ALLEN, Texas – Over the last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time talking about the trials and tribulations of this unique season and the impacts on the Allen Americans.
Today, I thought I would start by recapping some of what has made this season unique:
- Almost every player on the team has been sidelined with COVID-19.
- After the game tomorrow night, Allen will have used 45 different players just one away from the all-time record and the season just passed the halfway mark.
- Allen lost their cooperation agreement with San Jose. Seven San Jose contracted players spent some time in Allen prior to the decision to cease cooperation with the Americans. Four players (Joe Garreffa, Kyle Topping, Krystof Hrabik, Chaz Reddekopp) were in Allen at the time cooperation stopped. They were pulled from Allen and sent to Orlando.
- Nineteen rookies have played for Allen this season and 11 are currently on the roster.
- Allen has used six different goalies this season because of injuries, loans, and call-ups. The Americans have won 22 games this season. The goalies that have won 21 of the 22 games are either in the AHL or injured.
- Four of the top five players in average points per game are no longer with the team or are on injured reserve. Joe Garreffa (1.17), Kyle Topping (1.14), Jesse Mychan (1.00), and Tyler Sheehy (.92). Over the course of a full season these four players, at the rate they were scoring, would produce over 300 points and 100 goals.
- An unbalanced schedule and game postponements resulted in Allen playing 21 of its first 30 games on the road.
All ECHL teams have dealt with issues this season but an argument could be made none have dealt with the range and scope of the issues that have impacted Allen.
Despite all of these issues, Allen has a record of 22-13-2-0 and sits in third place in the Western Conference with a points percentage of .622. However, the first 15 games of the season and the last 15 games show a stark difference.
Allen’s record in the first 15 games of the season was 12-3-0-0 for a points percentage of .800. Over the last 15 games, the Americans record is 7-7-1-0 for a points percentage of .500.
The goal going forward should be winning each and every series. Next up is three games against Utah starting tomorrow night. Next week will be four games against Kansas City. All seven games are at the Allen Event Center so winning five of the seven is a realistic goal.
Allen will have somewhat of a new-look roster tomorrow night as five players, including both goalies, have played fewer than three games with the Americans. Chad Butcher and Steve Owre will be seeing their first action.
Butcher and Owre can play the wall on the power-play so would expect to see both have that chance this weekend. At even strength, look for them to play on a line with Colby McAuley, who has two goals and two assists in the two games since returning to the lineup. That line has looked really good in practice.
One of the many things always happening behind the scenes is the amount of time Steve Martinson spends trying to improve the team for the present and the future. Right now a lot of effort is going into finding a defenseman. Sources to find the “right player” include everybody from agents, AHL teams, ECHL teams, current players, and former players. One of Martinson’s strengths is his ability to recruit top talent to Allen and the amount of time and effort he devotes to the general manager part of his duties. There is a reason he was voted the ECHL General Manager of the Year last season.
Most teams in the Western Conference with the exception of Rapid City are playing around .500 hockey over the last 10 games.
Here are the standings in points percentage order with the team’s point percentage over the last 10 games in parenthesis. Notice the top five teams are all underperforming their season point percentage while the bottom two teams are overperforming and Rapid City is off the charts with the best record in the ECHL over the last 10 games.
.675 – Fort Wayne (.600)
.655 – Wichita (.500)
.622 – Allen (.550)
.563 – Utah (.550)
.513 – Kansas City (.500)
.512 – Tulsa (.550)
.512 – Rapid City (.850)
Allen’s goal differential (goals for minus goals against) is one of the best in the ECHL. The Americans are ranked second at +18 and are one of just three teams with a positive goals differential in all three periods, Florida and Fort Wayne are the others. Allen’s goal differential by period is +6 in the first period, +8 in the second period, and +2 in the third period.
Did You Know?
Thus far in 2020-21 only three ECHL teams get better each period based on goal differential:
Florida : +11, +16, +18
Wichita: -5, +5, +15
South Carolina: -7, -5, +7
– Florida has the best ECHL goal differential in all three periods.
– Leaguewide the most goals are scored in the second period. Here are goals scored in the ECHL by period:
445 – 1st Period
540 – 2nd Period
512 – 3rd Period
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