Back in October, 27 ECHL teams had aspirations to win the Kelly Cup. That number is now down to just six teams (Manchester, South Carolina, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Colorado, Allen). The Manchester Monarchs eliminated the Brampton Beast last night winning game six by a score of 5-4 and taking the series 4-2. The Monarchs are the North Division champions and will now take on the South Division champions (South Carolina Stingrays) in the Eastern Conference final.
You often hear in all sports but especially in hockey, teams just need to make the playoffs and then anything can happen. The Eastern Conference final is a perfect example. Eight teams made the playoffs and the finals pit the #6 seeded team (Manchester) against the #7 seeded team (South Carolina). Who would have thought Manchester, who finished in fourth place in the North Division during the regular season would have home ice advantage in the Eastern Conference finals. The Monarchs have home ice advantage in that they get four of the seven games at home. However, as happens so often in the ECHL building availability in Manchester and South Carolina plays a role that could impact the series. The first three games will be held in South Carolina with the last four in Manchester.
The Western Conference is going much more according to Hoyle as the top four seeds are still vying for division titles. In the Central Division, last night Fort Wayne beat Toledo 4-1 at home to avoid elimination. The Komets were led by former Allen captain, Jamie Schaafsma, who scored two goals and was selected as the #1 star of the game. Fort Wayne trails 3-1 in the series and must win tonight in Toledo to stay alive.
In the Mountain Division Allen is hanging on by a thread against Colorado, trailing 3-1 in the series with game five at the Budweiser Event Center (BEC) on Sunday afternoon (4:05 puck drop Allen time). The Americans will be hoping for some divine intervention to get this series back to Allen for games six and seven. In case you were wondering what the scheduling conflict is at the BEC that didn’t allow game five to be played until Sunday it is the Archdiocese of Denver’s Confirmation Ceremony. Nearly 800 students from all of the local parishes will be confirmed this afternoon.
BY THE NUMBERS
If you compare the regular season stats to the playoff stats Allen is doing a little better in goals allowed having averaged 2.82 goals allowed during the regular season and 2.67 thus far in the playoffs. Goals scored is a different story as the Americans averaged 4.08 goals per game in the regular season, are averaging 3.00 in the playoffs and in the series against Colorado are averaging only 2.25 goals per game.
During the regular season Allen had eight players average a point per game led by Chad Costello at 1.69 and Greger Hanson at 1.31. During the playoffs only two players are averaging a point per game. Chad Costello is averaging 1.11 points per game and Bryan Moore 1.00 but Moore has only played in four playoff games.
During the regular season only two players on the playoff roster had negative plus/minus numbers. So far in the playoffs there are 10 players with negative plus/minus numbers.
Here are the top players in various stat categories for the playoffs. The number in parentheses is the rank among all ECHL players in the playoffs.
10 – Chad Costello (13th)
8 – Greger Hanson (27th)
7 – Wade MacLeod (37th)
7 – David Makowski (37th)
3 – Greger Hanson (31st)
3 – Wade MacLeod (31st)
3 – Josh Brittain (31st)
3 – Joel Chouinard (31st)
8 – Chad Costello (3rd)
5 – Greger Hanson (31st)
5 – David Makowski (31st)
4 – Wade MacLeod (48th)
+7 – Joel Chouinard (5th)
+3 – Josh Brittain (30th)
+2 – Dyson Stevenson (56th)
+2 – Harrison Ruopp (56th)
24 – Josh Brittain (12th)
21 – Dyson Stevenson (17th)
17 – Bryan Moore (27th)
16 – Spencer Asuchak (31st)
Points By Defensemen:
7 – David Makowski (5th)
6 – Joel Chouinard (9th)
3 – Eric Roy (24th)
3 – Mike Brodzinski (24th)
If you look at the numbers above what stands out is the lack of scoring by the forwards. In prior years Allen’s forwards were all over the top ten in all scoring categories. Last season for example Allen’s forwards were #1, #2, #10 & #12 in goals, #1 in assists and #1, #3 & #8 in points. If the Americans are to come back against Colorado they will need more point production from the players upfront.
Allen’s AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, started their second round playoff series against the San Diego Gulls last night. It was a heart breaker for San Jose as they lost at home 3-2 in overtime. San Diego tied the score 2-2 with under four minutes remaining in the game and took just 38 seconds into overtime to get the game winner. Here are all of the details from Paul Gackle of the Mercury News: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/05/missed-opportunities-haunt-barracuda-in-game-1-loss-to-gulls
There were no announcements yesterday by the ECHL concerning suspensions from the Allen vs Colorado series but would assume something will be out this morning. Allen is awaiting a decision on how long the indefinite suspension to Bryan Moore will last hoping it will be just the one game he has already served. Colorado has a couple of players that could be suspended for actions at the end of the game on Thursday. Mason Geertsen was given a game misconduct aggressor penalty penalty in the last five minutes of the game which is normally an automatic one game suspension though the suspension may be rescinded by the Vice President of Hockey Operations. Alex Belzile was given a cross-checking penalty and the cross check was to the head so there is a possibility he could also be suspended. Whatever decisions the ECHL makes it could have a big impact on game five on Sunday. UPDATE: Moore gets one additional game, Geertsen gets one game and Belzile gets two games. Here are the details: https://www.echl.com/echl-announces-fine-suspensions-may-6
DID YOU KNOW: Allen is 10-5 in game fives under Steve Martinson. According to the website Who Wins, looking at major league sports results, Allen has a better than 50% chance of winning game five but less than a 10% chance of winning the series. A 10% chance of winning the series is a big improvement from the 1.49% chance the Americans had when they were down 3-0. If Allen wins on Sunday the odds of winning the series will increase to 25%
Please consider becoming a Patron as a way to say thanks and support us for what we do! https://www.patreon.com/thesinbinhockey