ALLEN, Texas – It is getaway day for the Allen Americans as they will head to Wichita after practice for a game on Friday night. The Americans then head back to Allen to play the Thunder in the home opener on Saturday. After beating Wichita 4-0 last Saturday the Americans can expect the Thunder to be highly motivated tomorrow night.
– I will have a complete game preview tomorrow, but one stat worth noting is Allen’s success in Wichita. This season they are 1-0, last season they were 3-2 and since joining the ECHL back in 2014 the Americans overall record against the Thunder in Wichita is 21-5-1-2.
– If you listen to Steve Martinson talk about coaching long enough there are a few themes that always repeat themselves. Here are a few of those themes.
Martinson doesn’t see himself as the team motivator, he expects professionals to be motivated without the coach giving motivational speeches. His view is if you are getting paid to play hockey you need to come to the rink ready to play, it is your job.
Martinson sees his job is to recruit the right group of players and create an environment for them to be successful. When you have the right chemistry the coach’s job is much easier. The leaders in the locker room take the initiative to deal with most issues. I think Martinson would be the first to say the loss of players to non-affiliates last season and some off-ice issues with players were obstacles to winning last season. It changed his approach to recruitment this season.
Something Martinson does at the beginning of every season is to have a team meeting to talk about his expectations. When players sign in Allen they know before they arrive there are very high expectations because of the winning culture. Whenever coach Martinson is asked about the type of players he recruits it is the same answer, “I want guys that work hard, be in shape, be team first guys that play within the system and finish their checks.”
That team meeting/discussion took place yesterday before practice. Martinson went over a laundry list of items but the overarching theme was to make sure the team and especially the new players buy into the concept that individual success comes through a commitment to team first principles.
– Mike Gunn and Thomas Frazee are still listed as day to day but have not participated in practice this week. Kevin Sundher has been practicing all week and is expected to be in the lineup in Wichita. If Gunn and Frazee don’t make the trip to Wichita there are still enough healthy players for the trip. There will even be one extra.
– I mentioned yesterday the Pink in the Rink specialty jerseys the team wears on Saturday will be auctioned off at a live auction right after the game. Here is that jersey:
– Former Allen captain Jamie Schaafsma was injured in Fort Wayne’s 5-2 loss in Cincinnati last Saturday. Jamie suffered an upper-body injury and was placed on the injured reserve list. He is expected to be back in the lineup in two weeks.
– The Mountain Division will start to take shape this weekend as there will be exclusively inter-divisional games. Allen is home and home with Wichita and then plays in Tulsa, Kansas City is in Rapid City for two games and Utah is in Idaho for two games. Utah and Kansas City haven’t lost while Rapid City hasn’t won but there is only a three-point difference between first place and last place. There are 14 points up for grabs this weekend so who will emerge on top and bottom by Sunday night?
– The ECHL is starting its 31st season and in that time only two teams, Alaska and South Carolina, have won three championships. Alaska accomplished their three wins in 11 years. South Carolina has been in the league for 24 years. Allen has the best championship winning percentage at 50% winning two championships in four years in the ECHL.
Did You Know?
I received my hard copy of the ECHL 2018-19 Official Guide and Record Book yesterday and it is full of great information. The page that caught my eye this morning was #363. The page is full of Allen Americans.
Most power play goals in one playoff year – Greger Hanson is #2 with eight
Most assists in the playoffs, career – Chad Costello is #3 with 61
Most assists in one playoff year – Chad Costello is #1 with 29
Most assists in a final series – Chad Costello is #1 with 10
Most points in playoffs, career – Chad Costello is #4 with 83