DOWN ON THE FARM
Amerks start three games in four nights in Grand Rapids on Wednesday
|(Photo: Micheline Veluvolu)|
THIS WEEK'S STORYLINE
Amerks Look To Build On Successful Week – Coming off a very successful week that featured a win over the AHL’s best team and another incredible late-game rally, the Rochester Americans still have plenty of work ahead of them as another busy week of games approaches. The Amerks enter the new week after collecting points in three straight games over a stretch that saw Rochester claim five out of a possible six points against tough North Division opponents. The Amerks’ recent surge has the club now in sole possession of the third place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings, but still remain 10 points behind the league-leading Syracuse Crunch. Rochester embarks on its most demanding stretch of the month this week with seven total games over the next 13 days, including three in the next four. Looking ahead, the Amerks travel up to Michigan for a midweek tilt with Grand Rapids tonight before closing out the weekend with a home-and-home series with Binghamton prior to the Christmas break.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Tuesday, Dec. 11 vs. Abbotsford, 3-2 (W-SO)
Rochester cooled off the Western Conference-leading Abbotsford Heat as the Amerks defeated their North Division rivals with a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday night at The Blue Cross Arena. David Leggio made his return to the pipes after a two-game rest, turning away 29 shots in regulation and overtime. Leggio was also perfect in the shootout, stopping all six Heat shooters before T.J. Brennan netted the game-winner in the sixth round. Frederick Roy and Luke Adam also scored in regulation for the Amerks.
Thursday, Dec. 13 at Lake Erie, 7-6 (W)
Trailing 6-3 in the third period, the Amerks scored four straight goals to rally for a 7-6 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday. Mark Mancari tied the game at six before Alex Biega scored the eventual game-winning goal with just 3:04 remaining in the third period to cap off the comeback and give Rochester the win. Seven different Amerks players finished with two-point games, including Biega (1+1), Kevin Porter (1+1), Mancari (1+1), Marcus Foligno (1+1), Adam (1+1), Nick Tarnasky (0+2) and Kevin Sundher (0+2). Leggio made 33 saves in net to earn the win while Jonathan Parker and Maxime Legault rounded out the scoring for the Amerks.
Saturday, Dec. 15 vs. Toronto, 4-3 (L-SO)
The Rochester Americans and Toronto Marlies met for the third time in as many weeks Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena, where the Marlies emerged with a 4-3 shootout victory in a back-and-forth North Division showdown that featured three goals in the final five minutes of the contest. Foligno scored the go-ahead goal for Rochester with 2:13 to play in regulation, but Toronto’s Matt Frattin would tie things up with just 10 seconds left to force overtime before going onto score in the shootout. Former Amerk Mike Kostka spotted the Marlies with an early advantage in the shootout, beating Leggio, who entered the contest with a perfect 3-0-0 mark and a league-best .933 save percentage in shootouts this season. Adam and Mark Pysyk rounded out the scoring for the Amerks, who despite the loss, claimed five out of six points as the team completed a busy stretch of three games in five nights. Adam has now scored a goal in each of his last four games, becoming the first Amerks player this season to record a goal in four consecutive outings. The game also featured the return of forward Cody Hodgson, who missed the last 14 games with an injury.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Grand Rapids (Season Series: 1-0-0-0, 2 pts.)
The Amerks begin a busy stretch of three games in four nights on Wednesday, Dec. 19 when they travel to Van Andel Arena to close out their season series with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the second and final meeting between the former North Division rivals this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will be exactly two months to the day since the teams’ only other encounter back on Oct. 19 in Rochester when the Amerks skated to a 4-3 win over Grand Rapids at The Blue Cross Arena. Rochester, led by a two-point effort from Brennan, scored three of its four goals on the power-play and went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, marking the only time this season the Amerks had near-perfect efficiency on both of their special teams units. The Griffins are currently tied for first in the AHL’s Midwest Division with a 13-9-1-1 record and 28 points. Rochester is 26-30-3 all-time against the Detroit Red Wings’ affiliate.
Friday, Dec. 21 vs. Binghamton (Season Series: 0-2-0-0, 0 pts.)
Rochester returns home to The Blue Cross Arena on Friday, Dec. 21 as the Amerks battle the Binghamton Senators in the first leg of a two-game set between the intrastate rivals. The 7:05 p.m. matchup kicks off a stretch in which the teams will face off three times in five games, including another meeting in Rochester on Saturday, Dec. 29. The game will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK and will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Binghamton carries a 2-0-0-0 record against the Amerks this season after earning a 3-2 home win over Rochester in the teams’ most recent get-together on Nov. 16. The Amerks are 37-39-6 lifetime against the Baby Sens.
Saturday, Dec. 22 at Binghamton (Season Series: 0-2-0-0, 0 pts.)
The Amerks and B-Sens will clash again the following night as the home-and-home series shifts to the southern tier on Saturday, Dec. 22 for a 7:05 p.m. bout at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Fans can tune in for all the live action on Sports 1280 WHTK, while the game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in Rochester and Buffalo.
BRENNAN HALFWAY THERE
With two more goals in Rochester’s 5-2 triumph over Albany on Nov. 23, Brennan is on pace to break 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 en route to a 55-point season, which 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 24 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.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Amerks have seen five of their last six games decided by one goal, including the team’s last four games dating back to a 4-3 setback at Toronto on Dec. 8. Rochester is 6-5-1-1 in 13 one-goal games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 42 such outings. Of those 13 one-goal games, five have been determined in overtime or via the shootout, for a 3-0-1-1 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 5-5-1-1 (12 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 7-4-1-0 (15 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The second period has been Rochester’s strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 32 goals while allowing 26. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 16 of the first 23 games of the campaign and show a 10-4-2-0 record when doing so, including a 6-2-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 9-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 6-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 31.54 shots per game, the ninth-highest output among league opponents.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
-With 70 goals through their last 20 games, the Amerks are currently tied for seventh in the AHL in goals for with 82, 13 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 95 tallies. Rochester is currently averaging 3.42 goals-per-game, the third-most among AHL opponents.
-Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 10 games as the Amerks have converted on eight of their last 46 man-advantage opportunities, including one in their 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto on Saturday. The Amerks are 10th in the league with 22 power-play goals and own the seventh-best power-play unit in the AHL with an 19.0% efficiency rate. More impressively, Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 15 of the first 24 games this season.
-With 13 points (5+8) over his last 12 games, including seven (2+5) in his last six, Foligno remains the Amerks' top point-getter with 24 points (8+16) in 24 games this season. The second-year pro currently ranks tied for 13th overall among the AHL’s top scorers, while his 16 assists are also tied for 11th.
-Brennan remains fourth in scoring among AHL defensemen with 20 points (9+11), while his team-leading nine goals are second-most among league rearguards. Additionally, four of Brennan’s nine tallies have come on the power-play, tying him for 19th among league leaders, while also he shares second overall with two shorthanded goals and ranks third in the AHL with 91 shots on goal.
-Flynn enters the week tied for ninth among AHL rookies with 17 points (9+8) in 22 games. The Amerks are 5-1-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
-Leggio, who has started three straight and 20 of the last 24 games for the Amerks, ranks second among all AHL netminders in saves (586), wins (11) and minutes played (1218:20). He also boasts the best shootout record (3-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 16 of 19 shooters, including all six in Rochester’s 3-2 win over Abbotsford last Tuesday, for a .842 save percentage. The native of Williamsville, NY, is 14-3 all-time in AHL shootouts and has won seven of his last nine.
Adam, who recorded his first multi-point game of the season last Thursday at Lake Erie, enters the week with points in five straight games, including a goal in four consecutive outings… With a goal in Saturday’s shootout loss to Toronto, Foligno has goals in back-to-back games and also comes into the week in the midst of a three-game point streak (2+2)… More impressively, the second-year pro shows 13 points (5+8) in his last 12 games and is the only Amerk currently averaging a point-per-game… Phil Varone has recorded an assist in each of his last three games while Mancari shows four points (1+3) through his last five games… Biega has notched 11 points (3+8) over his last 20 games, including five points (2+3) through his last seven outings… After scoring his first two goals of the season at Toronto on Dec. 8, Parker added another last Thursday against Lake Erie, giving the second-year pro three goals over his last five games… Flynn shows 16 points (8+8) in his last 15 games after being held pointless in six of his first seven outings to begin the campaign… Evan Rankin has registered 14 points (6+8) over his last 17 games and has only been held scoreless just six times in 19 games this season… Porter, meanwhile, has tabbed 10 points (4+6) in his last 12 appearances, including six points (3+3) in his last five, and has two multi-point performances through his last four games.
Leggio earned his 100th professional win with a 33-save effort at Lake Erie last Thursday… Foligno and Varone are each two appearances shy of 100 pro tilts… Legault needs just one more appearance for 150 pro games, while Brayden McNabb needs six more games to reach the century mark in his pro career… Mancari will celebrate his 250th game as an Amerk on Jan. 11 vs. Hamilton… Joe Finley is just a dozen games shy of 100 AHL games… Porter is six points away from 100 career AHL points… Rookie goaltender Connor Knapp earned his first career win, stopping 41 of 42 shots against Adirondack on Dec. 7… Adam made his 100th career AHL appearance at Toronto on Dec. 1… Roy netted his first professional goal against former Amerk goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Rochester’s 4-2 loss to San Antonio on Nov. 28.
*Festive Sweater Night – Fans who show up to Friday’s gave vs. Binghamton wearing a festive Christmas sweater can purchase best-available seat for just $15.
*Mystery Ornaments – In light of the holiday season, Friday’s game will again feature Amerks Mystery Ornaments. Available for purchase for just $10, these specially-designed, one-of-a-kind Christmas bulbs are individually wrapped and signed by current team members. While supplies last.
*Zubaz Pants Party Ticket Package – For just $30, fans can purchase a pair of Amerks-colored Zubaz pants and a Party Deck ticket to the game against Binghamton on Friday. To order a Zubaz Pants Party Package, visit www.amerks.com/zubaz or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.
*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 6:00 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.
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.