ALLEN, TX – The road trip from hell continues for the Allen Americans as they have still not made it to Boise, Idaho where they are scheduled to play the Steelheads tonight. They have pretty much been in travel mode ever since Tuesday night when they left Allen for Colorado.
A seven hour delay in that trip because of a snow storm was just the beginning of the problems. After losing 4-1 to Colorado Wednesday night the team attempted to head to Boise but had to turn around after just 30 minutes because of impassable roads. Another attempt Thursday afternoon got them as far as Cheyenne, Wyoming which sounds like a long way but in fact is less than 60 miles from Loveland where the Eagles play. The Interstate was closed west of Cheyenne so the team spent the rest of the day in a parking lot in Cheyenne.
A check of the weather this morning shows parts of the Interstate are still closed. I haven’t heard from the team since last night but the most likely scenario was a return to the Denver area and then flying to Boise today, however, nothing had been decided. It has to be a bored, frustrated, angry, beat down group of guys on that bus.
When you own a bus like the Americans do, it is hardly ever cost beneficial to fly but if you don’t own a bus, flying is a reasonable option on trips like the one to Colorado and Idaho. The bus is on its last legs, it’s close to 20 years old and has traveled about two million miles.
The best thing to happen for the players would be to have the bus die permanently!
Assuming the team makes it to Boise today there is a game to be played. Let’s hope the Americans are a group of pissed off guys ready to hit someone after a frustrating couple of days with nothing to do. Here is a preview:
– The Americans play Idaho four times this season (2 home 2 away) and all four games happen to take place in a ten day period. They played twice in Allen last week with the Americans winning 4-0 on Wednesday and the Steelheads winning on Sunday 3-2 in overtime. The games tonight and tomorrow night are the last Allen will see Idaho in the regular season.
– Here is a comparison between Allen and Idaho:
|Team Record||15-9-1-0 (31 points)||10-14-4-0 (24 points)|
|Division Rank||2nd – Central||4th -West|
|Conference Rank||4th – Western||8th – Western|
|Last Game||4-1 L (Colorado)||8-5 W (Utah)|
|Power Play||19.0% (20/105)||14.5% (17/117)|
|Penalty Kill||84.4% (15/96)||84.5% (17/110)|
|Most PIMs||Stevenson (62)||Carroll (71)|
|Leading Scorer||Costello (10-25-35)||Beck (9-14-23)|
– Here is how Allen and Idaho rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:
Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 3rd (18.12) – Idaho 17th (15.68)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 9th (3.08) – Idaho 22nd (2.68)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 13th (2.88) – Idaho 20th (3.88)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 25th (27.32) – Idaho 14th (30.36)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 20th (30.76) – Idaho 8th (27.93)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 12th (19.0%) – Idaho 24th (14.5%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 12th (84.4%) – Idaho 10th (84.5%)
– In the two games in Allen, Idaho was 1-7 on the power play while the Americans were 2-6 on the power play. The team that scored first won both games. More proof that scoring the first goal and winning the special teams battle are two big keys to victory.
– With all of the travel problems the team is definitely out of their routine and it is difficult to predict the physical as well as the mental impact of the last couple of days. Idaho seems to be on the upswing having won three games in a row for the first time all season. They played a strong Utah team at home on Wednesday in a wild game that saw the Steelheads get down 4-0 in the first period and then score eight straight goals on their way to an 8-5 victory.
– Idaho will be without Cole Ully, who was their leading scorer in the two games in Allen and had the overtime game winning goal on Sunday. He was recalled by the Texas Stars (AHL).
– Allen has lost their last two games and if they lose tonight it would be their longest losing streak of the season.
– Riley Gill will be in goal for Allen and if things go as planned David Makowski should be back in the line up for the Americans.
– ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna was in Idaho on Wednesday and did an interview after the game. Here is what he had to say: ow.ly/W2Ior
– Worcester is one step closer to getting an ECHL franchise after the AHL Worcester Sharks left for San Jose this season. Here is part of a story written by Bill Ballou from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that provides some details of what might transpire:
WORCESTER — The city is one step, and 22 months away, from returning to the world of professional hockey.
According to North Shore businessman Cliff Rucker, who is seeking to place an ECHL expansion team here, he and SMG, which manages the DCU Center, signed a five-year lease this afternoon, with an option for an additional five more years, that would begin with the start of the 2017-18 hockey season.
The lease is subject to Rucker getting league approval for the new team, and that won’t come until next year. The ECHL will meet in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Feb. 4 to listen to his proposal and decide whether or not to accept it.
“An entrepreneur always assumes a positive outcome,” said Rucker, “and assuming a positive outcome at the meeting, I’ll make a public announcement within three to four weeks after that.
“If I wanted to drop a puck for the 2016-17 season, that would give me three or four months to hire staff and start to generate revenue. I made a determination, along with the ECHL —their best practices say you need 12 months from the time of approval until you drop a puck, and while they don’t mandate it, if I’m trying to get approval and I’m going against their best practices, that’s probably not a great idea.
“Best practices aside, I didn’t want to show up here and immediately try to start selling tickets, start selling sponsorships. I don’t want to just do this, I want to do it right. I’m in it for the long haul. So I felt I’m going to need about a year to staff up, and integrate into the community.”
– Former Allen defenseman, Nolan Descoteaux, who is from the Dallas area, was released yesterday by the Atlanta Gladiators.
DID YOU KNOW: Chionophobia is the extreme dislike or fear of ice and snow. The word originates from Greek “chion” which means snow.