...and then there was one. Over the past several weeks, we've seen the Dallas Stars play an "in and win" game for a playoff spot and fall just short of the promise land. Our attentions turned to the Texas Stars down in Austin, eliminated this week in a tough game where they outplayed their opponent but couldn't put one in the net to force game 7. Idaho went as far as the conference semifinals and fell short. And that left us with one last Stars affiliate standing: the Allen Americans.
As the Central Hockey League (CHL) affiliate of the Dallas Stars, the Allen Americans are one of the minor league teams prospects work through to make the big club. Jordie Benn called the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas home last season before moving on to the Texas Stars club this year. In only their second season, the Allen Americans find themselves heading to the conference finals once again - and they aren't planning on stopping there.
The Americans face the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in the CHL Berry Conference finals. The best of seven series kicks off this Friday, April 29 at 7:30 PM. Allen holds home ice for the series.
After the jump, some fun facts that will allow you to own people at trivia night and why you should go see this team in the conference finals series.
Fun Fact #1: The Allen Americans this season posted a 47-16-3 record and accrued 97 points. They beat out the 2nd place team in the league by 13 points en route to winning the Governor's Cup (awarded to the top team in the regular season.)
Fun Fact #2: Allen was the first team to win 40 games this season, achieving that milestone almost a full month before the end of the season.
Fun Fact #3: The Americans also won 24 road games, tied for the most road wins in a single regular season in the history of the CHL.
Fun Fact #4: After dropping games 1 and 2 at home in the second round to the Odessa Jackalopes, the Americans went on the road to win games 3 and 4 in Odessa to force a game 5 which they won handily in front of a rowdy crowd at the AEC.
Key players you should know:
Chris Whitley (24-10-3, 2.86 GAA, .904 SV%): leads the team between the pipes and subject of "WE LOVE CHRIS WHITLEY!" chants at the AEC.
Scott Langdon (4g, 9a, 13 pts, +17): good sized defensive defenseman; plays top minutes on the PK; with D Erik Adams leads team in plus/minus.
Kip Brennan (8g, 13a, 21 pts, 146 PIM): enforcer and fan favorite; leads team in penalty minutes, sticks up for his teammates and will leave you sore the next morning.
Nino Musitelli (34g, 37a, 71 pts): with F Bruce Graham leads team in goals; plays on the top PP unit; former Miami Red Hawk with great hockey IQ.
Colton Yellow Horn (33g, 55a, 88 pts): leads team in points; quarterbacks the PP; small and speedy forward who can make great plays with the puck.
Why you should go catch a game at the AEC:
The Allen Event Center is a newly built community center that plays home to the Allen Americans and Allen Wranglers (indoor football). It is conveniently located in the Village at Allen Center. Unlike its big brother the AAC, the AEC has many a restaurant nearby (Dodie's - try the fried pickles! - and BJs to name a few) as well as shopping and the outlet mall for entertainment while you're in the area.
Parking for all Allen Americans game is FREE. Tickets range from $10 to $42 (I paid $13 and sat 2nd row from the glass on the offensive end once, and for only $30 sat on the glass behind the opposing bench.) Between the reasonable tickets and the free parking, it's cost effective entertainment. There are $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for this playoff run.
It's playoff hockey. It's in your backyard. It's the future players of the NHL.
It all starts Friday April 29 in Allen. DREAD THE RED!