Rapid City Rush defenseman Justin Sawyer throws a punch against Allen Americans forward Kip Brennan during a fight in game on 01.05.13. Photo by: Chip Crail/@CHLPhotosBlog-CHLPhotos.com
The schedule for the Allen Americans couldn’t have picked a better time of the year to have a lengthy home stand. The Americans are 2-4 in their last 6 games. Even though the two victories came on the road, the Americans are still one of the best teams in the CHL at home with a record of 12-4-0 (trailing only Ft. Worth/Texas who is 14-3-4).
Also, the teams that Allen will face during their 8-game home stand, again with the exception of Ft. Worth/Texas all reside in the bottom half of the standings.
Allen has seen a slight drop in their special teams recently as well. Spending much of the season leading the league in both power play and penalty kills, the Americans have slipped to 2nd in each category. However, the most telling is they do have the most opportunities on both, which makes being 2nd by hundredths of a point not as big of an issue.
The truest aspect of this team having success into the playoffs and ultimately winning their first championship will be how they prepared for the end of the NHL lockout. Already having lost defenseman, Trevor Ludwig to the Houston Aeros, it is possible that more Americans could see a call up to the next level with either the Aeros or the Dallas Stars’ affiliate, Texas Stars. Both Dallas and Minnesota, the NHL parent to Houston are in the midst of trying to solidify their rosters so they are best prepared for the shortened 48-game season.
In speaking with minority owner, Craig Ludwig this summer, he mentioned the teams that will see the most success will be the ones who draft and build a team knowing the lockout will end and teams will get picked apart.
For the most part, this team has gelled and the scorers are scoring and the goaltender tandem of Aaron Dell and Steve Silverthorn are the most successful tandem in the league. They have the most evenly split time between the two and both rank in the top 10 in GAA (Dell leads the league with 2.18).
Much like the Dallas Stars who play 9 out of 13 at home in March, this is Allen’s opportunity to fine tune any issues that Coach Steve Martinson recognizes. There’s something about being able to sleep in one’s bed prior and after a hard, long game. Being at home, the team has their own locker room where things are the way they want. The coaches get the last changes so Coach Martinson and Matvichuk can experiment with line combinations. Most of all, the DFW hockey fans can come see one of the most successful hockey programs in the area at family-friendly prices and accommodations.
The NHL is using the tagline, “Hockey is Back.” Well, hockey never left. In fact, for the next 3 weeks, hockey is front and center at the Allen Event Center.