ALLEN, TX – It dawned on me this morning as I was making plans to attend the Allen Americans practice today that this could be the last practice of the season. With back to back games on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Americans needing victories in both to advance, the reality of how quickly this season could come to an end struck home.
– Allen will lose because they have not won back to back against Idaho all season (9 games)
– Allen will win because they have the more skilled team
– Allen will lose because they score on 5.9% of their shots in this series while Idaho is at 10.6%
– Allen will win because they have great fan support
– Allen will lose because they have too many young players without playoff experience
– Allen will win because they have never lost a game seven under Martinson (5-0)
– Allen will lose because they are just 3-3 in game sixes at home under Martinson.Not a complete list but just some of my thoughts on the outcome of this series. Based on past performance there is no question Allen wins the series. Based on this season alone, the outcome is in question. Have to admit my heart says they win but my head says they lose. Hope my heart rules the day.
– There were two games yesterday in the ECHL. Reading had a chance to eliminate #1 seed Toledo at home but lost 3-1. The series is now tied 3-3 and headed to Toledo for game seven which is Tuesday night. In the other game, Colorado avoided elimination by beating Utah on the road by a score of 5-2. Utah still leads the series 3-2 with the final two games in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday.
– There are two games scheduled tonight and in both cases the higher seeds are trailing 3-2 and have to win game six at home to avoid elimination. Florida is at home against Wheeling and Fort Wayne is at home against Cincinnati.
– Here is a recap of the playoffs. Eight teams will make it to the second round. Three teams have already advanced (Missouri, South Carolina, Adirondack). One series (Toledo vs Reading) is tied 3-3. The other four series are 3-2 and the higher seeded teams are losing in all four. Florida, Allen, Fort Wayne and Colorado all must win two games at home to advance.
– Missouri won the ECHL regular season championship by 10 points and the Western Conference regular season championship by 20 points which was quite an accomplishment. The Mavericks are the only team in the ECHL that swept their first round opponent going 4-0 against Quad City. To say they are a strong team would be an understatement. It will be a case of the rich getting richer later this week when Missouri’s AHL affiliate (Bridgeport Sound Tigers) gets eliminated from the AHL playoffs. Bridgeport lost the first two games of their best of five series at home to the Toronto Marlies. The next three games are in Toronto on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. If Bridgeport loses on Thursday and is eliminated, no less than nine players will become available to Missouri because they are playoff eligible. Missouri has a 10th player in Utica who will also most likely be eliminated this week. The Mavericks wisely reserved three spots on their playoff roster for these AHL players. The odds are (if Utica and Bridgeport are eliminated) Missouri will have three of the following players on their roster before the second round begins against Allen or Idaho on Friday. Here is the list with the players position and the number of AHL games they have played this season.
Kyle Burroughs (D) – 31 games
Colin Markison (F) – 39 games
Kane Lafranchise (D) – 37 games
Stephon Williams (G) – 31 games
Tanner Fritz (F) – 19 games
Patrick Cullity (D) – 31 games
Ross Johnston (F) – 39 games
Kellen Jones (F) – 33 games
Matt Finn (D) – 33 games
Loic Leduc (D) – 20 games
This isn’t a case of players spending most of the year in the AHL being assigned to Missouri. Most of these players spent a lot of time in Missouri this season and will fit right in with the team. Cullity, Franchise, Fritz and and Jones are the most likely players to be added to the roster since they all had at least 33 games in Missouri this season.
DID YOU KNOW: The seven goals scored against Allen in the 7-1 loss on Saturday was the worst playoff defeat in team history (six goals) but it was not the first time a team has scored seven goals against the Americans in the playoffs. Just last season Rapid City beat Allen 7-4 in game five of their series after Allen had won 7-4 in game four. In the 2010 CHL playoffs Rapid City beat Allen 7-2 in game five of the championship final.
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