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Amerks Weekly - Jan 28-Feb 3

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It wasn’t pretty, but Rochester claimed five of six points last week.

Taylor Leier and Brandon Hickey
Micheline Velovolu | Rochester Americans

Amerks Games This Week

  • Friday 2/1 - 7:05pm - at Binghamton Devils (20-23-5-0)
  • Saturday 2/2 - 7:00pm - at Hartford Wolf Pack (19-21-3-2)

AHL North Division Standings as of January 28th

The Amerks went 2-0-1-0 last week and slightly extended their North Division lead. 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).

Overall, the Amerks climbed a spot to second place in the Eastern Conference and third place in the league.

What Happened Last Week?

Record Jan 21-Jan 27: 2-0-1-0

Wednesday night the Amerks jumped to a 3-0 lead, which became a 4-1 lead, before the Devils stormed back to tie the game at 4. This had the makings of yet another Wednesday night nightmare at home, but the Amerks pulled it together and skated away with a 7-5 win. The highlight of the night was Zach Redmond breaking the long-standing record for goals in a season by an Amerks defenseman. His team-leading 19th goal proved to be the game-winner - his eighth of the season. Unfortunately, Redmond was injured in the final minutes of the game and had to be helped off the ice after making it to the bench. He’s week to week with a lower body injury. The unfortunate timing would force him to have to skip the AHL All Star game.

A nagging injury to Scott Wedgewood saw the team recall goaltender Jonas Johansson from Cincy. On Friday night, despite putting up 50 shots, the Amerks found themselves trailing late in the game before a late game-tying goal from Matt Tennyson forced OT. Following an exciting OT period, the Amerks and Comets went to a shootout. Johansson gave up the first two goals, but stoned the next five shooters to help the Amerks walk away with a victory. Newcomer Taylor Leier would score the game winner in the shootout.

The team traveled to Syracuse on Saturday night where they held a lead until late in the third period. Some questionable officiating (which is never a good excuse, but can’t be overlooked) gave the Crunch an opportunity to pull goaltender Connor Ingram for a 6v4 advantage. The Amerks killed the penalty but ultimately could not secure a line change and after sustained pressure for nearly three minutes, the Crunch were able to finally get one past Adam Wilcox to send the game to overtime. OT didn’t last long. Matt Tennyson, the hero from Friday night, made an inexcusable turnover just nine seconds in and Syracuse’s Carter Verhaeghe took advantage of it to complete his hat-trick and hand the Amerks there first loss vs Syracuse this season.

Viewer discretion is advised... this turnover is hard to watch:

The Amerks are now 3-1 vs Syracuse this season and the teams still have eight more games against each other. That’s roughly 25% of the remaining 33 games for the Amerks, and they will very likely decide who wins the North Division.

Bright Spots

  • Zach Redmond (D) - Redmond is now the all-time Amerks leader in goals by a defenseman in a season, passing the mark set by Amerks Hall of Famer Rick Pagnutti way back in 1972-1973. An unfortunate injury late in the game soured his night, but there is no denying the fact that he’s having the best season by an Amerks defenseman in decades.
@AmerksHockey
  • Taylor Leier (F) - The new guy, acquired in the Justin Bailey trade, has made a great first impression in Rochester. He scored his first Amerks goal on Wednesday night.

And he added the game winning shootout winner on Friday night.

Also notable on Friday, he jumped to the defense of Andrew MacWilliam who was in the midst of a fight. Leier was ready to drop the gloves but smartly refrained from doing so; in the AHL, being involved in a second altercation after another one is already in progress will earn you an automatic game misconduct. Still though, it was great to see him readily step up for a guy he barely knows.

  • Danny O’Regan (F) - Now has three goals in three games and is second on the team with 17 on the season. He’s in the conversation for the Unsung Hero award at this point, as he seems to get no respect from the traditional media nor from most Sabres fans, but all this guy does is show up and play hard every game, and consistently put points on the board.
  • Brandon Hickey (D) - Redmond’s injury opened the door for Hickey to get more ice time and he made the most of it, playing a very strong game on Friday and Saturday night. I liked what I saw from him in both games and we’ll have to keep our eyes on this, as he’s in line to get some quality starts while Redmond recovers.

Room For Improvement

  • In what is definitely now a bad trend for this team, all of the goals against from Saturday night’s loss to Syracuse came in either the first or last 90 seconds of the period.

This has been a problem all season and the team will need to figure out a way to clean this up if they want to succeed in the playoffs.

  • Another week, another head scratcher from Alexander Nylander (F). He was credited with eight shots on Friday night...

But then, the next night in Syracuse, Nylander was credited with zero shots.

In 21 of his 40 games played this season he’s been credited with one or zero shots, and in only three games has he had four or more shots. For a guy who is billed as a sniper, I think I can speak for all Amerks fans when I say I’d like to see him shoot more often, and from better spots on the ice.

Look Ahead

Brendan Guhle was selected to replace Zach Redmond (and Lawrence Pilut) as the Amerks representative in the AHL All Star game and he’ll be there on Monday night.

He participated in three events on Sunday night, setting the sixth fastest all-time mark in the Fastest Skater event (but ultimately losing to Springfield’s Anthony Greco who set the all-time mark). He was also the only shooter to score in his field for the Breakaway Relay.

The Amerks are off until they hit the road for two games next Friday and Saturday, at Binghamton and Hartford respectively. Both of those teams are seated towards the bottom of their divisions, so Rochester needs to capitalize and come home with four more points.

Transactions

  • January 23, 2019 - Jonas Johansson (G) ⬆️ from Cincinnati to Rochester.
  • January 26, 2019 - Jonas Johansson (G) ⬇️ from Rochester to Cincinnati.

Video Room

Game 41 - 1/23/2019 - Home Win vs Binghamton Devils

Game 42 - 1/25/2019 - Home Win vs Utica Comets

Game 43 - 1/26/2019 - Away Loss at Syracuse Crunch

Injury Report

  • Andrew Oglevie (F) - Concussion - Indefinite
  • Sean Malone (F) - Unknown - Unknown
  • Zach Redmond (D) - Lower Body - Week to Week
  • Scott Wedgewood (G) - Lower Body - Week to Week

Farmville

The Cincinnati Cyclones are 27-8-3-3, remain in first place in their division, and second overall in the ECHL.

Jonas Johansson (G) is 13-5-1-2 with a 2.79 GAA and an .900 SV%.

Old Friends

  • Justin Bailey: 2+2=4 in 6 games with Lehigh Valley.
  • Nicholas Baptiste: 10+9=19 in 46 games with Milwaukee.
  • Colin Blackwell: 7+0=7 in 16 games with Milwaukee / 0+0=0 in 3 games with NHL Nashville Predators.
  • Hudson Fasching: 11+12=23 in 40 games with Tucson.
  • Taylor Fedun: 1+7=8 in 12 games with Texas / 2+4=6 in 26 games with NHL Dallas Stars.
  • Seth Griffith: 6+24=30 in 36 games with Manitoba.
  • Matt Moulson: 17+17=34 in 39 games with Ontario.
  • Jordan Nolan: 11+9=20 in 32 games with San Antonio / 0+2=2 in 14 games with NHL St. Louis Blues.
  • Cliff Pu: 1+5=6 in 38 games with Charlotte.

Question of the Week

With Casey Nelson appearing ready to return soon from his extended injury in Buffalo, something has to give, as the Sabres are already at their roster limit. How would you deal with the Sabres 9 healthy defensemen?