ALLEN, TX – It is game day for the Allen Americans as they will play the Missouri Mavericks tonight (7:05 pm) at the Allen Event Center (AEC). The teams will play again Thursday night. Allen is trying to catch Colorado for the top spot in the division and Missouri is trying to catch Alaska for the final playoff spot in the division so you can expect playoff type hockey tonight.

– Allen has had its way against Missouri with an 8-1-2-0 record in the 11 previous games they have played this season. However, the Mavericks beat the Americans 3-2 in overtime when they met in Missouri one week ago.

– The Americans will field a stronger lineup tonight with the return of their #1 and #4 goal scorers. Greger Hanson (33 goals) is back after missing the last three games because of his stint in the AHL and Bryan Moore (21 goals) is back after missing the last four games with an injury.

– Allen will be without Spencer Asuchak who is still in Providence (AHL) but could be headed back to Allen soon, Tanner Eberle who was is on the 21-day injured reserve and David Makowski who is serving the third game of his six-game suspension.

Josh Brittain received a one-game suspension as a result of a five-minute major penalty for spearing in the game against Tulsa on Saturday. Josh will play in both games against Missouri and then serve his suspension against Tulsa on Saturday. You see the ECHL doing this more frequently, delaying suspensions so the player is suspended against the team in which they incurred the suspension.

– If you combine the stats for the 11 games these teams have played this season, Allen leads in goals (38-25) but Missouri has the edge in shots (386-314). Allen has a big advantage on the power play as they have at least one power-play goal in eight of the 11 games. The Americans are 9-46 (19.6%) on the power play while Missouri is 6-69 (8.7%).

– Here is how Allen and Missouri match up:

Team Record 43-17-4-2 (92 points) 31-26-3-5 (70 points)
Division Ranking 2nd Mountain 5th Mountain
Last Game 4-3 Win (Tulsa) 3-2 Win (Wichita)
Goals For/Against 263/190 209/212
Power Play 23.6% (65/275) 15.1% (45/298)
Penalty Kill 85.2% (47/317) 84.0% (38/237)
Most PIM’s Mathers (245) Fox (116)
Leading Scorer Costello (31-79-110)
Hanson (33-38-71)
Fox (29-37-66)
Nowick (21-24-45)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (20.59) – Missouri 14th (13.54)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 2nd (3.98) – Missouri 16th (3.22)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 3rd (2.88) – Missouri 14th (3.26)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 20th (31.58) – Missouri 17th (31.98)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 24th (34.83) – Missouri 21st (34.26)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 4th (23.6%) – Missouri 21st (15.1%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 2nd (85.2%) – Missouri 8th (84.0 %)

– A fast start is always a good predictor of success for the Americans. They have the second best record in the league when scoring first (33-2-2-1). Another key to success is special teams and Allen has the advantage ranking #4 on the power play (23.6%) compared to Missouri at #21 (15.1%). Both teams are good on the penalty kill with Allen ranked #2 and Missouri #8 in the league.

– The Allen power play has been the best in the league since December scoring at close to a 30% clip. While the power play has gotten a lot of attention it has been the penalty kill that has shined recently, climbing to #2 in the league at 85.2%. In the last 13 games, the penalty kill unit has given up five goals in 64 chances. The 5-64 translates to a penalty kill percentage of 92.5%.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Alex Garon (#8) and linesmen Aaron Schacht (#31) and Lucas Bisbee (#72).


– Allen fans will be scoreboard watching tonight as Colorado starts a three-game series in Idaho. The Eagles will be playing without their top goalie, Clarke Saunders, who was just loaned to the San Jose Barracuda. I know some Colorado fans question if this was done by the Allen affiliate to help the Americans and at first glance, I would think the same thing. But if you take a critical look you can draw a different conclusion. San Jose is in first place in their division and looking to make a deep run in the AHL playoffs. Their top goalie (Troy Groesnick) is #2 in the AHL in GAA (2.08) and save percentage (.927) but their back up goalie (Mantas Armalis) is ranked around #40 with a GAA of 3.08 and save percentage of .885. He has really struggled recently losing his last four starts. Clarke Saunders has the best record in the ECHL this season (28-7-1) and I think the Barracuda see him as a possible backup for their run at the Calder Cup. This isn’t a fill-in assignment if you ask me, I don’t think he is being loaned because of an injury, this is a tryout as a playoff backup goalie. A great opportunity for Saunders.

– Here are a couple of odd stats I found interesting. Allen is 28-6-3-2 when being outshot by their opponents. Also, the Americans have a better record when tied after the first period than when they lead after the first period. When leading after the first period Allen is 26-2-2-1 but when tied after the first period their record is a perfect 13-0-0-0.

– The top three teams in the ECHL in points and winning percentage come from the Western Conference. #1 is Toledo, #2 Colorado and #3 Allen. The #4 team is Florida.

DID YOU KNOW: Here are the answers to the trivia questions from yesterday. Congrats to Madison Shields who won the tickets.

Q: Tyler Ludwig is the all-time Allen leader in goals scored by a defenseman, who is number two?
A: Tyler is the all-time leader with 51 goals, David Makowski is #2 with 32 goals.

Q: Tyler Ludwig is the all-time Allen leader in assists by a defenseman, who is number two?
A: Tyler is the all-time leader with 121 assists, Aaron Gens is second with 73 assists.

Q: Who were the first three defensemen in team history to score goals for the Allen Americans in 2009-10?
A: After a 1-0 win in Arizona in the first game in team history when forward Christian Gaudet had the only goal the Americans beat Arizona 6-4 the next night. Defensemen Chris Kaufman, Erik Adams and Jordie Benn each had a goal in that game. Jordie Benn had two assists in addition to his goal and was selected as the #1 star of the game.

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