Amerks Games This Week
- Friday 1/18 - 7:05pm - at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (19-16-4-1)
- Saturday 1/19 - 7:05pm - at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (20-14-1-2)
AHL North Division Standings as of January 14th
The Amerks went 1-1-0-0 last week and retained their slim North Division lead, thanks in large part to Syracuse’s three game losing streak - including a loss in Utica on Saturday that saw the Comets leapfrog the Crunch into second place. The Points Percentage (PCT) column is where we should really be looking at this point, as each team still has discrepancy in number of games played (GP). Also notable that Cleveland has fallen out of playoff position for the first time in months.
The 10 points separating division leading Rochester from last place Belleville is the smallest margin of all four AHL divisions, as all eight of these teams continue to beat up on each other.
Overall, the Amerks remain in third place in the Eastern Conference and fourth place in the league.
What Happened Last Week?
Record Jan 7-Jan 13: 1-1-0-0
The two big stories from last week involved Scott Wilson and C.J. Smith.
On Wednesday, the Sabres surprised everyone by placing Scott Wilson on waivers. Jason Botterill’s strategy was pretty clear: get Wilson through waivers so he could get a significant number of AHL games under his belt as he rehabs from the ankle injury that has kept him out of the Sabres lineup all season. Rather than simply sending Wilson to Rochester for a conditioning stint - which would require that he take up a Sabres roster spot during his time in Rochester - Botterill gambled that the proven bottom-6 NHL forward would go unclaimed because of his injury. The gamble paid off and Wilson reported to the Amerks on Thursday afternoon before skating on Friday night in his first professional game since last April.
On Tuesday, C.J. Smith scored his first NHL goal. A healthy Jack Eichel caused Smith to be loaned back to Rochester where he carried his momentum into a hat-trick in Toronto.
Ultimately the team would split their weekend series with Toronto, each team winning the road game. It was a disappointing outcome for the Amerks at home on Friday night, where they were outplayed in every way in front of the biggest crowd of the season. But, as they usually do, the Amerks played a great game in Toronto and flipped the script. Buoyed by Smith’s 4-point night, they mauled the Marlies by the same score that they’d lost to the prior night.
- Game 37 Recap (5-1 Loss vs Toronto) (LetsGoAmerks.com)
- Game 38 Recap (5-1 Win at Toronto) (LetsGoAmerks.com)
- C.J. Smith (F) was rewarded for scoring his first NHL goal last week... by being loaned back to the Amerks on Saturday. The Sabres dragged him all the way to Carolina only to put him back on a plane and send him to Rochester. Unfortunately he didn’t arrive in time for Friday night’s game, but he was ready for Saturday, where he scored the second hat-trick of his AHL career. It’s going to be difficult for Jason Botterill to ignore performances like these while his Sabres squad continues to struggle.
Here are the three goals (thanks as always to Keith at LetsGoAmerks for creating all these gifs):
CJ Smith power play goal!! Assists to Porter and Redmond. Amerks up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/W0QZRgeGY0— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
CeeeeeeeeeeJ does it again! Amerks up 2-0. Assist to Redmond and Simpson. pic.twitter.com/H5MitX4KDw— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
An extended look at the 3rd goal of the game for CJ Smith. Love the way he just backed out of the zone knowing he had a chance, Dougherty saw him and sent the pass his way. pic.twitter.com/LHflqWWJMi— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
There was also this beautiful play...
No goal, high stick, but CJ Smith is out there skating around everyone. We'll enjoy him again while he's here. pic.twitter.com/i2Djt7kheO— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
- Alexander Nylander (F) scored the lone goal on Friday night; a nice deflection off a Danny O’Regan PP shot.
- Kevin Porter (F) returned from an extended injury and scored a goal in Toronto.
- Victor Olofsson (F) scored his 12th (and perhaps easiest) goal of the year in Toronto.
- The Power Play, while inconsistent, has still scored 13 times in the past 10 games.
Room For Improvement
- Lawrence Pilut (D) would really improve this team.
- Hustle. Effort. COMPETE. Someone throw Ted Nolan some spare change and ask him to come into Rochester to give these guys a TED Talk, because they often seem to come up empty at home, particularly in front of big crowds, and it usually seems to be a result of getting out-worked by their opponent.
Another quiet week ahead. We’ve officially reached the halfway point of the season.
The Amerks are off until they hit the road for back-to-back games against tough Atlantic Division teams in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Lehigh Valley. The Amerks beat WB/S in their previous meeting this year; they have yet to face LV.
Note that it’s also another three-game week for Syracuse, including another visit to Utica on Wednesday night - let’s hope it doesn’t wind up a 3pt game..
- January 9, 2019 - Judd Peterson (F) ⬆️ from Rochester to Cincinnati.
- January 9, 2019 - Scott Wilson (F) ⬇️ from Buffalo to Rochester.
- January 11, 2019 - C.J. Smith (F) ⬇️️ from Buffalo to Rochester.
Game 37 - 1/11/2019 - Home Loss vs Toronto Marlies
Game 38 - 1/12/2019 - Away Win vs Toronto Marlies
- Andrew Oglevie (F) - Concussion - Indefinite
- Sean Malone (F) - Unknown - Unknown
The Cincinnati Cyclones are 24-7-3-3, remain in first place in their division, and second overall in the ECHL.
Jonas Johansson (G) is 11-5-1-2 with a 2.92 GAA and an .900 SV%.
- Matt Moulson: 12+15=27 in 34 games with Ontario.
- Nicholas Baptiste: 7+8=15 in 39 games with Milwaukee.
- Colin Blackwell: 6+0=6 in 12 games with Milwaukee.
- Cliff Pu: 1+3=4 in 34 games with Charlotte.
- Seth Griffith: 5+14=19 in 29 games with Manitoba.
- Jordan Nolan: 10+9=19 in 30 games with San Antonio.
- Hudson Fasching: 9+10=19 in 34 games with Tucson.
Taylor Fedun: 1+7=8 in 12 games with Texas / 2+4=6 in 23 games with NHL Dallas Stars.
(2 games remaining in Dallas until the Fedun trade generates a seventh-round pick for Buffalo).
Question of the Week
With the intent of adding C.J. Smith to the Sabres roster for the remainder of the NHL season, would you be happy if the Sabres waived Remi Elie and he was claimed by another team?