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Amerks Review: Reaching For The Top

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Rochester continues to claw their way back to the top of the North.

Micheline V / Rochester Americans

Rochester had an ugly start to this four-game stretch, with back-to-back losses to the Charlotte Checkers in Charlotte.

Nothing worse than taking a long trip and losing both games.

Rochester was able to turn things around later in the week, with good back-to-back performances by both the Amerks offense and goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Here is to looking back at the weekend that was:

Results

February 11 - Charlotte 4, Rochester 2

ROC: R. Asplund (2), J. Gilmour (6)
ROC: A. Hammond – 32 saves (L - 13-11-2)

February 12 - Charlotte 5, Rochester 2

ROC: T. Leier (6), S. Malone (10)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 27 saves (L - 1-3-1)

February 15 - Rochester 4, Syracuse 3 (SO)

ROC: B. Murray (8), A. MacWilliam (2), C. Smith (10)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 15 saves (W - 2-3-1)

February 16 - Rochester 3, Utica 2

ROC: R. Elie (6), E. Cornel (10), T. Leier (7)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 27 saves (W - 3-3-1)

Three Big Things

1: Back in the Thick of It

Rochester has been able to consistently keep the pressure on the North Division-leading Belleville Senators since the AHL All-Star Break commenced.

Heading into this next week, Rochester is only five points behind Belleville with a matchup between the North Division’s top two teams coming this Wednesday night.

Rochester can continue to claw their way back to the top of the North Division with a big win against the Senators.

2: Getting a Look-onen

With the recent rash of injuries combined with maintenance days, goaltenders have been shuffling around the Buffalo Sabres organization like a deck of cards.

Goaltender Andrew Hammond has been shuffled up and down the 90 like an ace in the hole.

While Jonas Johansson is still backing up Carter Hutton in Buffalo and Andrew Hammond was up as an insurance policy, that left the goal wide open in Rochester for one man - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Despite being on a seemingly pre-defined calendar of recovery, Luukkonen has answered the bell, being thrust into a starting role at the AHL level for the time being.

Luukkonen started this weekend stretch off by allowing five goals against Charlotte, posting an ugly .844 save percentage.

Things were turned around when the weekend rolled up though. In back-to-back starts, Luukkonen posted a 2-0-0 record and helped bring the Amerks closer to the North Division lead.

3: Bogosian Bound?

A few days ago, the Buffalo Sabres waived and subsequently assigned veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian to the American Hockey League.

Bogosian, a 12-year NHL veteran, has not played in the AHL since the 2008-09 season, when he played in five games for the Chicago Wolves.

Despite conflicting reports over the last few days, it remains to be seen if Bogosian will report.

If Bogosian does show up, his veteran presence would certainly help out a young group of talented defensemen in Rochester.

Standings

Coming Up

Wednesday, February 19 - Rochester Americans vs Belleville Senators
Friday, February 21 - Rochester Americans vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, February 22 - Rochester Americans vs Cleveland Monsters