I am an avid lacrosse fan – and Rochester Knighthawks season ticket holder – so, when I asked a friend for a brief recap of Saturday night’s Amerks game in Buffalo I got this in response: "They forgot how to Amerks and only knew how to Sabre." That sounds like a pretty accurate recap of the game. The good news is, it’s only the second time in ten games that the Amerks have faltered.
"We’re the bad news, we're the young guns … We're the ones that they told you to run from" (Eric Church, The Outsiders)
The Amerks went on a seven-game winning streak that started waaaay back with a 4-3 road victory on January 17th against the Oklahoma City Barons. Their only two losses came against long-time rivals the Syracuse Crunch (a 4-1 loss), and the loss on Saturday against Grand Rapids, a 5-1 loss on Buffalo’s ice. Maybe it was the ice, maybe it was the team, but that’s a pretty solid streak for Buffalo’s #1 farm club.
The Amerks have out-scored their opponents 34-20 and out-shot them 283-270 in that span. Each goalie – Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen – got 5 starts and one loss. In relatively simple terms, if the playoffs started tomorrow, Rochester would just squeak in in the 8th spot. However, the playoffs do not start tomorrow. While the NHL is enjoying their Olympic break (and, by now, who hasn’t seen the picture of Steve Ott shirtless with his dime-peace (and reported sweetheart) of a wife in her bikini?), the AHL keeps on trucking.
The Amerks have six games on the docket during the NHL’s break, with five home games. First, however, the AHL will take pause this week for the AHL All-Star Classic February 11-12. This year has a bit of a different format, as the AHL stars, including our own Luke Adam and Brayden McNabb, take on the Farjestad BK Hockey Club in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’m sure it’s a nice homecoming for Adam, who is native-Newfie. Luke has 34 (20+14) points in 32 games. McNabb boasts 22 (5+17) points in 28 games, which isn’t half bad for a defenseman. Last season, McNabb won the hardest shot competition, with a 101.8MPH blast. For those unfamiliar, the AHL typically has taken on an East vs West format for the last several seasons.
Clearly, the Thruway Shuffle hasn’t really impacted Luke Adam’s game. In addition to his 34 points, he has 91 shots on goal and is averaging a scotsh more than a point per game. This team, as a whole. You know that Thruway Shuffle I mentioned just a hair above? Luke Adam isn’t the only one it has impacted. And, despite the merry-go-round of players going to Buffalo and coming back, this team has continued to win. I hope that it is a good sign of the depth to come.
Team Canada. U-S-A! U-S-A!! U-S-A!!!
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