Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Insider Preview: Allen Americans @ Texas Brahmas

Brahmas seek fourth win in a row at NYTEX

The Texas Brahmas host the Allen Americans tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre for the fourth out of nine games to be played between the two teams this season.

Allen is 2-0-1 thus far in the season series, winning both home contests and losing in the eighth round of a shootout last time the team visited NYTEX.

Allen is riding a streak of five straight wins (Corpus, Rio, Rio, Texas, Odessa) and has won nine of their last 10. The Brahmas have won three in a row (Bossier, Corpus, Tulsa) and will no doubt come out strong tonight, riding the momentum of their vastly improved play in those three games.

Yeah, Its the first time the teams have played since James Hiebert’s hit on goaltender Charlie Effinger on November 28th that put Effinger on goaltender IR (He might want to think again about skating so far out of the crease to defend against a breakaway). Hiebert, as you know, received a two-game suspension for his effort. I doubt Allen is dumb enough to retaliate at NYTEX. Regardless, Hiebert has taken Jason Deitsch’s spot as the guy everyone wants to mess with, so it’s possible we’ll see Hiebert attacked by somebody.

The Americans are 9-2-1 on the road thus far this season. The Brahmas are 6-4-0 at home.

Allen’s top three scorers include Justin Bowers (C) with 30 points (9 G, 21 A, +15), Bruce Graham (F) with 27 points (9 G, 18 A, +12) and Nino Musitelli (F) with 19 points (4 G, 15 A, +11). Graham is the leading road warrior with 19 points (6 G, 13 A, +6). Their leading defensive scorer is Erik Adams with 9 points (2 G, 7 A, +5).

Allen’s top goons are defenseman Brandon Straub (67 PIM), right wing Liam Huculak (48 PIM) and forward Britt Dougherty (48 PIM). Dougherty put Corpus Christi defenseman Tyler Sheldrake in the hospital with four broken lumbar vertebrae in his lower back with a big hit in last Saturday’s game.

On special teams, the Americans have the number seven power play with a 17.14 percentage (sixth at 19.4% on the road) and the number five penalty kill with an 85.59 percentage (third on the road at 86.7%). They have scored three short-handed goals this season.

Chris Whitley (11-2-1-1) is expected in goal tonight as Charlie Effinger is still on IR. Whitley is fourth in the league with a 2.53 GAA and sixth with a .916 save percentage. Kris Tebbs in currently filling in as a back up net minder while Effinger is out.

The Brahmas top three scorers are Jordan Cameron (F) with 20 points (4 G, 16 A, -1), Grant Jacobsen (F) with 16 points (10 G, 6 A, 0) and Kevin McLeod (D) with 16 points (9 G, 7 A, -3). McLeod is the Brahmas leading defensive scorer.

On November 28th, McLeod registered his first professional hat trick in the Brahmas overtime loss on the road in Allen. He leads both teams in the three contests with four goals.

On special teams, the Brahmas remain last in the league with a 10.69 percentage and 12th on the penalty kill with an 81.56 percentage. They are tied with Tulsa for the league lead in short handed goals with six.

Besides Effinger, forward Bill Loupee and defenseman Erik Adams are on injured reserve and not expected to play as of this writing. Center Jarret Lukin and defenseman Jordie Benn were removed from IR today. In addition, Former Brahmas Mike Willemsen was waived.

For the Brahmas, forward Jason Deitsch has remained a scratch for about two weeks now. It is unknown if he will dress tonight. It is also unknown if visiting forward Braden Walls will sign and be available to play tonight.

The game begins at 7:05pm and will be broadcast on CHL-TV if you can't be there.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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