The Amerks got a special present this year for the holiday season – they were invited to the Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland. They packed their bags, they packed their gear, some packed their families and significant others, but it seems that few of them remembered to pack their hockey skills for the trip across the seas.
“I’ve got the magic in me: When I hit the floor, the girls come snappin’ at me.” (Magic, B.O.B.)
The Spengler Cup was originally developed as a way for German-speaking European teams to promote their skills following WWI (). I don’t know what German hockey looked like after WWI, but I know that their World Junior team rarely plays worth a damn, so I can only hope that things were different then. The Amerks are the only professional North American team ever invited, and this year marked their second invitation to the tourney. Their first appearance was in 1996, following their Calder Cup Championship earlier that year.
The Amerks got better as this year’s tournament progressed, but continually came up short against their opponents. They fell 5-0 to their first opponent, Geneve-Servette, from Geneva, Switzerland. The second game went a little bit better, as in the Amerks actually showed up to play.
In the second round of preliminaries, the Amerks faced CSKA Moscow of the KHL. One of the headliners of the CSKA Moscow squad is none other than former NHLer Sergei Federov. Now. I don’t want to suggest that Federov is old, but homeslice was old when I was a kid (and I haven’t been a kid for a hot minute). The Amerks faired a bit better against the Moscow squad, losing 4-3. Luke Adam scored two goals, including one with one-tenth of a second remaining in regulation. Phil Varone added a score and an assist.
In their third and what would be final game of the tournament, the Americans faced Team Canada in the quarterfinal round. Unfortunately, the Amerks couldn’t make the magic happen, and ended in a 6-3 loss to Canada, marking their exit from the contest. Alex Hutching, Dan Catenacci, and Joel Armia each scored for Rochester in their final game, with Adam and Varone chipping in with two assists each.
In an interview with Amerks.com, Double D’s Cassidy … I mean, Coach Chadd Cassidy suggested that he felt the team got better as the tournament progressed, and it sounded like he was pleased with the team’s ability to stick to their guns and not wilt under the pressure from their opponents.
The Amerks resume their regular AHL schedule on the road on January 3 against the Utica Comets at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. This will be the seventh of ten matchups between the two teams, who have become fast rivals. The Amerks are 4-2-0-0 against Utica so far this season.