ALLEN, Texas – I thought today, as the Allen Americans have just passed the halfway point of the season, would be a good time to take stock of what this team has accomplished thus far. It is important to note a half a season does not a season make and a lot can happen between now and playoff time. After the worst season in team history last season coach and general manager, Steve Martinson has shown why he is the second winningest pro coach in history.
Martinson took a different tact in recruitment this summer by signing more players than usual with proven AHL experience knowing full well there would be the risk of losing them to AHL teams if the players got off to a good start. Once the season began, Martinson wasn’t hesitant to move high-end players even though the team was off to an excellent star.
The results so far speak for themselves. Allen is #1 in the ECHL in points (54) and #2 in winning percentage (.730). The Americans have a nine point lead in the Mountain Division standings.
Martinson has achieved these results while having to constantly shuffle the lineup because of injuries and players being called up or loaned to AHL teams. Allen has already used 34 different players including five different goalies. Of the 34 players used, 10 have already been recalled/loaned to AHL teams and that number does not include Josh Atkinson, Matt Register and Jake Doty who Martinson signed in the offseason. All three have spent the entire season thus far in the AHL.
Despite loaning more players to the AHL than any other ECHL team, Allen is on a record pace for points. At their current pace, the Americans would finish the season with 106 points. That would be a 50 point improvement over last season which would be the second biggest year over year points improvement in ECHL history.
To show just how good this season has started here are the point totals for each season since Allen joined the ECHL:
2019-20: 106 points (projected based on current pace)
2018-19: 56 points
2017-18: 78 points
2016-17: 104 points
2015-16: 89 points
2014-15: 106 points
A major reason Allen has done so well is their depth. Here is the post from my ECHL Stats page this morning which makes this point:
19 ECHL players have 15+ goals. Four teams have more than one. Here are the teams with more than one 15+ goal scorer:
5 – Allen Americans
2 – Greenville Swamp Rabbits
2 – Newfoundland Growlers
2 – Rapid City Rush
Eight teams have one 15+ goal scorer and 14 teams have none.
Another huge change from prior seasons is penalty minutes. Allen has been much more disciplined this season especially in major and misconduct penalties. Here are the stats comparing this season to the prior two seasons:
League Rank in PIMS
Average Penalty Minutes Per Game
11.81 – 2019-20
24.39 – 2018-19
19.60 – 2017-18
333 – 2019-20 (projected)
423 – 2018-19
383 – 2017-18
Major Penalties (mostly fighting majors)
25 – 2019-20 (projected)
49 – 2018-19
57 – 2017-18
10 Minute & Game Misconducts, Match Penalties
6 – 2019-20 (projected)
60 – 2018-19
36 – 2017-18
Here are the Allen players currently in the top three in the ECHL in various statistical categories:
Tyler Sheehy – #1 in points (43)
Gabe Gagne – #3 in goals (18)
Tyler Sheehy – #2 in assists (28)
Jake Paterson – #3 in wins (13)
Zach Sawchenko – #1 in save percentage (.930)
Tyler Sheehy – #1 in rookie points (43)
Tyler Sheehy – #2 in rookie goals (15)
Tyler Sheehy – #1 in rookie assists (28)
Tyler Sheehy – #1 rookie power play assists (8)
Tyler Sheehy – #2 rookie power play points
Jack Sadek – #1 rookie plus/minus (+19)
Stepan Falkovsky – #2 defensemen shooting % (17.1%)
Jack Sadek – #2 defensemen plus/minus (+19)
Brett Pollock – #1 assist streak (10 games)
Turner Ottenbreit – #2 consecutive games with a penalty (8)
Allen has the fourth-best team shooting percentage in the ECHL at 11.6% and the fourth-best team save percentage at .912. The Americans are the only team in the league in the top four in both categories.
What will the second half of the season hold for Allen? It will certainly depend on injuries and players being loaned or recalled to Iowa and also the players reassigned by Iowa to Allen. The Americans are good enough with the current roster to win every game but think how strong Allen would with Matt Register, Turner Ottenbreit, Tyler Sheehy, Brett Pollock, Jake Doty and Zach Sawchenko back in Allen. It is not a stretch to assume all of these players will return to Allen at some point.
It also is not lost that coach Martinson has a veteran slot in his back pocket should the right vet want to return from Europe before the February 15 deadline or some other vet in the ECHL or AHL becomes available. You never know what lies ahead but Martinson has made all the right moves so far and this season could be very special.
DID YOU KNOW: Steve Martinson has averaged 45 wins per season over his 24-year coaching career. He is now tied for second place all-time in professional coaching wins at 1027. Scotty Bowman is #1 with 1244 wins. Averaging 45 wins per season, Martinson would catch Bowman early in the 2025-26 season. My advice is don’t bet against Martinson on achieving this milestone.
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