TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans will play their first of three games in the next five nights as they host the first-place Abbotsford Heat in a North Division showdown tonight at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be just the second of eight scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
AUDIO: DON STEVENS WITH CHRIS TAYLOR
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 ROCHESTER STATS
2012-13 ABBOTSFORD STATS
Last Game: Rochester at Toronto – 12/8/12
Rochester (3) at Toronto (4)
Goals: Parker (2), Adam
Goalie(s): Knapp (25 saves/29 shots, 58:32)
Special Teams: PP: 0/3 --- PK: 1/3
Shots: Rochester 35 --- Toronto 29
PIM: Rochester 8 --- Toronto 8
3 Stars: 1. Gardiner (TOR), 2. Kadri (TOR), 3. Scrivens (TOR)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Amerks look to pull even with the Heat after Abbotsford opened the season series with a 3-2 win in Rochester back on Nov. 16 at The Blue Cross Arena. Abbotsford spoiled the home debut of rookie goaltender Connor Knapp as former Buffalo Sabres draft pick Paul Byron broke a 2-2 standstill with the eventual game-winner midway through the final frame. Knapp turned aside 18 of the Heat’s 21 shots for the Amerks, who have dropped four of the last five encounters with Abbotsford dating back to last season. After tonight’s matchup, the teams are idle until after the New Year when Rochester travels west for back-to-back two-game sets with Abbotsford in January and February. The Heat maintain the upper-hand with a 10-3-0 mark through 13 get-togethers with the Amerks since joining the AHL prior to the 2009-10 season.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (10-9-2-0, 22 points) enters the contest after dropping a 4-3 decision to the Toronto Marlies Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum despite another late-game rally. Facing a 4-0 deficit late in the second period, the Amerks reeled off three unanswered goals, including two in the third period, only to have their comeback attempt fall short. Second-year forward Jonathan Parker jumpstarted the rally with a pair of markers, his first two goals of the season, before Luke Adam found the back of the net in the closing minute to bring Rochester within a goal. Knapp, a native of nearby York, got his second straight start in goal for the Amerks after making 41 saves in last Friday’s win over Adirondack to earn his first professional win between the pipes. Adam, whose third-period tally snapped a 10-game goal-less drought for the former AHL Rookie of the Year, enters play tonight with points in back-to-back games for the first time since late October when he scored a goal at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before adding an assist the following night in Adirondack. Coming off their loss to Toronto, the Amerks remain in fourth place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings, 11 points behind league-leading Abbotsford.
ABBOTSFORD NOTES: Abbotsford (14-4-3-2, 33 points), wrapping up a brief two-game North Division road swing tonight, comes into the matchup as the top team in the AHL after earning a 3-2 win over Toronto Sunday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. Roman Horak’s team-leading 13th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie with 2:35 left to play in regulation to help Abbotsford snap a three-game skid which saw the Heat suffer a two-game sweep at the hands of San Antonio and get shutout twice. Abbotsford owns the best goaltender in the league in seven-year pro Barry Brust, who leads the league with an impressive 1.12 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage. Earlier this season, Brust set the new AHL record for the longest shutout streak at 268:17, surpassing the longstanding mark of 249:51 established by Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower. In just eight games with the Heat this season, Brust is 7-1-0 with three shutouts and has made 176 saves on 185 shots. Abbotsford’s well-balanced scoring attack is led by forward Ben Street, who paces the Heat with a team-high 18 points (6+12) in 23 games. Horak, who opened the 2012-13 campaign with seven goals through his first seven games, ranks third in the AHL with 13 goals and is one of just four players to appear in all 23 games thus far this season. In addition, Abbotsford brings the AHL’s best penalty kill into the game with a 91.8% efficiency rate as the Heat have allowed a league-low seven power-play goals against in 85 total shorthanded situations.
UP NEXT: Rochester makes it way to Quicken Loans Arena to take on the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday, Dec. 13. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the first of six meetings between the North Division rivals this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- With 57 goals through their last 17 games, the Amerks are currently 12th in the AHL in goals for with 69, 15 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 84 tallies. Rochester is currently averaging 3.29 goals-per-game, the fifth-most among AHL opponents.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last eight games as the Amerks have converted on six of their last 34 man-advantage opportunities, including two in their 3-1 win over Adirondack on Friday. The Amerks are eighth in the league with 20 power-play goals and own the eighth-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 19.2% efficiency rate. More impressively, Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 13 of the first 21 games this season.
- With 17 points over his last 18 games, Marcus Foligno, Rochester’s reigning Rookie of the Year, remains the Amerks' top point-getter with 20 points (6+14) in 21 games this season. The second-year pro currently ranks tied for 19th overall among the AHL’s top scorers, while his 14 assists are also tied for 14th.
- T.J. Brennan, who has found the back of the net in four of his last 11 games, remains fourth in scoring among AHL defensemen with 18 points (9+9), while his team-leading nine goals are second most among league rearguards.
- Additionally, four of Brennan’s nine tallies have come on the power-play, tying him for 13th among league leaders, while also he shares second overall with two shorthanded goals.
- Brian Flynn enters the game tied for seventh among AHL rookies with 17 points (9+8) in 20 games. The Amerks are also 5-1-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
- David Leggio, who has started 17 of the last 21 games for the Amerks, ranks second among AHL netminders in saves (500), fourth in wins (9) and sixth in minutes played (1028:23). He also boasts the second-best shootout record among goaltenders, having stopped nine of 10 shooters for a .889 save percentage.
- Brennan is third in the league with 83 shots on goal.
- Averaging 3.53 penalty minutes per game, Nick Tarnasky leads the Amerks with 67 penalty minutes. He also enters play tonight ranking sixth with nine fighting majors, including four in his last 10 games.
- Rochester is 6-5-0-0 on home ice this season and is just one of five teams to remain unbeaten in the shootout
BRENNAN HALFWAY THERE
With two more goals in Rochester’s 5-2 triumph over Albany on Nov. 23, Brennan is on pace to shatter Rick Pagnutti’s 40-year-old franchise record for most goals scored by a defenseman in a single-season. Pagnutti set the mark during the 1972-73 campaign, his first in Rochester, when he netted 18 goals en route to a 55-point season, which led all Amerks defensemen and placed him third on the team in overall scoring. Brennan officially reached the halfway point with a pair of shorthanded tallies against the Devils to bring his season total to nine through just 19 games this season. The fourth-year blueliner fell just two short of the record last season, scoring 16 goals in only 52 games with the Amerks.
A ‘FLYNN-TASTIC’ NOVEMBER
Flynn was Rochester’s most productive and consistent player throughout the month of November. After beginning the month with an assist in a 3-2 win over Hamilton on Nov. 2, the Lynnfield, Massachusetts, native put on quite the offensive display that saw the rookie forward record an astounding 15 points on seven goals and eight assists over a career-long nine-game point streak. Flynn’s only scoreless outing in November came in Friday’s 4-1 setback to Toronto, snapping what was the second-longest active point streak and the longest active assist streak in the AHL. More impressively, however, Flynn compiled four multi-point outings during the stretch, including three over his last six appearances that was highlighted by a career-high four-point effort (3+1) on Nov. 23 against Albany as he notched his first career hat trick. Flynn ranked fifth in the AHL in scoring during the month of November, behind only Oklahoma City’s Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall and Houston’s Justin Fontaine.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Amerks have seen six of their last 13 games decided by one goal, including three straight one-goal contests to begin the month of November. Rochester is 4-5-1-0 in 10 one-goal games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 42 such outings last season. Of those 10 one-goal games, three have been determined in overtime or via the shootout, for a 2-0-1-0 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 3-5-1-0 (7 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 7-4-1-0 (15 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The second period has been Rochester’s strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 28 goals while allowing 22. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 14 of the first 21 games of the campaign and show an 8-4-2-0 record when doing so, including a 5-2-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 8-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 5-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 32.05 shots per game, the seventh-highest output among league opponents.
McNabb comes into the game in the midst of a three-game point streak (1+2) and has collected two goals and 11 assists in his last appearances… Meanwhile, fellow defenseman Alex Biega has notched nine points (2+7) over his last 17 games, including three points (1+2) through his last four outings… Parker scored his first two goals of the season in Saturday’s loss to Toronto despite only playing in five games… Flynn shows 16 points (8+8) in his last 13 games after being held pointless in six of his first seven outings to begin the campaign… Brennan, who recently had a four-game point streak halted, shows goals in four of his last 11 games, including a stretch of three straight games from Nov. 9 to Nov. 14… Evan Rankin has registered 14 points (6+8) over his last 17 games and has only been held scoreless just six times in 19 games this season… Foligno has registered 11 points (1+10) in his last 14 games, including nine points (3+6) in his last nine… Veteran forward Mark Mancari has points in back-to-back games for the first time this season since stringing together a three-game point streak from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2… Team captain Kevin Porter, who scored a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal against Adirondack on Friday, has tabbed seven points (3+4) in his last nine appearances.
Knapp earned his first win, stopping 41 of 42 shots against Adirondack on Friday… Luke Adam made his 100th career AHL appearance at Toronto on Dec. 1… Rookie forward Frederick Roy netted his first professional goal against former Amerk goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Rochester’s 4-2 loss to San Antonio on Nov. 28… Newcomer Rick Schofield skated in his 100th pro game against the Rampage which also represented the 150th pro appearance for defenseman Nick Crawford… Mancari skated in his 500th career AHL game at Hamilton on Nov. 14… Rookie defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc also made his professional debut against the Bulldogs and scored his first pro goal in the 4-1 win… Leggio needs another two wins to reach 100 career victories… Foligno and Phil Varone are each five appearances shy of 100 pro tilts… McNabb needs nine more games to reach the century mark in his pro career.
Business Persons Special – For any Sunday through Thursday game, fans who present their business cards at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office can purchase a $17 ticket for best-available lower level seating.
Toys for Tots – The Amerks will hold a Toy Drive to benefit U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots this holiday season. The Toy Drive will take place during the next two Amerks home games, including tonight versus Abbotsford and Saturday versus Toronto. Fans are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys by dropping them off in collection bins in front of The Blue Cross Arena Box Office, located in the lower atrium, prior to each of the next three games. The items will then be donated to Toys For Tots. Any fan that donates a new, unwrapped toy at the Box Office will be able to save $5 on the purchase of a best-available lower level ticket for that night’s game.
Eats & Seats – The Distillery “Eats & Seats” promotion returns for another season, where for just $20, fans can purchase one ticket (best-available) and a $10 gift card to The Distillery.