TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans open up another busy stretch of four games in six nights tonight as they host the Eastern Conference-leading Syracuse Crunch at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the seventh of 10 scheduled meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
AUDIO: CHRIS TAYLOR WITH DON STEVENS
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 NHL STANDINGS
ROCHESTER STATS BUFFALO STATS
SYRACUSE STATS TAMPA BAY STATS
WEDNESDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST
Last Game: Rochester at Hamilton – 2/22/13
Rochester (2) at Hamilton (3)
Goals: Pysyk, Legault
Goalie(s): Leggio (22 saves/25 shots, 59:10)
Special Teams: PP: 0/5 --- PK: 6/6
Shots: Hamilton 25 --- Rochester 19
PIM: Rochester 22 --- Hamilton 20
3 Stars: 1. Blunden (HAM), 2. Quailer (HAM), 3. Varone (RCH)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Amerks carry a near-perfect 5-1-0-0 record against the Crunch this season after skating to a 5-3 win in the teams’ most recent encounter back on Feb. 2 at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The game featured the return of veteran forward Patrick Rissmiller, who recorded a goal and an assist, while Kevin Porter (1+1), Brayden McNabb (0+2) and Mark Mancari (0+2) each notched two points and David Leggio turned aside 43 shots in net. Mancari leads the Amerks with eight points on three goals and five assists and has recorded at least one point in each of the six games against Syracuse. Rochester is 7-2-0-0 in its last nine games against the Crunch dating back to last season, a stretch that has produced a win for the Amerks in six of the last seven meetings between the cross-town foes.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (27-20-2-1, 57 points) enters the contest in the midst of a two-game skid after suffering a 3-2 setback to the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Amerks scored twice in the first period with goals from Mark Pysyk and Maxime Legault, but surrendered a pair of one-goal leads as Rochester fell for the fourth time in the last five games. Phil Varone assisted on both Rochester goals, giving the second-year pro eight points (2+6) over his last 10 games. Despite the recent skid, however, Rochester remains in the thick of what is shaping up to be a tight race to the finish in the all-too-close North Division standings, where the Amerks sit just three points back of the first-place Abbotsford Heat and Toronto Marlies with games in hand. Despite currently being on NHL recall with Buffalo, team captain Kevin Porter paces the Amerks with a team-high 44 points (15+29) in 48 games this season. He leaves the Amerks tied for 12th in scoring among the AHL’s top point-getters, while his team-best 29 assists rank 10th among league leaders. Leggio, who has now won eight of his last 11 starts and is just two wins shy of matching the career-high 28 victories he set last season with Rochester, currently leads all AHL netminders in wins (26), saves (1280) and minutes (2539:04).
SYRACUSE NOTES: Syracuse (33-14-2-4, 72 points) comes into the matchup as the second-best team in the AHL after assembling what has proven to be the Crunch’s best start in franchise history. The Crunch arrive in the Flower City riding a season-long seven-game winning streak and boast an AHL-best 8-2-0-0 record over their last 10 games, including posting back-to-back shutout wins in their last two outings. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who was recently acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade that sent Dustin Tokarski to Montreal, was between the pipes for both whitewashes and brings a shutout streak of 133:50 into play tonight. Guided by reigning AHL Coach of the Year Jon Cooper, Syracuse currently leads the league in wins (33) and goals scored (186), while boasting the AHL’s second-best best winning percentage (.679). Additionally, the Crunch have picked up 42 of their 72 points away from Central New York, making them the AHL’s best road team with a 20-6-0-2 record. Syracuse’s well-balanced offense is piloted by second-year pro Tyler Johnson, whose 28 goals and 51 points place him first and second 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 11 power-play goals while appearing in all but one game for Syracuse this season.
UP NEXT: The Amerks close out the month of February on Wednesday, Feb. 27 as they head across the border for a North Division showdown with the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the seventh of 10 get-togethers between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
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.
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.
Moe's Hot Players - Tonight's Moe's Hot Players are Phil Varone, Mark Mancari and Alex Biega. If any of these Amerks players score a goal tonight, your roster card is worth 50% off your order the following day at any participating Moe’s restaurants. If one of those players scores a hat trick, bring your roster card to any participating Moe’s restaurant the next day and receive a free burrito. Eat at Moe’s!