AMERKS ENJOY SOME DOWN TIME AS HOMESTAND CONTINUES THIS WEEKNews | 11/7/2011 5:06:57 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
WEEKLY NOTES: It’s been almost a month since the American Hockey League and its member clubs lifted the curtain on the 2011-12 season, and despite some recent adversity in the early stages, the Rochester Americans have demonstrated the resiliency in order to remain among the league’s top franchises. A week ago, Rochester entered the new month on a five-game winless skid, but solid play, combined with the determination to return to their winning ways, has the Amerks back on track after claiming four out of a possible six points over the weekend. With wins in two of their last three games, and with home-ice advantage on their side, the Amerks look to build on their momentum as they spend some quality time within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena, beginning this weekend when Binghamton and Grand Rapids come to town.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS: Coming off a four-game road to swing to kickoff the month of November, the Amerks continue their season-long five-game homestand on Friday, November 11 as the Binghamton Senators journey north to The Blue Cross Arena for the first time this season. The 7:35 p.m. contest will be the third meeting in five games between the intrastate rivals and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. Rochester is 1-1-0-0 this season against the B-Sens after earning a 3-2 win on Friday, but is 32-36-6 in 74 lifetime meetings with the Baby Sens.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: Friday’s contest falls on the next installment of the “Ditch the Dorms” night. Beginning this season, the Amerks are encouraging all college students to “Ditch the Dorms” on Friday nights and bring the party downtown for Amerks College Nights. Current students who show a valid school ID can get best available seating anywhere in the arena for as low as $10.00. In conjunction with Savor Catering at The Blue Cross Arena, fans can take part of “Amerks Happy Hour” from 6:30-7:30 in the Upper Atrium Bar with $2.00 drafts, courtesy of Molson and Coors Light.
Friday’s game will also be Rochester’s annual “Salute the Troops” night. In observance of Veterans Day, the Amerks will honor those who have served our country throughout the evening. Fans are encouraged to donate care package items that will be sent to local U.S. military service members who are currently deployed overseas. The items will be collected at the game and shipped by Blue Star Mothers ROC, which is part of a national organization whose mission is to support all members of the Armed Forces and their families through a variety of supportive events and activities.
Saturday’s game features the first “Hockey Night in Rochester’ promotion of the season. For all Saturday home games for the rest of year, fans that show up sporting either an Amerks or Sabres jersey can purchase $12.00 tickets from The Blue Cross Arena Box Office for best available seating.
The Amerks Coat Drive continues this weekend, as fans are encouraged to donate new or gently used coats by dropping them off in collection bins in front of The Blue Cross Arena Box Office, located in the lower atrium, prior to both Friday’s game and Saturday’s game. The coats will then be donated to the Open Door Mission. Any fan that donates a coat will be able to purchase a $10.00 ticket in the best available seating location for that night’s game.
AMERKS NOTES: After beginning the month on a five-game winless streak, Rochester (5-5-2-1, 13 points) enters the week with wins in two of its last three games, including a thrilling come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory over Syracuse on Sunday to close out the weekend with four out of a possible six points. Sunday’s triumph over the Crunch also marked the eighth time in the last 11 games in which the Amerks have gained at least one point, solidifying their second-place standing in the American Hockey League’s North Division one point shy of division-leading Toronto.
TEAM AND LEAGUE LEADERS: Coming off his two-point (1+1) effort against Syracuse last night, Kassian currently leads the Amerks with 10 points (5+5) and is one of three skaters to net a team-high five goals. Kassian enters the week presently tied for sixth in scoring among AHL freshmen. Rochester native Derek Whitmore remains at a close second with nine points (4+5), while leading the team with 44 shots on goal and a plus-five on-ice rating. McNabb, also coming off a two-point outing against the Crunch, continues to lead all Rochester blueliners with seven points (1+6), good enough for seventh among league rearguards.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Amerks are 2-1-2-1 (7 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 3-4-0-0 (6 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 five of its last nine games, two of which have been determined via the shootout. The third period has been the Amerks’ strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 13 goals while allowing 10. The Amerks have scored the first goal in just four of their first 13 games of the campaign and show a 3-0-1-0 when doing so, including an unblemished 2-0-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 3-0-1-0 when leading after two periods.
WHO’S HOT: Lagace (2+1) and Szczechura (1+3) enter the week riding three-game point streaks, both of which started Friday in Binghamton. Lagace’s streak includes goals in back-to-back games, while Szczechura has certainly made up for lost time in recording four points (1+3) in his first three games of the season after missing the first 10 on the injured list. Szczechura capped the weekend off in dramatic fashion on Sunday, scoring the equalizer, his first as an Amerk, to send the game into overtime before helping set up McNabb’s overtime winner 56 seconds into the extra frame. Voakes shows four points (2+2) in his last three games, including a pair of marker last night against Syracuse, while Kassian boasts three points (2+1) over his last three appearances.
SHARING THE CREASE: Leggio and MacIntyre have alternated starts through the team’s first 13 games of the season. Leggio has posted a record of 4-3-0 with a 3.21 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage while MacIntyre is 1-4-1 with a 3.31 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage.
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 two assists away from reaching the century mark in both categories in his pro career. He’s also 10 games shy of 500 pro appearances. Szczechura also had a big night on Sunday, celebrating his 300th professional game with his first goal of the season and his 150th career AHL point. Voakes needs just seven more points to reach the 100-point plateau.
SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKDOWN: The Amerks’ power-play has struggled as of late, going 0-for-27 over the last seven 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 43-of-56 (76.8%) shorthanded situations, including 24 of 27 at home for an 88.9% efficiency rate, good enough for sixth in the AHL in that category. As a team, Rochester has allowed a league-most three shorthanded goals against, two coming at home and the other on the road.
THIS WEEK IN AMERKS HISTORY: Jason Young scores the game-winning goal in a 4-2 win over the Worcester IceCats on November 11, 1994 to give the Amerks their 1,400th franchise win.
AMERKS WEEKLY SCHEDULE