AMERKS READY FOR FIRST THREE-IN-THREE STRETCH OF THE SEASON THIS WEEKEND
News | 3/6/2013 4:59:26 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS


Cody McCormick (Photo: Micheline Veluvolu)

Where They Stand
RECORDS
Home: 16-11-0-1, 33 points
Away: 13-11-2-0, 28 points
Overall: 29-22-2-1, 61 points

STANDINGS
Overall: 18th
Western Conference: 9th
North Division: 4th 

LAST 10…
4-6-0-0

This Week’s Storyline
March Going To Be A Busy Month For Amerks
– Just about seven weeks is all that remains for the 2012-13 American Hockey League regular season, and with the race for playoff contention beginning to take shape, the Rochester Americans got back on the winning track this past weekend to kick off their busiest month of the season yet. March will see Rochester play a season-high 15 times this month with a grueling stretch of six games in nine nights set to begin this weekend before the Amerks embark on their season-long five-game road trip. Rochester enters the week having claimed all four points after posting back-to-back wins, including a crucial victory over a divisional opponent, to snap a four-game skid and begin their climb up the North Division standings with a 29-22-2-1 overall record. The Amerks currently sit in ninth place in the all-too-close Western Conference, where just one point separates them from the eighth and final playoff spot. What is even more impressive is that Rochester’s recent success comes after a flurry of lineup changes as a result of injuries and several call-ups to the parent Buffalo Sabres as well as a midseason coaching change. After opening up March on the road, the Amerks return home this weekend for their first three-in-three of the season that features a pair of tilts against Abbotsford and a visit to nearby Binghamton scheduled for in between.


Amerks Statistical Leaders

Goals: Mark Mancari (18)
Assists: Mark Mancari (30)
Points: Mark Mancari (48)
Power-Play Goals: T.J. Brennan (7)
Power-Play Assists: Mark Mancari (15)
Shorthanded Goals: T.J. Brennan (2)
Shorthanded Assists: Phil Varone (3), Brayden McNabb (3)
Plus/Minus: Kevin Porter (+8)
Shots: Mark Mancari (189)
Penalty Minutes: Nick Tarnasky (126)
Games Played: Mark Mancari (54)
Wins: David Leggio (28)
Losses: David Leggio (17)
GAA: David Leggio (2.69)
SV%: David Leggio (.919)
Saves: David Leggio (1416)
Minutes: David Leggio (2781:52)


AMERKS QUICK HITS

  • With 91 goals through their last 29 games, including 25 in their last 11, the Amerks are currently fifth in the AHL in goals for with 175, 20 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 195 tallies. Rochester is also third in the league in goals-per-game, averaging 3.24.
  • Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 21 games as the Amerks have converted on 20 of their 92 man-advantage opportunities, including 15 times over the last 16 games. The Amerks rank tied for second with 52 power-play goals and have the third-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 21.7% efficiency rate. Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 38 of the first 54 games this season.
  • With five points (3+2) through his last three games, including a goal and an assist in each of his last two, Mancari leads the Amerks in all offensive categories in goals (18), assists (30) and points (48) and enters the week ninth in scoring among the AHL’s top point-getters. Mancari is also tied for ninth among league leaders in assists, 15 of which have come on the power-play, good enough for seventh in the AHL in that category. His 189 shots on goal are also second-most in the AHL.
  • Brennan, who left the Amerks riding a five-game point streak (2+3), still ranks second and third among AHL defensemen in goals (14) and points (35), respectively. He also continues to lead all rearguards in power-play goals (7) and shorthanded goals (2) and ranks fourth in shots (132).
  • The duo of Mancari and Amerks captain Kevin Porter, who is currently on recall with Buffalo, have combined for 27 multi-point outings between the two of them since the puck dropped in October. More impressively, the duo has also recorded at least one point in the same game in 23 of 54 outings this season, including eight different occasions where they have each posted multiple points in the same game. Rochester is 19-3-1-0 when Porter and Mancari register a point in the same game.
  • Also presently on recall with the Sabres is rookie forward Brian Flynn, who enters the week 11th among AHL rookies with 32 points (16+16) in 45 games. The Amerks are 11-2-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
  • Leggio, who’s won 10 of his last 15 starts, continues to lead all AHL netminders in wins (28), saves (1416), minutes played (2781:52), shots faced (1540) and games played (46). He also boasts the fourth-best shootout record (4-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 20 of 25 shooters for a .800 save percentage. The native of Williamsville, NY, is 15-3 all-time in AHL shootouts and has won eight of his last 10.
  • The Amerks have played the second-fewest games in the AHL with 54, which ties them with Toronto for the least among North Division opponents.
  • The Amerks have allowed at least five goals in a game 11 times this season, but are 5-5-1-0 in those games.


Last Week’s Results
Saturday, March 2 at Syracuse – 2-1 W, OT
Rochester used a pair of power-play goals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 in overtime at the War Memorial at Oncenter in Syracuse on Saturday night. Phil Varone scored the game-winning goal with just 10 seconds remaining in overtime as Rochester snapped a four-game losing streak. Veteran forward Mark Mancari, Rochester’s leading scorer, led the way with a goal and an assist on the night and goaltender David Leggio picked up his 27th victory of the season by turning aside 35 of 36 shots on goal.

Sunday, March 3 at Lake Erie – 4-2 W
The Amerks scored twice in the second period and Maxime Legault added a pair of goals of his own in the third, including the game-winner, as Rochester closed out its three-game road swing with a 4-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters Sunday evening at Quicken Loans Arena. Mancari notched his second straight two-point game (1+1) to extend his current point streak to three games and Brayden McNabb recorded three assists in the win, which improved Rochester to 5-0-0-0 against the Monsters this season and vaulted the Amerks into a third-place tie with Lake Erie in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. Leggio finished with 38 saves on the night en route to his league-leading 28th win of the season, matching the career-high he set last season with the Amerks.

This Week’s Opponents
Friday, March 8 vs. Abbotsford – Season Series: 3-3-0-0, 6 points
Rochester kicks off its first stretch of three games in three nights of the season when it returns home on Friday, March 8 to host the Abbotsford Heat at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the seventh of eight meetings between the North Division foes this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 26. The tightly-contested season series has been evenly matched thus far for both teams, who show identical 3-3-0-0 records and are coming off a two-game split that ended with a 6-2 win in favor of the Amerks during their most recent trek out to Western Canada last month. The Amerks and Heat have combined for 34 goals with Rochester outscoring Abbotsford 19-15 throughout the previous six get-togethers.  Rochester has scored 12 goals on 90 shots (3.93, .867) this season against Abbotsford goalie Barry Brust, who has a 2.11 GAA and .924 save percentage against the rest of the AHL. The Heat enter the week just a point ahead of Rochester in the North Division standings and currently hold in their possession the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Amerks, however, have five games in hand of the Heat.

Saturday, March 9 at Binghamton – Season Series: 1-5-1-0, 2 points
The Amerks are back in action the following night as they make their way to the southern tier to face the Binghamton Senators on Saturday, March 9 at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the seventh of eight meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. Rochester has struggled this season against the B-Sens, who show a 5-0-0-1 record and have claimed nine out of a possible 10 points in six games throughout the season series thus far. Binghamton is also undefeated at home against Rochester after earning its second straight 5-1 win in the teams’ most recent encounter back on Jan. 16 in Broome County.

Sunday, March 10 vs. Abbotsford – Season Series: 3-3-0-0, 6 points
Rochester brings the weekend to a close on Sunday, March 10 with another go-around with the Abbotsford Heat at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 5:05 p.m. start and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The Amerks will host their first-ever “Pucks and Paws Night” that day where fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the game to enjoy the action alongside them. “Pucks & Paws” tickets are available for just $15 and include admission for both owner and dog. Season Ticket Holders can gain admission for a dog by making a $5 donation to Lollypop Farm.

ROLSTON TAKES OVER IN BUFFALO
The Buffalo Sabres promoted former Amerks head coach Ron Rolston to serve as their interim head coach for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. Rolston replaced Lindy Ruff, the all-time winningest coach in Sabres history and longest tenured coach in the NHL, who was relieved of his duties after 16 years behind the Buffalo bench. Rolston became the 16th coach in franchise history after compiling a 63-56-5 regular-season record over 1 ½ seasons with the Amerks, who he led to the Calder Cup Playoffs in just his first season as an American Hockey League coach. He officially made his NHL coaching debut in Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 21 at the Air Canada Centre and earned his first win in the Sabres’ 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 26. Rolston, whose team is coming off a three-game winning streak, is 3-3-1 since taking over for Ruff on Feb. 20. 

CASSIDY APPOINTED INTERIM HEAD COACH IN ROCHESTER
The exit of Rolston to Buffalo meant the elevation of Amerks assistant coach Chadd Cassidy as the new bench boss in Rochester. Cassidy, who previously worked alongside Rolston for five seasons at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, becomes the 30th head coach in Amerks history and the first to take over the position as a midseason replacement since John Van Boxmeer was appointed the title midway through the 1984-85 season when he took over for Jim Schoenfield. Cassidy made his American Hockey League head coaching debut in Rochester’s 5-1 loss to the Texas Stars on Feb. 20 and earned his first win Saturday in Rochester’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Crunch in Syracuse. Cassidy is 2-4-0-0 since his promotion to head coach.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE
The end of the NHL lockout may have meant the departure of several key components to Rochester’s offense, but the recent flurry of roster moves has certainly been beneficial for the Amerks. Aside from the season-long mainstays in Mancari and Nick Tarnasky, the latest additions of high-end forwards Patrick Rissmiller, Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick, both of whom were reassigned to Rochester within 10 days of each other, give the Amerks five active veterans in the lineup for the first time this season while providing stability and plenty of leadership. Along with established defenseman Adam Pardy, who is currently on recall with the Sabres, Rochester’s veteran class has combined for over 1,200 man games in the NHL, including 329 from McCormick, and have totaled 80 points (32+48) for the Amerks in 2012-13.

MANCARI MAKING HIS MARK
The return to Rochester has been quite the homecoming for Mancari, who is in the midst of what could perhaps be his best season as an Amerk since joining the organization as a rookie for the 2005-06 campaign. Entering this year, the eight-year pro ranked 46th all-time in scoring amongst forwards in franchise history with 156 points (62+94) in 215 career games in the red, white and blue, but has since climbed to 26th on the list, surpassing some notable names like Dane Jackson, Scott Nichol, Jason Pominville and most recently, Norm Milley, along the way. Mancari added another personal milestone in last Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Toronto, scoring the lone goal for his 200th pro career goal and recording his 200th point as an Amerk.

MAKE THAT THREE STRAIGHT FOR LEGGIO
Leggio recorded his 20th win of the season with a 21-save effort against Hamilton on Jan. 21, solidifying the fifth-year netminder’s third consecutive 20-win season. Leggio began the impressive streak with 22 wins during the 2010-11 campaign with Portland before posting a career-high 28 victories last season with Rochester. Leggio, having already matched last year’s win total after Rochester’s 4-2 triumph over Lake Erie on Sunday, needs just another victory to best his personal mark and is on pace to capture his first career 30-win season.

BRENNAN GETTING CLOSER
With his power-play goal at Syracuse on Jan. 12, T.J. Brennan is on pace to break Rick Pagnutti’s 40-year-old franchise record for most goals scored by a defenseman in a single-season. Pagnutti set the mark during the 1972-73 campaign, his first in Rochester, when he netted 18 goals en route to a 55-point season, which led all Amerks defensemen and placed him third on the team in overall scoring. After officially reaching the halfway point with a pair of shorthanded tallies against the Albany Devils on Nov. 23, Brennan is now within four goals of tying the mark and five away from setting a new record. The fourth-year pro fell just two short of the record last season, scoring 16 goals in only 52 games with the Amerks.

HOME, SWEET HOME
With the AHL embarking on its sixth month of the regular season, home-ice advantage has certainly been beneficial for the Amerks, who have won nine of their last 15 games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena and have outscored their opponents 88-80 in 28 total games. Rochester boasts a 16-11-0-1 record in their downtown venue, making them the eighth-best home team in the AHL. Conversely, Rochester is 13-11-2-0 on the road and has won four of its last six games away from home.

BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 16-9-1-1 (34 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 13-13-1-0 (27 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 34 of the first 54 games of the campaign and show a 24-8-2-0 record when doing so, including a 12-3-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 24-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 13-0-0-0 mark at home.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Rochester set a new franchise attendance record by playing in front of a capacity crowd of 19,070 fans on Friday, Dec. 28 against Lake Erie at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The record-setting attendance also represented the ninth-largest crowd for a single game in American Hockey League history and the fifth-largest for an AHL game played indoors. The previous Amerks record for the largest crowd in the 57-year history of the franchise was 17,898, which was set eight years prior to the day on Dec. 28, 2004, when the Amerks defeated the Edmonton Roadrunners at the then-HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

CROWD-PLEASING PERFORMANCES
More than a dozen different crowds of 7,500+ fans in attendance have taken in an Amerks game this season, including eight in the Flower City’s downtown hockey barn. The number is a vast improvement from the 2011-12 season, when only three crowds of 7,500 or more were on hand. Rochester is currently ninth in the AHL in total attendance to date and is averaging 6,530 fans per game through the first 28 home games of the 2012-13 campaign.

WHO’S HOT
McNabb shows four assists in his last two games after collecting the primary helper on Varone’s game-winner in Syracuse Saturday and adding three others in Sunday’s win at Lake Erie… Flynn has collected 15 points (7+8) through his last 20 games and hasn’t gone longer than five games this season without a point… Rissmiller, who is just 12 games into his Professional Tryout, has collected an assist in each of his last four games and shows 10 points (2+8) and a pair of multi-point performances since re-joining the Amerks on Feb. 2… Porter, despite presently being on recall with Buffalo, has 31 points (10+21) over his last 29 outings, including 14 points (4+10) in his last 11, and has been held scoreless just six times in his last 16 showings… Despite being injured, Evan Rankin has four points (2+2) in five games, and more impressively, has only been held scoreless just 14 times in 37 games this season… Varone, who had a career-high four-point game (2+2) at Lake Erie on Feb. 12, shows 10 points (3+7) in his last 14 games, including the game-winner in Saturday’s win in Syracuse, while rookie defenseman Mark Pysyk has collected a goal and an assist over his last five appearances… Mancari enters the week riding a three-game point streak (3+2), including a goal in three straight games, and has collected 35 points (15+20) over his last 32 games… The same stretch featured a season-long five-game point streak from Dec. 19 to Dec. 28 and his first hat trick of the season against Toronto on Feb. 1… Pardy, also up with Buffalo, has collected two assists in his last three games and has totaled five points (1+4) through his first 11 games in the red, white and blue.

MILESTONE WATCH
Luke Adam registered the 100th point of his AHL career with a goal at Lake Erie on Sunday… Flynn made his NHL debut in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, earning 8:50 of ice time… The same game also represented the 400th professional appearance for Pardy, who has played in five games with the Sabres over the course of two NHL recalls… Mancari scored the 200th goal of his pro career and became the 30th player in franchise history to record 200 points with the Amerks in last Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Marlies… Porter made his Sabres debut in Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 21, finishing with four penalty minutes and 14:34 of ice time… Rookie goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made his American Hockey League debut against Hershey on Feb. 17, stopping 17 of 21 shots through a full 60 minutes between the pipes… Ellis, who has two assists in 10 games with Rochester, is a mere 10 points shy of the 300-mark for his pro career and needs another six games to reach 700 pro appearances… Rankin, meanwhile, needs another seven games to reach 300 for his pro career while Saturday’s game in Binghamton will be the 100th in an Amerk uniform for McNabb.

2013 ALL-STAR CLASSIC RECAP
Amerks defenseman Brayden McNabb became just the fifth AHL player ever to crack triple digits in the CCM Hardest Shot contest, winning the event with a blast of 101.8 miles per hour as the Western Conference All-Stars earned a 12-11 win over their Eastern Conference counterparts in the 2013 AHL All-Star Skills Competition. McNabb also became just the second Amerk to top 100 miles per hour in the event, finishing behind current teammate Mark Mancari, whose blast of 102.8 during in 2008 is still an AHL record.

2012 IN REVIEW
Several Amerks players finished atop the AHL’s regular-season scoring leaders during the 2012 calendar year, including Brennan and McNabb, who each finished sixth and 10th in scoring among league blueliners with 44 points (22+22) and 37 points (6+31), respectively. Leggio, who played in a combined 62 games for the Amerks in 2012, including the final 23 of the 2011-12 season, led all netminders with 34 wins while totaling three shutouts throughout the year.


COMMUNITY CORNER

Wendy’s Skate – The annual Wendy’s Skate will take place tonight from 6 to 7 p.m. at the City of Rochester’s Manhattan Square Park Downtown. Amerks players will be on hand to meet and skate with fans. Free passes are available at any participating Monroe County Wendy’s location. Passes will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. One pass admits one person and all patrons must have their passes present upon arrival in order to skate. Skates are also required for all participants. Skate rental fee applies as a limited amount of skates are available and is $3.00. In the event of inclement weather conditions, the event will be moved to the indoor rink at the Genesee Valley Sports Complex Ice Arena, located at 131 Elmwood Ave.


UPCOMING PROMOTIONS

Eats & Seats – The Distillery “Eats & Seats” promotion returns for another season, where for just $20, fans can purchase one ticket (best-available) and a $10 gift card to The Distillery.

Hockey Night in Rochester – Friday nights are Hockey Night in Rochester, and fans who wear an Amerks or Sabres jersey to a Friday game can purchase a best-available seat for just $17.

Ditch the Dorms – Ditch the Dorms Nights are back this season again on Fridays, where students who present their College ID at The Blue cross Arena Box Office can purchase a best available ticket for just $12.

Amerks Happy Hour – Prior to every Friday night home game this season, there will be an Amerks Happy Hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Atrium Bar featuring live music and $2 Molson and Coors Light drafts for fans age 21 and over.

Zweigle’s Family 4-Pack – For just $48, fans can purchase four lower level tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for select remaining Amerks regular season home games, beginning this Friday against Abbotsford.

MOMs Club – The MOMS Club of Penfield/East Rochester/Brighton will collect Care Package donations for breast cancer patients during the Amerks game on Friday, March 8. Fans are encouraged to make gift card or cash donations to assist the MOMS Club in assembling 100 care packages for patients receiving breast cancer treatment at Rochester General Hospital.

Pucks and Paws Night – The Amerks will host their first-ever Pucks & Paws Night” on Sunday, March 10 when the Amerks host the Abbotsford Heat at 5:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the game to enjoy the action alongside them. “Pucks & Paws” tickets are available for just $15 and include admission for both owner and dog. Season Ticket Holders can gain admission for a dog by making a $5 donation to Lollypop Farm.


THIS MONTH IN AMERKS HISTORY

March 3, 1997 – Rochester scores 10 goals in a 10-6 road win over the Baltimore Skipjacks. It was also the last time the Amerks cracked double digits in a road victory.

March 4, 2005 – The Amerks set a franchise record for the longest home winning streak after a 2-1 shootout victory over the Edmonton Roadrunners gave Rochester its 17th straight win at home, a streak that began on Dec. 17, 2004.

March 7, 1982 – Bob Mongrain scores the 7,000th goal in franchise history in a 7-5 win over the Adirondack Red Wings. During the same game, Amerks Hall of Famer Geordie Robertson nets four goals, a feat he would repeat the very next season with Rochester.

March 14, 1990 – Jody Gage reached a career-high six points by scoring four goals and adding two assists in 12-3 dismantling of the Maine Mariners. Ray Sheppard (2+2) and fellow Hall of Famer Scott Metcalfe (0+4) also finished with four points in the win.

March 19, 1997 – Former Amerk Terry Yake leads Rochester to a 6-0 rout of the Saint John Flames at the War Memorial, where a sold-out crowd was on hand to witness the Amerks capture the franchise’s 1,500th win. Yake would finish the finish the night with four points on two goals and two assists.

March 21, 1979 – Rochester earns its 800th win in team history as Steve West nets the game-winning goal in a 5-4 win over the Binghamton Dusters at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

March 25, 1989 – Amerks legend Jody Gage sets an AHL record by scoring two short-handed goals in eight seconds, a mark that still stands today.

March 31, 1967 – The Amerks play to a rare scoreless tie vs. the Pittsburgh Hornets, who later went on to deny Rochester its third straight championship season with a four-game sweep of the Amerks during the 1967 Calder Cup Finals.


This Week’s Schedule*

Monday, March 4
NO PRACTICE – Day Off

Tuesday, March 5
8:40 a.m.: Optional Practice/Power Skating, Sports Centre at MCC

Wednesday, March 6
10:30 a.m.: Practice, Sports Centre at MCC
6:00 p.m.: Wendy’s Skate, Manhattan Square Park

Thursday, March 7
10:30 a.m.: Practice, Sports Centre at MCC

Friday, March 8
10:00 a.m.: Morning Skate, Blue Cross Arena
7:05 p.m.: Rochester vs. Abbotsford, Blue Cross Arena
Leave for Binghamton following game

Saturday, March 9
7:05 p.m. at Binghamton, Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena

Sunday, March 10
5:05 p.m. vs. Abbotsford, Blue Cross Arena

*Schedule is subject to change

VS.  Syracuse Crunch  
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