ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans arrived home late last night after a successful trip to Rapid City where they picked up six points. The Americans must now turn their focus to this week where they will play four games in five days. The Indy Fuel will be at the Allen Event Center on Wednesday and Friday followed by the Rapid City Rush on Saturday and Sunday.

–  Another scheduling quirk has Allen playing four games in five days this week and then one game in the next nine days. After the game on Sunday against the Rush, the Americans will play just one game the rest of the month and that is a day-trip to Tulsa on February 24. If you remember, the team opted to delay the all-star break because it was so soon after the Christmas break. They will take the three-day all-star break from February 25-27 which gives them the weekend off.

– The team had the day off yesterday if you call spending almost an entire day on Big Red returning from South Dakota a day off. They will be back at practice this morning.

– The regular season is quickly winding down with just 20 games remaining and 12 of them are home games. Allen plays just five different teams the rest of the way. Here is the breakdown of the 20 remaining games.

6 games – Missouri (2 home – 4 away)
5 games – Tulsa (3 home – 2 away)
4 games – Wichita (3 home – 1 away)
3 games – Indy (2 home – 1 away)
2 games – Rapid City (2 home – 0 away)

– Even more favorable to Allen is eight of their last 10 games will be at home. If the race is close coming down the stretch this could be very beneficial to the Americans. Having home ice advantage has been critical for Allen time and time again over the past four years. They have a legitimate shot at being the top team in the Mountain Division, which would give the Americans home ice for the first two rounds of the playoffs. If they are the top seed in the Western Conference it would mean home ice for the third round and it is still possible they could get the ECHL #1 seed. None of this will be easy but it is possible. Allen is tied with Colorado for the Mountain Division lead with 68 points but the Eagles have two games in hand. The Americans trail Toledo by just one point in the Western Conference race but the Walleye have four games in hand. Allen is just one point behind Florida for the most points  in the ECHL but Florida has six games in hand. The bottom line is it will be a tall order for Allen but with 20 games remaining and a favorable schedule, it is still possible.

– The ECHL should announce tomorrow the length of suspensions for Dyson Stevenson and Tristan Grant as result of the incident in Rapid City on Friday night. You never know what the ECHL will decide but my guess is Dyson will get an additional game or two and Grant will get something approaching a 10-game suspension. Just a guess on my part and could be completely off base.

– The four games this week should be fun to watch as Allen will be favored in all of them. There will also be some great promotions.

Friday – There will be a special appearance by the Knights of Medieval Times Dallas! The Knights will be on the concourse prior to the game and will be doing a special on ice performance during the first intermission. Friday night is also Faith & Family night sponsored by Christ Fellowship. Right after the game, Gary Steffes will be speaking about what God has been doing in his life the past year. Gary is very active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is an outstanding speaker.

Saturday – It is the 8th Annual Battle of the Badges as the Police vs Fire game takes place prior to the Allen vs Rapid City game. Doors open at 4:30 pm so come early and support the first responders. Two games for the price of one. The Americans will be wearing a special Patriotic jersey on Saturday that will be auctioned off immediately following the game. A portion of the funds raised from the auction will go to Folds of Honor, a non-profit dedicated to helping families of the armed services that have been killed or wounded while serving the nation.

Sunday – Allen will close out their four games in five nights with a game against the Rapid City Rush. It will be the fifth time the Americans play the Rush in the last seven games so it should be exciting. Sunday is the 3rd Annual Pucks & Paws Night so you can bring your dog and sit in a special dog-friendly section.

Harrison Ruopp was loaned to San Jose after the game in Rapid City on Wednesday so he missed the games on Friday and Saturday. His parents were in Rapid City to watch him play. Unfortunately Harrison didn’t play in either San Jose Barracuda game on Saturday or Sunday. I know it always bothers coach Martinson when he loans players and they don’t get a chance to play. The Barracuda have a game tomorrow (Tuesday) which will be the next opportunity for Harrison if he doesn’t get returned to Allen.

DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have given up more shorthanded goals (10) this season than any other team in the ECHL. Here are the top five teams for most shorthanded goals allowed if you combine the last three seasons since the Americans joined the ECHL:

33 – Brampton
33 – Utah
31 – Wheeling
30 – Orlando
28 – Allen

At the other end of the spectrum is Toledo who has allowed a total of 12 shorthanded goals in the last three years.

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