TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans return to action tonight as they take on the Hamilton Bulldogs on Men’s Health Night at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the sixth of 12 scheduled meetings between the North Division foes this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
AUDIO: DON STEVENS WITH RON ROLSTON
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 ROCHESTER STATS
2012-13 HAMILTON STATS
FRIDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST
Last Game: Rochester vs. Syracuse – 1/9/13
Rochester (3) vs. Syracuse (5)
Goals: Mancari, Adam, Flynn
Goalie(s): Leggio (40 saves/45 shots, 60:00)
Special Teams: PP: 1/3 --- PK: 2/2
Shots: Syracuse 45 --- Rochester 27
PIM: Syracuse 6 --- Rochester 4
3 Stars: 1. Connolly (SYR), 2. Angelidis (SYR), 3. Tarnasky (RCH)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Rochester carries a 4-1-0-0 record against Hamilton into tonight’s matchup after skating to a 2-0 win in the teams’ New Year’s Eve matinee just 11 days ago. David Leggio stopped all 34 shots to earn his first shutout of the season, while team captain Kevin Porter assisted on both goals in the victory. Rookie forward Brian Flynn leads the Amerks with six points (3+3) in five games against the Bulldogs this season and Porter remains at a close second with five points on one goal and four assists. Leggio, meanwhile, boasts an unblemished 4-0-0 mark with an incredible 0.97 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage, making 125 saves on 129 shots, in four starts versus Hamilton. Rochester is also undefeated at home against the Bulldogs and has outscored Hamilton 15-8 throughout the season series thus far.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (17-14-2-1, 37 points) enters the contest in the midst of a two-game skid after suffering a 5-3 loss to the league-leading Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena. Mark Mancari, Luke Adam and Flynn each scored for the Amerks and Leggio stopped 40 of 45 shots in the losing effort. T.J. Brennan also picked up his team-leading 32nd point of the season with an assist on Adam’s power-play goal, extending his current point streak to three games. Having already surpassed the season total he set last year in 52 games with the Amerks, Brennan is just eight points shy of establishing a new single-season career-high. Brennan, who shows 14 points (3+11) over his last 12 games, leads the Amerks in all offensive categories in goals (12), assists (20) and points (32) and ranks third in scoring among AHL defensemen, good enough for 14th overall among the league’s top point-getters. Brennan also enters play tonight leading all rearguards in shots (125) and shorthanded goals (2), while his six power-play goals place him second in that category. Additionally, the fourth-year blueliner ranks second among league defensemen in goals and needs another six tallies to tie the franchise record for most goals scored by a defenseman in a single-season. Leggio, who’s won four of his last seven starts, leads all AHL netminders in saves (865) and minutes played (1701:34), while his 16 wins are second-most in the league.
HAMILTON NOTES: Hamilton (13-18-1-3, 30 points), opening up a three-game North Division road swing tonight, comes into the matchup with points in three straight games after earning a 2-1 home win over the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday night. Gabriel Dumont’s team-leading 11th goal of the season with 48 seconds left in regulation broke a 1-1 deadlock and Robert Mayer stopped 23 of 24 shots to lift the Bulldogs to their second win in three games. Despite their recent success, the Bulldogs currently reside in the basement of the American Hockey League’s North Division standings and own the worst record in the AHL (.429 winning percentage). Coming off a career-best five-point game (3+2) against St. John’s on Dec. 28, Dumont paces the Bulldogs offense in goals (11), assists (10) and points (21) and is just one of five Hamilton skaters to appear in all 35 games this season. A native of Ville Degelis, Quebec, Dumont enters play tonight with 10 points (6+4) over his last nine games. Three of Hamilton’s top five scorers are currently in their first professional season, including rookie forward Brendan Gallagher, who ranks tied for 18th in scoring among league freshmen with 20 points (10+10).
UP NEXT: Rochester closes out the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 12 as the Amerks travel to Syracuse for a rematch with the Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:30 p.m. matchup will be the fourth of 10 get-togethers between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 98.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- With 29 goals through their last nine games, the Amerks are currently fourth in the AHL in goals for with 114, 13 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 127 tallies. Rochester is currently averaging 3.35 goals-per-game, the third-most league among opponents.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 12 games as the Amerks have converted on 13 of their last 44 man-advantage opportunities, including four times over the last four games. The Amerks are tied for second in the league with 33 power-play goals and own the second-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 21.9% efficiency rate. More impressively, Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 22 of the first 34 games this season.
- After recording an assist in each of his last three games, Brennan remains Rochester’s top point-getter and ranks third in scoring among AHL defensemen with 32 points (12+20), while his team-leading 12 goals are also second-most among league rearguards. Additionally, six of Brennan’s 12 tallies have come on the power-play, tying him for 11th among league leaders. Brennan is also second in the AHL with 125 shots on goal and is one of just two defensemen to lead his respective team in scoring.
- Fresh off a three-game point streak (1+2), Flynn enters the contest ninth among AHL rookies with 23 points (11+12) in 31 games. The Amerks are 6-2-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
- Leggio, who’s won four of his last seven starts, leads all AHL netminders in saves (865) and minutes played (1701:34) and ranks second with 16 wins. He also boasts the best shootout record (4-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 20 of 25 shooters, including four in Rochester’s 6-5 win over Binghamton on Dec. 21, 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 allowed at least five goals in a game nine times this season, but are 5-3-1-0 in those games.
2012 IN REVIEW
Several Amerks players finished atop the AHL’s regular-season scoring leaders during the 2012 calendar year, including defensemen T.J. Brennan and Brayden McNabb, who 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.
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 eighth-largest crowd for a single game in American Hockey League history and the fourth-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.
BRENNAN GETTING CLOSER
With his power-play goal on Dec. 26 against Lake Erie, 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 has since added three more to become the first Amerk this season to reach double digits in just 31 games. The fourth-year pro 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 eight of their last 16 games decided by one goal dating back to a 4-3 setback at Toronto on Dec. 8. Rochester is 8-6-1-1 in 16 one-goal games this season after finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 42 such outings. Of those 16 one-goal games, seven have been determined in overtime or via the shootout, for a 5-0-1-1 mark.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 9-6-1-1 (20 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show an 8-8-1-0 (17 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 21 of the first 33 games of the campaign and show an 14-5-2-0 record when doing so, including a 9-2-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 12-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 8-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 30.88 shots per game, the 11th-highest output among league opponents.
Brennan enters play tonight carrying a three-game assist streak and shows 14 points (3+11) over his last 12 games… Mancari enters the contest with 15 points (6+9) over his last 12 games, a stretch that also featured a season-long five-game point streak from 12/19 to 12/28… More impressively, Mancari has posted five games with multiple points during the same stretch, including his three-point outing (1+2) at Abbotsford last Friday… McNabb shows four assists over his last seven games after notching consecutive two-assist efforts against Lake Erie before the turn of the New Year… Despite seeing his three-game point streak come to an end, Flynn has six points (2+4) through his last seven games, including goals in two of his last three, and shows 22 points (9+13) in his last 24 games… Additionally, the first-year pro hasn’t gone longer than five games this season without a point… Cody Hodgson has registered 10 points (4+6) over his last nine games, a stretch that includes back-to-back two-goal games… Evan Rankin has notched 18 points (9+9) over his last 25 games, including three goals in his last nine appearances, and has only been held scoreless just 11 times in 29 games this season… Porter, meanwhile, has tabbed 19 points (6+13) in his last 21 appearances, including 15 points (5+10) in his last 15 outings.
Mancari, who will skate in his 250th game as an Amerk tonight, is just a mere seven goals away from 200 pro goals… Defenseman Joe Finley is just two games shy of 100 AHL games, while fellow defenseman Alex Biega is five games away from 100 as an Amerk… Hodgson, meanwhile, is also nine points shy of 100 career points and Luke Adam needs another 10 points to reach the century mark for his AHL career… Leggio needs another 11 games to reach 200 career pro tilts… Porter recorded the 100th point of his AHL career with his first assist of the game at Abbotsford on 1/04… McNabb skated in his 100th professional game against Binghamton on 12/29… Marcus Foligno and Phil Varone each skated in their 100th pro game against Binghamton on 12/21… Leggio earned his 100th professional win with a 33-save effort at Lake Erie on 12/13… Rookie goaltender Connor Knapp earned his first career win, stopping 41 of 42 shots against Adirondack on 12/07.
Men’s Health Night – Tonight’s game falls on Men’s Health Night, as the Amerks and U.A.R. are once again partnering to raise both funds and awareness for prostate cancer. As part of the initiative, the Amerks will wear special-edition jerseys to promote men’s health awareness. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase these jerseys through a silent auction to be held during the game on The Blue Cross Arena concourse. Following the game, the winners will be able to take the ice and be presented with a “jersey off the back” from the Amerks players. There will also be an online portion of the auction at the auction section of NHL.com. During the game, U.A.R. will also provide free blood tests to screen for prostate cancer for men in attendance on the Green Party Deck. Anyone who takes part in the screening will be eligible for a prize pack courtesy of U.A.R.
Chicken Wing Eating Contest – Tonight’s game also features the annual “Ghost Wing Eating Contest” sponsored by The Distillery in the tunnel located between sections 114 and 116 during the second intermission. The contestant that eats the most chicken wings soaked in The Distillery’s signature “Ghost” hot sauce in two minutes will win a Distillery prize pack. Fans can sign up to participate in the contest at the podium in the Upper Atrium or at the Amerks Guest Services Booth.
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.