THIS WEEK'S STORYLINE
A Tough December Awaits The Amerks – Last Saturday’s 3-2 OT loss to Toronto was the first of what is surely going to be a chaotic month for the Rochester Americans. As the AHL embarks on its third month of the 2012-13 season, the month of December brings with it 13 total games for the Amerks, who will play a season-high eight tilts at home within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena. The busy month will see Rochester square off with seven different opponents, including a rematch with league-leading Abbotsford. The upcoming schedule also features a trio of meetings each with Toronto, Lake Erie and intrastate rival Binghamton. Rochester’s most grueling stretch of the month comes during a four-game homestand over six nights in the final week of December, beginning with its post-Christmas Day bash with the Monsters before a New Year’s Eve get-together with Hamilton to ring in the New Year. Looking ahead, the Amerks, who enter the week on a three-game skid and rank fourth in the North Division standings, hope to get back on track as Adirondack makes its final appearance in Rochester this season prior to another go-round with the Marlies in Toronto to bring the weekend to a close.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Wednesday, Nov. 28 vs. San Antonio, 4-2 (L)
Rookie forward Frederick Roy scored his first professional goal but Rochester fell to San Antonio by a 4-2 score at The Blue Cross Arena. Brian Flynn assisted on Roy’s third period goal to extend his point streak to nine games (7+8). Amerks goaltender David Leggio stopped 21 of 25 shots on goal while Evan Rankin scored his fifth goal of the season.
Friday, Nov. 30 vs. Toronto, 4-1 (L)
A quick start and a pair of goals by Matt Frattin helped the Toronto Marlies to a 4-1 win over the Amerks last Friday at The Blue Cross Arena. The contest was the first of a two-game set between the North Division rivals. Leggio made his fourth consecutive start for the Amerks, turning aside 27 of the Marlies’ 31 shots. Maxime Legault tallied his first goal of the season, while Flynn’s nine-game point streak came to an end after the rookie forward compiled 15 points (7+8) from Nov. 4-28.
Saturday, Dec. 1 at Toronto, 3-2 (OTL)
Rochester and Toronto met for the second time in as many nights Saturday evening at Ricoh Coliseum, where the Amerks dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Marlies in the back-end of a home-and-home series. Toronto’s Nazem Kadri scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner just 1:06 into the extra session for the hometown Marlies, who improved to 3-0-0-0 against Rochester this season with the win. Toronto netminder Ben Scrivens finished with 36 saves on 38 shots to earn his seventh win of the campaign. Amerks defensemen Brayden McNabb and Alex Biega each scored their second goals of the season, while Leggio stopped 32 of 35 shots he faced in his fifth consecutive start between the pipes. Marcus Foligno assisted on both Rochester goals, snapping a two-game scoring drought to give the second-year pro four helpers over his last five games.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Friday, Dec. 7 vs. Adirondack (Season Series: 1-1-0-0, 2 pts.)
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Rochester looks to snap its three-game skid as the Adirondack Phantoms journey west to The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the third of four meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. After winning in decisive fashion by virtue of 6-2 rout to open the season series with Adirondack back on Oct. 26, the Amerks dropped a 2-1 decision in Phantoms’ first visit to Rochester on Nov. 9 at The Blue Cross Arena. Brennan potted the lone goal for the Amerks, who despite the loss, maintain a 25-24-5 all-time record against the Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliate. (Please note that the game will not be televised as originally scheduled; the game on Dec. 28 in Buffalo will be picked up by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel instead.)
Saturday, Dec. 8 at Toronto (Season Series: 0-2-1-0, 1 pt.)
The Amerks head north of the border for the second time in as many weeks to take on the defending Western Conference champion Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. The 7 p.m. matchup will be the fourth of 10 games between the two teams and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised live nationally across Canada on Sportsnet ONE. Coming off their home-and-home series this past weekend, the longtime foes are currently in a stretch that has them facing off four times in seven games. After Saturday’s tilt in Toronto, the teams will clash again the following Saturday in Rochester, marking the third straight weekend the Amerks and Marlies will exchange pleasantries. Toronto has claimed all three meetings with Rochester thus far this season, outscoring the Amerks 10-4 during that span, including 6-3 at home. The Amerks are 26-35-2 lifetime against the Baby Leafs.
BRENNAN HALFWAY THERE
With two more goals in Rochester’s 5-2 triumph over Albany on Nov. 23, T.J. Brennan is on pace to shatter Rick Pagnutti’s 40-year-old franchise record for most goals scored by a defenseman in a single-season. Pagnutti set the mark during the 1972-73 campaign, his first in Rochester, when he netted 18 goals as part of a 55-point seasonthat led all Amerks defensemen and placed him third on the team in overall scoring. Brennan officially reached the halfway point with a pair of shorthanded tallies against the Devils to bring his season total to nine through just 19 games this season. The fourth-year blueliner fell just two short of the record last season, scoring 16 goals in only 52 games with the Amerks.
CAN FLYNN BUILD ON NOVEMBER?
Flynn was Rochester’s most productive and consistent player throughout the month of November. After beginning the month with an assist in a 3-2 win over Hamilton on Nov. 2, the Lynnfield, Mass., native put on quite the offensive display that saw the rookie forward record an astounding 15 points on seven goals and eight assists over a career-long nine-game point streak. Flynn’s only scoreless outing in November came in Friday’s 4-1 setback to Toronto, snapping what was the second-longest active point streak and the longest active assist streak in the AHL. More impressively, however, Flynn compiled four multi-point outings during the stretch, including three over his last six appearances that was highlighted by a career-high four-point effort (3+1) on Nov. 23 against Albany as he notched his first career hat trick. Flynn ranked fifth in the AHL in scoring during the month of November, behind only Oklahoma City’s Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall and Houston’s Justin Fontaine.The Amerks are also 4-1-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Amerks have seen five of their last 11 games of the season decided by one goal, including three straight one-goal contests to begin the month of November. Rochester is 4-4-1-0 in nine one-goal games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 42 such outings last season. Of those nine one-goal games, three have been determined in overtime or via the shootout for a 2-0-1-0 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 3-4-1-0 (7 points) this season against North Division rivals, but have a 6-4-1-0 (13 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The second period has been Rochester’s strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 25 goals while allowing 20. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 13 of the first 19 games of the campaign and show a 7-4-2-0 record when doing so, including a 4-2-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 7-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 4-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 32.47 shots per game, the sixth-highest total in the AHL.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
* With 51 goals through their last 15 games, the Amerks are currently 10th in the AHL in goals for with 63, 11 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 74 tallies. Rochester is currently averaging 3.32 goals-per-game, good for seventh in the league.
* Rochester’s PP has been one of the most effective in the league over the last six games as the Amerks have converted on four of their last 26 man-advantage opportunities. The Amerks are tied for ninth in the league with 18 power-play goals and own the ninth-best power-play unit in the AHL with an 18.8% efficiency rate. More impressively, Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 12 of the first 19 games this season.
* With 16 points over his last 16 games, Marcus Foligno remains Rochester’s top point-getter with 19 points (6+13) in 19 games this season. The second-year pro currently ranks tied for 16th overall among the AHL’s top scorers, while his 13 assists are also tied for 11th.
* Brennan, who has found the back of the net in four of his last nine games, ranks second in scoring among AHL defensemen with 18 points (9+9), while his team-leading nine goals are second most among league rearguards and 16th overall.
* Additionally, four of Brennan’s nine tallies have also come on the power-play, tying him for eighth among league leaders, while also he shares the league lead with two shorthanded goals.
* Brennan is third in the league lead with 74 shots on goal.
* Despite being held scoreless in his last two games, Flynn enters the week tied for fifth among AHL rookies with 16 points (8+8) in 18 games.
* Leggio, who has started five straight and 17 of the last 19 games for the Amerks, leads all AHL netminders in saves (500) and minutes played (1028:23), while his nine wins are good for third. He also boasts the third-best shootout record among goaltenders, having stopped nine of 10 shooters for a .889 save percentage.
* Averaging 3.53 penalty minutes per game, Nick Tarnasky is 16th in the AHL with 67 penalty minutes. He also comes into the week ranking fourth with nine fighting majors, including four in his last 10 games.
* Rochester is 5-5-0-0 on home ice this season and is just one of five teams to remain unbeaten in the shootout.
Flynn has 15 points (7+8) through his last 11 games after being held pointless in six of his first seven outings to begin the campaign… McNabb has collected two goals and nine assists in his last 16 appearances… Brennan, who recently had a four-game point streak halted, has goals in four of his last nine games, including a stretch of three straight games from Nov. 9-14… Evan Rankin has registered 13 points (6+7) over his last 16 games and has only been held scoreless just six times in 18 games this season… Coming off his two-assist game Saturday in Toronto, Foligno has registered 10 points (1+9) in his last 12 games, including eight points (3+5) in his last seven to return to a point-per-game pace… Alex Biega has collected eight points (2+6) over his last 15 games, including at least one in three straight games between Oct. 26-Nov. 2… Veteran forward Mark Mancari enters the week after notching eight points (2+6) through his last 15 games, a stretch that features a pair of multi-point outings… Rick Schofield also has seven points (3+4) over the last 15 games… Captain Kevin Porter has four points (1+3) in his last seven appearances.
Luke Adam made his 100th career AHL appearance Saturday at Toronto… Roy netted his first professional goal against former Amerk goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Rochester’s 4-2 loss to San Antonio last Wednesday… Schofield skated in his 100th pro game against the Rampage which also represented the 150th pro appearance for defenseman Nick Crawford… Mancari skated in his 500th career AHL game at Hamilton on Nov. 14… Rookie defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc also made his professional debut against the Bulldogs and scored his first pro goal in the 4-1 win… Rookie forward Kevin Sundher notched his first professional point with an assist in a 5-2 win at Syracuse on Nov. 10… Leggio needs another two wins to reach 100 career victories… Foligno and Phil Varone are each seven appearances shy of 100 pro games.
Toys for Tots – The Amerks will hold a Toy Drive to benefit U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots this holiday season. The Toy Drive will take place during the next three Amerks home games, beginning Friday, Dec. 7 versus the Adirondack Phantoms. Fans are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys 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 three games. The items will then be donated to Toys For Tots. Any fan that donates a new, unwrapped toy at the Box Office will be able to save $5 on the purchase of a best-available lower level ticket for that night’s game.
Eats & Seats – The Distillery “Eats & Seats” promotion returns for another season, where for just $20, fans can purchase one ticket (best-available) and a $10 gift card to The Distillery.
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 again on Fridays, 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 6-7 p.m. in the Upper Atrium Bar featuring live music and $2 Molson and Coors Light drafts for fans age 21 and over.
THIS MONTH IN AMERKS HISTORY
* Dec. 1, 1972 – Dave Hrechosky becomes the 11th player in team history to net four goals in a game.
* Dec. 9, 1956 – Amerks Hall of Famer Bronco Horvath records the first hat trick in franchise history in Rochester’s 6-0 blanking of the Springfield Indians.
* Dec. 17, 2004 – The Amerks defeat the St. John’s Maple Leafs 3-2 in the team’s first of 17 straight home wins between Dec. 17 and March 5, a franchise record that still stands today.
* Dec. 22, 1979 – Darryl Drader nets the 6,000th goal in team history in a 6-5 loss to New Brunswick.
* Dec. 26, 1983 – Hall of Famer Geordie Robertson ties the Amerks records for most assists (6) and points (7) in a single game on his way to a 91-point season (37+54) a year after helping Rochester to its fourth Calder Cup championship.
* Dec. 26, 2010 – Forward Jeff LoVecchio scores the first goal of the game, and the 15,000th in franchise history, in what becomes of a 5-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch.
* Dec. 28, 2004 – A crowd of 17,898, the largest ever to see an Amerks home game, packs in at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena to watch the Amerks earn a 2-0 win over the Edmonton Roadrunners.
* Dec. 29, 1982 – The Amerks tie a franchise record, scoring 10 goals in a single road game versus the Maine Mariners.
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