AMERKS AND CRUNCH CLOSE OUT THE WEEKEND WITH HOME-AND-HOME SERIESNews | 11/5/2011 2:34:45 AM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
Game Notes: The Rochester Americans close out their four-game road swing tonight with the first leg of a home-and-home series with the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:30 p.m. contest is the second of 10 scheduled meetings this season between the intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.
Head-to-Head: The Amerks are 1-0-0-0 this season after earning a 3-2 shootout win over the Crunch in the teams’ first get-together at The Blue Cross Arena on October 18. Facing an early 2-0 deficit in the first period, Rochester rallied late in the game with goals from Jacob Lagace and Nick Crawford before Jonathan Parker solidified the triumphant comeback with his fifth-round game-winner in the skills competition. The Amerks also maintain the upper hand with a 97-81-15 all-time record against their longtime thruway neighbors.
Tropp’s Big Night: A little more than 24 hours removed from earning his first-ever National Hockey League recall, second-year forward Corey Tropp added another career milestone to his list after the 22-year-old mad his NHL debut in the Buffalo Sabres’ 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames last night at the First Niagara Center. Tropp received 6:19 of ice time for the Sabres on eight shifts, playing on the fourth line alongside Cody McCormick and Matt Ellis.
Amerks Notes: Rochester (4-4-2-1, 11 points) enters the contest fresh off its 3-2 victory over the Binghamton Senators last night at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The Amerks returned to the southern tier for the second time in six nights and built a 2-0 lead in the first 2:33 of the game to propel them to the win. The Amerks’ quick start, coupled by David Leggio’s 29-save effort between the pipes, proved to be the difference as Rochester halted its five-game winless streak while having gained at least one point in seven of its last nine games. The game also featured the season debuts of forwards Paul Szczechura (SHU-her-uh) and Maxime Legault (leh-GOH), who both missed the first 10 games of the campaign on the injured list. Szczechura, who is coming off a 21-goal season with Norfolk last year, wasted no time getting on the score sheet with the Amerks as he picked up an assist on a first period goal by Zack Kassian.
Team and League Leaders: Derek Whitmore and Kassian currently share the team lead with eight points apiece on four goals and four assists through the first 11 games of the season. The forwards are also two of five players with a team-high four goals, including Marcus Foligno and Lagace, who each found the back of the net in last night’s win over Binghamton. Rookie blueliner Brayden McNabb leads all team defensemen with five points (0+5), while Kassian presently ranks tied for 10th among AHL freshmen in scoring entering play tonight.
By The Numbers: The Amerks are 2-1-2-1 (7 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 2-3-0-0 (4 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. After deciding the first four games of the season in regulation, Rochester has been forced into extra time in four of its last seven games, two of which have been determined via the shootout. Despite being outscored 34-29, the Amerks’ 29 goals for are the second-highest among North Division opponents. The third period has been the Amerks’ strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 11 goals while allowing eight.
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. Team captain and eight-year pro Colin Stuart sits just five goals and three assists away from reaching the century mark in both categories in his pro career. Second-year blueliner Drew Schiestel skated in his 100th AHL game last against the B-Sens and Szczechura needs two more games to eclipse the 300 mark for his pro career.
Special Teams Breakdown: The Amerks’ power-play has struggled as of late, going 0-for-20 over the last five games, despite scoring a man-advantage goal in five of the first six games to start the season. On the penalty kill, Rochester has successfully killed off 35-of-42 (83.3%) shorthanded situations, including 33 of the last 38. The Amerks’ penalty kill is currently the eighth-best in the AHL, but ranks third at home with a 95.2 efficiency rate. As a team, Rochester has allowed a league-most three shorthanded goals against, two coming at home and the other on the road.
Team and League Leaders: With Nick Bonino presently being on NHL recall with the Anaheim Ducks, second-year forward Kyle Palmieri currently leads the Crunch with eight goals and 10 points in just six games this season. Palmieri, who started the season on a five-game point streak, enters play tonight tied for second among the AHL’s top goal scorers, while seven of his eight tallies have been scored at even strength.
Next Game: The Amerks play their third game in as many nights on Sunday, November 6 as the home-and-home series shifts back to Rochester for a 6:05 p.m. faceoff at The Blue Cross Arena. The game will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The contest will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26.
Upcoming Promotions: Sunday’s home game against Syracuse falls on the next installment of the “Red Hot Sunday Funday” promotion, which again features the Zweigle’s Family Four Pack. For the third straight year, fans can purchase four hot dogs, four sodas and four tickets to any best available seating location for any Sunday home game for the low price of just $44.00.