TONIGHT’S GAME: In the midst of perhaps their busiest stretch of the month, the Rochester Americans return home to The Blue Cross Arena tonight as the Amerks battle the Binghamton Senators in the first leg of a two-game set. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the third of eight meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
AUDIO: DON STEVENS WITH RON ROLSTON
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 ROCHESTER STATS
2012-13 BINGHAMTON STATS
FRIDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST
Last Game: Rochester at Grand Rapids – 12/19/12
Rochester (2) at Grand Rapids (4)
Goals: Varone, Brennan
Goalie(s): Knapp (28 saves/31 shots, 59:20)
Special Teams: PP: 2/3 --- PK: 2/2
Shots: Grand Rapids 32 --- Rochester 21
PIM: Grand Rapids 16 --- Rochester 14
3 Stars: 1. Glendening (GR), 2. Andersson (GR), 3. Brennan (RCH)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Tonight’s get-together kicks off a stretch in which the teams will face off three times in five games, including another meeting in Rochester on Saturday, Dec. 29. Binghamton carries a 2-0-0-0 record against the Amerks this season after earning a 3-2 home win over Rochester in the teams’ most recent encounter back on Nov. 16. Team captain Kevin Porter has netted a goal in each of the two games against Binghamton this season, including the lone tally in a 3-1 loss to the Baby Sens on Oct. 16.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (12-10-2-1, 27 points) enters the contest after falling to the Grand Rapids Griffins by a 4-2 count Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena. The Amerks went 2-for-3 on the power-play, receiving goals from Phil Varone and T.J. Brennan in front of a 28-save effort from rookie goaltender Connor Knapp, who was making just his fifth start of the season and earned his first professional point with the secondary assist on Brennan’s team-leading 10th goal. Also picking up points for the Amerks in the loss was Luke Adam, who extended his point streak to a season-high six games, marking the third-longest active point streak in the AHL, and Cody Hodgson, who recorded his first point since Oct. 27 after returning from a 14-game absence due to injury. Despite the loss, however, the Amerks have collected points in three of their last four games and remain just a point out of third place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. With seven points (2+5) through his last seven games, Marcus Foligno continues to pace the Amerks with a team-high 24 points (8+16) and enters the contest tied for 16th in the AHL in scoring. The second-year pro also ranks tied for 12th in assists and leads the team with a plus-six on-ice rating. Brennan, who shows three points (1+2) over his last three games, remains tied for third in scoring among AHL defensemen with 21 points (10+11) in 25 games and leads all rearguards in power-play goals (5), shorthanded goals (2) and shots (96).
BINGHAMTON NOTES: Binghamton (15-6-1-1, 327 points) comes into the matchup fresh off its 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Wednesday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. After a slow start that put the B-Sens in a 3-0 hole, the Binghamton offense erupted for four unanswered goals in the third period before holding on for the win. Spencerport native Shane Prince factored into the late-game rally, scoring a pair of goals, including the game-winner with just 2:45 left to play, to help Binghamton to its second straight victory. Guided by first-year head coach Luke Richardson, the B-Sens are currently the fourth-best team in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, and with a 15-6-1-1 overall record through their first 23 games of the season, are off to their best start in franchise history in recent memory. Binghamton’s early season success was highlighted by a nine-game winning streak between Nov. 10 and Dec. 7, one that saw the Senators outscore their opponents 41-18. The B-Sens enter tonight’s game with an AHL-best 8-2-0-0 record over their last 10 games and own the second-best penalty-kill in the AHL after allowing just 11 goals on 112 shorthanded situations. Binghamton also owns the best goaltending tandem in Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop. Lehner ranks second and third among netminders with a .941 save percentage and a 1.99 goals-against average, respectively, while Bishop, a 2011 AHL All-Star, boasts a 2.51 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in eight games with the B-Sens this season.
HOMECOMING FOR PRINCE: The game represents a homecoming of sorts for Prince, who will be playing in his first professional game in Rochester after being tabbed by the Ottawa Senators in the in the second round (61st overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Prince is currently in his first season with Binghamton after a phenomenal 2011-12 campaign with the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL, where he scored 43 goals and added 47 assists for 90 points in 57 games.
UP NEXT: The same two teams will be in action again as the home-and-home series shifts to the southern tier on Saturday, Dec. 22 for a 7:05 p.m. bout at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Fans can tune in for all the live action on Sports 1280 WHTK, while the game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- The Amerks are currently tied for ninth in the AHL in goals for with 84, 11 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 95 tallies. Rochester is currently averaging 3.36 goals-per-game, the fourth-most among AHL opponents.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 11 games as the Amerks have converted on 10 of their last 49 man-advantage opportunities, including both goals in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at Grand Rapids. The Amerks are seventh in the league with 24 power-play goals and own the fifth-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 20.2% efficiency rate. More impressively, Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 16 of the first 25 games this season.
- With 13 points (5+8) over his last 13 games, including seven (2+5) in his last seven, Foligno remains the Amerks' top point-getter with 24 points (8+16) in 25 games this season. The second-year pro currently ranks tied for 16th overall among the AHL’s top scorers, while his 16 assists are also tied for 12th.
- Brennan ranks tied for third in scoring among AHL defensemen with 21 points (10+11), while his team-leading 10 goals are second-most among league rearguards. Additionally, five of Brennan’s 10 tallies have come on the power-play, tying him for sixth among league leaders. He is also third in the AHL with 96 shots on goal.
- Brian Flynn enters the contest tied for 12th among AHL rookies with 17 points (9+8) in 22 games. The Amerks are 5-1-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
- David Leggio, who has started 20 of the last 25 games for the Amerks, ranks second among all AHL netminders in saves (586) and wins (11), while his 1218:20 minutes played place him third. He also boasts the best shootout record (3-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 16 of 19 shooters, including all six in Rochester’s 3-2 win over Abbotsford on Dec. 11, for a .842 save percentage. The native of Williamsville, NY, is 14-3 all-time in AHL shootouts and has won seven of his last nine.
BRENNAN GETTING CLOSER
With his power-play goal Wednesday at Grand Rapids, 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. Brennan officially reached the halfway point with a pair of shorthanded tallies against the Albany Devils on Nov. 23 and added his 10th of the season Wednesday to become the first Amerk this season to reach double digits in just 25 games this season. The fourth-year blueliner fell just two short of the record last season, scoring 16 goals in only 52 games with the Amerks.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
The Amerks have seen five of their last seven games decided by one goal dating back to a 4-3 setback at Toronto on Dec. 8. Rochester is 6-5-1-1 in 13 one-goal games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 42 such outings. Of those 13 one-goal games, five have been determined in overtime or via the shootout, for a 3-0-1-1 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 5-5-1-1 (12 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 7-5-1-0 (15 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The second period has been Rochester’s strong suit thus far as the club has accounted for 33 goals while allowing 27. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 16 of the first 25 games of the campaign and show a 10-4-2-0 record when doing so, including a 6-2-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 9-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 6-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 31.12 shots per game, the 12th-highest output among league opponents.
A ‘FLYNN-TASTIC’ NOVEMBER
Rookie forward Brian Flynn was Rochester’s most productive and consistent player throughout the month of November. After beginning the month with an assist in a 3-2 win over Hamilton on Nov. 2, the Lynnfield, Massachusetts, native put on quite the offensive display that saw the rookie forward record an astounding 15 points on seven goals and eight assists over a career-long nine-game point streak. Flynn’s only scoreless outing in November came in Friday’s 4-1 setback to Toronto, snapping what was the second-longest active point streak and the longest active assist streak in the AHL. More impressively, however, Flynn compiled four multi-point outings during the stretch, including three over his last six appearances that was highlighted by a career-high four-point effort (3+1) on Nov. 23 against Albany as he notched his first career hat trick. Flynn ranked fifth in the AHL in scoring during the month of November, behind only Oklahoma City’s Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall and Houston’s Justin Fontaine.
Adam, who recorded his first multi-point game of the season last Thursday at Lake Erie, enters the contest with points in six straight games, including a goal in four consecutive outings between Dec. 8 and Dec. 15… Adam also brings the AHL’s third-longest active point streak into the game… Varone (1+3) and Brennan (1+2) each bring point streaks of four games and three games into tonight’s matchup, respectively, while veteran forward Mark Mancari shows five points (1+4) through his last six games, including three (1+2) in his last three games… Despite seeing his three-game point streak halted Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Foligno shows 13 points (5+8) in his last 13 games… Alex Biega has notched 11 points (3+8) over his last 21 games, including five points (2+3) through his last eight outings… After scoring his first two goals of the season at Toronto on Dec. 8, Jonathan Parker added another last Thursday against Lake Erie, giving the second-year pro three goals over his last five games… Flynn shows 16 points (8+8) in his last 15 games after being held pointless in six of his first seven outings to begin the campaign… Evan Rankin has registered 14 points (6+8) over his last 17 games and has only been held scoreless just seven times in 20 games this season… Team captain Kevin Porter, meanwhile, has tabbed 10 points (4+6) in his last 13 appearances, including six points (3+3) in his last six, and has two multi-point performances through his last five games.
Wednesday’s game in Grand Rapids represented the 150th professional game for Amerks forward Maxime Legault, while Foligno and Varone are slated to skate in their 100th pro game tonight versus Binghamton… Leggio earned his 100th professional win with a 33-save effort at Lake Erie last Thursday… Brayden McNabb needs five more games to reach the century mark in his pro career… Mancari will celebrate his 250th game as an Amerk on Jan. 11 vs. Hamilton… Joe Finley is just 11 games shy of 100 AHL games… Porter is six points away from 100 career AHL points… Knapp earned his first career win, stopping 41 of 42 shots against Adirondack on Dec. 7… Adam made his 100th career AHL appearance at Toronto on Dec. 1.
Festive Sweater Night – Fans who show up to Friday’s gave vs. Binghamton wearing a festive Christmas sweater can purchase best-available seat for just $15.
Mystery Ornaments – In light of the holiday season, Friday’s game will again feature Amerks Mystery Ornaments. Available for purchase for just $10, these specially-designed, one-of-a-kind Christmas bulbs are individually wrapped and signed by current team members. While supplies last.
Zubaz Pants Party Ticket Package - For just $30, fans can purchase a pair of Amerks-colored Zubaz pants and a Party Deck ticket to the game against Binghamton on Friday. To order a Zubaz Pants Party Package, visit www.amerks.com/zubaz or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.
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.