that scored the early goal has won each game. A good start is imperative for both teams tonight.

You might see a roster change for the game tonight especially if the physicality of the game is expected to be ramped up.

The referees scheduled tonight are Stephen Reneau (#17) and Peter Tarnaris (#23). The linesmen will be Brian Bull (#49) and Alex Black (#63).

PLAYOFF UPDATE:

It was a heart breaker for the Reading Royals last night. They were playing at home with a chance to take a 3-1 series lead against Wheeling. Read The Sin Bin’s recap of the marathon game, here: https://thesinbin.net/wydos-breakaway-ends-triple-ot-marathon/

South Carolina fell behind 2-1 in their series with Adirondack and played in Adirondack last night. With their backs against the wall the Stingrays showed why they are considered the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. Team Sin Bin’s Andrew Gallant has a recap of the game, here: https://thesinbin.net/stingrays-blowout-thunder-to-level-series/

There are two playoff games tonight. In addition to Allen vs Missouri, the Fort Wayne Komets have a chance to become the first team to qualify for the conference finals. The Komets play at Utah, leading the series 3-0.

Both road teams won last night so the home vs road playoff record is now 30-31. Playing at home has certainly not been an advantage thus far in the playoffs.

OTHER COMMENTS:

The Pensacola Ice Flyers won the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) championship last night with a 5-4 victory over the Peoria Rivermen. It was the third SPHL championship for Pensacola in the last four years. It was quite a finish as the Ice Flyers scored the game winning goal as time expired and Mike Campos has a recap, which you can read here: https://thesinbin.net/pensacola-ice-flyers-win-presidents-cup-on-dramatic-last-second-goal/

Have heard a lot of feedback about the penalties Missouri defenseman C.J. Ludwig took at the end of the game on Wednesday. As much as Allen fans love Tyler and Trevor Ludwig for all they have accomplished in hockey, the feeling is not the same for their younger brother.  C.J. has been suspended numerous times this season by the ECHL and AHL.

On Wednesday he was penalized at 18:56 of the third period for two infractions, tripping and slashing. If you look at the video it looks like Ludwig slows down so he won’t get hit by Dyson Stevenson and then deliberately uses his stick to take out Stevenson’s legs. Dyson falls awkwardly into the boards. Ludwig then puts his stick between Stevenson’s legs and deliberately tries to injure him (see picture). In the boxscore it was just two minor penalties at the end of a blowout victory by Allen.

To Americans fans it was two more attempts to deliberately injure. When added to the clipping penalties earlier in the season, one of which broke Aaron Gens‘ ankle, there are certainly some hard feelings lingering.

Photo Courtesy: Lauren Lyssy
C.J. Ludwig with stick between the legs of Dyson Stevenson Photo Courtesy: Lauren Lyssy

DID YOU KNOW: This is the 12th playoff series since Steve Martinson became coach of the Allen Americans but the game tonight is just the second game four at home. The only other game four at home was in the 2014 championship final against Denver. Allen won that game 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Jonathan Lessard. In playoff game fours on the road Allen’s record is 6-4.

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