ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans head to Tulsa where they will play the Oilers tonight. Tulsa is the only destination where the Americans travel on game day as it is just a four-hour bus trip from Allen. Two new players will be with the team as goalie Jeremy Brodeur signed on Wednesday and forward Connor Reilly signed yesterday. Coincidentally both players are twins.

– The Allen Americans have signed rookie forward Connor Reilly to a contract. Reilly arrives in Allen after finishing a five-year career (he redshirted his freshman year after an injury) at the University of Minnesota (2012-2017) where he served as an alternate captain for the Golden Gophers in his final two seasons. He posted 56 points (24 goals 32 assists) in 129 games for Minnesota.

– The 6’0″ 185 pound forward hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota and comes from a big hockey-playing family. His dad (Mike), twin brother (Ryan), younger brother (Mike) and younger sister Caitlin have all played hockey for the University of Minnesota. His older sister (Shannon) played hockey for Ohio State. Brother Mike is currently with the Minnesota Wild organization and has 51 NHL games to his credit along with 103 games with the Iowa Wild.

–  Highlights of Connor’s collegiate career include being part of five straight conference championships as well as one conference tournament title. He helped Minnesota to four NCAA tournament berths including a national championship appearance in 2014. Connor was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten player.

– Connor was captain of his high school team and as a senior had 63 points (22 goals 41 assists) in just 25 games. After high school (2010-11) he played one year of junior hockey in the USHL for the Sioux Falls Rampage where he had 39 points (14 goals 25 assists in 60 games. In 2011-12 he played junior A hockey for the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and his team had a historic season. The Vees set a North American record with 42 consecutive wins and finished the regular season with a record of 54-4-0-2. Penticton finished the season with an overall record of  74-10-2. The Vees won the BCHL championship and went on to win the Canadian Junior A national championship (RBC Cup). Connor finished the season with 86 points (35 goals 51 assists) in 54 games.

– I had a chance to speak with Martinson about the signing of Reilly and he said with seven games in the next ten days and just nine forwards available he needed to add some depth up front. Martinson had heard from a couple of ex-players, including J.P. LaFontaine about Connor. He has arrived in Allen and will travel to Tulsa with the team.

GAME PREVIEW

– The game tonight will be the first of 13 times (7 home, 6 away) the Americans will play Tulsa this season. They will play each other tonight and Saturday in Tulsa and then in Allen Sunday afternoon.

– Allen has fared well against Tulsa since joining the ECHL with a record of 28-14-1-3 which includes a record when playing in Tulsa of 13-7-1-3.

– Here is a matchup between Allen and Tulsa:

ALLEN TULSA
Team Record 3-0-1-0 (7 points) 1-3-0-1 (3 points)
Conference Rank 3rd – Western 10th – Western
Last Game 4-3 OT loss (Orlando) 3-1 Loss (Wichita)
Goals For/Against 22/12 15/18
Power Play 13.0% (3/23) 10.0% (3/30)
Penalty Kill 95.8% (1/24) 83.3% (4/24)
Leading Scorer Pierro-Zabotel  (3G, 7A = 10pts) Bleackley (3G, 3A = 6 pts)
PIMs Leader Moore (21) Sampair (10)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (32.00) – Tulsa 26th (11.80)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 1st (5.50) – Tulsa 18th (3.00)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 10th (3.00) – Tulsa 17th (3.60)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 12th (34.50) – Tulsa 5th (34.05)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 12th (33.33) – Tulsa 6th (37.00)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 15th (13.0%) – Tulsa 19th (10.0%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 3rd (95.8%) – Tulsa 16th (83.3%)

– Special teams should play a big role in the game tonight if either team can score on the power play. Both teams have struggled thus far but Allen was 2-7 (28.6%) in their last game while Tulsa was 0-8. One way to measure overall special teams play is by combining power play and penalty kill percentages with anything over 105% being excellent and anything under 100% considered poor. In this stat, Allen has a big advantage with a combined percentage of 108.8% compared to Tulsa’s 93.3%.

– It is a tough part of the schedule for both teams having to play three games against each other in less than 48 hours but that is just part of the tough schedule. Tulsa played Wichita Wednesday night, so they are in the midst of four games in five days. Allen will play seven games in the next 10 days. Welcome to life in the ECHL.

– Coach Martinson never announces who will start in goal but a good guess would be Stephon Williams gets the start tonight. With three games in three days, you can expect newly signed goalie Jeremy Brodeur will get his first start on Saturday or Sunday.

– Allen’s record when scoring the first goal almost makes them unbeatable. Last season they were 40-2-2-1 when scoring first. Tulsa was 18-13-2-0. So far this season the Americans are 2-0 when scoring first while the Oilers are 1-1. Bottom line is whoever scores the first goal tonight will more likely than not win the game.

– Allen will certainly be missing some key players this weekend with Riley Gill injured, David Makowski starting his four-game suspension, Bryan Moore and Olivier Archambault with San Jose and Mathieu Aubin and Miles Liberati on 21-day injured-reserve. The saying “next man up” definitely applies this weekend.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Alex Normandin (#26) and linesmen Micheal Houle (#49) and Addison Brush (#80).

OTHER COMMENTS:

– The San Jose Barracuda are on a Texas swing this weekend playing the San Antonio Rampage tonight and Texas Stars Saturday night. I know some Allen fans are making the trip south to support the Barracuda, Bryan Moore, and Olivier Archambault.

– Allen has a chance to make up some ground this weekend against the two 5-0 teams (Colorado & Wichita) ahead of them in the standings. Wichita plays only one game this weekend as they visit Kansas City Saturday. Colorado plays Rapid City at home tonight and in Rapid City on Saturday.

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