The Allen Americans enjoyed the day off yesterday and will also have today off as will most of the ECHL with just one game scheduled (Elmira at Indy). In what is the last of this season’s “scratch your head” why did they do that with the schedule the Americans don’t play for six days after the 8-1 win over Brampton and then finish the season with three games in three days.

So today’s article will be odds-n-ends, covering a bunch of random items that have been on the “put this in the article list” for a while. So, let’s start with what happened last night around the ECHL and the impact on the standings.
In the Central Division, Quad City beat Rapid City 3-2, Missouri beat Tulsa 5-3, and Wichita beat Brampton 5-1. Quad City clinched a playoff spot so three of the teams in the playoffs have now been decided (Allen, Rapid City, Quad City) with Tulsa and Wichita battling for the final playoff spot.
The standings remain very close, so close that Tulsa could finish in second place or they could miss the playoffs altogether.
Here are is the update with games remaining:
Rapid City (80 pts) – Thursday at Allen, Friday at Allen
Quad City (79 pts)-  Saturday Tulsa at home
Tulsa (75 pts)- Wednesday at Wichita, Friday at Wichita, Saturday at Quad City
Wichita (72 pts)- Wednesday Tulsa, Friday Tulsa, Saturday Allen – all at home
When you look at the points and remaining games there are a lots of things that can still happen. Rapid City has the tie breaker over Quad City so if the Mallards beat Tulsa in their last game (Saturday) the Rush would need one point when they visit Allen for their last two games (Thursday & Friday) in order to finish in second place. If Tulsa wins out and Rapid City loses both games in Allen in regulation Tulsa would get second place. Wichita plays Tulsa at home on Wednesday and Friday and must win both games in regulation or they are eliminated.

The two team race for the best record in the Western Conference tightened up again last night as Idaho beat Colorado 3-2 in a shootout to gain two points and tie Allen with 100 points. Allen is still in the driver’s seat as they have two games in hand. Idaho has just one game remaining and they play that game on Wednesday at home against Utah. Since Allen owns the tie breaker with Idaho all the Americans have to do is equal Idaho’s point total. If Idaho loses in regulation time on Wednesday Allen clinches the best record. If Idaho gets one or two points that is what Allen will need in their last three games. The good thing is the Americans will know exactly what they need before they start the three games in three days on Thursday.

Allen still has a chance at the best overall record in the ECHL but it is now out of their control. Here are the standings with games remaining:

Toledo (103 pts) – Cincinnati (H), Kalamazoo (A), Kalamazoo (H)
Florida (101 pts) –  Orlando (A), Orlando (H), Orlando (H)
Allen (100 pts) – Rapid City (H), Rapid City (H), Wichita (A)
Idaho (100 pts) – Utah (H)
Fort Wayne (98 pts) – Cincinnati (H), Kalamazoo (A), Cincinnati (H)
For more on the race for the Brabham Cup, check out Matthew Harding’s breakdown, here:

Do you think the style of play is different in the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference? You would sure think so if you look at penalty minutes. All fourteen teams in the Western Conference have over 1000 penalty minutes while only six of the fourteen teams in the Eastern Conference have 1000 penalty minutes. Eight of the top ten teams in penalty minutes in the ECHL are from the Western Conference. Nine of the ten teams with the fewest penalty minutes come from the Eastern Conference.

The 21 day injured reserve carries over into the playoffs. It had been reported the IR ends at the end of the season so a player could be placed on 21 IR the last week of the season and then play the first game of the playoffs. That is not the case as any players put on 21 Day IR will have to sit out 21 days even if it carries over to the first round of playoff games.

The last day to put a player on waivers isn’t until April 10 (5:00 p.m. ET) so it is possible there could be some player movement around the league this week. When a player goes on waivers, teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET the following day to submit a claim. The waiver claim order is based on reverse order of percentage points (i.e., the team with the lowest points percentage has first priority and the team with the highest points percentage has 28th priority). The order is updated each Monday, however, if a team successfully submits a claim during the week, they slide to the back of the order until the order is reset the next Monday.

If Gary Steffes and Aaron Dell are on the Allen playoff roster but remain in the AHL for the playoffs when might they return to Allen? Both of their teams are currently in a playoff position but are one of the lower seeds. The AHL regular season doesn’t end until April 19th and the first round of the AHL playoffs won’t be completed until around May 1st. If their teams would make it to the second round of the playoffs the soonest that would be completed is the middle of May.

Ian Schultz who has been playing with the Iowa Wild (AHL) since the middle of February should be returned to Allen soon as the Wild are out of playoff contention.

For those interested in the very unique EIHL (Great Britain) playoffs the semi-finals were held yesterday and the finals are today. Remember, both the semi finals and finals are one game playoffs. Both of the semi-final games were close and ended in dramatic fashion. In one of the semi-finals the Coventry Blaze beat the Belfast Giants 3-2 in a shootout despite being outshot during the game 41-29. That is right, the semi-finals are just one game and that one game goes to a shootout after one ten minute overtime period. Coventry is the team Brian McMillin played for at the beginning of the season last year and former Allen American Justin DaCosta (2010-2011) is playing for this year. Justin scored the first goal for Coventry against Belfast.

In the other semi-final the #1 seeded Sheffield Steelers beat the Hull Stingrays 3-2 when they scored a power play goal with just four seconds remaining in the game. David Brown who was with Allen for a short time last year was in goal for Hull and took the heartbreaking loss. There is also an Allen connection to Sheffield as Devin DiDiomete played five games for Sheffield before he came to Allen for four games earlier this year.
The championship game between Sheffield and Coventry started at 10:00 am this morning Allen time.

Trevor Hendrikx who played in the EIHL this year for the Cardiff  Devils, lost in the first round of the playoffs. The team has an awards night after the season and Trevor received the award for fan favorite.

With three games in three nights to end the season there might be an inclination to rest some players on Saturday if the best record overall and best record in the Western Conference have been decided. It would be a shame to see any of the three ironmen (Chad Costello, Aaron Gens, Jamie Schaafsma) who have played in every Allen game this year sit out the last game. Aaron Gens is in a close race for most points for defensmen in the ECHL and knowing coach Martinson if anything, Gens will get some extra power play time to make sure he finishes in first place. Jamie Schaafsma played in every game in 2012-2013 and as team captain would like to do it again and Chad Costello is setting scoring records going back twenty years so he will not want to sit out. If the game is meaningless some of the regulars may get less ice time.

Tomorrow will be a post about stats. Will look at team and individual statistical leaders and talk about all of the players that have had career years this season in the offensive friendly Steve Martinson system. Will also take a look at how Chad Costello’s 40 point lead in the ECHL scoring race compares to scoring leaders from the past.

DID YOU KNOW: The team with the most penalty minutes in the ECHL (Allen with 1580) is in first place in the Western Conference standings and the team with the fewest penalty minutes in the ECHL (Toledo with 723) is in first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

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