TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans open up a four-game homestand tonight when they host the first-place Syracuse Crunch at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the fifth of 10 scheduled meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in Rochester and Buffalo.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
AUDIO: DON STEVENS WITH RON ROLSTON
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 ROCHESTER STATS
2012-13 SYRACUSE STATS
FRIDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST
Last Game: Rochester at Binghamton – 1/16/13
Rochester (1) at Binghamton (5)
Goalie(s): Leggio (33 saves/38 shots, 59:58)
Special Teams: PP: 1/5 --- PK: 1/1
Shots: Binghamton 38 --- Rochester 36
PIM: Binghamton 12 --- Rochester 4
3 Stars: 1. Cowick (BNG), 2. Da Costa (BNG), 3. Lawson (BNG)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Tonight’s matchup marks the third get-together in five games and the second meeting in six nights after the Amerks defeated the Crunch 4-1 last Saturday in Syracuse. T.J. Brennan led the way for the Amerks with a goal and an assist, while Rick Schofield, Nick Tarnasky and Kevin Porter also scored for Rochester. Alex Biega also added two assists and David Leggio turned aside 41 shots to earn his 18th victory of the season. The Amerks are 6-2-0-0 in their last eight games against Syracuse dating back to last season, a stretch that has produced a win for Rochester in five of the last six meetings between the cross-town foes.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (19-15-2-1, 41 points) enters the contest after seeing its brief two-game winning streak snapped following a 5-1 loss to the Binghamton Senators Wednesday night in the southern tier. Luke Adam potted the lone goal, extending his point streak to four games, and Leggio, who was making his 10th straight start, finished with 33 saves in the losing effort for the Amerks, who remain just six points behind the Toronto Marlies for first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. The Amerks’ lineup endured a major overhaul earlier this week, most notably with the departure of Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno and Brennan, who were all recalled to the parent Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Rochester’s blueline also sustained a significant loss on Tuesday as defenseman Joe Finley was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders from the Sabres. Despite presently being on recall with Buffalo, Brennan, who shows 17 points (5+12) over his last 14 games, continues to lead the Amerks in all offensive categories in goals (14), assists (21) and points (35) and ranks second in scoring among AHL defensemen, good enough for eighth overall among the league’s top point-getters. Brennan also leads all rearguards in shots (132), shorthanded goals (2), and power-play goals (7). Leggio, who’s won six of his last 10 starts, leads all AHL netminders in wins (18), saves (956) and minutes played (1881:32).
SYRACUSE NOTES: Syracuse (24-8-2-3, 53 points) comes into the matchup as the top team in the AHL after assembling what has proven to be the Crunch’s best start in franchise history. Despite dropping a 4-1 decision to the Amerks last Saturday on home ice to, one that halted a season-long five-game point streak, the Crunch have won seven of their last nine games to move atop the league standings. Guided by reigning AHL Coach of the Year Jon Cooper, Syracuse currently leads the league in wins (24) and goals scored (131), while boasting the AHL’s second-best best winning percentage (.716). Additionally, the Crunch, whose eight regulation losses are currently a league-low, have picked up 34 of their league-best 53 points away from Central New York, making them the AHL’s best road team with a 16-3-0-2 record. The Crunch enter play tonight riding a six-game road winning streak dating back to their 3-0 win over Adirondack on Dec. 14. Syracuse’s well-balanced offense is piloted by second-year pro Tyler Johnson, whose 20 goals and 35 points place him second and eighth among the AHL’s top scorers, respectively. A Calder Cup winner with Norfolk in 2011-12, Johnson also ranks tied for seventh in the AHL with seven power-play goals while appearing in all but one game for Syracuse this season. Johnson also leads all Crunch forwards with a +15 rating.
UP NEXT: The Amerks remain at home on Monday, Jan. 21 as they take on the North Division rival Hamilton Bulldogs in a special afternoon matinee at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 1:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on WBER 90.5 FM.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- With 39 goals through their last 12 games, the Amerks are currently third in the AHL in goals for with 124, seven shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 131 tallies. Rochester is currently averaging 3.35 goals-per-game, the fourth-most league among opponents.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 15 games as the Amerks have converted on 17 of their last 62 man-advantage opportunities, including five times over the last four games. The Amerks are tied for second in the league with 37 power-play goals and own the second-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 21.9% efficiency rate. More impressively, Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 25 of the first 37 games this season.
- Brennan, who left the Amerks riding a five-game point streak (2+3), remains Rochester’s top point-getter and ranks second in scoring among AHL defensemen with 35 points (14+21), while his team-leading 14 goals are also second-most among league rearguards. Additionally, seven of Brennan’s 14 tallies have come on the power-play, tying him for seventh among league leaders. Brennan is also third in the AHL with 132 shots on goal and is one of just two defensemen to lead his respective team in scoring.
- Fresh off a three-game point streak (2+2), Brian Flynn enters the contest eight among AHL rookies with 26 points (12+14) in 34 games. The Amerks are 7-2-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
- Leggio, who’s won six of his last 10 starts, leads all AHL netminders in wins (18), saves (956) and minutes played (1881:32). He also boasts the second-best shootout record (4-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 20 of 25 shooters for a .800 save percentage. The native of Williamsville, NY, is 15-3 all-time in AHL shootouts and has won eight of his last 10.
- The Amerks have allowed at least five goals in a game 10 times this season, but are 5-4-1-0 in those games.
The American Hockey League announced yesterday that Amerks defenseman Brayden McNabb and center Kevin Porter have been named to the Western Conference All-Star roster for the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic, which will take place in Providence, Rhode Island on Jan. 27-28. McNabb, 21, has appeared in 36 games for the Amerks this season and currently ranks second in scoring among Amerks defensemen with 19 points (3+16) and ranks fifth overall on the team with 16 assists. This marks the second straight AHL All-Star selection for McNabb, who was named to the roster as a rookie last season but was unable to play due to a recall to the Buffalo Sabres. Porter, 26, has appeared in all 37 of Rochester’s games this season and currently ranks second on the team in scoring with 30 points on 11 goals and 19 assists. Porter, the Amerks’ team captain, will be making his first career AHL All-Star appearance.
2012 IN REVIEW
Several Amerks players finished atop the AHL’s regular-season scoring leaders during the 2012 calendar year, including Brennan and McNabb, who each finished sixth and 10th in scoring among league blueliners with 44 points (22+22) and 37 points (6+31), respectively. Leggio, who played in a combined 62 games for the Amerks in 2012, including the final 23 of the 2011-12 season, led all netminders with 34 wins while totaling three shutouts throughout the year.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Rochester set a new franchise attendance record by playing in front of a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans on Friday, Dec. 28 against Lake Erie at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The record-setting attendance also represented the eighth-largest crowd for a single game in American Hockey League history and the fourth-largest for an AHL game played indoors. The previous Amerks record for the largest crowd in the 57-year history of the franchise was 17,898, which was set eight years prior to the day on Dec. 28, 2004, when the Amerks defeated the Edmonton Roadrunners at the then-HSBC Arena in Buffalo.
BRENNAN GETTING CLOSER
With his power-play goal last Saturday against Syracuse, Brennan is on pace to break 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. After officially reaching the halfway point with a pair of shorthanded tallies against the Albany Devils on Nov. 23, Brennan is now within four goals of tying the mark and five away from setting a new record. The fourth-year pro fell just two short of the record last season, scoring 16 goals in only 52 games with the Amerks.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Amerks have seen eight of their last 19 games decided by one goal dating back to a 4-3 setback at Toronto on Dec. 8. Rochester is 8-6-1-1 in 16 one-goal games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 42 such outings. Of those 16 one-goal games, seven have been determined in overtime or via the shootout, for a 5-0-1-1 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 10-6-1-1 (22 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 9-9-1-0 (19 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 22 of the first 37 games of the campaign and show a 15-5-2-0 record when doing so, including a 9-2-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 14-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 9-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 30.95 shots per game, the 11th-highest output among league opponents.
Adam enters play tonight in the midst of a four-game point streak (2+4) after netting the lone goal in Rochester’s 5-1 loss at Binghamton on Wednesday… Mancari enters the contest with 17 points (7+10) over his last 15 games, a stretch that also featured a season-long five-game point streak from 12/19 to 12/28… More impressively, Mancari has posted five games with multiple points during the same stretch, including his three-point outing (1+2) at Abbotsford last Friday… McNabb shows six points (1+5) over his last 10 games, while Flynn, who despite seeing his three-game point streak come to an end, has nine points (3+6) through his last 10 games, including goals in two of his last four, Additionally, the first-year pro hasn’t gone longer than five games this season without a point… Evan Rankin has notched 19 points (9+10) over his last 28 games and has only been held scoreless just 13 times in 32 games this season… Porter, fresh off his three-game point streak, has tabbed 22 points (7+15) in his last 24 appearances, including 18 points (6+12) in his last 18 outings.
Adam is six points away from reaching the century mark for his AHL career… Biega is slated to appear in his 100th game as an Amerk on Monday vs. Hamilton… Mancari, who skated in his 250th game as an Amerk last Friday against Hamilton, is just a mere six goals away from 200 pro goals… Leggio needs another eight games to reach 200 career pro tilts… Porter recorded the 100th point of his AHL career with his first assist of the game at Abbotsford on 1/04… McNabb skated in his 100th professional game against Binghamton on 12/29… Marcus Foligno and Phil Varone each skated in their 100th pro game against Binghamton on 12/21.
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.
Hockey Night in Rochester – Friday nights are Hockey Night in Rochester, and fans who wear an Amerks or Sabres jersey to a Friday game can purchase a best-available seat for just $17.
Ditch the Dorms – Ditch the Dorms Nights are back this season again on Fridays, where students who present their College ID at The Blue cross Arena Box Office can purchase a best available ticket for just $12.
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.