The Amerks have been doing some things, which is a polite way to say that they need to get their acts together. Not all of it has been bad, but it hasn't been consistently good - a theme on the season. Here's the problem: in the seven games since we last met (sorry), the Amerks have won two games outright. They have lost three. They won in OT, and lost in a shootout. There is absolutely zero consistency to anything happening here. But hey, they scored a season-high seven goals against Hartford Friday night and that was REALLY fun.
I'm gonna go big - I'm going bigger than I was before. And you can tell your friends and all their friends, I want the whole wide world to know. (X Ambassadors, B.I.G.)
The first minor disaster was something fairly out of the Amerks hands. Dec. 4, the Toronto Marlies and Jonathan Bernier came to town, with Bernier looking to win his job back across the street with the Leafs. He shut out the Amerks quite easily, because the Amerks looked terrible and he played out of his mind. He's since gotten his job back both because he's a great net minder and the Leafs are in a bad, bad way as far as goaltenders go.
The Amerks then moved on to lose 2-1 to the Albany Devils on Dec. 5, with Jason Akeson scoring the lone goal early in the third period. Next was a shootout loss to the Utica Comets on the 9th, where they were outshot 41-34, and Makarov allowed two goals in the shootout frame. Things looked a little bit better in St John's. A little bit. On Friday, the Amerks delivered a 3-1 loss to the IceCaps, then a 3-2 OT win on Saturday. There's that giving up points to the other team thing again, though. The next stop was back to Utica, where they lost 5-2. I feel like, if I wrote this out on a chart, it would legit look like a roller coaster track. They're so all over the place.
Friday night, they welcomed the Hartford Wolf Pack to the BCA for the first time since 2002 to kick off a five-game home stand. Things went amazingly well - the Amerks scored a season-high seven goals. Four were from defensemen, all were from different players. It was an incredible team effort and they truly looked like they clicked and had chemistry for one of the first times in a long time. And not just because it was a blow out game. The team looked cohesive, like a team who has finally found themselves. I sincerely hope that doesn't mean that they will look like hot garbage Saturday against the Devils, but history indicates that this may be a solid possibility.
Friday night's goals were scored by Matt Donovan, Bobby Sanguinetti, Chad Ruhwedel, Jerome Leduc, Justin Bailey, Jason Akeson (1+1), and Jean Dupuy. Evan Rodrigues, Jerry D'Amigo, and Cal O'Reilly each had two assists. Dan Catenacci, Nick Baptiste, Colby Robak, and Tim Schaller each had one assist. Andrey Makarov lost his bid for shutout with 21 seconds remaining, on a shorthanded fluke goal. Everyone contributed, they played as a team. They finally clicked. Hopefully, they carry it into Saturday's contest against the Albany Devils.
I am joining with #HockeyFightsDV again this season, to benefit the Willow Center in Rochester, NY. I have pledged $1/Patrice Bergeron goal, $5/Amerks Goalie SO, $1/Amerks win, $2/"Ryan Miller Shutout," $25/Amerks or Sabres goalie point, to be updated at the end of each month this season. You can pledge, too, at hockeyfightsdv.tumblr.com