AMERKS OPEN NOVEMBER SLATE TONIGHT IN BINGHAMTONNews | 11/4/2011 1:00:32 AM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
Game Notes: The Rochester Americans usher in the month of November tonight when they meet the defending Calder Cup champion Binghamton Senators again for the second time in six nights at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the second of eight get-togethers this season between the intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.
Head-to-Head: The contest marks the second of eight scheduled meetings between the two teams this season. Binghamton goalie Mike McKenna backstopped his club with a 33-save effort to pilot the B-Sens to a 3-1 victory in the first encounter between the two teams last Saturday. Rochester is 31-6-6 all-time against the Baby Sens.
Tropp Gets the Call: The Amerks will be without the services of second-year forward Corey Tropp, who earned his first career National Hockey League recall from the Buffalo Sabres Thursday afternoon. A native of Grosse Point Woods, Michigan, Tropp joins the big club after recording seven points (4+3) in 10 games this season for Rochester, where he ranks tied for first in goals and second in points. A product of Michigan State University, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound forward has scored all four of his goals in his last five games, including a two-goal effort against Hamilton on October 21. Tropp was Buffalo’s third-round selection (89th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Amerks Notes: Rochester (3-4-2-1, 9 points) enters the contest in the midst of a five-game winless streak after falling to the Binghamton Senators 3-1 last Saturday night. The Amerks outshot their opposition 17-6 in the third period and 34-30 overall in the contest. Tropp netted Rochester’s lone goal, his fourth of the season, and Drew MacIntyre turned aside 27 of 30 shots in the loss. Despite their recent skid, however, the Amerks have collected points in three of their last five games and six of their last eight to remain in a three-way tie for third place in the American Hockey League’s North Division.
Team and League Leaders: Derek Whitmore currently paces Rochester’s offense in all offensive categories in goals (4), assists (4) and points (8), in addition to leading the Amerks with a plus-four on-ice rating. The Rochester native also leads the team with 37 shots on goal. Rookie blueliner Brayden McNabb leads all team defensemen with five points (0+5), while Zack Kassian presently ranks tied for 16th among AHL freshmen in scoring entering play tonight.
By The Numbers: The Amerks are 2-1-2-1 (7 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 1-3-0-0 (2 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. After deciding the first four games of the season in regulation, Rochester has been forced into extra time in four of its last six games, two of which have been determined via the shootout. Despite being outscored 32-26, the Amerks’ 26 goals for are the second-highest among North Division opponents. Rochester is also among the least penalized teams in the league with 135 penalty minutes, fourth-lowest in the Western Conference and the sixth-fewest in the AHL. The third period has been the Amerks’ strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 11 goals while allowing eight.
Sharing The Crease: Goaltenders David Leggio and Drew MacIntyre have alternated starts through the team’s first 10 games of the season. Leggio has posted a record of 2-3-0 with a 3.10 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage while MacIntyre is 1-3-1 with a 2.97 goals-against average and a .876 save percentage.
Special Teams Breakdown: The Amerks have gone 6-for-39 (15.4%) on the power-play this season, scoring at least one man-advantage goal in five of their first 10 games. On the penalty kill, Rochester has successfully killed off 33-of-39 (84.6%) shorthanded situations, including 31 of the last 35. The Amerks’ penalty kill is currently the eighth-best in the AHL, but ranks second at home with a 95.2 efficiency rate. As a team, Rochester has allowed a league-most three shorthanded goals against, two coming at home and the other on the road.
The Sens return 13 players from last season’s championship squad, among them including seven-year veteran forward Corey Locke and reigning playoff MVP goaltender Robin Lehner. Locke had a career year with Binghamton in 2010-11, finishing as the league’s top point-getter with 86 points (21+65) in what would be his second straight 85-point season. The two-time Calder Cup winner would also add 15 points (3+12) in just 16 postseason appearances to lead Binghamton to its first ever AHL title and earn a selection to the 2010-11 AHL’s First All-Star team.
Lehner, who was used primarily in a backup role (10-8-2, 2.70 GAA, .912 SP% in just 22 regular season games) for the Sens last season, took over the No. 1 job in Binghamton’s playoff run, finishing with an impressive 14-4 record while leading the league in postseason wins (14), shutouts (3) and saves (600). Lehner also placed second among AHL backstops in minutes played (1,111), second in save percentage (.939) and fifth in goals-against average (2.10). Lehner currently remains on NHL recall with the parent Ottawa Senators.
Team and League Leaders: B-Sens captain Mark Parrish leads the Sens in scoring with eight points, including a team-high six goals, three of which have been scored on the power-play. Parrish, who skated last season with the Portland Pirates, has notched five points (3+2) in his last five games, highlighted by a three-point outing against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Oct. 15. His six goals presently rank him 11th in the AHL, while his three man-advantage tallies place him tied for sixth among league leaders in that category. Locke enters play tonight with seven points (0+7) in eight games, but has yet to find the back of the net this season.
Quick Hits: Last Saturday’s game in Binghamton saw the return of defenseman Drew Schiestel, who missed the first nine games with an injury he sustained in Rochester’s season-opening game in Hamilton on October 8… The Amerks have allowed the first goal in eight of the first 10 games of the season… Rochester leads the league in penalty shots against with three, with its most recent last Saturday in Binghamton as MacIntyre denied Parrish in the second period… After missing the first 10 games of the season with injuries, forwards Paul Szczechura (SHU-her-uh) and Maxime Legault (leh-GOH) are expected to make their season debuts tonight for the Amerks.
Next Game: Rochester closes out its four-game road swing on Saturday, November 5 with the first leg of a home-and-home series with the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Game time is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.