The Rochester Americans announced today their schedule for the 2018-19 American Hockey League regular-season. The Amerks will open their 63rd AHL season – and 37th as the affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres – on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7:05 p.m. against the Charlotte Checkers at The Blue Cross Arena. The Home Opener will be part of a season-opening three-game homestand for Rochester, which will meet the Checkers again the following night for a rematch on Saturday, Oct. 6 before hosting the North Division rival Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
The Amerks, who remain in the North Division of the Eastern Conference, will again play a 76-game regular-season schedule (38 home games and 38 road games) against 15 of the AHL’s 31 teams. Second-year head coach Chris Taylor and the Amerks will play 27 of their 38 home games on weekends, with 20 Friday home games, four Saturday home dates and just three Sunday home outings. The team will also host 11 games on Wednesdays, two more than last season.
For the third straight year, the Amerks will play all 76 of their games solely against Eastern Conference opponents this season, with 54 coming against their North Division rivals and 22 versus teams from the Atlantic Division. The North Division will expand to eight teams in 2018-19 to welcome the addition of the Cleveland Monsters, who played out of the Central Division for the previous two seasons. The Amerks will again be joined in the North Division by the Belleville Senators, Binghamton Devils, Laval Rocket, Syracuse Crunch, Toronto Marlies and Utica Comets.
As was the case last season, Rochester will face Syracuse more than any other team during its 63rd AHL season as the Amerks and Crunch are set to meet 12 times (six home, six road). The Amerks will play intrastate rivals Binghamton and Utica 10 times each (five home, five road) and will face-off against Cleveland, the top developmental team of the Columbus Blue Jackets, eight times (four home, four road) as the Monsters shift to the Eastern Conference. Rochester’s remaining Divisional matchups also include six (three home, three road) against the defending Calder Cup champion Toronto Marlies, and four each (two home, two road) against Belleville and Laval.
The Amerks will again play the entire Atlantic Division this coming season, with four matchups (two home, two road) each against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford Wolf Pack and Charlotte Checkers, who joined the Eastern Conference prior to the 2017-18 campaign. Similar to last season, they will also face the Providence Bruins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins twice (one home, one road), while also seeing the Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Springfield Thunderbirds for a pair of meetings (one home, one road).
The AHL will expand to an all-time high 31 teams beginning in 2018-19 as the 2018 Kelly Cup champion Colorado Eagles are set to make their franchise debut. The Eagles, who previously spent the last seven seasons competing in the ECHL, as well as eight in the Central Hockey League before that, will serve as the top developmental team for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and will become the seventh team in the Pacific Division.
All home games will start at 7:05 p.m. this season, with the exception of the three Sunday games, which will begin at 3:05 p.m. The only other exclusion will be Rochester’s game on Saturday, Dec. 22 against Hartford, which is scheduled for a 5:05 p.m. start before the team heads into the Christmas break.
For the eighth straight year, the Amerks will host a game at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center when they face-off against the Cleveland Monsters on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7:05 p.m. in the first of eight meetings between the two teams this coming season. Rochester is 5-2-0-0 while playing in Buffalo since the Sabres and Amerks renewed their affiliation prior to the 2011-12 campaign.
The Amerks’ busiest month of the season comes in March when the team will play a total of 14 times, evenly split with seven games at home and on the road, including a busy stretch of eight games over the final 15 days to conclude the month. Rochester spends the most time on home ice in December with eight games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena during the month, four of which come over the team’s final six contests to close out the 2018 calendar year. The team will play three straight at home – highlighted by a back-to-back set against Hartford on Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22 – leading into the Christmas break. February and March have the Amerks playing the most road games in any month with seven each, including three separate trips to Utica over a three-week span to close out February.
Rochester’s longest homestand of the 2018-19 campaign is three games occurring three different times, the first of which keeps the Amerks on home ice to open the season. The second comes just weeks later, beginning on Friday, Oct. 26 against Utica and concluding on Friday, Nov. 2 with the first half of a home-and-home series against the Hershey Bears. Rochester’s longest string of road games this coming season is also three games, which will happen on four separate occasions over the course of the year.
Rochester has a total of five “three-in-three” situations on the docket, up from four from last season. The Amerks will be in action three straight nights when they embark on their annual weekend trek through the Atlantic Division with stops in Springfield on Friday, Nov. 16, Providence on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Hartford on Sunday, Nov. 18. The Amerks will also have another three-in-three stretch in February, two in March and one over the final weekend in April to close out the 2018-19 regular season.
Information on promotional and annual theme nights will be announced at later dates.
Amerks 2018-19 Season Ticket Memberships, which start as low as just $12 per game, are on-sale now. Full-season ticket member benefits include, but are not limited to, Riverside Club VIP Room access with Amerks Alumni, family meet and greet and annual Skate with the Players event, an exclusive preseason Ice Breaker Party and Chalk Talk with the Amerks coaching staff, your very own Season Ticket Member ID and Discount Card and much more. For more information, visit www.amerks.com/seasontickets or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.