ALLEN, TX – While most ECHL teams are already on their Christmas break the Allen Americans are one of four teams that play today in the last games until December 26th. The lucky teams who have games today are Tulsa at Allen and Atlanta at Fort Wayne.

– Tulsa is a familiar foe for the Americans as these teams have already played six times this season and still have nine more games left to play. The fifteen games (6 home 9 away) Allen plays Tulsa is the most they play any team this season.

– The combined stats from the first six meetings between Allen and Tulsa shows two pretty evenly matched teams. Each team has won three times. Other than a 6-1 Tulsa win in Allen on November 21 all of the games have been close. Tulsa has the edge in goals (Tulsa 19, Allen 14) and shots (Tulsa 161, Allen 140). Penalty minutes are almost identical (Tulsa 109 minutes, Allen 104) and the power play has been close (Allen 4-24 & Tulsa 3-24). Tulsa is eight points behind Allen in the standings but has been playing better hockey recently having won four of their last six games. The Americans have lost three of their last four and really need a win tonight going into the Christmas break.

– Here is a comparison between Allen and Tulsa:

ALLEN                                TULSA

Team Record               16-10-1-0 (33 points)          11-10-2-1 (25 points)
Division Ranking         2nd – Central                        3rd – Central
Conference Ranking   4th – Western                       10th – Western
League Ranking           7th                                         19th
Last Game                     3-2 W (Idaho)                     3-2 W (Wichita)
Goals For                       83                                          65
Goals Against               80                                          60
Power Play                   20.7% (23/111)                    15.0% (12/80)
Penalty Kill                  83.5% (18/109)                   81.7% (17/93)
Leading Scorer           Costello  (11-27-38)            Pleskach (6-12-18)

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

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (19.37) – Tulsa 12th (14.88)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 11th (3.07) – Tulsa 21st (2.71)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 17th (2.96) – Tulsa 5th (2.50)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 24th (27.19) – Tulsa 26th (26.25)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 19th (30.59) – Tulsa 4th (25.58)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 4th (20.7%) – Tulsa 23rd (15.0%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 11th (83.5%) – Tulsa 17th (81.7%)

– Four different players (Makowski, Steffes, Costello, Pierro-Zabotel) are tied with two goals each against Tulsa but if you are looking for who might be the hero tonight, watch Gary Steffes and Chad Costello who always seem to play well against their former team. Costello will be trying to extend his six game scoring streak.

– This is another case where getting off to a good start is essential for the Americans. Allen is 14-1 when scoring the first goal of the game and a perfect 10-0 when leading after the first period.

– Looking at home and road special teams stats gives a little different picture than overall stats for both teams. The Oilers power play percentage overall is 15.0% but on the road it is 19.5%. The Tulsa penalty kill is 81.7% overall but on the road it is 79.5%. Allen’s power play overall is 20.7% but at home it is just 15.7%. Their penalty kill is 83.5% overall and 84.8% at home.

– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Tudor Floru (#18) and linesmen Mitch Macpherson (#48) and Alex Black (#63).

OTHER COMMENTS:

– It is a familiar sight at the top of the ECHL scoring list. Jack Combs had three points for Greenville last night and is now second in scoring with 30 points trailing only his buddy, Chad Costello, who has 38 points.

– San Jose Barracuda goalie Troy Groesnick made ESPN’s top ten list last night for a great save as the Barracuda beat Stockton 5-4. Check out this candidate for save of the year.

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans lead the ECHL in year over year increase in average attendance. The Americans are averaging 505 more fans per game than last season. However, the league wide average attendance is at a ten-year low. I will have a complete analysis, with statistics, on Wednesday.

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