Amerks Games This Week
- Wednesday - 2/20 - 7:05pm - vs Cleveland Monsters (24-22-6-1)
- Friday 2/22 - 7:00pm - at Utica Comets (29-19-4-2)
- Saturday 2/23 - 7:05pm - vs Belleville Senators (26-23-2-4)
AHL North Division Standings as of February 18th
The Amerks went 2-2-0-0 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 both the Eastern Conference and overall in the league.
What Happened Last Week?
Record Feb 11-Feb 17: 2-2-0-0
By claiming 4 of 8 points last week, the Amerks did just enough to maintain their position atop the North division.
In a rare Tuesday night game, Rochester lost in Cleveland by a 5-2 margin. This was the second consecutive game for the Amerks in which a few bad shifts wound up costing them the game. They were trailing 2-1 in the third period of a close game before giving up two goals in under 2 minutes midway through the period. They couldn’t recover and started their week off with a disappointing loss.
Friday night in Rochester was the start of a home-and-home series against Syracuse. In an intense and tightly contested game, Conor Ingram out dueled Scott Wedgewood in net for a 1-0 Crunch victory. It could have been much different; early in the first period William Borgen hit Eric Cornel with a beautiful cross ice pass but somehow Cornel couldn’t put the puck into a gaping net. The goal judge thought it was in... but the refs looked at it and ruled no goal. It’s tough to tell from the video if the puck crossed the line (probably not) but what is clear as day is how good Borgen’s pass was:
Great pass from Borgen to Cornel but somehow Ingram got a piece of it with his stick. pic.twitter.com/pZxVDa1FPM— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) February 16, 2019
The Amerks got their revenge on Saturday night in Syracuse, winning 3-2 in a long shootout in which Adam Wilcox stopped all six Crunch shooters. Amerks’ regulation goals came courtesy of Remi Elie and Will Borgen, and the shootout winner was courtesy of Taylor Leier.
Taylor Leier wins it in the shootout!! Amerks win 3-2. pic.twitter.com/BrmJE5ln4a— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) February 17, 2019
A quick turnaround helped the team carry the momentum into a Sunday afternoon 5-1 win at home vs Binghamton, in which they got scoring from all over the lineup, including a great snipe from Andrew Oglevie (more on that below).
- Game 49 Recap (2-5 Loss at Cleveland) (LetsGoAmerks.com)
- Game 50 Recap (0-1 Loss vs Syracuse) (LetsGoAmerks.com)
- Game 51 Recap (3-2 SO Win at Syracuse) (LetsGoAmerks.com)
- Game 52 Recap (5-1 Win vs Binghamton) (LetsGoAmerks.com)
- Taylor Leier (F) - As a huge Justin Bailey fan, I was admittedly leery of the trade that sent him to Lehigh Valley in exchange for Taylor Leier. In under a month, Leier has completely won me over. We knew he had a scoring touch in LV (ranking high on several of that team’s all-time scoring categories), but what I wasn’t expecting was the physical edge he brings to the ice. Few things will endear you to the fans more than 1) scoring, 2) hitting, and 3) sacrificing your body. Leier has done all three of those things in spades since donning the red, white, and blue.
1) His shootout winner is highlighted in the game recaps above.
2) Here’s a look at him finishing off one of Syracuse’s best forwards, Carter Verhaeghe, in the second period on Friday night:
Verhaeghe was like Casey Nelson is that all you have? I'm back up. Oh. Hi Taylor Leier. Ouch.— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) February 16, 2019
Verhaeghe still sent a pass that resulted in a shot on net. pic.twitter.com/yCWxVwJv5S
3) And here he is later in that game blocking a hard shot off his ankle. A Crunch player then skated by and chipped him in the ankle as he was making his way to the bench. He spent the next 2 minutes in obvious pain as his line shuffled down the bench, but he was right back out there for his next shift.
Taylor Leier also had a big shot block in the 3rd. Was slow getting off the ice and even nudged by a Crunch player knocking him back down. Was back on the ice for his next shift. pic.twitter.com/q6TYXSryzD— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) February 16, 2019
- Will Borgen (D) - On Saturday night Borgen scored his first goal since October off a great feed from Yannick Veilleux; he added an assist on Sunday. No one expects offense from Borgen, so anytime he can contribute to the scoresheet is worth a highlight. Beyond the offense, Borgen has developed beautifully this season in Rochester as a defensive player. Gone are the questionable passes, the poorly timed pinches, and being out of position. He’s replaced them with strong physical play and smart decisions. With a logjam of players on Buffalo’s blue line it might be tough for him to crack the Sabres roster next season, but he should give everyone a run for their money in training camp. It’s likely there will be a lot of changes between now and then and I wouldn’t count him out as a dark horse candidate to start the 2019-2020 season in blue and gold.
- Andrew Oglevie (F) - Welcome back Oglevie! He missed 29 games as a result of two concussions and finally returned to action on Friday night. He was clearly shaking some things off and getting back into the groove of things in that game, and he was a healthy scratch the following night in Syracuse, but he returned to action on Sunday and scored a goal and an assist to earn 1st star honors, including this absolutely snipe midway through the second period which gave the Amerks an important two-goal lead. It’s great to see this from him and hopefully he can continue this scoring touch moving forward.
Andrew Oglevie from Taylor Leier! pic.twitter.com/pnFwyqIGwv— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) February 17, 2019
- Remi Elie (F) - After going without a point in his first three games in Rochester (but not in a bad way), Elie has now put up 3+2=5 in the past four games. He’s even showing off some finesse.
Back handed with ease... pic.twitter.com/xbIMrVZCa6— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) February 13, 2019
- Fourth Line - I can’t give these guys enough credit for the intangibles that they bring to the ice. Dalton Smith, Tyler Randell, and Yannick Veilleux bring exactly what you’d expect from an AHL fourth line - toughness and energy - but these guys, particularly Smith and Veilleux, are also contributing in a positive way offensively. Borgen’s goal (see above) wouldn’t have happened without Veilleux’s tenacity in the neutral zone before that gif begins. I can think of a few Sabres prospects playing in Rochester who could learn a thing or two by really watching how these guys play and incorporating some of their passion into their game. It’s not simply about throwing your body around or throwing punches; it’s about chasing down pucks in the neutral zone as though the game depends on it, every shift; it’s about skating hard to the net with the puck rather than curling around into the corners or behind the net. These guys do the hard work and they’re getting big minutes right now because of key injuries to guys on NHL contracts.
- Resilience - This one goes hand in hand with the fourth line. Injuries to Alexander Nylander, Sean Malone, and Kyle Criscuolo have forced the Amerks to reach into their depth and these players have stepped up in a big way, keeping the Amerks in games and helping them continue to pick up important points in this, the most important stretch run of the season, in which they’re playing eleven straight games against North division opponents.
Room For Improvement
- Being “ready to play” - The Amerks had a 2-1 lead entering the third period on Saturday night in Syracuse... before they gave up a goal under two minutes into the third period. We’ve been pointing it out all season, that this team has a bad habit of giving up goals very early in periods or very late in periods. It’s still an issue, and it might have helped to give Syracuse a bonus point in the standings on Saturday night.
- Second Line - Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Asplund, and Danny O’Regan have arguably been the Amerks best line all season, but they went missing in four games last week, putting up a combined total of zero points. They combined to be only a -5 overall in those five games, so they weren’t exactly a liability on the ice, but the Amerks need these guys to get the puck in the net. The depth scoring has been great, but it won’t always be there and the snipers will need to fill the net more often than not.
Another week of divisional games. Cleveland rolls into town on Wednesday night and the Amerks will seek revenge for their embarrassing 2-5 loss last week. The most meaningful game of the week will be Friday night at third-place Utica. Saturday vs Belleville suddenly has a lot of meaning as well, as the Senators are riding a 12-game point streak and have charged back to within just a few points of playoff position, though they’ve played a bunch more games that the teams ahead of them in the standings.
- February 11, 2019 - Myles Powell (F) ⬆️ from Cincinnati to Rochester.
- February 17, 2019 - Casey Nelxon (D) ⬆️ from Rochester to Buffalo. End of conditioning stint.
Game 49 - 2/12/2019 - Away Loss vs Cleveland Monsters
Game 50 - 2/15/2019 - Home Loss vs Syracuse Crunch
Game 51 - 2/16/2019 - Away Win (SO) at Syracuse Crunch
Game 52 - 2/17/2019 - Home Win vs Binghamton Devils
- Sean Malone (F) - Unknown - Day to Day
- Zach Redmond (D) - Lower Body - Day to Day
- Alexander Nylander (F) - Upper Body - Day to Day
- Kyle Criscuolo (F) - Lower Body - Day to Day
The Cincinnati Cyclones are 36-9-3-3 (!!!), remain in first place in their division, and are now the best team in the entire ECHL. They’re riding a five game win streak and have gone 9-1-0-0 in their last ten games.
Jonas Johansson (G) is 18-5-1-2 with a 2.60 GAA and an .908 SV%. Two more wins last week!
Vasily Glotov (F) continued his strong rookie season (11+21=32 in 47 games) with this must-see game winner on Friday night:
Hey @SportsCenter top 10, look out! Vasili Glotov pulls off an incredible move, scooping the puck onto his stick and scoring a lacrosse-style goal from below the goal line! This incredible goal gives the @CincyCyclones the 2-1 victory over the @ToledoWalleye. pic.twitter.com/YZIQ4cQvRQ— ECHL (@ECHL) February 16, 2019
- Justin Bailey: 5+2=7 in 10 games with Lehigh Valley / 0+0=0 in 2 games with NHL Philadelphia Flyers.
- Nicholas Baptiste: 10+9=19 in 52 games with Milwaukee.
- Colin Blackwell: 7+3=10 in 20 games with Milwaukee / 0+0=0 in 6 games with NHL Nashville Predators.
- Hudson Fasching: 11+13=24 in 45 games with Tucson.
- Taylor Fedun: 1+7=8 in 12 games with Texas / 3+5=8 in 35 games with NHL Dallas Stars.
- Seth Griffith: 8+30=38 in 444 games with Manitoba.
- Matt Moulson: 22+20=42 in 46 games with Ontario.
- Jordan Nolan: 11+11=22 in 39 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. / 1+3=4 in 4 games with ECHL Florida Everblades.
How Swede It Is
Question of the Week
Which current Amerks player/Sabres prospect would you be most disappointed to see traded this week, and why?