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Amerks Weekly - Jan 15 - Jan 21

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The Amerks are slumping, but a young Finn has arrived and he’s ready to make his season debut.

Micheline V | Rochester Americans

Amerks Games This Week

  • Friday - 1/17 - 7:05pm - vs Cleveland (17-18-1-2)
  • Saturday - 1/18 - 7:05pm - at Lehigh Valley (15-19-1-4)
  • Sunday - 1/19 - 5:00pm - at Hershey (23-12-2-3)

AHL North Division Standings as of January 15th

For the first time since October the Amerks have relinquished control of the North division. While they still have games in hand on the teams ahead of them, the Amerks’ recent performances have not instilled much confidence that they are as dominant as we once thought.

What Happened Last Week?

Record Jan 8-Jan 14: 0-2-0-1

Check out our latest Amerks Review post for details on last week’s performance.

Notable: I was one of the 8,422 fans in attendance for Friday night’s loss to Belleville at the BCA and it was one of the most miserable performances I’d witnessed from this Amerks team in a few years. Two short-handed goals allowed. 4 goals allowed on just 23 shots (plus an empty netter). Johansson got the hook midway through the second. No Amerks players finished with a positive +/-. If you forced me to say something positive it would be that C.J. Smith finally scored, snapping an 8-game goal drought.

Also Notable: Speaking of C.J., while his .60 points per game isn’t awful, it’s still well below where he was in the past two seasons. It’s impossible to say exactly what is causing the downturn - injuries have certainly played a role - but the Amerks are going to need more production out of him moving forward if they want to stay ahead in the ultra-competitive North division.

Additionally: It’s looking more and more like Curtis Lazar might not play another game for the Amerks this season (with good reason), so the team is going to need to find a way to replace his tenacity and energy in the long term. It’s the same story for Rasmus Asplund. And probably Lawrence Pilut, too. We all knew this day would eventually come, and now that it’s here it feels as though GM Randy Sexton didn’t do enough in the offseason to stock the shelves in Rochester and Cincy, including letting some guys walk away (particularly 20-goal scorer Danny O’Regan) who could still be contributing offensively when the team needs it most.

One more thing: Let’s pour one out for the Terminator, as he is officially sidelined 5-6 months following shoulder surgery.

Three Stars

.1. Andrew Oglevie - After missing several games due to injury, Oglevie returned on Friday night and provided the only highlight of the game for the Amerks with a beautiful backhand pass for the primary assist on C.J. Smith’s power play goal.

.2. Tyler Randell - While 5+1=6 in 18 games isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, Randell is on pace for the best offensive season of his career. As much as we all love Dalton Smith down here in Rochester... maybe the Sabres signed the wrong tough-guy. Here’s Randell’s pretty breakaway goal from Saturday night.

.3. Lawrence Pilut - When a team is on a 4-game losing streak, you have to look for reasons why, and Pilut’s absence undoubtedly plays a role. So, without even stepping on the ice, Larry earns the third star simply because the team looks lost without him.

Stats Leaders

Look Ahead

This weekend brings the first 3-in-3 of 2020 to the Amerks schedule.

Friday night is a divisional matchup at home vs the struggling Cleveland Monsters. This will be the teams’ fourth of eight meetings this year, with the Amerks going 2-0-0-1 in the previous three.

Saturday and Sunday will be a quick jaunt through Pennsylvania as the team heads to Lehigh Valley to meet old friend Kyle Criscuolo on Saturday night before making the short trip to Hershey for a 5pm start against a surging Bears squad featuring old friend (and Jack Eichel’s spirit animal) Matt Moulson.

Transactions

Video Room

Game 35 - 1/8/2020 - Home Loss (SO) vs Binghamton

Game 36 - 1/10/2020 - Home Loss vs Belleville

Game 37 - 1/11/2020 - Away Loss at Syracuse

Injury Report

  • Taylor Leier - Neck - Week-to-Week
  • Casey Nelson - Upper Body - Day-to-Day

Farmville

The Cincinnati Cyclones are 23-9-6-0 in their quest to return to avenge last season’s premature ending. They finished 2018-2019 with the best record in the league but fell to rival Toledo in the second round of the playoffs.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G) is performing great in his return from offseason surgery, with a 12-5-3-0 record, 3 shutouts, 2.12 GAA, and a .917% save percentage. His impressive performance has earned him a trip to the ECHL All Star game.

On Sunday the Amerks announced they’ve recalled UPL from Cincy. All signs are pointing toward him getting his first game(s) of the season this weekend while the Amerks have a 3-in-3 weekend. It might not be out of the question to see him play at home on Friday night and then again in Hershey on Sunday, particularly as Andrew Hammond has struggled for the team in recent weeks.

Old Friends

  • Justin Bailey: 16+11=27 in 38 games with AHL Utica
  • Nicholas Baptiste: 3+5=8 in 23 games with AHL Toronto.
  • Kyle Criscuolo: 5+3=8 in 23 games with AHL Lehigh Valley
  • Jack Dougherty: 3+7=10 in 37 games with AHL Belleville
  • Brendan Guhle: 2+6=8 in 14 games with AHL San Diego, 1+3=4 in 18 games with NHL Anaheim
  • Hudson Fasching: 13+9=22 in 35 games with AHL Tucson
  • Alexander Nylander: 5+9=14 in 43 games with NHL Chicago
  • Danny O’Regan: 8+16=24 in 39 games with AHL Hartford
  • Matt Tennyson: 0+2=2 in 4 games with AHL Binghamton, 0+3=3 in 19 games with NHL New Jersey
  • Scott Wedgewood: 7-4-1-0, 3.00 GAA, .891 SV% in 14 games with AHL Syracuse