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Amerks Weekly - Feb 11-Feb 17

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Rochester’s 10-game point streak came to an end while C.J. Smith watched two weekend games in Buffalo.

Micheline Velovolu | Rochester Americans

Amerks Games This Week

  • Tuesday - 2/12 - 7:00pm - at Cleveland Monsters (22-21-5-1)
  • Friday 2/15 - 7:05pm - vs Syracuse Crunch (29-14-2-1)
  • Saturday 2/16 - 7:00pm - at Syracuse Crunch (29-14-2-1)
  • Sunday 2/17 - 3:05pm - vs Binghamton Devils (23-24-5-0)

AHL North Division Standings as of February 11th

The Amerks went 1-1-0-1 last week and maintained 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). Syracuse still maintains a tiny lead in PCT.

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

What Happened Last Week?

Record Feb 4-Feb 10: 1-1-0-1

On Wednesday night, the Syracuse Crunch rolled into Rochester for the teams’ fifth matchup of the season. The Amerks carried a 1-0 lead into the third period on the back of a terrific performance from goaltender Scott Wedgewood. However, they proceeded to play one of the worst third periods in the long history of that building, giving up the tying goal with about 8 minutes left before ultimately losing the game in a shootout. Keith over at LetsGoAmerks.com reviewed the video with a stopwatch and calculated that the Amerks maintained puck possession for a measly 68 seconds in the third period. It was certainly the most lopsided period of hockey that I’ve ever witnessed in person. With the bonus point, the Crunch inched closer to the North division lead in points.

The Amerks rebounded in a big way on Friday night at home, beating Springfield 7-1 on the back of a Victor Olofsson hat trick, while wearing the best jerseys in the history of sports - their throwbacks to the ‘96 Calder Cup championship. This was a flipped script from the last time these teams met, when the Thunderbirds embarrassed the Amerks in Springfield 9-4, including a 7-goal second period.

Here’s an excellent montage of all seven goals from Friday night:

Unfortunately, after 10 games, the Amerks’ point streak finally came to an end with a relatively ugly regulation loss on Saturday night in Utica. The team jumped out to a 2-0 lead, thanks in part to yet another scorching Olofsson one-timer:

But, Utica came back with five unanswered goals to win the game - the second straight game in which they did exactly that. Reid Boucher - one of the AHL’s top snipers - scored the hat trick for the Comets. Two more points inched them slightly closer in the standings as well, but they’ve played three extra games at this point.

Bright Spots

  • Victor Olofsson (F) - 4+1=5 in three games last week has VO back in the AHL’s top-15 for points. His all-around game is rounding into form. On the season, he’s never gone more than three games without a point, and in total he has only gone more than one game without a point four times. (That sounds confusing - it’s easier to see it in stats.)
  • Remi Elie (F) - Elie has not shown any indication that he’s disappointed to be wearing the red, white, and blue. He was one of the most energetic and noticeable Amerks in his first game on Wednesday night and he continued to play with intensity through the weekend. Good for him, good for the Amerks. If he can add any scoring to his game, he’ll likely be a full-time player for this team.
  • Rasmus Asplund (F) - A nice three-point night on Friday, including a short-handed goal on a 5v3. Like his countryman, Asplund is developing nicely while getting loads of ice time in all situations.
  • Scott Wedgewood (G) - Wedgie returned from his ankle injury (a stress fracture) and turned out his best game of the season on Wednesday night at home. He was the only reason the Amerks stood a chance in that game, particularly in the third period when they were outshot 10-1. (That one shot, by the way, was simply an icing attempt that bounced off the boards and straight into the Syracuse crease... so while it was technically a shot... it was hardly a shot.)
  • Penalty Kill - The Amerks sustained an impressive 37-0 PK streak which coincided directly with their 10-game point streak. It finally came to an end in Utica, but that was a very impressive run that helped them climb from below 20th in the league to their current rank of 12th.

Room For Improvement

  • Injuries - Not a great week on the injury front, as several key players missed games. Alexander Nylander was injured in practice on Tuesday after taking a hit from William Borgen; he hasn’t played since. Kyle Criscuolo left the game on Friday night and did not play on Saturday. Brendan Guhle missed the game on Saturday for undisclosed reasons. Add those names to Zach Redmond (should be ready soon), Sean Malone, and Andrew Ogelvie, plus the recalls to C.J. Smith and Lawrence Pilut... and the Amerks are really putting their depth to the test right now.

Look Ahead

This is obviously the biggest week of the season so far, with a whopping four divisional games in the next six days. They’ll start by traveling to the suddenly struggling Cleveland Monsters for a rare Tuesday night game before heading home for a tough three-in-three weekend.

Friday night Syracuse rolls back into town for the teams’ sixth game of the year before the teams switch venues on Saturday night for their seventh game of the year. (I plan to attend both games in person, so hopefully my drive home on Saturday night won’t be an angry one.)

They’ll finish the weekend back home on Sunday when Binghamton visits the BCA.

Transactions

  • February 4, 2019 - C.J. Smith (F) ⬆️ from Rochester to Buffalo.
  • February 8, 2019 - Casey Nelson (D) ⬇️ from Buffalo to Rochester (Conditioning Loan).
  • February 11, 2019 - Myles Powell (F) ⬆️ from Cincinnati to Rochester.

Video Room

Game 46 - 2/6/2019 - Home Loss vs Syracuse Crunch

Game 47 - 2/8/2019 - Home Win at Springfield Thunderbirds

Game 48 - 2/9/2019 - Away Loss at Utica Comets

Injury Report

  • Andrew Oglevie (F) - Concussion - Indefinite
  • Sean Malone (F) - Unknown - Week to Week
  • Zach Redmond (D) - Lower Body - Day to Day
  • Alexander Nylander (F) - Upper Body - Day to Day
  • Kyle Criscuolo (F) - Unknown - Unknown
  • Brendan Guhle (D) - Unknown - Unknown

Farmville

The Cincinnati Cyclones are 32-9-3-3 (!!!), remain in first place in their division, and second overall in the ECHL.

Jonas Johansson (G) is 16-5-1-2 with a 2.65 GAA and an .905 SV%. Three wins last week!

Old Friends

  • Justin Bailey: 5+2=7 in 10 games with Lehigh Valley. Recalled by Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, February 10th. They’ll play Pittsburgh on NBCSN on Monday night.
  • Nicholas Baptiste: 10+9=19 in 50 games with Milwaukee.
  • Colin Blackwell: 7+1=8 in 18 games with Milwaukee / 0+0=0 in 6 games with NHL Nashville Predators.
  • Hudson Fasching: 11+13=24 in 44 games with Tucson.
  • Taylor Fedun: 1+7=8 in 12 games with Texas / 3+5=8 in 32 games with NHL Dallas Stars.
  • Seth Griffith: 7+28=35 in 41 games with Manitoba.
  • Matt Moulson: 21+19=40 in 44 games with Ontario.
  • Jordan Nolan: 11+9=20 in 33 games with San Antonio / 0+2=2 in 14 games with NHL St. Louis Blues.
  • Cliff Pu: 1+5=6 in 42 games with Charlotte. Loaned to ECHL Florida Everblades.

Question of the Week

Should Jason Botterill and Randy Sexton pursue an upgrade at center for the Amerks before the playoff deadline even if that player comes bundled with a bigger trade involving an NHL player?