AMERKS SET FOR A NORTH DIVISION DOUBLEHEADER THIS WEEKEND
News | 10/16/2013 4:23:32 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS


Photo: Micheline Veluvolu

THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE
Amerks Welcome Division Rivals This Weekend – Coming off its first busy weekend of the new season, the Rochester Americans enter their first crucial stretch of the campaign as the Amerks look to make up some ground in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. Rochester’s next four games are all against divisional opponents, beginning with a weekend set at home before taking to the road the following week to close out the first month of the regular season. Rochester enters Week 3 after claiming two out of a possible four points this past weekend that saw the Amerks rebound from a disappointing showing on Opening Night. Looking ahead, Rochester faces its first big test of the season this weekend as visits from the red-hot Toronto Marlies and hungry Utica Comets headline an all-important North Division doubleheader.


WHERE THEY CURRENTLY STAND

RECORDS
Home:
1-1-0-0, 2 points
Away: 0-1-0-0, 0 points
Overall: 1-2-0-0, 2 points

STANDINGS
Overall:
T-22nd in the AHL
Western Conference: T-11th
North Division: 5th  

LAST 10…
1-2-0-0


AMERKS STATISTICAL LEADERS

Goals: Luke Adam (3)
Assists: Phil Varone (3)
Points: Luke Adam, Phil Varone, Jamie Tardif (3)
Power-Play Goals: Luke Adam, Jamie Tardif (1)
Power-Play Assists: Phil Varone (2)
Shorthanded Goals: N/A
Shorthanded Assists: N/A
Plus/Minus: Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (+1)
Shots: Luke Adam (14)
Penalty Minutes: Frederick Roy (35)
Games Played: Several tied at 3
Wins: Matt Hackett (1)
Losses: Matt Hackett (2)
GAA: Matt Hackett (4.61)
SV%: Matt Hackett (.878)
Saves: Matt Hackett (86)
Minutes: Matt Hackett (156:06)


LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

Friday, Oct. 11 vs. Utica – 4-1 W
Luke Adam scored twice and goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 30 shots to help the Rochester Americans to a 4-1 win over the visiting Utica Comets Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The game marked the first-ever meeting between the new North Division rivals, who are slated to meet nine more times this season. Dan Catenacci and Kevin Sundher also scored for the Amerks while veteran forward Jamie Tardif added two assists to give the Amerks their first win of the season. Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Phil Varone also recorded points for the second straight game and rookies Tim Schaller and Chad Ruhwedel earned their first professional points in the win as well.

Syracuse, Oct. 12 at Syracuse – 5-1 L
Rookie forward Nikita Kucherov scored three goals, including two on the power-play, as the defending Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch defeated the Rochester Americans 5-1 Saturday night at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Tardif’s first goal as an Amerk stood as Rochester’s lone tally of the night while Varone picked up an assist for the third straight game and Brayden McNabb also notched an assist. Hackett, making his third straight start between the pipes, finished with 32 saves in the losing effort as the Amerks dropped to 1-2-0-0 on the young season.

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS
Friday, Oct. 18 vs. Toronto – Season Series: 0-0-0-0, 0 points
Rochester begins a brief two-game homestand on Friday, Oct. 18 as the first-place Toronto Marlies make their way over the border for a 7:05 p.m. bout at The Blue Cross Arena. The matchup will be the first of 10 meetings this season between the North Division rivals and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK. Toronto maintained much of the upper-hand last season over Rochester, winning nine of the 10 get-togethers between the two teams and outscoring the Amerks 35-19 throughout the season series. The Marlies, who made their first-ever trip to the Calder Cup Finals in 2012 and have eliminated the Amerks from postseason play in each of the last two playoffs, were the only North Division team to best the Amerks in a season series as well as being the only Western Conference foe to hand Rochester both an overtime loss and a shootout loss during the 2012-13 campaign. After Friday’s game, the teams will clash again for the second time in eight days when the Amerks travel north of the border on Saturday, Oct. 26 for a North Division showdown at Ricoh Coliseum. Despite losing its top five scorers to free agency, Toronto returns 17 of its players from last season, including second-year forward Spencer Abbott, who ranked sixth on the team and led all Marlies rookies in scoring with 33 points (12+20) in 55 games. Also returning to the mix is goaltender Drew MacIntyre, set to begin his first full season in Toronto after joining the Marlies on a professional tryout midway through the campaign. MacIntyre, who appeared in 23 games with the Amerks during the 2011-12 season, posted a 13-5-3 record with a 1.83 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in 21 games with the Marlies before playing in all nine postseason contests to help Toronto advance to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the second straight year. The Marlies return to Rochester as the top team in the Western Conference after stringing together three consecutive wins at home to open the 2013-14 season and are just one of five AHL teams to remain unbeaten thus far. Friday’s game also marks the first time Amerks veteran forward Mike Zigomanis will face his former team after spending the last three seasons across Lake Ontario as a member of the Marlies.

Opponent Spotlight: Toronto comes to the Flower City fueled by the AHL’s top two scorers in fifth-year defenseman T.J. Brennan and veteran forward Trevor Smith. Brennan, in his first season with the Marlies and the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 6, leads the league with seven goals and 10 points in just three games this season. More impressively, though, Brennan has recorded two hat tricks and a pair of four-point games in that span, including one in his Toronto debut against Grand Rapids and the other most recently against St. John’s on Saturday. Brennan played the last two seasons in Rochester, nearly tying the franchise record for the most goals scored by a defenseman in a single season in 2012-13 prior to being traded by Buffalo to Florida.

Saturday, Oct. 19 vs. Utica – Season Series: 1-0-0-0, 2 points
The Amerks remain at home on Saturday, Oct. 19 as the winless Utica Comets return for the second time in as many weeks for another go-around at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the second of 10 meetings this season between the new intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. Rochester carries a 1-0-0-0 advantage in the season series after spoiling Utica’s franchise debut with a 4-1 win over the Comets on Friday. The game represented the first time in over 20 years Rochester faced a Utica-based AHL team since the 1992-93 season, when the Utica Devils last inhabited Central New York. The Devils were AHL members from 1987 up until their relocation to Saint John for the start of the 1993-94 campaign. In their first season as the primary affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, the Comets’ inaugural campaign is piloted by rookie head coach Travis Green, who enters his first stint as an American Hockey League bench boss after leading the Portland Winterhawks to a WHL championship last season.

Opponent Spotlight: The reunion of the Rochester-Utica rivalry also sees the return of former Amerk captain Colin Stuart and defenseman Alex Biega to Rochester, where they also served as teammates for the 2011-12 season. Stuart, who captained the Amerks to a berth in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, recorded 32 points (13+19) in 51 games for the Amerks in 2011-12 while also appearing in two NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres. Biega, meanwhile, played two seasons in Rochester and is coming off a banner year that saw the fourth-year blueliner capture career-highs in goals (5), assists (20) and points (25) in 72 games last season with the Amerks. Pascal Pelletier currently leads the Comets in all offensive categories, including goals (1), assists (2) and points (3).


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THE WEEK…

AMERKS NOTES: The Amerks (1-2-0-0, 2 points) enter the week in fifth place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings, just a mere four points back of division-leading Toronto. This weekend’s set of home games will be just the first of three times this season Rochester plays at home on back-to-back nights. With three tallies in his first three games, Adam enters the new week ranked tied for fifth in the AHL in goals. Adam is also tied for 11th in the AHL with 14 shots on goal. Frederick Roy currently ranks tied for second in the AHL with 35 penalty minutes while first-year forward Johnny McGuire sits second among AHL rookies and 10th overall with 22 penalty minutes. Two of Varone’s team-leading three assists have come on the power-play, tying him for ninth in the league in that category. Hackett, whose started all three games for the Amerks thus far, comes into the new week showing a 1-2-o record with a 4.61 goals-against average and a .878 save percentage. As a team, the Amerks rank second among Western Conference teams with 124 total penalty minutes while also leading the AHL with 41.33 PIMs per game.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Amerks are 1-0-0-0 (2 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show an 0-2-0-0 (0 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in one of the first three games of the campaign and show a 1-0-0-0 record when doing so, including a 1-0-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 1-0-0-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 1-0-0-0 mark at home.

LENDING A HAND: The Buffalo Sabres maybe just seven games into the new season, but the NHL club has already enlisted the help of two of Rochester’s top scorers from a season ago. Second-year forward Zemgus Girgensons, who’s coming off an impressive rookie campaign with the Amerks in 2012-13, scored his first NHL goal in his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 2 and notched his first assist in last night’s 2-1 loss to Minnesota. Through seven games with the Sabres this season, Girgensons is playing a regular shift and is averaging 13 minutes of ice time per game. Fellow second-year pro Johan Larsson also began the season in Buffalo, having appeared in five games, including his Sabres debut against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4. The Lau, Sweden, native led all Amerks rookies in scoring last season and finished third overall with 41 points (16+25) in 69 combined AHL games between Rochester and Houston.

WHO’S HOT: With another assist in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Syracuse, Varone has recorded an assist in each of Rochester’s first three games this season, tying him for the second-longest active assist streak in the AHL. Varone is also one of just three Amerks playing at a point-per-game pace, joining Adam and Tardif with three points apiece. Tardif shows three points in his last two games, beginning with a two-assist effort against Utica on Friday before netting his first goal as an Amerk the following night against the Crunch.

MILESTONE WATCH: Adam is three games away from 100 as an Amerk while veteran defenseman Drew Bagnall needs another three games to reach the 400 mark in his pro career… Fellow bleuliner Alexander Sulzer, who just returned to the Amerks following a nine-day recall with the Sabres, is four points shy of the century mark for his AHL career and needs another seven points for 200 pro points… Zigomanis is just a mere four assists away from 300 pro assists needs just three more games at the NHL level to reach 200… Varone is 10 points shy of 100 for his pro career…. Last Friday’s game against Grand Rapids marked the 200th pro/AHL game for defenseman Nick Crawford.


UPCOMING PROMOTIONS

Sweets in the Suites Night
- The Amerks will host their sixth annual “Sweets in the Suites” Halloween celebration presented by TOPS on Saturday, Oct. 19 when the Amerks host the Utica Comets at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. In the spirit of Halloween, any fan that wears a costume to the Box Office prior to the game can purchase a best-available ticket for just $14. In addition, kids age 12 and under will receive a free ticket with the purchase of a $16 adult ticket. This offer is valid at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office or by calling the Amerks at 1-855-GO-AMERKS. The first 1,000 fans ages 12 and under will receive a free Amerks pillow case for trick-or-treating courtesy of TOPS. During the first intermission, all children ages 12 or younger will have the opportunity to trick-or-treat on the suite level and collect treats courtesy of TOPS. The second intermission will feature a costume contest and parade, with the winner of the contest earning the chance to go trick-or-treating with the Amerks mascot – the Moose – on Halloween Night in the Greater Rochester Area.

Score with Subway! – With an Amerks victory during any regular season home game during the 2013-14 season, fans can log onto amerks.com to download a coupon good for one free regular six-inch sub with the purchase of a 30 oz drink. If the Amerks do not happen to win, fans still score with Subway by logging onto amerks.com to download a coupon for two free cookies the following day at participating Subway restaurants in the Rochester area. Restrictions apply. The coupons are only good the day after each Amerks home game at participating Subway restaurants in the greater Rochester area.

Taco Bell In-Store – Fans can receive a coupon/voucher for a $15 best available ticket to Friday night Amerks home games during the 2013-14 season ($9 off box office price). Turn in the coupon at the box office in order to purchase the discounted tickets or enter in the promo code (TACO) on ticketmaster.com to redeem the offer. Fans must turn in Taco Bell coupon at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office or enter the promo code on ticketmaster.com to purchase the discounted tickets.

Taco Bell “We Win, You Win” – For each home game the Amerks win, fans will be able to redeem their ticket stub at a participating Taco Bell location the following day to receive a free seasoned beef taco.

Moe’s Hot Player of the Game – At each home game, three Amerks players will be selected as the “hot players” of the game. If any of the three Amerks players scores a goal, fans will be able to redeem a coupon in the Amerks Stars & Stripes Roster Card (limited amount available upon entry) for 50% off any entrée at participating Moe’s locations the following day. If any of the three Amerks players scores a hat trick, fans will also be able to redeem a coupon in the Amerks Stars & Stripes Roster Card for an enhanced offer (free burrito) at participating Moe’s locations the following day.

Buckmans Car Wash – Amerks home game ticket stubs will be good at all Buckmans Car Wash locations for discounted car wash after all home games at all Buckmans Car Wash locations in the area.

Amerks Happy Hour – Prior to every Friday night home game this season, there will be an Amerks Happy Hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Atrium Bar featuring live music and $2 Molson and Coors Light drafts for fans age 21 and over.


THIS MONTH IN AMERKS HISTORY

Oct. 6, 2006 – Mark Mancari scores the 14,000th goal in team history in a 6-0 win over the Albany River Rats.

Oct. 8, 1994 – Todd Simon nets the 11,000th goal in team history in an 8-5 loss to the Adirondack Red Wings.

Oct. 14, 1956 – The Amerks play the Cleveland Barons to a 2-2 tie in front of 6,306 hockey-starved fans in the first game in franchise history at the Rochester War Memorial. AHL Hall of Famer Mike Nykoluk and Earl Balfour scored Rochester’s first two goals of the 1956-57 season.

Oct. 18, 1955 – The Rochester War Memorial opens its doors to its first-ever event called “Rochester on Parade.”

Oct. 18, 1989 – Rochester wins its 1,200th game as Amerks Hall of Famer Jody Gage nets the game-winner in a 4-2 victory over the Utica Devils.

Oct. 21, 2005 – Jason Pominville becomes just the third Amerks in team history to score five goals in a game, tying the franchise record. Chris Taylor also made history in the same game, tying the franchise mark with six assists.

Oct. 26, 1984 – Gary Burns provides the game-winning tally in a 5-4 win over Hershey to give the Amerks their 1,000th win in franchise history.


THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE*

Monday, Oct. 14
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Blue Cross Arena

Tuesday, Oct. 15
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Wednesday, Oct. 16
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Thursday, Oct.17
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Friday, Oct. 18
10:00 a.m.: Morning Skate, Blue Cross Arena
7:05 p.m.: Rochester vs. Toronto, Blue Cross Arena

Saturday, Oct. 19
10:00 a.m.: Morning Skate, Blue Cross Arena
7:05 p.m. Rochester vs. Utica, Blue Cross Arena

Sunday, Oct. 20
Day Off

*Schedule is subject to change

VS.  Syracuse Crunch  
TV: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel | RADIO: Sports 1280 WHTK
        
 April 18, 2014 - 07:05 PM 1 2 3F
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