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A Good Time To Be A Fan

Wednesday, 10.25.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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A Good Time To Be A Fan
It's a good time to be a hockey fan in Western New York.

While the Buffalo Sabres are the talk of the National Hockey League with their perfect start, their AHL affiliate is making headlines of its own 75 miles down the Thruway. The Rochester Americans (affiliated with both Buffalo and the Florida Panthers) are 6-0-0-0 out of the gate, making it 15 wins in 15 games for the Sabres organization.

Allowing 106 shots in two games might not seem like a recipe for success, but Rochester made it work last week, as Craig Anderson made 50 stops in a 3-1 win over Peoria on Friday night and rookie Adam Dennis followed up with 54 saves in a 3-1 win at Toronto on Saturday afternoon. Before it was done twice in less than 24 hours over the weekend, no Amerks goaltender had made at least 50 saves in a game since Nov. 12, 1991 (David Littman).

Anderson (1.23, .959) and Dennis (1.50, .969) have been nearly unbeatable on the season, stopping 212 of 220 shots overall and combining for a .973 save percentage over the last three games in which the Amerks have been outshot by a 148-69 margin.

Anderson is a veteran in his sixth professional season and defenseman Brandon Smith has played more than 700 AHL games, but the rest of the Rochester defensive unit is relatively inexperienced. Goaltender Dennis and blueliners Mike Card, Michael Funk, Franklin MacDonald, Andrej Sekera and Patrick Kaleta had never played a professional game before opening night, Martin Lojek owned 15 games of previous AHL experience, and Ari Vallin was making his North American debut after several years in his native Finland. But the result – eight goals against in six games – has Rochester off to its best start since going 9-0-0-0 to open the 1999-2000 campaign.

Up front, Clarke MacArthur leads the Amerks with seven points after finishing second in team scoring as a rookie in 2005-06, and first-year pro Drew Stafford is tops on the club with four goals.

The road to the NHL in the Buffalo organization has gone through Rochester for 28 years, and the early-season success of the Sabres in 2006-07 can be traced directly to the Blue Cross Arena. Thirteen of the 20 players to suit up for every Buffalo game this year are Amerks alumni, including team scoring leader Maxim Afinogenov, NHL plus/minus leader Thomas Vanek and league wins leader Ryan Miller.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82