LONGTIME RIVALS MEET TONIGHT AT BLUE CROSS ARENANews | 10/18/2011 10:18:35 AM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
Game Notes: Tonight, the Rochester Americans continue their three-game homestand as their thruway rivals from the East, the Syracuse Crunch, make their first of five appearances this season at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will mark the first of 10 scheduled meetings between the longtime foes and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.
Head-to-Head: The 2010-11 campaign saw Rochester and Syracuse split the season series with an even mark of 5-5-0-0 through 10 get-togethers last season. Home ice advantage proved to be the winning factor as both clubs went 4-1-0 within their respective arenas and each claimed 10 out of a possible 20 points. The Amerks won three of the first four meetings between the two teams, all of which were played at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks are 96-81-15 all-time against the Crunch.
Amerks Notes: After starting the season with consecutive losses and a fourth place standing in the American Hockey League’s North Division, Rochester (2-2-0-0, 4 points) enters tonight’s contest on the heels of back-to-back wins after a 7-2 rout of the Grand Rapids Griffins Sunday night on home ice. The game saw five different Amerks players record multiple points, including three-point efforts from forwards Jonathan Parker and Colin Stuart, to give Rochester’s its first home win of the season and reach the .500 mark for the first time. Veteran netminder Drew MacIntyre backstopped the Amerks with a 30-save performance for his first win of the campaign and move Rochester into a two-way tie with the Hamilton Bulldogs for second place in the North Division.
By The Numbers: Having been outscored 10-3 through the first two games of the season, the Amerks find themselves on the other side of the goal column after erupting for 10 goals in just their last two games while holding their opponents to three goals over the last six periods of play.
Team and League Leaders: Rookie forward Zack Kassian paces Rochester’s offense with three goals and five points, in addition to team-high 15 penalty minutes through the first four games of the season. Presently riding a four-game point streak, the Windsor, Ontario, native has scored all three of his goals in his last two games, including the first two-goal game of his professional career Sunday night against Grand Rapids. Averaging exactly 1.25 points per game, Kassian currently ranks fifth among AHL rookies in overall scoring and tied for 16th in penalty minutes.
Who’s Hot: Rochester native Derek Whitmore shows four points (1+3) in his last four outings, including a two-point effort against the Griffins that saw him net his first goal of the season. Second-year defenseman Nick Crawford has also recorded an assist in each of his last two games.
Special Teams Breakdown: The Amerks currently own the seventh-best power-play unit in the league with a 26.7% efficiency rate and are also one of 11 teams whose penalty kill at home remains unblemished.
Milestone Watch: Back for a second stint with the Amerks, veteran forward Michael Ryan is just two games away from his 400th professional game, 214 of which have been played in Rochester. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is just four games shy of 650 pro appearances. Fresh off three-point night against Grand Rapids, Stuart sits just six goals and five assists away from reaching the century mark in both categories in his pro career. Second-year blueliner Drew Schiestel will reach 100 AHL games in his next two outings, while Whitmore needs just four more games for 250 in his pro career.
TWC SportsNet to Air 11 Amerks Games: Time Warner Cable SportsNet will broadcast 11 Amerks games this season in both Rochester and Buffalo. Play-by-Play Announcer Don Stevens and Color Analyst Ric Seiling will be joined on the broadcasts by host Mike Catalana, the sports director for 12 WHAM News. The following games will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Channel 26/1026 HD in Rochester; Channel 13/713 HD in Buffalo): Friday, Oct. 21 vs. Hamilton (7:30 p.m.); Sunday, Oct. 23 vs. Adirondack (6:00 p.m.); Sunday, Nov. 6 vs. Syracuse (6:00 p.m.); Wednesday, Dec. 21 vs. Lake Erie (7:00 p.m.); Friday, Jan. 20 vs. Oklahoma City (7:30 p.m.), Thursday, Feb. 2 vs. Abbotsford (7:00 p.m.), Wednesday, Feb. 22 vs. Hershey (7:00 p.m.); Sunday, Mar. 4 vs. Toronto (5:00 p.m.); Friday, Mar. 9 vs. Binghamton (7:30 p.m.); Tuesday, Apr. 10 vs. Grand Rapids (7:00 p.m.) and Friday, Apr. 13 vs. Syracuse (7:30 p.m.).
Syracuse Notes: Syracuse (2-0-0-0, 4 points) comes into the matchup the winners of two straight after its recent 6-2 win over the Adirondack Phantoms this past Saturday. Kyle Palmieri recorded his second consecutive three-point game on his third career hat trick to lift the Crunch over the Phantoms.
The Crunch return 11 players from last season, the most notable being Palmieri, who finished the 2010-11 campaign second on the team in scoring and fifth overall among league freshmen with 51 points (29+22) in 62 games. This season, Palmieri, who represented Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championships, currently leads Syracuse with four goals and six points, in addition to a team-best plus-five on-ice rating.
Palmieri Named Reebok/AHL Player of the Week: The American Hockey League announced Monday that Syracuse Crunch right wing Kyle Palmieri has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 16, 2011. Palmieri recorded four goals, two assists and a plus-5 rating in two games for the Crunch last week.
Palmieri, who won this award twice as a rookie in 2010-11, began his second professional season with consecutive three-point nights. On Friday, he recorded a pair of assists in regulation before scoring the winning goal at 3:09 of overtime to give Syracuse a season-opening 5-4 victory at Binghamton. Then in Saturday’s home opener at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter, Palmieri recorded his third career hat trick, scoring once in each period to propel the Crunch to a 6-2 win over Adirondack.
Maroon to Anaheim: The Crunch will be without the services of forward Patrick Maroon tonight following his departure to Anaheim for his first NHL recall of the season. Maroon, 23, has appeared in two games with Syracuse this season, collecting five points (2+3) with a plus-four rating and two penalty minutes. He finished the 2010-11 season as Syracuse’s top point-getter with 56 points (26+30), being just one of two Crunch players to net 20 or more goals.
Remembering Sharky: Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Amerks Hall of Famer Craig Charron, who passed away on October 19, 2010 after a nine-month battle to stomach cancer. The 42-year-old left behind his wife, Wendy, and their four children. Charron was the 44th member of the Amerks Hall of Fame, having played in 335 career games (1995-98, 2000-02) with Rochester. “Sharky” was a two-time winner of the team’s MVP award, scoring title, McCulloch Trophy for community service, Fairand O’Neill Award for sportsmanship and the Booster Club’s Most Popular Player award. In 1995-96, he earned team MVP honors and helped the Amerks win their sixth Calder Cup.
Game Promotions: The game falls on the next 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.
Next Game: The Amerks remain at home on Friday, October 21st as they exchange pleasantries with the Hamilton Bulldogs for the second time in as many weeks. The 7:35 p.m. contest will be the second of 10 meetings on the season between the North Division rivals and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.