ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans welcome Tulsa to town tonight for the first of two games against the Oilers this weekend. The game tonight will be number seven of 13 times these teams will play during the regular season. In the six previous games, Tulsa won the first three and Allen has won the last three. Three of the six games have gone to overtime.

Vincent Arseneau will not be in the lineup tonight as he has been loaned to the Utica Comets (AHL). A well-deserved promotion for the free agent (he can be loaned to any AHL team) who has been playing outstanding hockey. He just came off a streak where he scored 10 goals in 10 games and he has been hitting everything in sight. Utica will play at home tonight against the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Marlies.

– Allen’s record against Tulsa this season is 3-2-1. Last season it was 11-3-0-0. Since joining the ECHL it is 31-16-2-3. Allen’s record against the Oilers at home since joining the ECHL is 17-7-1-0.

– Allen has played Tulsa six times this season so head to head stats start to be meaningful. Each team has won twice at home and once on the road. Allen has won two of the three games that weren’t decided in regulation (once in overtime and once in a shootout). The combined stats for the six games shows Allen with a slight edge in goals (17-16) but to no surprise Tulsa has the edge in shots (251-215). Neither team has been effective on the power play, Allen is 3-22 (13.6%) and Tulsa is 2-15 (13.3%).

– Here is the match up between Allen and Tulsa:

ALLEN TULSA
Team Record 15-7-3-1 (34 points) 11-9-3-3 (28 points)
Conference Ranking 6th – Western 9th – Western
Last Game 4-3 OTL (Kansas City)  4-2 Win (Wichita)
Goals For/Against 91/77 77/81
Power Play 22-108 20.4% 13-109 11.9%
Penalty Kill 94-118 79.7% 82-102 80.4%
Leading Scorer Pierro-Zabotel  (6-24-30) Sampair (11-7-18)
Most PIMs Makowski (66) Bleackley (44)

–  Here is how Allen and Tulsa rank in the ECHL in some statistical categories:

Penalty Minutes Per Game: Allen 1st (21.88) – Tulsa 15th (14.65)
Goals Scored Per Game: Allen 6th (3.50) – Tulsa 19th (2.96)
Goals Allowed Per Game: Allen 11th (2.96) – Tulsa 13th (3.12)
Shots For Per Game: Allen 14th (32.58) – Tulsa 1st (37.65)
Shots Against Per Game: Allen 24th (37.00) – Tulsa 21st (34.50)
Power Play Percentage: Allen 5th (20.4%) – Tulsa 25th (11.9%)
Penalty Kill Percentage: Allen 23rd (79.7%) – Tulsa 21st (80.4%)

– The most striking stats above are shots on goal. Tulsa leads the ECHL averaging almost 38 shots on goal per game while the Americans are ranked #24 in the ECHL allowing an average of 37 shots on goal per game. Against Allen, the Oilers have averaged close to 42 shots on goal. After the loss on Wednesday Steve Martinson talked about the way to reduce shots on goal is to avoid so many turnovers in the neutral zone and just inside the offensive blue line. If there is no play to be made dump the puck. Puck possession will be key tonight if the Americans are going to keep Tulsa under 40 shots on goal.

– If you look at the stats above Allen should have the edge on the power play and the penalty kill. On the power play Allen is 23.3% at home and Tulsa is 14.7% on the road. Allen also has the edge on the penalty kill with a percentage at home of 86.6% versus Tulsa with 79.4% on the road. Allen needs to use their special teams advantage against the Oilers to be successful.

– Allen lost on Wednesday for the first time all season after scoring the first goal of the game. With that said it is a good bet the team that scores first tonight will win the game. That has been the case in all six games Allen and Tulsa have played this season.

– As for the starting goalie tonight it will most likely be Jeremy Brodeur since Martinson has been splitting games when both are healthy.

– The referee scheduled for the game is Mike Zalcman (#24) and the linesmen are Aaron Schacht (#31) and Eli Rivera (#59).

OTHER COMMENTS

– There are 11 games on tap in the ECHL tonight. The three teams ahead of Allen in the standings are all in action and will be favored to win. Colorado is at home against Utah, Wichita is at home against Kansas City and Idaho is in Rapid City to take on the last place Rush.

Tanner Eberle scored the game-winning goal last night as Jacksonville beat Atlanta 4-3. Tanner has goals in three of the last four games.

– The San Jose Barracuda lost to last place Bakersfield 4-3 in a shootout last night to fall to seventh place in the Pacific Division standings. Spencer Asuchak has been in the lineup for all three games since being recalled by the Barracuda. He has yet to crack the scoreboard. The Barracuda play again tonight at home against Texas.

– Even though they are affiliated Allen and San Jose play a different style of hockey. The Barracuda are dead last in the AHL, ranked #30 in penalty minutes with 257. The AHL penalty minute leader (Belleville Senators) has 588 penalty minutes. Allen, on the other hand, leads the ECHL, ranked #1 with 569 penalty minutes. The ECHL team with the fewest penalty minutes is Quad City with 220. At least when it comes to penalty minutes the Allen Americans and San Jose Barracuda are strange bedfellows.

Aaron Dell and the San Jose Sharks lost 5-4 in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks last night. It was just the second time Dell has allowed four or more goals this season. Here is a story written by Paul Gackle of the San Jose Mercury News that talks about the possibility of trading Dell, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and will be a hot commodity if the Sharks allow him to hit the open market this summer. The Sharks may not be able to spend the money to meet Dells’ price tag to sign him so a trade before the NHL trade deadline (February 26) may be their best option. Here are the details: https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/19/three-thoughts-sharks-will-need-to-trade-goalie-before-deadline/

DID YOU KNOW: The Dallas Stars shutout the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 last night to give coach Ken Hitchcock his 800th career win. Hitchcock is third all-time behind Scotty Bowman (1244) and Joel Quenneville (868). It put in perspective for me what Steve Martinson has accomplished in AA hockey. If my numbers are correct Martinson now has 958 wins and will probably hit the 1000 win milestone early next season. More importantly, he has 10 championships to go along with all of those wins. How fortunate for the Allen Americans organization and fans they are able to have Steve Martinson as their coach and general manager.

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