TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans bring the month of March to a close tonight as they make their way over the border for a North Division showdown with the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the 10th of 12 meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS 2012-13 NHL STANDINGS
ROCHESTER STATS BUFFALO STATS
HAMILTON STATS MONTREAL STATS
CALDER CUP PLAYOFF PRIMER
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Tonight’s game also marks the first get-together in over a month since the teams’ previous exchange at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where the Bulldogs erased a pair of one-goal deficits before holding on for a 3-2 win. Mark Pysyk and Maxime Legault each scored for the Amerks, who despite the loss, maintain a 7-2-0-0 advantage in the season series over Hamilton and have won five of the last six games between the North Division foes entering play tonight. Rochester has surrendered its only two losses of the season to the Bulldogs in southern Ontario and has outscored Hamilton 30-16 throughout the season series thus far, including 21-9 through the last six contests. Goaltender David Leggio boasts a near-perfect 7-1-0 record, including two shutouts, with an incredible 1.49 goals-against average and a .973 save percentage, in eight starts.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (36-26-3-1, 76 points) enters the contest after seeing its three-game win streak halted following a 4-1 loss to the North Division-leading Toronto Marlies last night at The Blue Cross Arena. Despite using a quick start to take an early 1-0 lead, the Amerks could not overcome a late game rally by the Marlies, who scored four unanswered goals, including three in the third period, while outshooting Rochester 40-15. Cody McCormick scored the lone goal for the Amerks and Leggio made 36 saves in the loss. The game also featured the return of two high-scoring forwards in Corey Tropp and Evan Rankin back from injury, with Tropp, who finished with an assist and two shots, making a sooner-than-expected return after a 64-game absence with a knee injury he sustained in Rochester’s home-opener. Even with the loss, however, the Amerks have won four of its last six games and remain in fifth place in the all-too-close Western Conference standings. Mancari, who has registered 15 points (5+10) over his last 15 games, leads the Amerks in all offensive categories including goals (20), assists (38) and points (58) and enters the matchup tied for fifth in scoring among the AHL’s top point-getters. He also ranks fifth among league leaders in assists, which includes the second-most on the power-play with 18. His 242 shots on goal are also tops in the AHL. Leggio, who has won two of his last three starts, continues to lead all AHL netminders in wins (34), saves (1743), minutes (3393:09) and shots against (1887), while ranking fifth with a .924 save percentage in 56 games.
HAMILTON NOTES: Hamilton (26-33-1-5, 58 points), wrapping up a three-game homestand tonight, comes into the matchup after splitting a two-game set with the Abbotsford Heat that ended in a 4-3 loss last night at Copps Coliseum. Hamilton scored once in each frame, but a three-goal first period by the Heat proved to be the difference-maker. With just two wins in its last seven games, Hamilton resides in the basement of the AHL with a league-worst 26-33-1-5 record. The Bulldogs’ 33 regulation losses are also the most in the AHL, while their struggling offense has only accounted for a league-low 140 goals this season. Third-year pro Gabriel Dumont paces the Bulldogs with a team-high 16 goals and 31 points in 53 games. Four of Hamilton’s top seven scorers are currently in their first professional season, including rookie forward Brendan Gallagher, whose 20 points (10+10) earned him an immediate recall to the parent Montreal Canadiens at the close of the NHL lockout. Hamilton netminder Dustin Tokarski ranks 10th among AHL goalies with a 2.26 goals-against average while his 23 wins rank him fourth.
UP NEXT: Rochester enters the home stretch of the 2012-13 regular season on Friday, April 5 as the Amerks have one final go-around with the Lake Erie Monsters at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK.