ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans have played the Missouri Mavericks five times between October 31st and March 8th and have not fared well with a 1-4 record. They will now play Missouri six times between March 9th and April 2nd.

There is no question the Mavericks are the class of the ECHL with an overall record of 45-7-3-2 and a road record of 19-4-3-1. If Allen is going to be a contender in the playoffs they will have to show they can beat Missouri and that opportunity starts tonight.

There is good news and bad news for Allen, in the five head-to-head games they have played against Missouri even though the record is 1-4. The bad news is the Americans have not been able to score against the Mavericks. In Allen’s only victory the final score was 2-1. In the four defeats the most goals Allen has scored is two.

In total, the Americans have been outscored 16-7 by the Mavericks. The good news is Allen has been able to play with Missouri and have out shot the Mavericks in four of the five games.

– Here is how Allen and Missouri match up:

ALLEN MISSOURI
Team Record: 33-20-3-2 (71 points) 45-7-3-2 (95 points)
Division Ranking: 2nd – Central 1st – Central
Conference Ranking: 4th – Western 1st – Western
Home Record: 16-6-2-1 26-3-0-1
Road Record: 17-14-1-1 19-4-3-1
Last Ten Games: 5-3-1-1 7-1-1-1
Goals For/Against: 177/165 195/122
Power Play: 21.2% (47/222) 16.9% (40/237)
Penalty Kill: 87.6% (28/225) 86.6% (27/202)
Leading Scorers: Costello (21-58-79) Root (26-33-59)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (16.45) – Missouri 26th (10.89)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 12th (3.05) – Missouri 1st (3.42)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 14th (2.84) – Missouri 1st (2.14)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 26th (27.72) – Missouri 23rd (28.58)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 13th (29.79) – Missouri 3rd (27.32)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 2nd (21.2%) – Missouri 12th (16.9%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 1st (87.6%) – Missouri 3rd (86.6%)

The stats above show why the Americans will have their work cut out for them tonight. Allen has trouble generating shots (ranked 26th) while Missouri doesn’t allow many shots (ranked 3rd). When you play a team like Missouri that scores the most goals in the league and allows the fewest goals in the league it is a tall task. Another way to look at this is goal differential. Allen has scored 177 goals and allowed 165 for a goal differential of +12. Missouri has scored 195 goals and allowed 122 for a goal differential of +73.

Special teams are always important but when you have two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum, when it comes to penalties, it could be the deciding factor in the game. Allen has 954 penalty minutes while Missouri has just 621. Allen has taken 50 major penalties (mostly for fighting) while Missouri has taken just 13. This disparity has not shown up in the five games these teams have played against each other. Allen has 66 penalty minutes while the Mavericks have 87 penalty minutes.

Allen has the #2 ranked power play in the ECHL but has struggled against Missouri. The Americans are just 2-22 (9.1%) on the power play while Missouri is 3-19 (15.8%).  If either team can get an advantage on special teams it might make the difference in the game.

Another key to the game is who scores first. In the previous five games the team that scored first won the game. Unfortunately for Allen, the Mavericks scored first in four of the five games.

Allen has scored just one goal in the third period in the five games against Missouri. Winning the third period will be essential tonight and in all six of the remaining games against the Mavericks.

Officials scheduled tonight are referee Chris Pontes (#2) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Erik Contino (#92).

ROSTER MOVES:

– Rick Pinkston has been recalled by the San Jose Barracuda. San Jose traded a defenseman to Lake Erie which created a need in San Jose.

– Joel Rumpel is still in San Jose with the Barracuda. San Jose is currently going with three goalies as Aaron Dell and Troy Groesnick are also on the roster. Allen should be assigned a goalie soon but in the meantime look for Nolan Bowker to be the back up goalie tonight.

– Greger Hanson has played in two games and sat out one since being loaned to the Utica Comets  and has yet to score. Utica has won three straight games. The Comets play three games this weekend and how Greger plays in those games, if he gets to play, will dictate if he returns to Allen or stays in Utica.

– The trade deadline is tomorrow (Thursday) at 3:00 pm EST and don’t be surprised to see Allen make a trade before the deadline. Coach Martinson is also trying to complete the deal with Brampton that brought Reggie Traccitto to Allen along with future considerations.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Chris for today’s question.

Q: How does equipment manager Nolan Bowker keep the jerseys clean with all the back to back games and bus travel?

A: Here is what Nolan had to say about the jerseys. What he doesn’t say is the equipment manager is usually the first one at the rink and the last to leave because of all of the responsibilities in getting ready for the game and then cleaning up after the game.

DID YOU KNOW: Allen is 1-4 against Missouri this season and will play the Mavericks six more times. Last season Allen played Missouri nine times and had a record of 8-0-1-0. The Americans won the first eight games before the Mavericks beat Allen 5-4 in overtime on March 27. In that loss Allen trailed 4-0 before coming back to tie the score 4-4.

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