ALLEN, Texas – The most noticeable thing at Allen practice yesterday was the number of missing defensemen. Just four healthy defensemen, five if you count Curt Gogol. David Makowski was injured in the last Allen game and has not practiced all week. The unknown question is whether head coach Steve Martinson will bring in a defenseman for the weekend or just play shorthanded. The way it looks now the defensive group for the weekend will be Chouinard, Atkinson, Boutet, and Owen with Gogol the fifth defensemen.

–  It is not like the Americans are in good shape with forwards, either. I spotted Mitch Maloney, Chase Lang and Thomas Frazee watching practice from the stands yesterday. If Gogol plays defense that will leave only nine healthy forwards.

– Team owner Jack Gulati is in town and spent some time watching practice and chatting with the players. Jack reiterated to me that he will be spending more time in Allen now that he has sold the Reading Royals. As usual, Jack will be on the concourse before the game on Friday meeting and greeting fans. On Saturday, Jack will have a book signing for his new book, “Serial Entrepreneur, Balancing Business and Family to Achieve True Wealth and Happiness, Second Edition.” The book signing will be outside the team store from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. The doors will open 30 minutes early at 5:30 pm for this book signing event.

– I was having a conversation with some fans the other day about ECHL expansion. The new arena in Fort Worth is scheduled to open in November. There is a new facility being built in the Houston area and Oklahoma City always gets mentioned as a possibility. You don’t hear much about expansion actually happening into these markets but any of them would help the Americans in my view. I don’t know if there is a non-compete clause in the ECHL that Allen would have to waive for Fort Worth to get a franchise but the Americans vs Brahmas rivalry back in the CHL days was one of the best.

– Kansas City lost their sixth straight game last night while Wichita and Rapid City both won. The Mavericks still have a five-point lead over Rapid City and an eight-point lead over Wichita for the final playoff spot. It will take a colossal collapse for Kansas City to miss the playoffs but they have to be feeling the pressure at this point. The Mavericks play on the road in Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Indy this weekend so this losing streak could easily continue.

– Here are the points earned in the last 10 games for each team in the Mountain Division with their current position in the standings in parentheses.

16 points – Tulsa (2nd)
12 points – Rapid City (5th)
11 points – Idaho (1st)
10 points – Wichita (6th)
8 points – Allen (7th)
7 points – Kansas City (4th)
7 points – Utah (3rd)

– There is only one game in the ECHL tonight but it is a key game in the battle for the worst record in the ECHL. Jacksonville is at Greenville and the Swamp Rabbits are the only team in the league with as worse record than the Americans. Jacksonville is battling for a playoff spot so they will be very motivated to beat Greenville.

Did You Know?

The ECHL leaders in goals are Tulsa’s Adam Pleskach (35), Allen’s Zach Pochiro (34) and Fort Wayne’s J.C. Campagna (34). The three are tied for most power play goals with 13 which is just over one third of their goals. Here are the power play goal leaders for the last four seasons with the percentage of their total goals scored on the power play.

2017-18: Jared VanWormer (Kansas City) led the ECHL with 14 power play goals. 64% of his goals (14 of 22) were scored on the power play

2016-17: Cody Wydo (Wheeling) led the ECHL with 15 power play goals. 50% of his goals (15 of 30) were scored on the power play.

2015-16: Nick Huard (Cincinnati) led the ECHL with 15 power play goals. 71% of his goals (15 of 21) were scored on the power play.

2014-15: Gary Steffes (Allen) led the ECHL with 18 power play goals. 41% of his goals (18 of 44) were scored on the power play.