Amerks Review: Rochester’s Big Weekend Starts Off Season Right
Rochester played their first game in a week, which happened to be a three-games-in-three-days stretch. What proceeded was very impressive.
While the Rochester Americans opened their season a week ago at home, their season truly felt like it kicked off this past weekend, with three games in three days.
Back-to-back-to-back games are like that early season West Coast road trip you always hear NHL fans talk about. This is the stretch of games where you really find out what you are made of. You find out if your team can really handle the smoke or if they are not as good as you might have hoped for.
One would hope it would not be the first road trip of the year that this would happen but here we are.
Good news for the Americans faithful out there, the Rochester Americans answered the bell in impressive fashion.
October 11 – Rochester 2, Springfield 1
ROC: K. Porter (PPG - 1), A. Oglevie (2)
ROC: A. Hammond – 20 saves (W – 2-0-0-0)
October 12 – Providence 3, Rochester 2
ROC: J. Dea (PPG – 1), C. Smith (1)
ROC: J. Johansson – 27 saves (L – 0-1-0-0)
October 13 – Rochester 3, Hartford 2 (SO)
ROC: R. Elie (1), Z. Redmond (1)
ROC: A. Hammond – 33 saves (W – 3-0-0-0)
Three Big Things
1: “The Hamburglar”
When the Buffalo Sabres signed Andrew Hammond this offseason, many expected he would solidify the goaltending situation down with Rochester.
Through three starts, that has been the situation.
Hammond has faced 85 shots in three starts, allowing only five goals. While it is early, Hammond has a 1.60 goals allowed average and a .941 save percentage.
Of goaltenders who have played at least 177 minutes this season, Hammond rands second in goals allowed average and is first in save percentage.
Always nice when the season is young and you can manipulate statistics but they certainly do back up how solid Hammond has been in net for Rochester.
2: Depth Scoring
In their three-game swing, Rochester scored six goals - seven if you count Tage Thompson’s shootout goal against Hartford.
Those aforementioned six goals were scored by six different players.
Kevin Porter, Jean-Sebastien Dea, C.J. Smith, Remi Elie and Zach Redmond recorded their first goals of the young season, while Andrew Oglevie scored his tied for team-leading second goal.
Again, stats are so much fun to manipulate early in the season.
Another statistic that is very encouraging to see early on is shots on goal from the Americans’ top talent.
In two games played, Zach Redmond recorded 10 shots on goal. Redmond sat out Saturday’s game against Providence after suffering a minor injury against Springfield on Friday night.
The two projected offensive powerhouses, C.J. Smith and Tage Thompson, combined for 28 shots in the three games this weekend.
Safe to say, they are not afraid to put pucks on net.
3: Tage Thompson, budding offensive threat
Speaking of Tage Thompson, it is a good time to take a quick step back and appreciate what the young forward has done so far with the Rochester Americans.
This offseason, Thompson was given all opportunities to stick with the Buffalo Sabres, after a rough season last year.
After being the big piece in the much-maligned Ryan O’Reilly trade, Thompson appears to be coming to the rink with a renewed attitude and look at things.
“I think you still have to earn it, and nothing is given,” Thompson told Amerks.com. “It’s nice knowing you’re going to get some opportunities, but with that being said, you have to take advantage of that and make sure that you’re working for those opportunities.”
Through four games, Thompson leads the Americans with five points (two goals, three assists) and is second in shots with 16.
Thompson also netted the Americans game-winning shootout goal in Sunday afternoon’s victory over Hartford.
With Conor Sheary getting injured up in Buffalo, and expected to miss a few weeks, we were offered a quick look at the inner thoughts of Jason Botterill.
Botterill called up forward Curtis Lazar for the Buffalo Sabres upcoming West Coast swing, while Thompson remains down in Rochester.
While Lazar certainly earned the first-man up role after a strong training camp with the Sabres, this moved showed us that Buffalo is indeed serious about letting Tage Thompson spending time down on the farm.
Thompson’s presence in Rochester allows him to play a major role, which includes playing top line minutes and the ability to play in all situations. If he were to be called up to Buffalo, it is uncertain what kind of role would be available for Thompson at this time.
Staying down in Rochester is the right answer for all parties involved.
Friday, October 18 - Rochester Americans vs Cleveland Monsters
Saturday, October 19 - Rochester Americans at Utica Comets