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Amerks Weekly - Jan 7-Jan 13

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Two shootout wins last week were just enough for the Amerks to sneak back into the division lead.

Micheline Velovolu | Rochester Americans

Amerks Games This Week

  • Friday 1/11 - 7:05pm - vs Toronto Marlies (17-14-3-2)
  • Saturday 1/12 - 4:00pm - at Toronto Marlies (17-14-3-2)

AHL North Division Standings as of January 7th

The Amerks went 2-1-0-0 last week and regained their slim North Division lead as Syracuse only went 1-2-0-0. However, the big news is that the Utica Comets went 3-0-0-0 and have stormed all the way up to third place, just one point back of Syracuse... and don’t look now, but the Toronto Marlies are now tied for fourth place with Cleveland. As expected, no team in this division is exactly as good or bad as their record indicates, and as we approach the halfway point in the season, it’s clear that this is going to be a tight battle all the way through to the end.

The 12 points separating division leading Rochester from last place Belleville is the smallest margin of all four AHL divisions.

Overall, the Amerks rose one position to both third place in the Eastern Conference and fourth place in the league.

What Happened Last Week?

Record Dec 31-Jan 6: 2-1-0-0

The week started out great with Wednesday night’s win over Bridgeport, one of the best teams in the AHL. Despite being down 3-1 and then 4-3, the Amerks found a way to tie it late thanks to a great look from Alexander Nylander who fed a pass to Rasmus Asplund. Asplund tipped the puck from his feet to his stick and buried it with twelve seconds left to force overtime.

The game went on to a shootout where Scott Wedgewood stopped all Sound Tigers shots before Victor Olofsson won it in the third round with a slick backhand goal.

The team carried their momentum into Friday night at Laval where they won another come from behind game via the shootout. This time it was Judd Peterson, recently recalled from Cincy, scoring his first AHL goal, off a defender’s skate.

Following the most entertaining OT session I’ve seen this season, Wayne Simpson scored easily on his SO attempt and Adam Wilcox put Alex Nylander in a position to win it with his first shootout opportunity of the year. He did not disappoint, with a shoulder-wiggle fake-out for the ages:

It was a quick turnaround for both teams as they met again at 3pm on Saturday, where Laval came out on top in a close game.

It’s hard to be too upset with 4 of 6 points, but the Amerks most likely can’t help but feel like they let two points slip away on Saturday against a weaker team. Sometimes you just don’t get the bounces, right?

Bright Spots

  • Zach Redmond (D) now has 16 goals. That’s a new career high for him and we’re not even halfway through the regular season. The Amerks record for goals by a defenseman is 18.
  • Danny O’Regan (F) is quickly approaching “Unsung Hero” territory. His 12 goals rank third on the team and his shooting percentage is currently an impressive 22.2%, which ranks fifth in the league among players with 50 or more shots taken.
  • William Borgen (D) continues to improve. To my eyes he’s taking better positions in the D-zone and also learning how to throw a hit without simultaneously taking himself out of the play. I’ve also noticed him pinching and going into the corners (when appropriate) in the O-zone more often and it’s good to see him getting comfortable on both ends of the ice.
  • Congrats to Lawrence Pilut and Zach Redmond, who were both selected to participate in the 2019 AHL All Star Game. This is especially impressive for Pilut, who still ranks 15th among AHL defensemen with 22 points in only 16 games played, which is between roughly 50-60% fewer games than anyone else.

Room For Improvement

  • I’ll throw Special Teams back into this category this week. The Power Play was looking better in the two previous weeks, but last week they slipped again going only 2 for 11; zone entries continue to be sloppy. The Penalty Kill was better last week, going 7 for 9, but they’re still ranked near the bottom of the league in that category.
  • Lawrence Pilut would really improve this team...
  • Matt Tennyson (D), on the other hand, is getting far more ice time than I’d like to see, and while he might make one or two good plays each game, he makes at least twice as many plays that leave you angrily shouting.

Look Ahead

This week the Amerks will play a home and home series against the surging Toronto Marlies. Toronto sits just seven points back of Rochester, so while a split wouldn’t spell the end of Rochester’s season, it would obviously be a lot better to turn that seven point gap into an eleven point gap.

Friday night at home should be one of the biggest crowds of the season; tickets for that game were included as part of the Amerks Holiday Pack promotion in the fall and there will be a free Amerks knit cap giveaway to the first 2,500 fans through the door.

Saturday’s game is a 4pm start which is a great opportunity for you to watch the game via AHLTV (the Marlies game presentation and video crew is one of the best in the AHL) and then catch the Sabres/Lightning game starting at 7pm that night.

Transactions

  • December 31, 2018 - C.J. Smith (F) ⬆️ from Rochester to Buffalo.
  • January 2, 2019 - Vasily Glotov (F) ⬇️ from Rochester to Cincinnati.
  • January 2, 2019 - Judd Peterson (F) ⬆️ from Cincinnati to Rochester.

Video Room

Game 34 - 1/2/2019 - Home Win vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Game 35 - 1/4/2019 - Away Win vs Laval Rocket

Game 36 - 1/5/2019 - Away Loss vs Laval Rocket

Injury Report

  • Andrew Oglevie (F) - Concussion - Indefinite
  • Kevin Porter (F) - Lower Body - Week to Week

Farmville

The Cincinnati Cyclones are 23-7-2-2, remain in first place in their division and second overall in the ECHL.

Jonas Johansson (G) is 11-5-1-2 with a 2.76 GAA and an .900 SV%.

Devante Stephens (D) With all the defensive turnover in Rochester, Stephens was given a promotion last week... for about 48 hours. He was scratched before the Amerks game on Wednesday night and was returned to Cincy the next day having done nothing but practice with the Amerks. His stats in Cincy are still looking pretty: putting up 5+10=15 in 31 games, and his +23 rating ranks third on the team. It seems that he’s developing nicely down in Cincy, but I’ve yet to get a chance to look beyond the stats. Assuming Lawrence Pilut is never coming back to Rochester, it’s likely that Stephens will make his return to the Amerks at some point down the line this season.

Judd Peterson (F) earned his first recall of the season after going 6+7=13 in 20 games in Cincy. The Amerks sent Vasily Glotov back down in exchange for Peterson and the 24 year old made an immediate impact in Rochester, scoring a goal in his first AHL game of the season on Friday night in Laval.

Vasily Glotov (F) was selected to the ECHL All Star Game. Congrats to the fan favorite!

Old Friends

  • Matt Moulson: 9+15=24 in 31 games with Ontario.
  • Nicholas Baptiste: 7+8=15 in 37 games with Milwaukee.
  • Colin Blackwell: 4+0=4 in 11 games with Milwaukee.
  • Cliff Pu: 1+3=4 in 32 games with Charlotte.
  • Seth Griffith: 5+12=17 in 27 games with Manitoba.
  • Jordan Nolan: 7+8=15 in 27 games with San Antonio.
  • Hudson Fasching: 9+10=19 in 32 games with Tucson.
  • Taylor Fedun: 1+7=8 in 12 games with Texas / 2+4=6 in 20 games with NHL Dallas Stars.
    (5 games remaining in Dallas until the Fedun trade generates a seventh-round pick for Buffalo).

Amerks Honorary Captain of the Game

The Amerks have partnered with the University of Rochester Golisano Children’s Hospital this season to have an Honorary Captain of the Game, in which they invite a patient and his or her family to the game and feature them on the ice before the game.

This year’s second honorary captain was Mason Mitchell:

Question of the Week

Last week’s post kind of got lost in the holiday shuffle, so I’m going to try this again.

Pick an Amerks player and write their New Year’s resolution!