News | 3/13/2013 12:27:06 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
THIS WEEK'S STORYLINE
Work Load Increases For Amerks This Week – After claiming five out of a possible six points to close out a very successful three-game weekend, the Rochester Americans get right back to work this week as they prepare for another busy stretch of three games in four nights before embarking on a season-long five-game road trip. The month of March has been a good one thus far for the Amerks, who for the second straight month, are off to a 4-0-1-0 start through their first five games and have points in five straight. Rochester enters the week in sole possession of second place in the American Hockey League’s North Division, but remains in the thick of a very tight playoff race in the Western Conference standings with the Amerks sitting firmly in seventh. Wish 19 games left to be played, and with momentum on their side, the surging Amerks are in prime position as the race to the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs heats up down the stretch. Looking ahead, Rochester hosts intrastate rivals Binghamton and Albany before visiting Toronto for a crucial North Division matchup with the Marlies on tap for Saturday.
WHERE THEY STAND
Home: 18-11-0-1, 37 points
Away: 13-11-3-0, 29 points
Overall: 31-22-3-1, 66 points
Western Conference: 7th
North Division: 2nd
AMERKS STATISTICAL LEADERS
Goals: Mark Mancari (18)
Assists: Mark Mancari (34)
Points: Mark Mancari (52)
Power-Play Goals: T.J. Brennan (7)
Power-Play Assists: Mark Mancari (17)
Shorthanded Goals: T.J. Brennan (2)
Shorthanded Assists: Phil Varone (3), Brayden McNabb (3)
Plus/Minus: Mark Pysyk (+10)
Shots: Mark Mancari (207)
Penalty Minutes: Nick Tarnasky (126)
Games Played: Mark Mancari (57)
Wins: David Leggio (30)
Losses: David Leggio (17)
GAA: David Leggio (2.60)
SV%: David Leggio (.922)
Saves: David Leggio (1495)
Minutes: David Leggio (2906:48)
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- With 17 goals through their last five games, including 11 in their last three, the Amerks are currently third in the AHL in goals for with 186, 19 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 205 tallies. Rochester is also third in the league in goals-per-game, averaging 3.26.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 24 games as the Amerks have converted on 24 of their 107 man-advantage opportunities, including a season-high three times in their 5-0 win over Abbotsford on Friday. The Amerks currently lead the AHL with 56 power-play goals and have the power-play unit in the AHL with a 22.0% efficiency rate. Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 40 of the first 57 games this season.
- With nine points (3+6) through his last six games, Mancari leads the Amerks in all offensive categories in goals (18), assists (34) and points (52) and enters the week tied for seventh in scoring among the AHL’s top point-getters. Mancari also ranks ninth among league leaders in assists, 17 of which have come on the power-play, good enough for third in the AHL in that category. His 207 shots on goal are also tops in the AHL.
- T.J. 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 fifth in shots (132).
- The duo of Mancari and Amerks captain Kevin Porter, who is currently on recall with Buffalo, have combined for 28 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 57 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 ranked 15th in scoring 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 four straight and 12 of his last 17 starts, continues to lead all AHL netminders in wins (30), saves (1495), minutes played (2906:48), shots faced (1621) and games played (48). He also boasts the second-best shootout record (5-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 27 of 35 shooters for a .771 save percentage. Leggio is 16-3 all-time in AHL shootouts and has won nine of his last 11.
- The Amerks have played the second-fewest games in the AHL with 57, 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
Friday, March 8 vs. Abbotsford – 5-0 W
Rochester received a pair of goals from Cody McCormick and David Leggio stopped all 44 shots as the Amerks pushed their winning streak to three games with a 5-0 rout of the Abbotsford Heat Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. Brayden McNabb registered his second straight three-point game, scoring a goal and assisting on two others, while Nick Tarnasky and Luke Adam each chipped in two points (1+1) for the Amerks. Leggio turned in another flawless performance en route to his third shutout of the season, while setting a new career-high with his 29th win of the campaign. His 44 saves were also a career-high for saves in a shutout.
Saturday, March 9 at Binghamton – 4-3 OTL
Despite erasing a 3-1 deficit with a pair of goals late in the game, the Amerks could not complete the rally, falling 4-3 in overtime to the Binghamton Senators Saturday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Mark Mancari led the Amerks with two assists on his way to becoming the first Amerk this season to reach the 50-point mark. The game also featured Matt Ellis’ first goal in a Rochester uniform, while rookie goaltender Nathan Lieuwen stopped 34 shots in just his second American Hockey League start. Maxime Legault and Zemgus Girgensons also scored for the Amerk despite seeing their three-game win streak halted.
Sunday, March 10 vs. Abbotsford – 3-2 W
The Amerks outlasted a late-game comeback by the Abbotsford Heat with a 3-2 shootout win Sunday at The Blue Cross Arena. A crowd of 4,769, which included 232 dogs as part of the Amerks’ first-ever Pucks and Paws Night, were treated to a 10-round skills competition that saw Rochester’s Alex Biega net the game-winner. With the win, the Amerks closed out their three-game weekend with five out of a six possible points and claimed sole possession of second place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings with a 31-22-3-1 overall record. Ellis and Phil Varone each scored in regulation for the Amerks, who now have wins in four of their last five games and points in five straight. Leggio, meanwhile, stopped 35 of 37 shots to pick up his AHL-leading 30th win of the season before going on to stop seven of 10 shooters in the shootout.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS
Wednesday, March 13 vs. Binghamton – Season Series: 1-5-1-0, 3 points
Rochester kicks off a stretch of three games in four nights tonight as the Amerks square off with the Binghamton Senators one last time at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the eighth and final get-together of the season between the intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 26. Rochester has struggled this season against the B-Sens, who show a 6-0-0-1 record and have claimed 13 out of a possible 14 points in seven games throughout the season series thus far. Binghamton also finished the season series with a perfect 4-0-0-0 mark at home against the Amerks after a 4-3 overtime win in the teams’ most recent encounter just three nights ago in the southern tier. The Amerks rallied back from being down 3-1, but Corey Cowick’s second goal of the game with 58 seconds left in the extra frame lifted the B-Sens to the win.
Friday, March 15 vs. Albany – Season Series: 1-0-0-0, 2 points
The Amerks remain at home on Friday, March 15 as the Albany Devils journey west for their final appearance at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be just the second of four meetings between the two teams this season and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 26. It’ll mark the first get-together in nearly four months for the Amerks and Devils, who last met back on Nov. 23 in Rochester. Rookie forward Brian Flynn recorded his first hat trick and T.J. Brennan netted a pair of short-handed tallies to lead the Amerks to a 5-2 win and give Rochester the edge with a 5-4-0 advantage all-time against the Baby Devils. After Friday’s game, the teams are idle until the Amerks make back-to-back trips to the Capital District to close out the season series in April.
Saturday, March 16 at Toronto – Season Series: 1-4-1-1, 4 points
Rochester heads north of the border on Saturday, March 16 for a North Division showdown with the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. Game time is slated for a 5:00 p.m. start with all the action being carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. Toronto has maintained the upper-hand in the season series having claimed six of the first seven meetings with Rochester this season, including a 2-1 win in the teams’ most recent bout back on Feb. 27 in southern Ontario. More interesting, though, is that only three of the last 20 combined regular-season and playoff games between the Amerks and Marlies dating back to last season have not been decided by one goal, including the first two tilts of the 2012-13 campaign.
ROLSTON MOVES UP TO NHL
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 is 4-4-2 since taking over for Ruff on Feb. 20.
CASSIDY APPOINTED 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 in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Syracuse Crunch on March 2. Cassidy is 4-4-1-0 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 Tarnasky, the latest additions of high-end forwards Patrick Rissmiller, Ellis and McCormick 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 was recently reassigned back to the Amerks after a recent NHL stint with the Sabres, Rochester’s veteran class has combined for over 1,200 man games in the NHL, including 329 from McCormick, and has totaled 91 points (37+54) for the Amerks in 2012-13.
MANCARI MAKING HIS MARK
The return to Rochester has been quite the homecoming for veteran forward Mark 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 25th 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 at Toronto on Feb. 27, scoring his 200th pro career goal and recording his 200th point as an Amerk. Mancari is also within five points of securing his third straight 57-point season after reaching the mark in each of his last two seasons (2006-08) with the Amerks.
LEGGIO’S CAREER YEAR LEADING THE WAY… AGAIN
A year after single-handedly guiding the Amerks into the postseason, Leggio is again having another big year between the pipes for Rochester and making a strong bid to repeat as team MVP. The 2012-13 campaign as already seen the fifth-year netminder capture his third straight 20-win season, but Leggio is coming off perhaps his finest weekend in his entire professional career. The Williamsville, NY, native was nearly flawless in a two-game sweep of the Abbotsford Heat, beginning with a 44-save shutout on Friday that produced his career-high 29th win of the season, besting the 28 victories he set a year ago with the Amerks. Leggio followed that up with another brilliant performance, stopping 35 shots in regulation before denying seven of 10 shooters in Sunday’s rematch against the Heat that garnered his first career 30-win season. He also became the first Amerks netminder to post 30 wins in a single season since Ryan Miller’s incredible 41 victories during Rochester’s historic 2004-05 campaign.
BRENNAN GETTING CLOSER
With his power-play goal at Syracuse on Jan. 12, 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 currently in its sixth month of the regular season, home-ice advantage has certainly been beneficial for the Amerks, who have won 11 of their last 17 games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena and have outscored their opponents 96-82 in 30 total games. Rochester boasts an 18-11-0-1 record in their downtown venue, making them the 10th-best home team in the AHL. Conversely, Rochester is 13-11-3-0 on the road and has won four of its last seven games away from home.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 18-9-1-1 (38 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 13-13-2-0 (28 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 36 of the first 57 games of the campaign and show a 26-8-2-0 record when doing so, including a 14-3-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 26-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 15-0-0-0 mark at home.
McNabb shows seven points (1+6) in his last five games, a stretch that saw McNabb post back-to-back three-point outings… 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 15 games into his Professional Tryout, has collected four assists over his last seven games and shows 12 points (2+10) 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 four points (2+2) in his last five games, including the overtime game-winner at Syracuse on March 2… Rookie defenseman Mark Pysyk has collected a goal and two assists over his last six appearances, while Rick Schofield has an assist in each of his last four games… Mancari enters the week riding a season-long six-game point streak (3+6) and has collected 39 points (15+24) over his last 35 games… The same stretch featured an additional five-game point streak from Dec. 19 to Dec. 28 and his first hat trick of the season against Toronto on Feb. 1… Pardy, meanwhile, has collected two assists in his last three games and has totaled five points (1+4) through his first 11 games with the Amerks.
Ellis, who scored his first goal as an Amerk at Binghamton on Saturday, is a mere eight points shy of the 300-mark for his pro career and needs another three games to reach 700 pro appearances… Rankin needs another seven games to reach 300 for his pro career… Saturday’s game in Binghamton also marked the 100th as an Amerk for McNabb… Adam registered the 100th point of his AHL career with a goal at Lake Erie March 3… Flynn made his NHL debut in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on March 2, earning 8:50 of ice time… The same game also represented the 400th professional appearance for Pardy… Mancari scored the 200th goal of his pro career and became the 30th player in franchise history to record 200 points with the Amerks at Toronto on Feb. 27… 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 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.
AMERKS POINTS OF INTEREST
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.
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 10th in the AHL in total attendance to date and is averaging 6,457 fans per game through the first 30 home games of the 2012-13 campaign.
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.
Amerks Hall of Famer Scott Metcalfe will be participating in the American Heart Association’s 2013 Rochester Heart Walk on Saturday, April 13. The three-mile fundraising walk to benefit the American Heart Association begins and ends at The Blue Cross Arena. For the second year in a row, Metcalfe will be walking on behalf of fellow Amerks Hall of Famer Gates Orlando, who recently received a heart transplant. To support Metcalfe’s fundraising efforts, donors can visit his page on the Rochester Heart Walk website at www.rochesterheartwalk.org
and search his name.
Business Persons Special – For any Sunday through Thursday game, fans who present their business cards at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office can purchase a $17 ticket for best-available lower level seating.
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, including this week’s games against Binghamton on Wednesday and Albany on Friday.
Irish Night – The Amerks will host Irish Night, presented by Molson, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day Friday against the Albany Devils. St. Patty’s Day Hat Trick ticket packages are on sale now. For just $40, fans ages 21 and over can purchase two lower level tickets to the Irish Night game, two beer vouchers and one New Era adjustable green Amerks hat. In addition, any fan that wears green to the Irish Night game on March 15 will be able to purchase a ticket at the Box Office for just $15. St. Patrick’s Day-themed “Mystery Pucks,” signed by various Amerks players, will be on sale in the concourse starting when gates open at 6:00 p.m. There will also be live music from the band “1916” during Happy Hour and the first intermission and a photo booth stationed on the main concourse, where fans can get their pictures taken.
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 11
NO PRACTICE – Day Off Tuesday, March 12
10:30 a.m.: Practice, Blue Cross Arena Wednesday, March 13
10:00 a.m.: Morning Skate, Blue Cross Arena 7:05 p.m.: Rochester vs. Binghamton, Blue Cross Arena
Thursday, March 14
10:30 a.m.: Practice, Blue Cross ArenaFriday, March 15
10:00 a.m.: Morning Skate, Blue Cross Arena7:05 p.m.: Rochester vs. Albany, Blue Cross Arena
Leave for Toronto following game
Saturday, March 16
5:00 p.m. Rochester at Toronto, Ricoh Coliseum
Sunday, March 17
NO PRACTICE – Day Off
*Schedule is subject to change