– It is game day in Rapid City as the Allen Americans continue their three game series with the Rush tonight. Having won 2-1 on Tuesday the Americans will be looking to get four points this weekend to stay ahead of the pack in the race for most points in the ECHL. The Rush will be equally motivated as they are in a tight battle for a playoff spot in the Central Division.
– Tonight will be the ninth time these two teams have met this season with Allen holding a 6-2 (4-1 home, 2-1 away) edge in the eight previous games. Allen has won six of the last seven times these teams have played. If you look at cumulative stats these teams have played much closer than the record might indicate. Cumulative goals are 29-21 in favor of Allen but Rapid City has had some mediocre goaltending in some of the games. In the eight previous games shots on goal are exactly the same at 239-239, Rapid City has scored more power play goals (Rapid 8-45, Allen 6-28) and taken fewer penalties (Allen 176 minutes, Rapid 123 minutes). If the Rush can get a good performance from their goalie and win on special teams they will make it difficult for Allen to come out on top. Remember, the key to the game on Tuesday came on the first goal of the game late in the second period when Chad Costello got a shorthanded goal.
– For more complete game preview stats check out the post from 3/10/15 in the archives, “Allen vs Rapid City Game Preview.”
– The ECHL Trade Deadline was at 3:00 p.m. EDT yesterday. Even though Coach Martinson was talking to some teams about trades the Americans made no trades. Some of the lower ranked teams such has Gwinnett and Missouri who will not make the playoffs did some serious housecleaning trying to rebuild for next year. You will notice in the chart below a lot of times the compensation in a trade is “future considerations” which can mean many different things. In some cases a player has already been agreed to but it won’t be announced until the end of the season, in other cases a team will get a list of players from which they can choose or future considerations could be money or other favor down the road. The Gwinnett coach (Andy Brandt) did a video yesterday to explain the reasoning behind all of the trades as some fans were upset with all of the moves. While the video is Gwinnett specific it provides some insight into what happens at the trade deadline.
The following trades were completed prior to the deadline yesterday.
– Tommy Daniels has rejoined the team after battling the flu for a few days so you will be able to hear his broadcast tonight from Rapid City. Good to have Tommy back.
– The referee for the game tonight will be Stephen Reneau (#17). Reneau was the referee on Tuesday when Allen beat Rapid City 2-1. He called very few penalties on Tuesday with a total of 16 minutes combined for both teams. May have been the lowest penalty minute combined total for an Allen game all season. If the game tonight is a “let them play” type of game that should benefit the Americans.
– There is one other key match up in the Central Division tonight as Wichita visits Tulsa. Wichita is currently in third place with 63 points while Tulsa is on the outside of the playoff picture in fifth place with 60 points. However, Tulsa is 7-2 against Wichita this year.
– With a win tonight Allen will clinch a playoff spot. A forgone conclusion but it will be official if they beat Rapid City tonight.
DID YOU KNOW: Do you think scoring the first goal of the game is important? There have been 1620 games played thus far in the ECHL this season and the team that has scored first has won 74.1% of the games.