ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans players arrived back home yesterday after a tough three-game series in Idaho and now enter a part of the schedule where they play only four games between November 26 and December 16. This after playing three games within 48 hours on three consecutive weekends in the last month for a total of 10 games in 17 days. This is the nature of the ECHL schedule. The Americans have plenty of injuries, so it is a perfect time to have a lot of off days to get healthy again.

–  The only two home games for Allen fans to attend between November 13 and December 18 take place on Friday and Saturday as the Rapid City Rush come to town. Friday night is Ladies Night and there will be a post-game autograph session. Saturday is Teddy Bear Toss and Nickelodeon Night with the team wearing SpongeBob specialty jerseys.

– The season seems to be moving along quickly. The Americans have already completed 26.4% of their regular season games. With November now in the books here is the month by month record.

October – 3-2-2-0
November – 7-4-0-1

The December schedule looks favorable with eight home games and five road games. If you are looking ahead the last week of December will be “appointment hockey.” The Americans will play Wichita four times in five days. The four-game series opens in Allen on Wednesday (December 27), then moves to Wichita for games on Friday and Saturday before returning to Allen for a game on Sunday afternoon. Anytime you play the same team four times in five days there are always fireworks. Add in all of the subplots between these teams and it should be a great series to attend all four games. They have split the four games they have played so far this season.

– Wichita has gone 4-0-1-0 over their last five games to open up a seven-point lead on Allen with the Thunder having one game in hand. With their current streak, Wichita is now tied with Florida for #1 in the ECHL in points (30) and winning percentage (.833). The Thunder has only lost four games all season and just two of the losses came in regulation time. Both regulation losses came at home against Allen.

– Besides wins and losses a stat that is telling about how good a team is playing is goal differential. Here are the ECHL teams with a positive goal differential which is defined as goals scored minus goals allowed. The team’s rank by winning percentage is in parentheses.

+24 – Wichita (#1)
+21 – Toledo (#3)
+19 – Florida (#1)
+16 – Manchester (#13)
+12 – Wheeling (#6)
+11 – Colorado (#5)
+10 – Reading (#8)
+9 – Fort Wayne (#15)
+7 – Idaho (#9)
+7 – Greenville (#9)
+6 – Cincinnati (#7)
+5 – Allen (#12)
+5 – South Carolina (#4)

– Allen’s overall record after 19 games stands at 10-6-2-1 which is the seventh-best record in the ECHL in points (23) and the 12th best record by winning percentage (.605).  Last year at this time the Americans hit the low point of the season. After 19 games Allen’s record was 8-11-0-0, they were in last place in the division, 11th place (out of 14) in the conference and 20th place (out of 27) league-wide. The current team will have to play much better to match what the team from last season accomplished from this point forward. They went 41-6-4-2 and finished #1 in the division, #2 in the conference and #2 league-wide.

– The Iserlohn Roosters, the team Chad Costello and Jack Combs play for in Germany have been on quite a streak lately playing much better hockey since making a coaching change. The Roosters have won seven of their last eight games and moved from close to last place in the 14-team league to fifth place. Combs leads the team in scoring with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 25 games. Chad missed 11 games with an injury and has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 14 games.

– It was a great week for three former Allen players now in Wichita. Dyson Stevenson had five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in four games including a Gordie Howe hat trick in the Wichita win over Kalamazoo on Sunday. Dyson was the #1 star of the game. Defenseman Travis Brown had two goals on Saturday in a Thunder 4-2 win over Quad City. Travis was the #1 star of the game. Joel Rumpel was the starting goalie for Wichita on Friday and Sunday and came away with two wins. Joel’s save percentage on Friday was .944 and on Sunday was .974. Joel got the #1 star on Friday and the #2 star on Sunday. Now that is some good hockey by three former Allen Americans. Hope they all keep up the good work, except when they play the Americans.

– There is a new podcast from The Sin Bin that includes a discussion with Mike Pearce who was recently selected as the ECHL’s Manager of Officiating. It is a very informative and candid conversation about officiating in the ECHL, the impact the emphasis on slashing calls and faceoff violations is having along with several other topics. Worth a listen.

DID YOU KNOW: I frequently talk about the importance of scoring the first goal in a game because Allen is almost unbeatable when scoring first. Every season the Americans are ranked at or close to the top of the ECHL in winning percentage when scoring first. This season Allen is 8-0 when scoring first and the only team in the league that has not lost when scoring first. Since joining the ECHL four seasons ago, the Americans record when scoring first is 109-10-5-5.

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