ALLEN, TX – It is game day for the Allen Americans as they take on the Wichita Thunder at the Allen Event Center (AEC) with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 pm. The Christmas spirit will be evident with the players wearing ugly Christmas sweaters (see below) that will be auctioned after the game.
– The game tonight will be number three of 14 between Allen and Wichita this season. They split their first two games last weekend in Wichita. If those first two games were indicative of what happens tonight these teams will generate a lot of shots on goal as they combined for 75 & 81 shots in the first two games. Both teams struggled on the power play combining for 0-25 in the two games.
– If familiarity breeds contempt you might see that start to surface. The game tonight will be the third in eight days between Allen and Wichita. It doesn’t get any better after tonight as the teams play again in Wichita on Sunday. Four of Allen’s next seven games are against the Thunder.
– Playing Wichita always brings up talk of rivalry and that certainly was the case in the CHL, especially the dramatic game seven championship game in 2013 when Allen came back from a two-goal deficit late in the third period and won the championship in overtime. It hasn’t been much of a rivalry since the teams joined the ECHL as the Americans have dominated the Thunder with a record of 23-2-4-3. Things have changed in Wichita this season with a new coach and a new team that is much more competitive so you can see some of the old-time spirit creeping back.
– The other factor that often gets talked about when playing Wichita is team ownership. Since both teams are owned (along with Tulsa) by the same ownership group, which happens to be based in Wichita, there has always been a sense of Allen being the ugly stepchild to the favorite child in Wichita. Even if it is not intended Allen fans feel like outcasts and the ugly duckling of the group who are not supported in the same way as the team in Wichita. It all makes for an interesting dynamic and beating Wichita always comes with a little extra satisfaction.
– Here is a matchup between Allen and Wichita:
|Team Record||13-13-1-0 (27 points)||11-8-0-1 (23 points)|
|Division Ranking||4th Mountain||5th – Central|
|Last Game||5-4 Loss (Colorado)||4-3 Win (Missouri)|
|Power Play||9.6% (11/114)||18.8% (12/64)|
|Penalty Kill||83.7% (20-123)||90.0% (8/80)|
|Most PIM’s||Mathers (119)||Melindy – 41|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (12-25-37)
– Here is how Allen and Wichita rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (18.19) – Wichita 5th (17.65)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 18th (3.04) – Wichita 14th (3.15)
Goals Allowed per Game: Allen 12th (3.07) – Wichita 8th (2.95)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 9th (32.89) – Wichita 13th (31.80)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 19th (32.52) – Wichita 27th (37.50)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 25th (9.6%) – Wichita 8th (18.8%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 15th (83.7%) – Wichita 2nd (90.0%)
– Special teams stats show the biggest contrast between these teams and if you look at the season long statistics Wichita has the clear advantage on both the power play and penalty kill. However, the Thunder were leading the ECHL in power play percentage two weeks ago and are now ranked eighth. They have just one power-play goal in their last six games. Allen, on the other hand, looked as if their anemic power play had gotten life when they went 5-17 at the beginning of the month but in the last three games, they are 0-15. The bottom line is throw the stats out the window but whoever wins on special teams tonight should win the game. You might see newcomer Zach Hall on the power play unit for Allen.
– Another stat worth noting is home versus road records as these teams seems to have it “bass ackwards.” They both have better road records than home records. What that means for tonight is Wichita arrives at the AEC with a 4-1-0-1 road record. Allen’s home record is 5-6-0-0. So much for home ice advantage.
– For the first time in several games coach Martinson will have enough healthy players so there will have to be a healthy scratch. Travis Brown will return so there will be a full compliment of six defensemen. That means one forward will have to sit.
– Wichita will have their leading scorer, Alexis Loiseau, back tonight. He missed both games against Allen last weekend because he was on loan to Binghamton (AHL). Vincent Arseneau has also returned to the Wichita lineup and has had an immediate impact. Arseneau has been back for three games and already has three goals and two assists to his credit along with being selected the #1 star in two of the games.
– Officials scheduled for the game are referee Tudor Floru (#26) and linesmen Brian Bull (#49) and Rick Rivera (#59). Floru is a local referee who has officiated Allen games for many years going back to the CHL days.
– Allen is once again in the precarious position of falling below the .500 mark if they lose tonight. The longest winning streak all season for the Americans has been three games and that has happened only one time.
– There are some streaks worth noting. Chad Costello has a point in seven straight games and a goal in the last four games. Spencer Asuchak has at least one point in six consecutive games. Joel Chouinard has just one minus game in the last eight. He leads the team in plus/minus with +14. David Makowski as been +1, +2, +1, +3 in the four games since his return. His +7 is second on the team after Chouinard.
– It is a busy schedule around the ECHL tonight as every team in the league will be in action with the exception of the Quad City Mallards.
– Going into the game tonight Allen has played the most games in the league (27) and Wichita the fewest (20).
DID YOU KNOW: If you go through all of the statistics, both team and individual, that the ECHL tracks there are close to 200 different categories. Here is everyone where Allen as a team or one of the players is first or tied for first. It is a short list compared to prior years and some of the numbers equate to worst not best.
Overall Points – Chad Costello (37)
Assists – Chad Costello (25)
Penalty Minutes – Derek Mathers (119)
Major Penalties – Derek Mathers (13)
Shots on Goal – Greger Hanson – (117)
Shutouts – Riley Gill (3)
Team Penalty Minutes – (491)
Team Shootout Attempts – 100% (two attempts for two goals)
Team Shootout Record Win Percentage – 100% (2-0)
Shorthanded Goals Allowed – (8)
Goals Allowed First Period – (29)
Shots Allowed First Period – (315)
Shots Taken Third Period – (307)
Current Goal Scoring Streak – Chad Costello (four games)
Current Point Scoring Streak – Chad Costello (seven games)
Most Saves Second Period – Riley Gill (27)
Fewest Team Shots Second Period – (2)