ALLEN, TX – It is one of those days where I sit down at the computer at 4:30 am and have zero topics on my list to talk about. Not sure where this will end up but “This-N-That Monday” is a good title so let’s see where this takes us.
– It is hard to believe the team is approaching the halfway point of the season. Game number 36 of 72 takes place in Tulsa on Friday. The Americans record stands at 18-11-4-1 for 41 points which places Allen fourth in the Mountain division.
– How does Allen’s record compare to last season after 34 games? It is actually pretty close, the record last season at this time was 19-13-1-1 for 40 points.
– According to the website eliteprospects.com, the current Allen Americans roster is #10 in average age among all ECHL teams with an average age of 25.32. The oldest team is Brampton (27.50) and the youngest team is Wichita (24.05). The oldest player in the league is David Ling who just signed with Brampton. Ling turns 43 tomorrow. The youngest player in the league is goalie Dan Vladar of the Atlanta Gladiators. The third round draft choice of the Boston Bruins (2015) turned 20 on August 20.
– Kale Kerbashian, who was part of the 2013 and 2014 CHL championship teams in Allen just signed with the Orlando Solar Bears. Kale played in his first game for Orlando yesterday and all he did was score a goal and had an assist to lead the Solar Bears to a 3-1 win over Jacksonville. For good measure his goal was shorthanded. Kale was selected the #1 star of the game. Not bad for playing in your first pro game since last July.
– Some familiar names to Allen Americans fans have played in Orlando this season. In addition to Kerbashian, Chris Crane and Darryl Bootland are on the team and Marcus Basara was there prior to signing in Allen. John Snowden is the associate coach in Orlando.
– Speaking of new players on new teams, Greger Hanson had an assist in his first game in Germany on Friday as his team (Krefeld Pinguine) lost 6-2. Hanson’s team won yesterday 4-0 but Greger did not factor in the scoring. Kerfeld is in 13th place in the 14 team league (DEL).
– I have started to hear rumblings about Colorado running away with the Mountain Division and nobody will be able to catch them. The Eagles have been the class of the division thus far and have built a substantial nine-point lead over the competition. However, before anyone anoints them with the division championship remember what happened last season. Here is an excerpt from the blog post on April 8, 2017 after Allen had clinched to Mountain Division title.
Colorado’s struggles continue as they lost 4-2 in Rapid City last night and are now five points behind Allen in the standings. The Eagles have lost five of their last six games. The Americans have gained 12 points on Colorado in just seven games since I said this after Allen’s 3-2 overtime loss in Missouri on March 22:
“Allen’s overtime loss last night was probably the death knell in their quest to win the Mountain Division. Colorado won again last night beating Rapid City 3-2 and now has a seven-point lead. If Allen wins their remaining eight games the Eagles could go 4-2-1 in their remaining games and still win the division. That is not going to happen as Colorado has only lost two games in the last two months. The Eagles record since the end of January is 22-1-1-0.” I promise this is the last time I remind myself how wrong I was. It is hard to believe Colorado’s record since I made that statement is 1-5-0-0.”
Oh, waiter, an order of crow to Allen, TX, please?!?
– Being the best team in the league during the regular season is not a good predictor of playoff success, as a matter of fact, some say it is a curse. In the last nine years, the Brabham Cup winner (most regular season points) has won the Kelly Cup just twice. Alaska accomplished the feat in 2011 and 2014.
– Last season Toledo was the #1 seed in the playoffs and lost in the second round. In 2016 Missouri had one of the best regular seasons in ECHL history winning the regular season by 10 points with a total of 109 points. The Mavericks lost in the second round of the playoffs to Allen in six games.
– When Steve Martinson told me he was bringing in defenseman Anthony Calabrese from the Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL) for a few games while three Allen defensemen were serving suspensions the first thing I did was look up his stats. I noticed he is having a great season with Pensacola with 17 points (4 goals 13 assists) in 22 games and he is undersized for a defenseman at 5′ 10″ and 180 pounds according to his SPHL bio. I also noticed he had only played in 12 games last season, all with the Norfolk Admirals. Turns out he is lucky to be alive after a malicious hit into the boards on Thanksgiving day in 2016. It is quite the story of a young man’s love of hockey and perseverance after breaking his neck and back. Here is a story written shortly after the accident and a documentary video done a little over a month ago as Anthony started his comeback with the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
– You may have noticed the reigning ECHL Defenseman of the Year, Matt Register, didn’t make the All-Star roster even though he leads all defensemen in the ECHL with 35 points, six more than anyone else, and also leads all ECHL defensemen in plus/minus (+19). Register is a victim of the one player per team rule for the All-Star game.
As good of a season as Register is having, his teammate, forward Michael Joly is the deserving All-Star selectee for the Colorado Eagles. Joly is a second-year pro who was under contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) last season but also spent time in the ECHL with Greenville. Joly signed with San Antonio (AHL) in the offseason and the Eagles have been the benefactor of that signing as their AHL affiliate (San Antonio) has reassigned Joly to Colorado for most of the season. He has played 29 games for Colorado and has scored almost a goal per game (26 goals) to go along with 14 assists. Joly is tied for the league lead in scoring and has six more goals than anyone else. He leads the ECHL in game-winning goals with seven. He has 26 goals on just 78 shots for a shooting percentage of 33.3%. He should be a fun player to watch if he is still with the Eagles when they visit Allen at the beginning of February.
– The only Allen players listed in any category for current or season-long streaks on the ECHL website are Bryan Moore and Colby McAuley. Moore has the fifth longest assist streak, an assist in seven straight games between November 24 and December 20. McAuley has the longest current penalty streak with at least one penalty in his last seven games for the Americans (27 total minutes).
DID YOU KNOW: There are between 80-90 former Allen Americans playing hockey somewhere in the world this season. Players in the NHL, AHL, ECHL, SPHL in North America and scattered around the world from Russia to Sweden to Germany to England to Hungary to Slovakia to France to Japan to Italy to Dubai. Of all of those players here are the leaders:
41 – most games played by Jordie Benn (Montreal Canadiens) & Rylan Schwartz (Germany)
35 – most points goes to Matt Register from the Colorado Eagles (ECHL)
18 – most goals is shared by Jack Combs & Justin Kirsch (Germany), Josh Britain (Slovakia)
27 – most assists is Matt Register
153 – most penalty minutes goes to Garrett Clarke from the Indy Fuel (ECHL)