ALLEN, TX – To say the Allen Americans are in need of points as they head to Tulsa today to play the Oilers would be an understatement. Talk about teams heading in opposite directions, you have Allen in last place in the Mountain Division against Tulsa who is in first place in the Central Division. Another way to describe the divergence between Allen and Tulsa is there are only three teams in the league with a lower winning percentage than the Americans who are at .421 while there is only one team in the ECHL with a higher winning percentage than the Oilers who are at .725.
– The game tonight will be the third against Tulsa who the Americans will play a total of 14 times (7 home 7 away) before season’s end. In their first meeting on October 25, Allen out shot the Oilers 44-26 but lost the game 3-2. In their second meeting Allen came back from a 2-0 first period deficit, out shot Tulsa 42-35 and won the game in overtime on an Eric Roy goal. Both games were played in Tulsa.
– None of the injured players (Kerbashian, Brown, Roy) will make the road trip and the Americans will continue to use an emergency back up goalie (EBUG) so Riley Gill will carry all of the work load.
– Tulsa has claimed the top spot in the ECHL standings with 29 points largely because of an outstanding home record which stands at 10-2-1-0.
– After the game in Tulsa tonight the team will travel to Missouri where they will take on the Mavericks tomorrow (Wednesday). It will be the end of the toughest stretch of games all year. Since October 25, Allen has played 14 road games and just three home games. Almost half of their bus miles for the year (just over 10,000) will have taken place in the five week period between October 25 and November 30.
– Here is a match up between Allen and Tulsa:
|Team Record||8-11-0-0 (16 points)||14-5-1-0 (29 points)|
|Division Ranking||7th – Mountain||1st – Central|
|Conference Ranking||11th – Western||1st – Western|
|Last Game||5-2 Loss (Idaho)||2-1 Win (Wichita)|
|Power Play||7.8% (6/77)||9.3% (7/75)|
|Penalty Kill||81.2% (16/85)||74.3% (18/70)|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (6-19-25)||Pleskach (10-6-16)|
|PIM Leader||Mathers (98)||Clark (57)|
– Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 2nd (19.32) – Tulsa 11th (14.30)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 19th (3.11) – Tulsa 13th (3.30)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 21st (3.47) – Tulsa 7th (2.80)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 9th (33.42) – Tulsa 3rd (34.45)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 20th (34.21) – Tulsa 13th (31.25)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 26th (7.8%) – Tulsa 25th (9.3%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 21st (81.2%) – Tulsa 26th (74.3%)
– Given their records it is no surprise Tulsa is better than Allen in almost all statistical categories. They take more shots, allow fewer shots, score more goals, allow fewer goals, take fewer penalties and have a better power play than the Americans. The one exception is penalty kill where Allen is better.
– What was a surprise is that Tulsa has the most points in the ECHL while having the worst specials teams in the league. One barometer of overall special teams success involves combining penalty kill and power play percentages. If a team exceeds 105% that is considered excellent. Anything under 100% is disappointing. Last season Allen led the ECHL with 107.5%. However, this season they are at a woeful 89.0%. Tulsa is even worse this season ranking dead last at 83.6%.
– Special teams could play a big role in the game tonight if either team can score on the power play. In their first two meetings neither team scored a power play goal as Allen was 0-7 and Tulsa was 0-9.
– If you were wondering about the other never ending key to a hockey game which is scoring the first goal these teams are a combined 14-2-1-0 when scoring first. The problem for Allen is they have only scored the first goal in 6 of their 19 games but they have a record of 5-1 in those six games.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Stephen Reneau (#17) and linesmen Lucas Bisbee (#72) and Chase Wilkinson (#68).
– With 20 years of coaching under his belt coach Steve Martinson is very aware that to be successful it takes more than skill on a team. There is no question this team has enough skill to win every night. The question that remains is whether it is the right mix of players. It has never been easy to play in Allen as there has always been numerous problems because the team has been underfunded. What made the team unique was the players used that adversity as a rallying call to win for themselves and not for others. It takes players with the right attitude who are willing to put the team first. Look for Martinson to continue to make roster changes to find the right mix.
– You hear about how getting a fresh start can be good and that has certainly been the case for Chris Crane who was recently traded to the Orlando Solar Bears. Chris did not have a goal in his last nine games in Allen and had goals in only two of 14 games this season. Chris has played in two games since arriving in Orlando and had a goal in each to help the Solar Bears to two wins.
– Tulsa ranks #3 in the ECHL in average attendance at 5253. Allen ranks #12 with average attendance of 4212. Fort Wayne is #1 (7681) and Norfolk is last (2313). The league average is 4036. For the entire 2015-16 season the average was 4385.
– In 15 games Derek Mathers has 98 penalty minutes which is 30 more than anyone else. He has 12 major penalties (11 for fighting) which is six more than anyone else. If Mathers keeps up his current pace he would break the all-time single-season penalty minute record (Garrett Klotz -257) if he plays in just 40 games.
DID YOU KNOW: The very first Tulsa Oilers hockey team was way back in 1928 as part of the American Hockey Association. More recently, Tulsa was one of only two teams (Wichita the other) that played in all 22 seasons of the Central Hockey League (CHL) from 1992-2014. Tulsa’s one and only CHL championship came in the inaugural CHL season in 1993.