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Amerks Weekly - Apr 8 - Apr 14

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Playoffs? Check. Home-ice in Round 1? Check. Division title? Check back next week...

Micheline Velovolu | Rochester Americans

Amerks Games This Week

  • Friday 4/12 - 7:05pm - vs Binghamton Devils (27-40-6-0)
  • Saturday 4/13 - 7:00pm - at Syracuse Crunch (45-21-4-3)
  • Sunday 4/14 - 2:00pm - at Belleville Senators (36-29-3-5)

AHL North Division Standings as of April 9th

The Amerks went 2-1-0-0 last week.

Overall, the Amerks remain in third place in the Eastern Conference and climbed back into third place in the league.

The Amerks currently lead the league in road performances with 24 wins and 52 points.

With three games remaining, including one more against Syracuse, the fight for the North Division title and home-ice advantage in Rounds 1 and 2 of the playoffs will continue right through the last games on Sunday.

What Happened Last Week?

Record Apr 1-Apr 8: 2-1-0-0

The Amerks have locked in home ice advantage for Round 1 of the 2019 AHL playoffs and still have a chance to extend that to Round 2 this week.

Friday night brought an embarrassing loss at home to Syracuse in front of what appeared to be the biggest crowd of the season. The Amerks trailed 3-1 in the third before the wheels came off and the Crunch ran away with a 6-1 victory.

The great news is that the teams flipped the script the following night in Syracuse, where the Amerks skated away with a 5-2 victory to keep their hopes of the North division title very much alive.

They played a rare Monday night game in Cleveland and scored an important regulation victory to claim two points and move back within one point of the division lead. It was a tough loss for Cleveland, who is battling to retain fourth place and their playoff spot.

Bright Spots

  • Tage Thompson (F) - While it isn’t all smiles and rainbows (see below), Tage continues to impress in the offensive zone in his AHL action. He now has 5+2=7 points in his five games played. We got a bit of a scare on Saturday night when Tage went down after blocking a shot off his lower body. He did not finish the game. In somewhat of a surprise to everyone, he returned for Monday night’s game and provided all of the Amerks offense, scoring both goals in their win over Cleveland, both one timers from the left circle.
  • Scott Wedgewood (G) - Wedgie had a huge bounce back game on Monday night, stopping 36 of 37 shots and leading the Amerks to victory. And even though he gave up six goals against on Friday night vs Syracuse, most of those were due to defensive lapses and... awful giveaways. He has looked much better in his past two games than he did in the previous three, so that’s something to be optimistic about as we approach the playoffs.
  • Wayne Simpson (F) - Simpson has been much more than just an AHL role player for this team this season. He scored his 20th goal on Saturday night and he’s been a consistent contributor all season. He’s on my list of unsung heroes for this team, as he has quietly amassed 42 points in 69 games without much fanfare.
  • Kevin Porter (F) - Speaking of unsung heroes, this old man has played well too. 39 points in 56 games, including his 100th assist as an Amerk on Monday night. Our captain has been an incredibly consistent AHL point producer in his career.

Room For Improvement

  • Tage Thompson (F) - Eeessh... while I’m happy to see Tage contributing to the Amerks offense... it would be nice if he’d stop contributing to the Crunch offense too...

You can’t make that pass in your defensive zone, especially not when trailing 3-1 in the third period of a game for the division lead. Credit to the coaches for putting him back out there and letting him learn from his mistakes. That’s what development is all about and that’s one of the reasons why the AHL is a good league for players like Tage.

  • Power Play - 2 for 14 last week isn’t the worst, but it still needs to be better. Chris Taylor has been running a five-forward power play unit for several weeks now. When it works, it looks great, but when it doesn’t work, it’s extremely sloppy. We’ll monitor this to see what happens now that the team has defensemen Zach Redmond and Lawrence Pilut back on the blue line, both of whom can contribute offensively.

Look Ahead

It all comes down to this. Three games left and one point back of the division title.

I’m not going to get into tie breaker scenarios because it’s still a bit complex, especially with one game remaining between the Amerks and Crunch.

The Marlies are the only team in the division who have locked in their position, they will be the third place team no matter what.

This week, Syracuse will face Laval, Rochester, and Utica. That’s a slightly easier schedule than the Amerks, who face Binghamton, Syracuse, and finally a Sunday afternoon game in Belleville - a team that could be playing in a “win and you’re in” game.

Here’s how the Amerks have stacked up against Toronto, Belleville, and Cleveland this season:

  • Toronto: 4-1-0-1, including 3-0-0-0 in Toronto.
  • Belleville: 0-2-1-0 (one more game on Sunday in Belleville).
  • Cleveland: 6-2-0-0, including 3-1-0-0 in Cleveland.

Now is as good a time as any to take a look at the AHLTV service and tune in. Playoff packages will be announced on April 15th.

Transactions

Video Room

Game 71 - 4/5/2019 - Home Loss vs Syracuse Crunch

Game 72 - 4/6/2019 - Away Win at Syracuse Crunch

Game 73 - 4/8/2019 - Away Win at Cleveland Monsters

Injury Report

  • Andrew Oglevie (F) - Upper Body - Unknown
  • Danny O’Regan (F) - Unknown -Day to Day
  • Alexander Nylander (F) - Lower Body - Week to Week

AHL Playoff Primer

Full playoff scenarios are updated daily over at TheAHL.com

Farmville

The Cincinnati Cyclones finished the regular season with a stunning 51-13-5-3 record and earned the Brabham Cup for having the league’s best record!

Additionally, Cyclones forward Jesse Schultz was crowned the ECHL Scoring Champion after scoring 22+58=80 in 71 games.

Old Friends

  • Justin Bailey: 6+2=8 in 17 games with Lehigh Valley / 0+1=1 in 11 games with NHL Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Nicholas Baptiste: 12+10=22 in 55 games with Milwaukee / 2+5=7 in 16 games with Toronto.
  • Colin Blackwell: 14+9=23 in 40 games with Milwaukee / 0+0=0 in 6 games with NHL Nashville Predators.
  • Hudson Fasching: 16+16=32 in 61 games with Tucson.
  • Taylor Fedun: 1+2=3 in 3 games with Texas / 4+7=11 in 54 games with NHL Dallas Stars.
  • Seth Griffith: 16+37=63 in 66 games with Manitoba.
  • Brendan Guhle: 0+1=1 in 8 games with NHL Anaheim Ducks.
  • Matt Moulson: 26+32=58 in 65 games with Ontario.
  • Jordan Nolan: 16+15=31 in 56 games with San Antonio / 0+2=2 in 14 games with NHL St. Louis Blues.
  • Cliff Pu: 1+5=6 in 44 games with Charlotte. / 2+3=5 in 5 games with ECHL Florida Everblades / 1+1=2 in 9 games with Springfield.

Question of the Week

Do you have a preferred Round 1 opponent for the Amerks and if so, why?