ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans schedule for the 2016-17 season has been out for some time (April 28th) and congratulations to the ECHL for having the schedule out so early.
Now that the focus has turned from the Kelly Cup championship to next season, I thought it would be a good time to do the annual “deep dive” on the Americans schedule. It is probably more information than you would ever want to know about the schedule but it will give you many different views of what coach Steve Martinson and the team will be dealing with.
Two trips to the mountains in the west and a first time trip to Florida in the east will make for a challenging year for the oldest tenured Allen American, Big Red. A quick calculation shows if the Americans do not fly to any away games, Big Red will travel another 25,000 miles next season. The exact mileage to all of the arenas totals to 22,871 miles and if you add in miscellaneous miles while on the road, traveling to and from the rink, to meals, to hotels, etc., Big Red will be pushing 25,000 miles. Will this be the year Big Red passes on? There are more than a few fans and players hoping for Big Red’s demise!
– One of the goals of the ECHL when preparing the schedule is to balance cost along with having a schedule that avoids teams playing each other too many times. The good news is Allen will be playing 14 different teams next season compared to just 11 last season. The bad news is four of the 14 teams (Fort Wayne, Kalamazoo, Orlando, Florida) Allen will only play on the road. There are two teams (Atlanta & Alaska) Allen will only play at home.
– Allen will play 14 different ECHL teams next season. Below is a complete list of the 72 games by team:
14 games – Tulsa (7 home 7 away)
14 games – Wichita (7 home 7 away)
13 games – Missouri (7 home 6 away)
6 games – Rapid City (3 home 3 away)
6 games – Indy (4 home 2 away)
4 games – Utah (1 home 3 away)
4 games – Idaho (2 home 2 away)
2 games – Alaska (2 home 0 away)
2 games – Atlanta (2 home 0 away)
2 games – Colorado (1 home 1 away)
2 games – Orlando (0 home 2 away)
1 game – Florida (0 home 1 away)
1 game – Fort Wayne (0 home 1 away)
1 game – Kalamazoo (0 home 1 away)
– Here is a breakdown of the schedule by day of the week:
Sunday – 10 (5 home, 5 away)
Monday – 1 (1 home, 0 away) – This is the MLK Kid’s Day (January 16) with a 1:05 pm start
Tuesday – 4 (0 home, 4 away)
Wednesday – 14 (6 home, 8 away)
Thursday – 3 (3 home 0 away)
Friday – 21 (10 home, 11 away)
Saturday – 19 (11 home, 8 away)
The big changes from last season are: five Sunday home games compared to 10 last season, an increase in Friday home games from seven to 10, three Thursday home games compared to none last season and a big increase in Wednesday games (6 home 8 away).
The following lists the games by month. Allen was successful in getting more road games early in the season to avoid conflicts with football. Between October 22nd and December 1st, Allen plays 14 road games and just three home games.
October – 8 games (4 home 4 away)
November – 13 games (3 home 10 away)
December – 14 games (8 home 6 away)
January – 11 games (7 home 4 away)
February – 11 games (6 home 5 away)
March – 12 games (6 home 6 away)
April- 3 games (2 home 1 away)
– One of the many things the team looks at when the schedule comes out is how many times they have to play three games back to back to back. Three games in three days is stressful especially if there is travel involved. Players are more prone to injuries in these situations. This past season the Americans played three games in three days seven times.
In 2016-2017 that will happen only four times. Here are back to back to back games for the Allen Americans:
October 28, 29, 30 – Fort Wayne (A), Indy (A), Kalamazoo (A)
January 20, 21, 22 – Wichita (H), Wichita (H), Wichita (A)
February 2, 3, 4 – Tulsa (H), Tulsa (H), Tulsa (A)
February 17, 18, 19, – Indy (H), Rapid City (H), Rapid City (H)
– Four games in five days is really brutal but that only happens once next season and no travel is involved.
February 15, 17, 18, 19, – Indy (H), Indy (H), Rapid City (H), Rapid City (H)
– Seven of the 14 teams on Allen’s schedule next year didn’t make the playoffs this year. Of Allen’s 72 regular season games 46 (64%) will be against the seven teams that did not make the playoffs.
– Allen will play only three teams with a winning percentage above .600 during the just completed regular season. Missouri led the ECHL in winning percentage (.757) and the Americans will play them 13 times. The other two are Florida (.660) and Fort Wayne (.618). Allen plays these two teams just one time each. Below is a complete list in winning percentage order with the number of games Allen will play each team this season in parentheses:
.757 – Missouri (13)
.660 – Florida (1)
.618 – Fort Wayne (1)
.597 – Colorado (2)
.597 – Idaho (4)
.583 – Utah (4)
.569 – Kalamazoo (1)
.556 – Tulsa (14)
.521 – Atlanta (2)
.521 – Orlando (2)
.472 – Indy (6)
.465 – Rapid City (6)
.424 – Alaska (2)
.340 – Wichita (14)
– After opening the season at home with two games each against Missouri (October 15 & 16) and Atlanta (October 19 & 21), the Americans will spend much of the early part of the season on the road. During the last week of October and the month of November, Allen will play 14 of 17 games on the road. They go to Tulsa, Fort Wayne, Indy, Kalamazoo and then come home for two games against Alaska. They then go to Colorado, Utah and Missouri before returning home for one game against Rapid City. Then it is back on the road to Tulsa, Utah, Idaho, back to Tulsa and then Missouri. Almost half of their bus miles for the year (just over 10,000) will take place in this five week period between October 25 and November 30.
– The easiest part of the schedule for Allen will be a one month period between December 22nd and January 21st. During this month the Americans will play 10 of 12 games at home and the two road games are both in Wichita (December 28 & 30).
– From March 17th to the end of the season on April 7th, Allen will have 10 of 12 games at home. The Americans finish the season with six straight home games against Missouri (2), Tulsa (3) and Wichita (1) followed by the last game of the season on the road in Tulsa on April 7th. If the Central Division standings are close at the end of the season, Allen will have a big advantage with all of the home games to finish the season.
– If you have ever wanted to go on a road trip to cheer on the Americans, mark your calendars for January 25, 27 & 28. The Americans will make their first ever trip to Florida that week. They will be in Estero, Florida (near Fort Myers) to play the Florida Everblades on January 25 and in Orlando to play the Solar Bears on January 27 & 28.
– Another alternative for a road trip is November 20. This game is on a Sunday afternoon in Tulsa. You can combine the shortest distance to drive (230 miles) and a 4:05 p.m. puck drop so you can watch the game and still drive back to Allen at a reasonable hour.
– Allen plays at home on December 22nd and 23rd and travels to Wichita on the 28th. The Christmas break is normally from the 23rd-25th so the team will probably get an extra day after Christmas. After missing out on the New Years Eve game last season Allen will be at home this season playing Utah on December 31st. The team does not play on Halloween but will be traveling back from Kalamazoo where they play on October 30th. As is the case almost every season (seven times in eight years), the team will be on the road for Thanksgiving which is November 24th. The Americans play Utah on the 23rd and Idaho on the 25th.
– Allen will play Wichita 14 times this season but just like last season the games will be concentrated. In their first 25 games from October 15 to December 8 the Americans do not play the Thunder. They play for the first time on December 9 and then play 10 times in the next 19 games in a six week period.
– The Americans play three games against Rapid City on the road but take just one trip to Rapid City. The games are February 8, 10, & 11.
– Allen makes two trips out west this season and both trips take place in a two week period. They have a trip to Colorado and Utah with games on November 9 (Colorado), November 11 (Utah) and November 12 (Utah). They then return to Utah and Idaho for games on November 23 (Utah), November 25 (Idaho) and November 26 (Idaho).
– The longest home stand of the season for the Americans is eight games from December 31 to January 21.
– The longest stretch of road games for Allen takes place between November 9 and November 30. There are 10 road games during this period with a lone home game against Rapid City on November 19.
– One game that would be cringe worthy for most Allen hockey players and will definitely get them out of their game day routine takes place in Missouri on Tuesday, November 15. It will be a 10:30 am CST puck drop.
– For more on the Americans’ schedule, visit: http://echl.com/stats/schedule.php?view=season&division_id=&team_id=66&season_id=40&home_away=
DID YOU KNOW: Allen plays Missouri at home on October 15 to kick of the 2016-17 season. Opening night has not been kind to the Allen Americans since joining the ECHL. Their first year in the ECHL (2013-14) they opened at home against Tulsa and got beat 9-6 despite a hat trick from Greger Hanson. Last season they opened at home against Quad City and lost 2-1. It was definitely an auspicious opening game as Allen’s only goal was scored by Garrett Clarke and assisted by Justin Courtnall and Joel Rumpel.