Rochester’s struggles continued this past week, with three more losses in three games.
Thankfully for the Amerks sake, they were able to salvage one point on Friday night against Cleveland but the remainder of the weekend was a bust.
Here is to looking back at the weekend that was:
January 17 - Cleveland 4, Rochester 3 (SO)
ROC: J. Gilmour (5), C. Mittelstadt (4), C. Smith (7)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 23 saves (SOL - 0-0-1)
January 18 - Lehigh Valley 4, Rochester 0
ROC: No goals scored
ROC: A. Hammond – 19 saves (L - 10-9-2)
January 19 - Hershey 4, Rochester 1
ROC: R. Elie (4)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 32 saves (L - 0-1-1)
Three Big Things
1: Luukkonen’s AHL Season Debut
With three games in three days, it appeared that this weekend was circled on the calendar for the return of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to the Rochester Americans.
Luukkonen ended up bookending the weekend, going 0-1-1, with Andrew Hammond playing in goal against Lehigh Valley.
While the results were not there for Luukkonen, being back was just the start.
“It stinks to lose, especially at home,” Luukkonen told media following Friday’s loss. “I thought we played a solid game tonight and there are some bounces that I would have liked to go the other way. There are some things I still need to sharpen up and some things that I am happy about. Overall, it was not a bad game.”
Luukkonen will likely head back to Cincinnati (ECHL) shortly to continue his development but it is clear that Rochester is not too far for Buffalo’s top goaltending prospect.
2: Mittelstadt Still Scores
After failing to score in two straight games, Casey Mittelstadt showed more signs of progression on Friday night, when he scored his fourth goal of the season.
Mittelstadt’s confidence continues to return, which is evident by his play on-ice.
“I feel like J.S (Dea), Remi (Elie) and myself have been playing well together as of late,” Mittelstadt told the media following Friday’s loss. “It took us a while to build the chemistry, but it was good to see a goal go into the net tonight. The chances and the goals will come, but one wasn’t enough for our line tonight.”
Rochester seemingly continues to struggle scoring in bunches, which earlier this season was not an issue at all. If Mittelstadt continues to progress, his offensive momentum might be the linchpin in Rochester’s second-half resurgence.
3: Halfway Home
With the completion of Friday’s game against Cleveland, the halfway point of the 2019-20 AHL season has been reached.
After the long weekend, Rochester still finds themselves in a desirable position in the North Division.
While the losing ways will have to subside, Rochester’s white hot start continues to keep them afloat, as they figure out how to bounce back.
Wednesday, January 22 - Rochester Americans vs Cleveland Monsters
Friday, January 24 - Rochester Americans at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, January 25 - Rochester Americans at Hershey Bears