By Erica Whyte
Recapping the Weekend
The Amerks suffered their first loss of the season on Friday night, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Utica Comets in their lone game of the weekend, leaving them in fourth place in the North Division after week two.
Third-year forward Nick Baptiste and Brendan Guhle combined for 13 of the team’s 33 shots while netminder Linus Ullmark stopped 28 of 30 but suffered his first loss of the young season.
The Comets were led offensively by Reid Boucher as the five-year pro collected a pair of assists to give him a league-leading five through the first three games. Nikolay Goldobin and Patrick Wiercioch each scored in the victory, while goaltender Thatcher Demko recorded his third-career shutout and first win of the 2017-18 season after making 33 saves.
Following the weekend loss, head coach Chris Taylor expressed his frustration, but he insisted that the game was a blip in the map of this new team’s winning trajectory.
"I’m really disappointed with how we played, and were not going to stand by it.” he said. "That’s back to the old culture, and we are not going to stand by it. And we have to get better. This week we will get better.”
UTICA (2) AT ROCHESTER (0)
News and Notes
Newcomer C.J. Smith is tied for ninth in scoring among AHL rookies with three points (1+2) through his first three games with the Amerks. After notching an assist last Friday’s season-opening win over Syracuse, Smith added two more points by scoring his first pro goal to go along with an assist for his first multi-point effort in Saturday’s rematch against the Crunch.
Justin Bailey earned the team’s first recall of the season after the third-year forward joined the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. He scored his first NHL goal of the season on his first shift of the game, helping the Sabres to their first win this season.
On top of that, Bailey currently leads the Amerks with two goals and is tied for the team lead with a plus-2 rating through three games in 2017-18. He also has five goals in his last eight games dating back to last season with Rochester. Bailey’s registered five points (3+2) in 41 career NHL games for the Sabres during the last three seasons.
The Week Ahead
The Amerks conclude their three-game homestand this week on back-to-back nights at The Blue Cross Arena, beginning with the first of four meetings against the Atlantic Division first place Charlotte Checkers on Friday, Oct. 20.
Checkers rookie Warren Foegele is tied in second for scoring in the AHL after tallying two goals in his first and second games of the season. The 21-year-old rookie netted a pair of goals in his pro debut on opening weekend against the Hartford Wolf Pack, including the game-winner with a minute left in regulation. Foegele then followed that up with an additional two goals the next night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, including another game-winner, with both coming shorthanded. He was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week for opening week.
Despite his stellar start, Foegele sits in third for points on the Checkers roster. Forward Andrew Miller has five points in four games, and Lucas Hallmark is ranked second in the AHL with eight points in four games.
Charlotte makes its inaugural visit to Rochester following the team’s shift to the Eastern Conference. Puck drop on Friday is at 7:05 p.m.