TODAY’S GAME: The Rochester Americans take aim at their sixth straight win on Tuesday as the Amerks head west for the first of back-to-back tilts with the top-ranked Abbotsford Heat at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. The 1:30 p.m. EST matinee will be the fifth of eight scheduled meetings between the North Division rivals this season and will be broadcast live on WBER 90.5 FM.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE:
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
RCH STATS BUF STATS
ABB STATS CGY STATS
Last Game: Rochester at Syracuse – 2/2/13
Rochester (5) at Syracuse (3)
Goals: Rissmiller, Schofield, Crawford, Sundher (GWG), Porter
Goalie(s): Leggio (43 saves/46 shots, 60:00)
Special Teams: PP: 2/7 --- PK: 4/4
Shots: Syracuse 46 --- Rochester 21
PIM: Syracuse 20 --- Rochester 14
3 Stars: 1. Leggio (RCH), 2. Rissmiller (RCH), 3. Mancari (RCH)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The tightly-contested season series has been evenly matched thus far for both teams, who each show a win and a loss in their respective city’s entering play Tuesday. The Amerks and Heat split a two-game set during Rochester’s last trek out to Western Canada, where Abbotsford earned a 3-1 win in the most recent get-together between the two teams back on Jan 5. The Amerks, though, claimed two of the previous three meetings with the Heat and have outscored Abbotsford 11-10 throughout the past four meetings. Former Buffalo Sabre Paul Byron has recorded a point in each game against the Amerks for the Heat, including the game-winner in Abbotsford’s 3-2 win in Rochester on Nov. 16 and an assist in each game in January for a total of four points (2+2) in four games.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (24-15-2-1, 51 points) enters the contest riding a season-long five-game winning streak after a 5-3 road victory over the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Goaltender David Leggio, making his 15th consecutive start, finished with 43 saves on the night to help lead the Amerks to their seventh win in the last eight games and move within two points of Abbotsford for first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. It marks the first time since Feb. 22 – Mar. 10, 2012 that Rochester has won seven times in an eight-game stretch. Veteran forward Patrick Rissmiller, who re-joined the Amerks earlier in the day on Saturday on a Professional Tryout, made his return to Rochester in a big way by recording a goal and an assist in his season debut with the team. Kevin Porter and Kevin Sundher also scored for the Amerks to extend their current point streak to five games each, while Mark Mancari recorded his fourth straight multi-point game with a pair of assists, including setting up Sundher’s game-winner early in the third period. With five points (3+2) over his last two games, including a hat trick in Friday’s win over Toronto, Mancari paces the Amerks with a team-high 40 points (14+26) in 42 games, good enough for sixth in scoring in the AHL. The eight-year pro also ranks tied for ninth in the AHL with 26 assists and eighth overall with 134 shots on goal. Leggio, who’s won his last five starts, leads all AHL netminders in wins (23), saves (1096), minutes played (2181:19) and games played (36).
ABBOTSFORD NOTES: Abbotsford (16-10-3-4, 39 points), opening up a four-game homestand on Tuesday, comes into the matchup looking to break out of a skid that has seen the Heat drop three of their last four games, including a 1-0 setback to the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday at Van Andel Arena. Danny Taylor made 22 saves on 23 shots as the Heat were shutout for the sixth time this season. Despite the recent slide, however, Abbotsford owns the best goaltending tandem in the league in Barry Brust and Taylor, who rank first and second among AHL netminders with a 1.69 and a 1.76 goals-against average, respectively. Brust, who is also second in the league with a .940 save percentage, earlier this season set the new AHL record for the longest shutout streak at 268:17, surpassing the longstanding mark of 249:51 established by Hall of Fame goaltender Johnny Bower. In just 18 games with the Heat this season, Brust boasts a 9-6-2 record with four shutouts and has made 457 saves on 486 shots. Abbotsford’s well-balanced scoring attack is led by forward Ben Street, who paces the Heat with a team-high 28 points (10+18) and 161 shots while appearing in all but two games.
UP NEXT: The same two teams meet again in the back-end of the two-game set on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Game time is slated for 10:00 p.m. EST and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK.