ALLEN, TX – Hockey is back and it is game day in Allen as the Americans take on the league leading Missouri Mavericks tonight at 7:05. Allen dominated Missouri last season with a record of 8-0-0-1 and the Mavericks will try to return the favor this season. The game tonight will be the third of 11 times the two teams will meet this year. They have split their first two meetings with Allen winning at home 2-1 on October 31 and Missouri winning at home 4-1 on November 17.

– Allen comes off the Christmas break having lost four of their last five games while Missouri has won three in a row and nine of their last 10 games. With four road games coming up for the Americans after the game tonight (Wichita, Wichita, Missouri, Quad City) a victory against the Mavericks is important.

– The Mavericks are a much improved team this year and have gotten off to a great start. They lead the ECHL with 45 points compared to 24 points at this point last year. Included in their great start was a 14 game winning streak which ties for fourth all time in the ECHL.

– Here is how Allen and Missouri match up based on early season results:

Allen Missouri
Team Record 16-11-1-0 (33 points) 22-3-0-1 (45 points)
Division Ranking 2nd Central 1st Central
Conference Ranking 4th Western 1st Western
Last Game 3-1 Loss (Tulsa) 4-2 Win (Quad City)
Goals For 84 89
Goals Against 83 46
Power Play 19.8% (23/116) 19.6% (20/102)
Penalty Kill 83.5% (19/115) 82.4% (15/85)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (19.29) – Missouri 28th (9.69)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 13th (3.00) – Missouri 2nd (3.42)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 18th (2.96) – Missouri 1st (1.77)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 25th (26.93) – Missouri 7th (31.04)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 17th (30.43) – Missouri 2nd (25.77)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 5th (19.8%) – Missouri 7th (19.6%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 11th (83.5%) – Missouri 17th (82.4%)

– The stats above show why the Americans will have their work cut out for them if they want to win tonight. Allen has trouble generating shots (ranked 25th) while Missouri doesn’t allow many shots (ranked 2nd). Missouri allows over one goal less per game than Allen and scores a half a goal more per game than Allen. Missouri’s one weak spot is penalty kill (ranked 17th) but that has not been much of a factor as they are the least penalized team in the league.

– In the 4-1 loss to Missouri the last time these teams played (November 17) Allen was out shot by the Mavericks 42-18. However, if you are looking for some good news all four of the Mavericks losses this season have come on the road.

– It will be interesting to see what type of game develops tonight.  Allen players have been involved in 33 fights this season led by Dyson Stevenson with eight.  The entire Missouri team has had just four fights. With a team as skilled as Missouri you can be assured the Americans will be finishing their checks from the first puck drop. Allen will have to be a team that is tough to play against if they are to be successful against the Mavericks. Pucks to the net with traffic in front will have to take precedence over the pretty play.

– Riley Gill will be in goal for Allen. Missouri has two goalies that have shared the workload evenly. Parker Milner is ranked #2 in the ECHL with a GAA of 1.67 and Josh Robinson is ranked #3 with a GAA of 1.70. Milner played in the game when the Americans beat the Mavericks in Allen (2-1) while Robinson was in goal in Missouri when the Mavericks won (4-1). The goalies have been alternating recently and if that continues to be the case it will be Parker Milner in goal.

– Both teams have had numerous roster changes since they last played on November 17th. Three Missouri players have been recalled/loaned to the AHL including Jesse Root who was leading the ECHL in scoring when he was loaned to Bridgeport in early December. Allen will be missing Joel Rumpel, Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Vincent Arseneau who are injured, Ayrton Nikkel who was released and Justin Baker who quit the team.

– Forgot to mention that coach Martinson has resigned defenseman Nolan Descoteaux  who is back in an Allen uniform after brief stints in Rapid City and Atlanta. Welcome back Nolan.

– If you want to leave the game early for some post-Christmas partying you can leave after the second period if either team has a lead. Allen and Missouri are a combined 31-0 when leading after the second period.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Chris Pontes (#2) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Aaron Schacht (#32).

DID YOU KNOW: The game tonight will be the fourth time in team history the Allen Americans have played a home game the day after Christmas. They are a perfect 3-0 on December 26th.

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