After five days off, the Rochester Americans are preparing for a busy weekend that could find the team tied for the AHL lead in points when all is said and done.
Entering tonight's game against the cross-state Adirondack Phantoms, the Amerks find themselves currently residing in fifth place in the Western Conference with 13 points, however, the team is just four points behind the top dog Charlotte Checkers - and have two games in hand. The Phantoms sit at just 4-5-0-0 after 9 games, while Rochester is 6-3-1-0, and considering that Rochester beat the Phantoms handily in their first meeting this season, the red, white, and blue sold be feeling confident, despite going into the weekend without assist-master Cody Hodgson.
Hodgson's injury has been upgraded to a broken hand, and the timetable for his return is indefinite; "a few weeks" from head coach Ron Rolston is the closest we've heard. I'm sure his line mates, especially Marcus Foligno, who's cooled off after a hot start, are hoping that Hodgson and his assist per game pace return sooner rather than later.
Rochester will have to do without Hodgson on Saturday as well when they face the Syracuse Crunch for the second time this season. The Amerks prevailed 6-5 in a wild game that ended in a shootout, but that shootout loss was one of the Crunch's only losses this season; Syracuse currently sits in third place in the Eastern Conference with a 6-1-1-1 record, and should provide a tough test for a Rochester team playing the second game of a back-to-back weekend.
Will the Amerks challenge for first place? Can Marcus Foligno regain his scoring touch? Will we see the second game from rookie netminder Connor Knapp? Will the tiny Frederick Roy start another fight? We'll know the answers at the weekend's close.