News | 10/13/2011 11:52:39 AM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
Game Notes: Tonight, the Rochester Americans host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the franchise’s 56th Home Opener at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the first of just two meetings this season between the interconference rivals and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.
A Walk Down Memory Lane: Prior to the game, fans are invited to re-live the storied history of the Rochester Americans franchise as more than 50 Amerks alumni walk the red carpet in celebration of the Amerks’ reunion with the Buffalo Sabres. The collection of former players and coaches will then be introduced on the ice during a pre-game ceremony. The red carpet event begins at 4:30 p.m. when the current Amerks players enter The Blue Cross Arena to be followed my members of the alumni, who will sign autographs and pose for pictures. The list of scheduled attendees includes 14 Amerks Calder Cup champions, 13 Amerks Hall of Famers and 11 former Amerks captains.
Promotions: As part of the festivities for opening night, the first 10,000 fans will take home a 2011-12 Amerks magnet schedule, courtesy of the Radisson Rochester Riverside Hotel. The game also falls on the first installment of the new “Tim Hortons Two for Two Days” ticket promotion, which offers two 200-End tickets, two Tim Hortons travel mugs and two First Coffee Free coupons starting at just $22.00.
Head-to-Head: The game will be the first of two get-togethers on the season between Rochester and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Amerks enter the matchup showing a 12-12-6 all-time regular season record against the Baby Pens.
Home, Sweet Home: The Amerks enter the 2011-12 campaign with a 33-16-6 all-time home-opening record, outscoring their opponent 230-168. Rochester, however, has dropped its last three home-openers dating back to a 4-3 setback to the Syracuse Crunch on October 10, 2008.
Who’s Who: While the 2011-12 season will serve as a homecoming for one, the new campaign will see several new faces grace the lineup for the Amerks this season. Led by eight-year pro Colin Stuart, the Amerks own one of the best goaltending tandems in the league in veteran goaltender Drew MacIntyre, who led the Hamilton Bulldogs to the Western Conference Finals last season, and Williamsville native David Leggio, who finished the 2010-11 campaign among some of the league’s elite netminders. Among the rookies making their professional debuts this season include defenseman Brayden McNabb and forwards Phil Varone, Shawn Szydlowski, Jonathan Parker, Riley Boychuk, Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno. Other names of interest include veteran defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and a few names from the past in forwards Michael Ryan and Derek Whitmore.
Appearances Can Be Deceiving: At an average age of just 23 years and eight months, this year’s Amerks are the fifth youngest team in the American Hockey League. Of the 26 current players on Rochester’s active roster, 10 were born in 1990 or later, while eight players are at least older than 25. At 31 years of age, Michael Ryan is the Amerks’ oldest player.
Milestone Watch: Back for a second stint with the Amerks, veteran forward Michael Ryan is five games away from his 400th professional game, 211 of which have been played in Rochester. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is just seven games shy of 650 pro appearances. Fresh off scoring his first goal of the season, eight-year pro Colin Stuart sits just seven goals away from reaching the century mark in his pro career while second-year blueliner Drew Schiestel will reach 100 AHL games in his next two outings.
Amerks Notes: Rochester (0-1-0-0, 0 points) enters the contest after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs in its season opener this past Saturday at Copps Coliseum. Stuart and Parker each netted power-play goals for the Amerks and Leggio turned aside 22 shots in the losing effort. Kassian registered his first professional point with an assist, while Corey Tropp and T.J. Brennan earned their first points as Amerks. In addition to seven Amerks rookies making their professional debuts, the game also featured the AHL coaching debut of head coach Ron Rolston, who became the 29th head coach in the 56-year history of the franchise following seven seasons in the same capacity with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). Rochester native Derek Whitmore skated in his first game back with the Amerks on Saturday since making his pro debut with the team back in 2007-08.
Special Teams Breakdown: The Amerks currently own the third-best power-play unit in the league after scoring a pair of markers against Hamilton on Saturday. The only other teams ahead of Rochester are the Texas Stars and the Hamilton Bulldogs, who are both converting on half of their man-advantage opportunities.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Notes: Wilkes Barre/Scranton (0-1-0-1, 1 point) comes into the matchup looking to snap its two-game skid after coming up empty-handed in a 1-0 shootout loss to the Connecticut Whale last Sunday. The loss was the Penguins’ second straight at home following a 3-2 setback to the Hershey Bears to open the 2011-12 season.
The Penguins return 15 players from last year’s quad, including highly touted third-year goaltender Brad Thiessen, who anchored the reigning MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners (regular season points champion) to a league-best 58-21-0-1 record (117 points) in 2010-11. Thiessen would close the campaign with a record of 35-8-1, leading all goaltenders in wins while finishing second with seven shutouts to be named the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award winner as the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender. His 1.94 goals-against average and .922 save percentage ranked second and ninth among league netminders, respectively, which earned him a spot on the AHL’s First All-Star Team shortly after being named the co-recipient of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award for the best team goaltending duo.
Special Teams Breakdown: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is operating at a 7.7% efficiency rate with the man-advantage, going just 1-for-13 in their two losses. The Pens’ penalty-kill, however, has been solid thus far, as they have successfully killed-off nine out of the 10 times which they have been shorthanded.
Next Game: The Amerks will be in Cleveland on Friday, October 14 when they meet the Lake Erie Monsters on the road for the first of six get-togethers this season. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena and can be heard live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. Rochester is 10-15-2 all-time against the Colorado Avalanche’s affiliate.
Tonight's Warm Up Music Playlist
Chris Brown - Beautiful People
Bad Meets Evil - Fast Lane
Pearl Jam - Given to Fly
Avicii - Levels
Nadai Ali - Pressure (Messo Mix)
Young the Giant - My Body
Volbeat - Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood
Michael Jackson - Beat It
Jay-Z/Kanye West - Paris
Cold Play - Fix You