ALLEN, TX – After a day off yesterday the Allen Americans will have their only practice of the week this morning before starting the most grueling task there is in ECHL hockey, playing four games in five days. Four games in five days is really brutal and it only happened once last season.

This season, the Americans play four games in five days three times but two of them take place in consecutive weeks, this week and next week. You add it all together and Allen will play eight games in 13 days with the three-day Christmas break separating the two periods of four games in five days.

A real oddity is playing four games in five days against the same opponent which will happen to close out the calendar year against Wichita. Should be an interesting series. Here is the list of four games in five days for the season. In the first four-in-five in November the Americans record was 2-2.

November 1, 3, 4, 5 – Utah (H), Wichita (A), Wichita (H), Tulsa (H)
December 19, 20, 22, 23 – Kansas City (H), Kansas City (H), Tulsa (H), Tulsa (H)
December 27, 29, 30, 31 – Wichita (H), Wichita (A), Wichita (A), Wichita (H)

The scheduling gods must have had a bad day when they were putting the December schedule together for the Allen Americans. An unprecedented full week off at the beginning of the month followed by back to back weeks of four games in five days. Then for good measure, the four games in five days to end the year is against the same opponent to ensure fireworks with some travel thrown in for good measure.

– The task at hand is two games against Kansas City tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday night (7:05 pm). The Mavericks are also in the midst of playing four games in five days. They played at home against the Colorado Eagles on Saturday (lost 2-1) and Sunday (lost 4-3 in a shootout).  I will have a complete game preview tomorrow, but the upcoming two games against the Mavericks follow two games the Americans played in Kansas City a week ago. The teams split those two games with Allen winning 3-2 on Sunday and the Mavericks winning 4-1 on Monday. Kansas City is in fourth place in the Central Division (27 points) but has struggled recently with a record of 3-6-0-1 over their last 10 games. Allen is in fourth place in the Mountain Division (31 points) and has a record of 7-3-0-0 over their last 10 games.

–  The San Jose Barracuda beat Bakersfield 3-2 yesterday to improve their record to 12-11-0-1 which puts them in a three way tie for fifth place in the Pacific Division of the AHL and out of a playoff spot.

It is curious that San Jose has brought in three free agents from other ECHL teams over the last month rather than bring up players from Allen. When a team is losing I am sure they are looking for players with a particular skill set to help get things going. Justin Parizek from Idaho is the latest free agent to sign a PTO (tryout contract) with the Barracuda. He is a rookie who had 23 points (12 goals 11 assists) in 25 games with Idaho which leads the team in scoring. A week ago, Emerson Clark from Jacksonville signed a PTO with San Jose. Clark had 22 points (8 goals 14 assists) in 19 games and also led Jacksonville and the entire ECHL in penalty minutes (113). Clark also leads his team in scoring. A month ago, Marco Roy from the Fort Wayne Komets signed a PTO with the Barracuda. Roy had 16 points (5 goals 11 assists) in 13 games with Fort Wayne. Olivier Archambault is the only free agent from Allen that has spent time in San Jose this season on a PTO. Archambault played 12 games for the Barracuda (2 goals 3 assists) before being released from his PTO a week ago. Allen players under contract with San Jose are Spencer Asuchak, Bryan Moore, Alex Schoenborn, Colby McAuley, David Makowski and Stephon Williams. Asuchak is the only one currently in San Jose with the Barracuda.

– With their shootout win over Kansas City last night, the Colorado Eagles have taken a five-point lead in the Mountain Division standings over Wichita and Idaho who are tied for second place. Allen is now 10 points back. The Americans will have a chance to make up ground on the teams ahead of them in the standings between now and the end of December. Allen will play eight games, Wichita will play seven games while Idaho and Colorado play just five games.

DID YOU KNOW: How important is getting a lead for the Allen Americans? Check out these stats for this season. Here is Allen’s record when leading and losing:

9-0-0-0 – when leading after the first period
11-0-0-1 – when leading after the second period
1-4-2-0 – when losing after the first period
1-5-1-0 – when losing after the second period

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