Amerks Weekly - Nov 6 - Nov 13
Two big wins (games) and two big losses (injuries) lead the team into a quiet stretch of the season.
Amerks Games This Week
- Friday - 11/8 - 7:05pm - vs Binghamton (3-7-2-0)/
AHL North Division Standings as of November 5th
The Amerks went 2-1-0-0 last week and are right in the mix of a tight race for the North Division lead early in this season.
What Happened Last Week?
Record Oct 30-Nov 5: 2-1-0-0
Check out our latest Amerks Review post for details on last weeks performances.
Notable: The wins were nice, particularly Saturday’s impressive 6-0 revengeful shutout in Utica, but that one came with a major cost: the team lost C.J. Smith and Zach Redmond to injuries. Smith will be out long term with an as-yet undisclosed injury, the timetable for which was only described as “weeks.” The team hopes Redmond’s injury is less severe, but no details were provided for him either.
Also notable: Lawrence Pilut was recalled to join the Sabres in Sweden for the NHL’s Global Series games this week. Additionally, Andrew Hammond traveled with the team, but has not been officially recalled. He’ll be the third goaltender and readily available in the event that he’s needed.
And more: The Amerks special teams have been downright awful. Through 12 games, the PP ranks 27th in the league at just 10.2% - and an astonishingly bad 3.8% at home - and the PK ranks 26th at 75.5%. There are differing opinions on what the problems are, but I’m beginning to point my finger at the coaching staff. Yes, everyone knows that the players have to execute the plays in order to find success, but if the system itself is flawed then it’s the coaches who should be making adjustments and finding a way to spark some offense. The PP has been heavily utilizing drop passes in the neutral zone and defenses are consistently anticipating it and breaking up the play. My hope is that the coaches will find some alternative ways to gain the offensive zone and sustain some puck possession.
.1. Brett Murray - 1+2=3 in 3 games played. He missed the first five games of the season while work visa issues were being addressed, but since joining the team he has shown noticeable improvement with each passing game. He’s now up to five points in seven games played. More than just putting up points, he’s also making great plays all over the ice.
Here’s a nice assist from last Friday night. This shift was impressive long before the goal was scored, but here you’ll see him win a battle and dish the puck off before it finally ends up in the net.
Casey Nelson scores his 2nd of the night! Amerks up 2-0. Murray put in the work on the boards, Cornel sent the pass up front. pic.twitter.com/p5T2jidyV4— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) November 2, 2019
The Amerks will need Murray to continue to put up points with the loss of C.J. Smith.
.2. Rasmus Asplund - Steady as she goes for Asplund. Similar to last season, he’s not putting up a lot of points early in the season, but everything else about his game continues to trend in the right direction. As usual, he’s been rock solid on face-offs and he remains one of only three Amerks who have yet to visit the penalty box this season (Eric Cornel and Brett Murray). On Saturday night he scored his first goal of the season.
Rasmus Asplund puts the #Amerks up 3-0! His first goal of the season. Assists to Thompson and Fitzgerald. pic.twitter.com/EuJPm6jysK— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) November 2, 2019
.3. Casey Nelson - 2+3-5 in 3 games played. Three points in Friday night’s win - including two goals - set a career high for Nelson, who now leads the team in plus/minus at +8. He’s been a solid presence on the blue line so far and has shown no indication that he’s bitter about being on the outside looking in while John Gilmour earns 7th D-man honors with the Sabres. Like Murray with Smith, Nelson will be relied upon to continue to put up points while Redmond is out. His first goal of the season was a nice one, showing great patience as he found the best angle to put the puck home.
Casey Nelson scores his first of the season. Amerks up 1-0. Assists to Borgen and Oglevie. pic.twitter.com/6tYdJmuliN— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) November 1, 2019
Because of the Sabres trip to Sweden to take part in the NHL Global Series, it’s a quiet week for the Amerks. Friday night will be the only game for the team until Wednesday, November 13th - that’s just one game over the course of ten days. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as it slightly lessens the blow of losing some key players to injury.
Friday night will see Binghamton return to Rochester for the second consecutive weekend. The Amerks easily took the previous matchup and will look to do it again against the worst team in the division so far.
We’re also officially on Luukkonen watch, as UPL was reassigned to Rochester to fill the hole left while Andrew Hammond is with the Sabres overseas. While it’s unlikely that UPL will get the start on Friday night, you never know what might happen. UPL lost last week in his first start of the season in Cincinnati.
- November 1, 2019 - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G) - ⬇️ from Rochester to Cincinnati
- November 3, 2019 - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G) - ⬆️ from Cincinnati to Rochester
- November 3, 2019 - Lawrence Pilut (D) - ⬆️ from Rochester to Buffalo/
Game 10 - 10/30/2019 - Home Loss vs Providence
Game 11 - 11/1/2019 - Home Win vs Binghamton
Game 12 - 11/2/2019 - Away Win at Utica
[Video not available at press time... possibly because the Comets were embarrassed on home ice]
- C.J. Smith - Week-to-Week. CJ Suffered what appears to be a lower body injury early in the first period of the game vs Utica on November 2nd. He was helped off the ice and did not return to the game. Early reports are that he’ll be out for quite some time.
- Zach Redmond - Unknown. Redmond was also injured in the game on November 2nd. He did not play after the first period. No official word from the team yet as to his status, but I’d guess he takes advantage of the Amerks’ light schedule in the next two weeks and they don’t rush him back.
- Taylor Leier - Shoulder - Week-to-Week. Leier had offseason shoulder surgery. He has returned to skating with the team in practices, but is still in no-contact mode./
The Cincinnati Cyclones are 4-2-1-0 as they start their quest to return to the top of the ECHL and 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.
- Justin Bailey: 3+2=5 in 10 games with AHL Utica
- Nicholas Baptiste: 0+2=2 in 4 games with AHL Toronto.
- Kyle Criscuolo: 1+2=3 in 9 games with AHL Lehigh Valley
- Jack Dougherty: 1+2=3 in 9 games with AHL Belleville
- Brendan Guhle: 1+1=2 in 2 games with AHL San Diego, 0+3=3 in 7 games with NHL Anaheim
- Alexander Nylander: 2+5=7 in 12 games with NHL Chicago
- Danny O’Regan: 2+7=9 in 12 games with AHL Hartford
- Matt Tennyson: 0+0=0 in 1 game with AHL Binghamton, 0+3=3 in 7 games with NHL New Jersey
- Scott Wedgewood: 3-1-1-0, 3.33 GAA, .881 SV% in 6 game with AHL Syracuse/