It is practice day as the Allen Americans prepare for back to back road games in Tulsa (Tuesday) and Wichita (Wednesday). It will be interesting to see who is on the ice and who is not. The injury list for Allen has grown with McMillin, Tyler Ludwig, Gill, DiPaolo, Barr, and Messier all on the shelf. Will that new goalie Martinson talked about at the press conference on Saturday be at practice? When will the new defenseman and forwards coming from the AHL arrive? When you hear these names and look at these players you will know the push for the playoffs has arrived. Should be an exciting week if it goes as planned.
On several occasions the advantages of recruiting players to a Steve Martinson coached team in Allen, Texas has been discussed in this blog. The Americans have never missed the playoffs, been in the finals three times and won back to back championships. Steve Martinson has won eight championship as a coach, has a system that is fun to play in with a lot of scoring and has a history of sending players to the AHL. Then there are the benefits of playing in a major metropolitan area like DFW where you have the best of everything from major sports to major shopping to major restaurants along with an international airport like DFW. Another benefit of playing in Allen was on display yesterday which was a day off for the players. With the temperature in the low 80’s it allowed for time in the outdoors laying by the swimming pool, golfing, sitting by a pond catching some big spring crappies, or hanging out at the local playground. You put it all together and it is a tough combination to beat.
The Americans have now played 66 games and if they were still in the CHL it would be the end of the season. Thought today would be a good day to look at the single season record book and see exactly what this team has accomplished before they play games 67-72 so the comparison is based on the same number of games. All you can really say is most records have not only been broken but obliterated by Chad Costello and Gary Steffes.
Points: 109 – Chad Costello (old record was 88 set by Colton Yellow Horn in 2010-2011)
Goals: 44 – Gary Steffes (old record was 34 set by Nino Musitelli & Bruce Graham in 201-2011)
Assists: 72 – Chad Costello (old record was 55 set by Colton Yellow Horn in 2010-2011)
Power Play Goals: 18 – Gary Steffes (old record was 16 set by Bruce Graham in 2010-2011)
Shorthanded Goals: 5 – Spencer Asuchak (set in 2013-2014)
Game Winning Goals: 9 – Bruce Graham (set in 2009-2010)
Plus/Minus: +38 – Chad Costello (old record was +27 set by Dave Bonk in 2010-2011)
Riley Gill has set single season records in several categories:
Games Played: 48 (old record was 44 set by Aaron Dell in 2012-2013)
Wins: 31 (ties record set by Chris Whitley in 2009-2010)
Minutes Played: 2748 (old record was 2561 set by Chris Whitley in 2009-2010)
Saves: 1265 (old record was 1176 set by Chris Whitley in 2009-2010)
The race for the final three playoff spots in the Central Division is starting to become a little clearer based on results yesterday. Rapid City, Quad City, and Tulsa all won but Wichita lost for the sixth straight time and is looking more and more like the team that will miss the playoffs. The Thunder have their final five games of the season at home and play Tulsa twice so they can turn things around but it has to happen quickly.
Here is an update:
77 points: Rapid City (5 games remaining)
75 points: Quad City (4 games remaining)
73 points: Tulsa (6 games remaining)
68 points: Wichita (5 games remaining)
The playoffs are in full swing in the EIHL (Great Britain) and they are very different from the ECHL. If you blink your eye you may miss the entire playoffs as they take just two weeks to complete. This weekend was the first round and eight teams made the playoffs. The first round consists of just two games (home & home) and if the teams split the team with the most goals (aggregate goals) moves on.
Here are the results of the first round:
1. Belfast advanced as they beat Cardiff and Trevor Hendrikx in both games.
2. Coventry advanced with a 3-3 tie in the first game and 2-1 win in second game against Nottingham. Bruce Graham and Mike Berube play for Nottingham.
3. Hull advanced on aggregate goals as they split with Breahead losing in Breahead 3-2 and then winning at home 3-1. At the end of regulation Hull lead 2-1 but with aggregate goals tied at 4-4 they had to play overtime to decide who would advance. David Brown who played seven games for Allen in 2031-2014 is the Hull goalie.
4. Sheffield advanced by winning 3-2 if Fife and then playing to a 3-3 tie at home.
The four teams that advanced will play both the semifinals and finals (each is just one game) next weekend in Nottingham where they are held every year. The Sheffield Steelers play the Hull Stingrays in the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and the Belfast Giants play the Coventry Blaze at 4:00 p.m in the other. The two winners play on Sunday in what is called the Grand Final for the championship.
So two weekends and just four games to win the playoff championship is a stark contrast to the ECHL playoff grind which could take two months and up to 28 games to win the Kelly Cup.
Over the years there have been more players from Allen play in the EIHL than any other league overseas. The list from prior years includes Chris Whitley, Bryan Pitton, Brian McMillin, Justin Dacosta, Kurtis Dulle, Jonathan Zion, Brett Clouthier, Mike Kompon and Alex Penner.
DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans are the only team in the Central Division that has never missed the playoffs. Rapid City missed in 2008-2009, Missouri Mavericks in 2014-2015, Tulsa Oilers in 2012-2013, Wichita Thunder in 2013-2014, Quad City Mallards in 2011-2012, and Brampton Beast in 2014-2015.