This Week’s Storyline
Quick Start Paying Off – What a difference a year can make. The Rochester Americans are 10 games into the 2012-13 American Hockey League season and the Amerks’ early success has the team off to one of its best starts in recent history. With points in six of the last seven games, Rochester enters the week among the top five teams in the AHL, where a mere two points is all that separates the Amerks from the league-leading Charlotte Checkers. Fresh off their weekend split with Hamilton last week, and with five wins over their last seven games, the Amerks must now turn their attention to another back-to-back weekend that features a visit from Adirondack before a get-together with Syracuse to bring the week to a close.
Last Week’s Results
Friday, Nov. 2 vs. Hamilton, 3-2 W (SO)
Rookie forward Zemgus Girgensons scored his first professional goal and David Leggio made 29 saves to help the Amerks earn a 3-2 shootout win in front of 6,026 fans over the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. Marcus Foligno sealed the victory with the game-winner in the fourth round of the skills competition while Leggio stopped three of four shooters to help the Amerks claim their sixth win in the last seven games, including three straight at home. Rochester surrendered a 2-0 lead as Hamilton rallied with a pair of third period goals from Brendan Gallagher and Darryl Boyce to force overtime, but Phil Varone and Brian Flynn would find the back of net to set the stage for Foligno’s winner.
Saturday, Nov. 3 @ Hamilton, 4-3 L
Brian Flynn scored a pair of goals and first-year netminder Connor Knapp made 30 saves in his professional debut as Rochester dropped a 4-3 decision to Hamilton in the second leg of a home-and-home series between the North Division rivals Saturday night at Copps Coliseum. Flynn staked Rochester to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play, but the Bulldogs would score four unanswered third period goals, including the game-winner from Blake Geoffrion, to complete the late-game rally. It would mark the second game in as many nights Hamilton would erase a two-goal deficit after the Bulldogs rallied from being down to goals in Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Amerks. Knapp got the first start of his professional career, marking the first time since Feb. 19 of last season that a goalie other than Leggio started for the Amerks, a span of 35 games.
This Week’s Opponents
Friday, Nov. 9 vs. Adirondack (Season Series: 1-0-0-0, 2 pts.)
Rochester’s home-filled November slate continues on Friday, Nov. 9 as the Adirondack Phantoms make their first of two visits to Western New York this season. The 7:05 p.m. contest will also be the second of four meetings on the season between the intrastate rivals and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The Amerks, led by a two-goal effort from newcomer Rick Schofield, defeated the Phantoms 6-2 in the most recent encounter between the two teams back on Oct. 27 at the Glens Falls Civic Center as the team improved to 25-23-5 all-time against their in-state foes.
Saturday, Nov. 10 @ Syracuse (Season Series: 1-0-0-0, 2 pts.)
The Amerks head to Syracuse the following night to take on the Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter in what will be the first get-together in exactly a month since Rochester opened the 2012-13 season with a 6-5 shootout win over its longtime rival at The Blue Cross Arena. Foligno and Mark Mancari each scored a goal and an assist to lead the Amerks in front of a 29-save performance from Leggio. The 7:30 p.m. matchup will be just the second of 10 gatherings between the two teams this season and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK. Rochester is 103-84-16 lifetime against the Tampa Bay Lightning’s affiliate.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
-With 27 goals through their last six games, including a combined 14 against Hershey and Adirondack, the Amerks are currently second in the AHL in goals for with 39, just one shy of Charlotte’s 40.
-Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most potent in the league over the last six games as the Amerks have converted on 11 of their last 42 man-advantage opportunities. The Amerks rank second in the league with 13 power-play goals and own the seventh-best power-play unit in the AHL with 21.3% efficiency rate. Saturday’s loss to Hamilton marked just the second time in seven games the Amerks failed to score on the power-play.
-With eight points (4+4) in his last seven games, T.J. Brennan currently ranks third in scoring among AHL defensemen with 10 points (4+6), five points behind Oklahoma City’s Justin Schultz. Additionally, three of his four goals have come on the power-play, tying him for fourth overall.
-Foligno, Rochester’s leading scorer who shows eight points over his last seven games, ranks tied for fifth overall among the AHL’s top point-getters with 11 points (5+6). Foligno also ranks tied for 13th in the AHL with five goals, including three on the power-play.
-Cody Hodgson’s nine assists are second-most in the AHL, while six of his helpers have come on the man-advantage, also good for second in the league in that category.
-Leggio, who has started nine of the last 10 games for the Amerks, leads all AHL netminders in wins (6), saves (275) and minutes played (550:42). He also boasts the best shootout record among goaltenders, having stopped nine of 10 shooters for a .889 save percentage.
-Brennan is third in the league with 37 shots on goal.
-Averaging 4.20 penalty minutes per game, Nick Tarnasky is fifth in the AHL with 42 penalty minutes.
-The Amerks are 3-0-0-0 at home when scoring the first goal of the game and are 4-1-0-0 when leading after two periods.
-Rochester is also 4-1-0-0 on home ice this season and is currently in the midst of a three-game home winning streak dating back to its 4-3 win over Grand Rapids back on Oct. 19.
LEGGIO GETS A BREATHER
Saturday’s loss in Hamilton marked the first time since Feb. 19 of last season that a goalie other than Leggio manned the pipes for Rochester. Knapp, a native of York, NY, and a former standout at Miami University (Ohio), got the nod for his first professional start, making 30 saves, including 23 through the first two periods. Entering the game, Leggio started 35 consecutive regular-season and playoff games for the Amerks, a stretch that began on Feb. 22. The fifth-year pro has started nine of the first 10 games of the season for the Amerks after drawing the start in each of Rochester’s final 23 regular-season contests last season as well as each game of the Amerks’ first-round playoff loss to Toronto last spring.
With an assist on Girgensons’ first professional goal Friday night, defenseman Alex Biega has collected five assists over his last six games, including at least one in three straight games between Oct. 26 and Nov. 2… Despite seeing his three-game point streak get cut short Saturday against Hamilton, team captain Kevin Porter has four points (3+1) in as many games, a stretch that includes a goal in three straight outings… Mancari, who also saw his three-game point streak snapped, enters the week after notching six points (2+4) through his last six showings, a stretch that features a pair of multi-point outings… Coming off his two-goal game at Adirondack on Oct. 27, Schofield shows five points (3+2) over the last six games and second-year defenseman Brayden McNabb has six assists in his last seven appearances… Tarnasky has recorded three points (2+1) in his last three games… Evan Rankin, meanwhile, has also registered six points (3+3) through his last seven games and has only been scoreless three times this season
After sitting the first nine games of the season, Knapp officially made his professional debut Saturday at Hamilton… Girgensons netted his first pro goal against the Bulldogs on Friday that also produced Mancari’s 100th assist as an Amerk… Rookie forward Frederick Roy earned his first professional point with an assist at Adirondack on Oct. 27… That same game versus the Phantoms also marked the 100th AHL game for Leggio… Brennan, who recently eclipsed the 100-point mark in his AHL career, will skate in his 200th career AHL game this Friday versus Adirondack… Nick Crawford needs just one more game for 150 pro appearances… Mancari is just three games away from 500 AHL games while Luke Adam is six games shy of the century mark for his AHL career… Leggio needs another five wins to reach 100 career victories.
“Salute The Troops Night” – The Amerks will hold their annual “Salute The Troops Night” on Friday, Nov. 9. In observance of Veterans Day, the Amerks are offering all active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists), as well as military veterans, one complimentary ticket to “Salute The Troops Night”. In addition to the complimentary ticket, military personnel can purchase additional tickets for their family and friends for just $12. Fans are encouraged to donate care package items that will be sent to local U.S. military service members who are currently deployed overseas. The items will be collected at the game and shipped by Blue Star Mothers ROC, which is part of a national organization whose mission is to support all members of the Armed Forces and their families through a variety of supportive events and activities.
Food Drive – The Amerks will hold a Food Drive during each of its next two home games to benefit Foodlink, the regional food bank. The Food Drive will take place during the Amerks home games on Friday, Nov. 9 versus the Adirondack Phantoms and Friday, Nov. 16 versus the Albany Devils. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Fans are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items by dropping them off in collection bins in front of The Blue Cross Arena Box Office, located in the lower atrium, prior to each of the next two home games. The items will then be donated to Foodlink. Any fan that donates two unopened, non-perishable food items prior to any of the next two home games will be able to save $5 on the purchase of a best-available lower level ticket. Fans will also have the opportunity to save $5 on the purchase of a best-available lower level ticket if they donate to Foodlink through the point-of-sale campaign called “Check Out Hunger” at the Box Office.
Hockey Night in Rochester – Friday nights are Hockey Night in Rochester, and fans who wear an Amerks or Sabres jersey to a Friday game can purchase a best-available seat for just $17.
Ditch the Dorms – Ditch the Dorms Nights are back this season, where students who present their College ID at The Blue cross Arena Box Office can purchase a best available ticket for just $12.
Amerks Happy Hour – Prior to every Friday night home game this season, there will be an Amerks Happy Hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Atrium Bar featuring live music and $2 Molson and Coors Light drafts for fans age 21 and over.
Movember Continues – Throughout the month of November, several Amerks players are growing mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health. Leggio will be spearheading the fundraising efforts as he is teaming up with Urology Associates of Rochester to help raise funds for the Lipson Cancer Center at Rochester General Hospital and ZeroCancer.org. In addition to Leggio and UAR making donations to these causes, Amerks fans will have the chance to make in-game donations at home games during the month. The first 20 fans to make a donation of at least $10 during each of the first five home games of the month will receive an Amerks puck signed by Leggio and will also be entered into a raffle to win a game-used goalie stick autographed by Leggio.
THIS WEEK IN AMERKS HISTORY
Nov. 9, 1956 – Amerks goaltender Charlie Hodge records the first shutout in franchise history in Rochester’s 5-0 win over the Providence Reds at the War Memorial.
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