News | 10/29/2013 4:21:02 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS

Photo: Micheline Veluvolu

Light Weekend Kicks Off Busy November –
The first month of the 2013-14 American Hockey League season is officially in the books for the Rochester Americans, and for the second straight year, the Amerks are off to identical starts with four wins in the win column. After just playing seven games in October to open the new campaign, Rochester heads into its busiest month of the year as November sees the Amerks in action a season-high 14 times with an even split of seven at home, the second-most of any single month this season, and seven on the road as well as their first grueling stretch of four games in six nights in the coming weeks. With wins in three of its last four games and points in four straight, Rochester enters the new month one point out of first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. Looking ahead, the Amerks open their hectic November schedule with a rare one-game weekend as they travel to nearby Syracuse for the second time in three weeks for another showdown with the Crunch.


: 3-1-0-0, 6 points
Away: 1-1-1-0, 3 points
Overall: 4-2-1-0, 9 points

T-14th in the AHL
Western Conference: T-6th
North Division: 3rd   



Goals: Luke Adam (7)
Assists: Phil Varone (8)
Points: Luke Adam, Phil Varone, (10)
Power-Play Goals: Luke Adam (3)
Power-Play Assists: Phil Varone, Alexander Sulzer, Brayden McNabb (3)
Shorthanded Goals: N/A
Shorthanded Assists: N/A
Plus/Minus: Mike Zigomanis (+5)
Shots: Luke Adam (28)
Penalty Minutes: Frederick Roy (47)
Games Played: Several tied at 7
Wins: Matt Hackett, Nathan Lieuwen (2)
Losses: Matt Hackett (2)
GAA: Nathan Lieuwen (2.91)
SV%: Nathan Lieuwen (.910)
Saves: Matt Hackett (143)
Minutes: Matt Hackett (256:02)

Friday, Oct. 25 at Hamilton – 4-3 OTL
The Amerks scored three goals in the second period to erase a pair of two-goal deficits, but couldn’t complete the comeback as Louis Leblanc’s second goal of the game with 1:26 left in overtime lifted the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 4-3 win Friday at Copps Coliseum. Brayden McNabb led the Amerks with a goal and an assist while Luke Adam scored for the sixth time in six games and Phil Varone stretched his point streak to six games with another assist. Frederick Roy also found the back of the net for Rochester, which also received 28 saves from goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, who was making his second start of the season between the pipes.

Saturday, Oct. 26 at Toronto – 4-1 W
Rochester defeated the Toronto Marlies 4-1 at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday as the Amerks received a goal and an assist from each of their top two scorers, Adam and Varone. With the win, the Amerks improved to 4-2-1-0 this season and earned three of a possible four points on the weekend. Adam’s first period power-play goal gave him a team-leading seven goals in seven games on the season, while Varone now has at least one point in every game this season. Goaltender Matt Hackett earned the win, stopping 28 of 29 shots. Mike Zigomanis and Alexander Sulzer each scored a goal as well for Rochester, which picked up its first win at Ricoh Coliseum since March 3, 2012 and took a 2-0-0-0 advantage in the season series with the Marlies. The game also featured the season debut of veteran forward Kevin Porter, who was reassigned to the Amerks from the Buffalo Sabres the previous day.

Friday, Nov. 1 at Syracuse – Season Series: 0-1-0-0, 0 points
Rochester plays its only game of the weekend on Friday, Nov.1 when the Amerks travel east down the I-90 to take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the second of eight scheduled meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The Amerks look to pull even in the season series with the Crunch after dropping a 5-1 decision in the teams’ only other get-together back on Oct. 12 in Syracuse. Jamie Tardif scored the lone Rochester goal as Hackett and Lieuwen combined to make 34 saves in the loss. Despite the setback, though, it was just the fourth time in the last 11 games dating back to last season Syracuse bested Rochester, which posted a  7-3-0-0 record, including a near-perfect 4-1-0-0 mark on the road, and outscored the Crunch 32-27 during the 2012-13 campaign. Syracuse, currently in fourth place in the AHL’s East Division with a 4-2-0-1 record, carries a three-game winning streak into a Wednesday night matchup with the Albany Devils before returning home to host the Amerks on Friday.

Opponent Spotlight: Guided by second-year head coach Robb Zettler, Syracuse returns 15 of its members from last year’s squad, including second-leading point-getter Brett Connolly, who registered 63 points (31+32) and a +19 on-ice rating in 71 games last season with the Crunch. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins is also back for his first full season between the pipes for the Crunch after splitting last season between Hamilton and Syracuse. Acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a midseason trade that sent fellow netminder Dustin Tokarski to Montreal, Desjardins boasted an 8-5-1 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 14 games last season with the Crunch. The former AHL All-Star also started all 18 postseason matches during Syracuse’s run to the Calder Cup Finals, finishing second among AHL netminders in wins (13), third in saves (416) and fourth in goals-against average (2.30) while posting three shutouts. Pacing the Syracuse offense thus far this season is rookie forward Nikita Kucherov, who leads all AHL freshmen in scoring and is tied for fifth overall with 11 points (6+5) through just seven games with the Crunch. A second-round selection of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011, Kucherov already has four multi-point outings on the season, including his first career hat trick in the 5-1 win over Rochester in just his second professional game.


AMERKS NOTES: After claiming three out of a possible four points over the weekend, the Amerks enter the week in sole possession of third place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings, just a point back of Toronto and Hamilton, who share the top spot with 10 points each. The Amerks, however, have a game in hand of both the Marlies and Bulldogs despite playing the second-fewest amount of games among their North Division opponents. Rochester also comes into the new week with wins in three of its last four games and points in four straight.

THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE: Much of Rochester’s recent success can be attributed to the increase in offensive contributions from its defensemen. Over the last five games, Amerks blueliners have collectively recorded 17 points (4+13), the most of which from Sulzer, whose five points (2+3) are tied for 16th-most among AHL rearguards. The Amerks are 2-0-1-0 so far this season when a defenseman scores a goal.

SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKDOWN: Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most potent in the AHL over the last six games, scoring 11 times on 38 man-advantage opportunities for a 29.0% efficiency rate over that span. The Amerks, who have scored a power-play goal in each of their last six games, including three most recently in Friday’s overtime loss to Hamilton, currently have the second-best power-play in the league with a 26.5% overall success rate. Rochester also has the fourth-best unit on the road (25.0%) and the fifth-most productive power-play at home (27.8%).

BY THE NUMBERS: The Amerks are 4-0-1-0 (9 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show an 0-2-0-0 (0 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in four of the first seven games this season and show a 4-0-0-0 record when doing so, including a 3-0-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 4-0-0-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 3-0-0-0 mark at home.

LENDING A HAND: The Buffalo Sabres maybe just 14 games into the new season, but the NHL club has already enlisted the help of two of Rochester’s top scorers from a season ago. Second-year forward Zemgus Girgensons, who’s coming off an impressive rookie campaign with the Amerks in 2012-13, scored his first NHL goal in his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 2 and notched his first assist in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 14. Through 13 games with the Sabres this season, Girgensons is playing a regular shift and is averaging nearly 13 minutes of ice time per game. Fellow second-year pro Johan Larsson also began the season in Buffalo, having appeared in 12 games, including his Sabres debut against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4. The Lau, Sweden, native led all Amerks rookies in scoring last season and finished third overall with 41 points (16+25) in 69 combined AHL games between Rochester and Houston.

WHO’S HOT: After posting another two points in Saturday’s win over Toronto, Varone has recorded at least one point in each of his first seven games this season, giving him the longest active assist streak and second-longest point streak in the AHL over that span, respectively. Varone has also recorded three multi-point games in his last four outings, including a goal and an assist in both wins this season over the Marlies. The third-year forward is also one of just three Amerks playing at a point-per-game pace, joining Adam and Sulzer in that category. Adam, who shows seven points (4+3) in his last four games, has found the back of the net in four straight games, marking the longest stretch in the AHL currently. More impressively, the former AHL Rookie of the Year is off to the best start in his pro career, having scored a goal in six of Rochester’s first seven games thus far. Sulzer, meanwhile, is riding a four-game point streak of two goals and three assists after scoring on the power-play Saturday in Toronto. Despite seeing his three-game point streak halted over the weekend, rookie defenseman Chad Ruhwedel has three assists in his last four games while McNabb has notched five points (1+4) in as many appearances. Team captain Matt Ellis has three points (1+2) in four games and Zigomanis, fresh off his four-point night against Utica last weekend, has collected five points (3+2) in three games, including the game-winning tally in his first return to Toronto on Saturday.

MILESTONE WATCH: After appearing in his 400th pro game at Hamilton on Friday, veteran defenseman Drew Bagnall is 12 games away from 400 for his AHL career… Forward Alex Hutchings needs four more points to hit the century mark for his pro career… With an assist on Friday in Hamilton, Sulzer reached the 100-point plateau for his AHL career and moved within two points for 200 as a pro… Zigomanis is just a mere two assists away from 300 pro assists and needs just three more games at the NHL level to reach 200… Varone, coming off another two-point game in Toronto, is just a mere three points shy of 100 for his pro career… Friday’s game in Hamilton also marked Adam’s 100th as an Amerk.


  • Adam, whose 10 points (7+3) are tied with Varone for the team lead, ranks third in the AHL in goals and is tied for 10th in points among the league’s top scorers. He’s also tied for 10th in the AHL with 28 shots on goal.
  • Varone’s team-leading eight assists are fourth-most in the league. 
  • Roy currently ranks third in the league with 47 penalty minutes, while first-year forward Johnny McGuire leads all AHL rookies and ranks 10th overall with 27 penalty minutes. 
  • All three of Sulzer’s assists this season have come on the power-play, tying him for the team lead in that category.
  • Second-year defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc has significantly increased his offensive production to an impressive five points (1+4) in seven games, having already matched last season’s total in assists and moving within two points of the seven he captured in 48 games as a rookie in 2012-13. With four points (1+3) in his last five games, Gauthier-Leduc is tied with Sulzer for 16th in scoring among league rearguards.
  • Hackett, whose started five of the first seven games this season, comes into the new week boasting a 2-2-0 record with a 3.75 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.
  • As a team, the Amerks rank second among Western Conference clubs with 195 total penalty minutes, while also averaging the second-most PIMs per game in the AHL with 27.86. 
  • Rochester’s veteran class of Matt Ellis, Mike Zigomanis, Jamie Tardif, Colton Gillies, Alexander Sulzer and Drew Bagnall have a combined 728 NHL games between them.
  • This year’s edition of the Amerks features two players with lineage to former NHL goaltenders. Roy is the youngest son of Colorado Avalanche head coach and two-time Stanley Cup winner Patrick Roy while Hackett is the nephew of former Jack A. Butterfield Trophy winner Jeff Hackett, whose Springfield Indians defeated Rochester four games to two win the 1990 Calder Cup.


Score with Subway! – With an Amerks victory during any regular season home game during the 2013-14 season, fans can log onto to download a coupon good for one free regular six-inch sub with the purchase of a 30 oz drink. If the Amerks do not happen to win, fans still score with Subway by logging onto to download a coupon for two free cookies the following day at participating Subway restaurants in the Rochester area. Restrictions apply. The coupons are only good the day after each Amerks home game at participating Subway restaurants in the greater Rochester area.

Taco Bell In-Store – Fans can receive a coupon/voucher for a $15 best available ticket to Friday night Amerks home games during the 2013-14 season ($9 off box office price). Turn in the coupon at the box office in order to purchase the discounted tickets or enter in the promo code (TACO) on to redeem the offer. Fans must turn in Taco Bell coupon at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office or enter the promo code on to purchase the discounted tickets.

Taco Bell “We Win, You Win” – For each home game the Amerks win, fans will be able to redeem their ticket stub at a participating Taco Bell location the following day to receive a free seasoned beef taco.

Moe’s Hot Player of the Game – At each home game, three Amerks players will be selected as the “hot players” of the game. If any of the three Amerks players scores a goal, fans will be able to redeem a coupon in the Amerks Stars & Stripes Roster Card (limited amount available upon entry) for 50% off any entrée at participating Moe’s locations the following day. If any of the three Amerks players scores a hat trick, fans will also be able to redeem a coupon in the Amerks Stars & Stripes Roster Card for an enhanced offer (free burrito) at participating Moe’s locations the following day.

Buckmans Car Wash – Amerks home game ticket stubs will be good at all Buckmans Car Wash locations for discounted car wash after all home games at all Buckmans Car Wash locations in the area.

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 Four Packs – For just $56, families can receive four tickets to a Friday night home game at The Blue Cross Arena, four hot dogs and four sodas (a savings of $62 off the regular prices). Fans that purchase a Zweigle’s Family Four Pack can also purchase additional tickets beyond the Family Four Pack for $14 apiece that will also include a hot dog and soda.


Oct. 6, 2006 – Mark Mancari scores the 14,000th goal in team history in a 6-0 win over the Albany River Rats.

Oct. 8, 1994 – Todd Simon nets the 11,000th goal in team history in an 8-5 loss to the Adirondack Red Wings.

Oct. 14, 1956 – The Amerks play the Cleveland Barons to a 2-2 tie in front of 6,306 hockey-starved fans in the first game in franchise history at the Rochester War Memorial. AHL Hall of Famer Mike Nykoluk and Earl Balfour scored Rochester’s first two goals of the 1956-57 season.

Oct. 18, 1955 – The Rochester War Memorial opens its doors to its first-ever event called “Rochester on Parade.”

Oct. 18, 1989 – Rochester wins its 1,200th game as Amerks Hall of Famer Jody Gage nets the game-winner in a 4-2 victory over the Utica Devils.

Oct. 21, 2005 – Jason Pominville becomes just the third Amerks in team history to score five goals in a game, tying the franchise record. Chris Taylor also made history in the same game, tying the franchise mark with six assists.

Oct. 26, 1984 – Gary Burns provides the game-winning tally in a 5-4 win over Hershey to give the Amerks their 1,000th win in franchise history.


Monday, Oct. 28
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Tuesday, Oct. 29
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Wednesday, Oct. 30
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Thursday, Oct. 31
10:00 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Friday, Nov. 1
10:00 a.m.: Morning Skate, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex
7:00 p.m.: Rochester at Syracuse, War Memorial at Oncenter

Saturday, Nov. 2
11:30 a.m.: Practice, Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex

Sunday, Nov. 3
Day Off

*Schedule is subject to change

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