AMERKS READY FOR HOLIDAY HOMESTAND WITH PAIR OF TILTS THIS WEEKEND
News | 11/22/2011 7:06:13 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS


WEEKLY NOTES: Coming off a very successful five-game homestand to kickoff the month of November, the Rochester Americans enter the holiday week looking to make up some ground as the Amerks embark on another homestand this weekend where a crucial four points are on the line. In the midst of a stretch that has Rochester playing eight of nine games at home, the Amerks have played their best hockey as of late, going 4-2-0-0 in their last six games, including a four-game winning streak that moved Rochester atop the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. With a quarter of the 2011-12 season officially in the books, the second-place Amerks continue their pursuit of division-leading Toronto where a mere four points separate them from the top. Looking ahead this week, Rochester hosts intrastate rival Albany on Friday before entertaining Hamilton on Saturday to bring the weekend to a close.

BRENNAN RETURNS TO THE SABRES: Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced Monday that defenseman T.J. Brennan has been recalled from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Buffalo’s second-round selection (31st overall) in 2007, Brennan is expected to make his NHL debut on Wednesday when the Sabres host the Boston Bruins at the First Niagara Center. The Willingboro, New Jersey, native joins the Sabres on his second career recall after a brief stint with the team last week. Brennan was recalled prior to Buffalo’s game at Carolina, but did not dress for the game before returning to Rochester on Nov. 19. The third-year rearguard has played 17 games with Rochester, compiling seven points (3+4) and eight penalty minutes. In 2010-11, he ranked second among Portland Pirates (AHL) defensemen with 39 points (15+24) in 72 games.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:
Wednesday, Nov. 16 vs. Syracuse – W, 3-2
… Brennan recorded his first multi-point game of the season and David Leggio steered aside 22 of 24 shots as the Rochester Americans earned their fourth straight win, defeating the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks power-play struck for two goals, including Marcus Foligno’s game-winner late in the final frame that broke a 2-2 tie with 6:10 to play in regulation. Colin Stuart also scored a goal for the Amerks, extending his point streak to four games.

Friday, Nov. 18 vs. Toronto – L, 2-1… A shorthanded goal by Jerry D’Amigo with less than three minutes remaining in the third period propelled the Toronto Marlies to a 2-1 victory over the Amerks in front of 6,717 fans at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday night. The loss snapped the Amerks’ four-game winning streak and brought the two clubs into a tie atop the AHL’s North Division. Rochester also wrapped up its five-game homestand with a record of 4-1-0-0. Defenseman Joe Finley netted the lone Amerks goal, his first since joining the team this season, as Maxime Legault and Shawn Szydlowski registered the assists, with Legault’s helper representing his first point as an Amerk. Leggio finished with 22 saves between the pipes.

Saturday, Nov. 19 at Toronto – L, 3-2… Rochester and Toronto finished off its weekend home-
and-home series Saturday afternoon in Toronto, where the Marlies came away with a 3-2 victory over the Amerks.  After the Amerks took a 2-1 lead midway through the second period, Toronto responded by scoring twice in the closing minutes of the second and held on in the third period despite a barrage of shots from the Amerks. Foligno and Brennan each scored for Rochester while Brayden McNabb recorded two assists and Leggio, making his third straight start in goal, made 25 saves. Derek Whitmore and Paul Szczechura each collected an assist as well for the Amerks, who outshot the Marlies 14-3 in the final 20 minutes and 34-28 for the game.

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS: Fresh off a very successful five-game homestand, and after playing their first road game in two weeks, the Amerks return home on Friday, November 25 as Rochester native Stephen Gionta and the Albany Devils journey west down the I-90 to The Blue Cross Arena. The Black Friday matchup will mark the first of four get-togethers this season between the intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The Amerks and Devils split the season series in 2010-11 with a pair of wins each, home ice proving to be a disadvantage as the road team left their hosts empty-handed through all four meetings.

Rochester remains home on Saturday, November 26 as the Hamilton Bulldogs return to Western New York for the second time this season. The 7:35 p.m. North Division matchup will be the fourth of 10 meetings between the division rivals as the Amerks look for their first win of the season against the Bulldogs after going 0-1-1-1 through the previous three engagements. The Amerks, however, maintain a 72-63-10 all-time record against the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate.
 
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.

The Amerks will also hold the team’s first “Teddy Bear Toss” during Friday night’s game. Any fan that presents a new Teddy Bear at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office prior to Friday’s game will be able to purchase a ticket in the best available seating location for just $12.00.  Then, during the first intermission, fans will be encouraged to “toss” their Teddy Bears onto the ice. All of the bears that get tossed onto the ice surface will be collected and donated to Ronald McDonald House. Fans that donate a Teddy Bear will also be entered into a raffle for an Amerks autographed team stick. Fans participating in the “Teddy Bear Toss” will receive their raffle ticket in the upper atrium upon their arrival at The Blue Cross Arena. The winner will be announced following the toss in the first intermission.

Friday night’s game will also be the second of five “$5 Parking Nights” this season in the Civic Center Garage, which is being offered by the Amerks and Mapco Auto Parks Limited, representing a $2.50 savings.  For more information on the Amerks, visit www.amerks.com or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.
 
Saturday’s game features the second “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.

AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (8-7-2-1, 19 points) enters the week after dropping back-to-back contests to the Toronto Marlies as part of a weekend home-and-home series between the two teams. The Amerks came into the two-game set after winning four of the first five games of their recent homestand, three of which came against non-divisional opponents. Despite falling to the Marlies in both games, the Amerks have collected points in four of their last six games and maintain their second-place standing in the American Hockey League’s North Division, four points shy of division-leading Toronto.

HOME, SWEET HOME: Home-ice advantage has certainly been a factor in Rochester’s recent success as of late. Currently in a stretch that has the Amerks playing eight of nine games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena, the team’s season-long five-game homestand was highlighted by a four-game winning streak that saw Rochester outscore its opponents 15-11. After beginning the season with just two home wins, the Amerks show a 6-3-0-1 record (13 points) when playing at home, where Rochester is scheduled to play its next three games.

TEAM AND LEAGUE LEADERS: Despite being held scoreless his last two games, rookie forward Zack Kassian remains Rochester’s top point-getter with a team-high seven goals and 14 points through the first 18 games of the season. A first-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2009, Kassian enters the week tied for eighth in scoring among AHL freshmen. Stuart remains at a close second with 13 points (6+7) and is one of six skaters to appear in all 18 games thus far. Whitmore ranks third on the team with 11 points (5+6) while leading the Amerks with 66 shots on goal. Coming off his two-assist effort at Toronto on Saturday, McNabb continues to lead all Rochester blueliners with 10 points (1+9), including a team-best nine assists, good enough for ninth in scoring among AHL blueliners. Finley is first on the team and tied for 12th in the league with 50 penalty minutes. Leggio, who’s started the last three games for Rochester, boasts a 5-4-0 record with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage in 10 games. His five wins tie him for 12th among AHL netminders, while he ranks among the league’s top 20 goaltenders with 263 saves.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Amerks are 3-3-2-1 (9 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 5-4-0-0 (10 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The third period has been the Amerks’ strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 16 goals while allowing 12. The Amerks have scored the first goal in just seven of the first 18 games of the campaign and show a 4-2-1-0 record when doing so, including a 3-1-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 5-0-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 3-0-0-0 mark at home. 

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: Five of the last six games for the Amerks have been decided by one goal, including the last four straight. Of Rochester’s 18 games thus far this season, 10 of them have been determined by a one-goal difference, a mark of 5-2-2-1 in favor of the Amerks.

WHO’S HOT: Kassian and Stuart each show six points (3+3) in as many games, despite having their four-game point streaks halted Friday night against Toronto. Though presently on NHL recall with the Buffalo Sabres, Brennan has notched three points (2+1) in two games, including goals in back-to-back appearances before earning second promotion to the big club. Foligno has also found the back of the net in two of his last three games, most recently in Toronto, when he scored his seventh of the season 1:34 into the contest.

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. Stuart needs just two more goals to reach the century mark in his pro career. He’s also five games shy of 500 pro appearances and two points short of 200. Szczechura, who recently skated in his 300th professional game, is two assists away from 100 pro helpers. Mark Voakes needs just five more points to reach the 100-point plateau.

SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKDOWN: After some recent struggles on the power-play, the Amerks have gone 4-for-26 on the man-advantage over their last five games, including going 2-for-3 in last week’s win over the Syracuse Crunch. Prior to that, Rochester went on a 0-for-27 dry spell that failed to see the Amerks score a power-play goal since October 21 against Hamilton. On the penalty kill, Rochester has successfully killed off 61-of-77 (79.2%) shorthanded situations, including 39 of 44 at home for an 88.6% efficiency rate, good enough for the league’s fourth-best rating in that category. As a team, Rochester has allowed a league-most four shorthanded goals against, three coming at home and the other on the road.  

THIS WEEK IN AMERKS HISTORY: Francois Methot scores the game-winning goal on November 19, 2000 to help the Amerks to a 5-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch and the franchise’s 1,600th win in team history. Exactly 36 years ago today, Amerks Hall of Famer Gordie Clark nets Rochester’s 5,000th goal in a 6-4 loss to the Hershey Bears during the 1975-76 season. Clark would finish the campaign as the team’s leader in goals (30), assists (49) and points (79) while appearing in all but four games.

AMERKS WEEKLY SCHEDULE*
DAY                                         TIME                                        LOCATION
Monday, November 21           10:30 a.m. practice                 Blue Cross Arena
Tuesday, November 22           10:30 a.m. practice                 Blue Cross Arena
Wednesday, November 23     10:30 a.m. practice                 Blue Cross Arena
                                               4:00 p.m. reading                   Charlotte Public Library
Thursday, November 24         10:30 a.m. practice                 Blue Cross Arena
Friday, November 25              10:00 a.m. gameday skate     Blue Cross Arena
                                               7:35 p.m. vs. Albany              Blue Cross Arena
Saturday, November 26          10:00 a.m. gameday skate     Blue Cross Arena
                                               7:35 p.m. vs. Hamilton          Blue Cross Arena
Sunday, November 27             Day Off                                    ----                                          
                                                                                              
*schedule subject to change

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