TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans open a four-game road swing tonight as they travel to nearby Syracuse to take on the Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:30 p.m. matchup will be the sixth of 10 meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE:
AUDIO: DON STEVENS WITH CHADD CASSIDY
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
ROC STATS BUF STATS
SYR STATS TBL STATS
SATURDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST
Last Game: Rochester vs. Toronto – 2/1/13
Rochester (5) vs. Toronto (1)
Goals: Mancari (3), Porter (GWG), Rankin
Goalie(s): Leggio (27 saves/28 shots, 59:49)
Special Teams: PP: 1/5 --- PK: 3/3
Shots: Rochester 29 --- Toronto 28
PIM: Toronto 15 --- Rochester 11
3 Stars: 1. Mancari (RCH), 2. McNabb (RCH), 3. Leggio (RCH)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Tonight’s matchup marks the second in three weeks since Rochester earned its second straight 4-1 win over the Crunch in the teams’ most recent encounter back on Jan. 18 at The Blue Cross Arena. Phil Varone scored a goal and an assist and former Crunch Rick Schofield notched a pair of assists to help the Amerks improve to 4-1-0-0 this season against his former team. The Amerks are 7-2-0-0 in their last nine games against Syracuse dating back to last season, a stretch that has produced a win for Rochester in six of the last seven meetings between the cross-town foes, including both get-togethers in Syracuse earlier this season.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (23-15-2-1, 49 points) enters the contest looking for its fifth straight win after kicking off the second half of the 2012-13 American Hockey League season with a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Marlies last night at The Blue Cross Arena. Veteran forward Mark Mancari recorded his first hat trick of the season, while the All-Star duo of Kevin Porter (1+2) and Brayden McNabb (0+3), who each represented the Amerks at the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic earlier this week in Providence, each notched three points apiece for the Amerks, who have won six of their last seven games, including their perfect four-game homestand. With his three-goal night, Mancari leapfrogged T.J. Brennan for the team lead in scoring with 38 points (14+24) and extended his current point streak to four games. Mancari, who now shows 194 career points as an Amerk, ranks 31st all-time in scoring in franchise history, surpassing current Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville and tying Amerks Hall of Famer Rick Pagnutti. He enters play tonight tied for ninth in scoring among the AHL’s top point-getters. Much of Rochester’s recent success can be attributed to its play at home, where the Amerks have captured 16 of their 23 wins this season and have outscored their opponents 84-64 in 24 games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks, who have won five straight and nine of their last 11 games in their downtown hockey barn, are presently the AHL’s second-best team at home, while their 16 wins are tied for tops in the league with Binghamton.
SYRACUSE NOTES: Syracuse (25-11-2-4, 56 points), kicking off a three-game homestand tonight, comes into the matchup as the fifth-best team in the AHL after assembling what has proven to be the Crunch’s best start in franchise history. Despite their early season success, however, the Crunch have dropped five of their last six games, including back-to-back losses to Rochester, and are presently in the midst of their worst stretch of the campaign thus far. The Syracuse lineup was heavily impacted by the loss of second-year pro Cory Conacher, who is currently on recall with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, where he ranks third on the team behind only Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos with 12 points (5+7) in seven games. Guided by reigning AHL Coach of the Year Jon Cooper, Syracuse is tied for sixth in the league in wins (27) and third in goals scored (134), while boasting the AHL’s third-best best winning percentage (.667). Syracuse’s well-balanced offense is piloted by second-year pro Tyler Johnson, whose 20 goals and 39 points place him fourth and sixth among the AHL’s top scorers, respectively. A Calder Cup winner with Norfolk in 2011-12, Johnson also ranks tied for ninth in the AHL with seven power-play goals, while appearing in all but one game for Syracuse this season. Johnson also leads all Crunch forwards with a +15 rating, good enough for fifth in the AHL.
UP NEXT: The Amerks head west for the first of back-to-back tilts with the Abbotsford Heat on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Game time is slated for a 1:30 PM EST start with all the action being carried live on WBER 90.5 FM.