TODAY’S GAME: The oldest rivalry in the American Hockey League will be renewed this afternoon as the Rochester Americans take on the Hershey Bears in a battle of the league’s two senior-most franchises. The 3:05 p.m. matinee will be the second and final get-together between the longtime foes this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE:
AUDIO: DON STEVENS WITH CHADD CASSIDY
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 NHL STANDINGS
ROCHESTER STATS BUFFALO STATS
HERSHEY STATS WASHINGTON STATS
TODAY'S WEATHER FORECAST
Last Game: Rochester vs. Houston – 2/15/13
Rochester (1) vs. Houston (3)
Goalie(s): Leggio (30 saves/32 shots, 58:35)
Special Teams: PP: 1/5 --- PK: 4/4
Shots: Houston 33 --- Rochester 30
PIM: Houston 14 --- Rochester 12
3 Stars: 1. Fontaine (HOU), 2. Hackett (HOU), 3. Varone (RCH)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Today’s matchup marks the 446th all-time meeting in the 57-year history of the storied rivalry which has seen the Amerks defeat the Bears 186 different times, including a high-scoring 8-7 decision earlier this season at Hershey’s Giant Center back on Oct. 20. The trio of Marcus Foligno, T.J. Brennan and Cody Hodgson, all of whom are currently on recall with the Buffalo Sabres, combined for 10 points (4+6) to help Rochester rally from a pair of three-goal deficits. Former Amerk Jeff Taffe, who spent the 2009-10 campaign with Rochester, scored a goal and added three assists for a team-high four points. The game also produced the highest-combined goal output for both teams in a single game this season and the most goals scored by the Amerks in one game.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (26-17-2-1, 55 points) enters the contest after seeing its season-long five-game home winning streak snapped with a 3-1 setback to the Houston Aeros Friday at The Blue Cross Arena. Nick Tarnasky potted the lone goal for the Amerks and David Leggio, who was manning the pipes for his 200th professional game, saw his personal seven-game winning streak end despite making 32 saves. Despite the loss, however, the Amerks have collected points in two of their last three games and remain tied for third place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings, sitting a mere four points behind the top-ranked Abbotsford Heat. The Amerks are led offensively by the veteran duo of Mark Mancari and Kevin Porter, who share the team lead in scoring with 43 points each on 15 goals and 28 assists, good enough for eighth in scoring among the league’s top point-getters. Mancari and Porter also rank tied for ninth in the AHL with a team-best 28 assists and have combined for 25 multi-point outings between the two of them this season. More impressively, the duo has also recorded at least one point in the same game in 23 out of 46 outings this season, including eight different occasions where they have each posted multiple points in the same game. Rochester is 19-3-1-0 when Porter and Mancari register a point in the same game. Leggio, who’s started 18 of the last 19 games for the Amerks and has won seven of his last eight starts, leads all AHL netminders in wins (25), saves (1195), minutes played (2359:54) and games played (39).
HERSHEY NOTES: Hershey (23-20-3-4, 55 points), playing Game 3 of its current four-game road trip, comes into the matchup in the midst of a three-game skid after a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. Casey Wellman tallied the lone goal while Dany Sabourin stopped 20 of 22 shots for the Bears, who had their four-game point streak snapped in the loss. Hershey comes to the Flower City fueled by 11-year pro Jeff Taffe, who leads the Bears with a team-high 42 points (10+32) in 47 games this season. A native of Hastings, Minnesota, Taffe, who represented Hershey at the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic last month, also leads the AHL with 32 assists, 13 of which have come on the power-play, and ranks tied for 14th in the league in overall scoring. With fourth-year netminder Braden Holtby currently up with the Washington Capitals, the starting goaltending duties have been turned over to Sabourin, who boasts a 7-8-2 record with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 19 games between the pipes. The Bears return 17 players from last year’s squad, including team captain and two-time Calder Cup winner Boyd Kane.
UP NEXT: Rochester heads north of the border on Monday, Feb. 18 as the Amerks travel to Copps Coliseum for a North Division showdown with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Game time is slated for a 3:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on WBER 90.5 FM.
Hockey Weekend Across America: The Amerks are offering a complimentary ticket to all area youth hockey players who are registered with USA Hockey as part of USA Hockey’s annual Hockey Weekend Across America initiative, which runs from Feb. 15-17 and is designed to celebrate the game of hockey and all involved in the sport while also providing opportunities for those who haven't played hockey to try it, resulting ultimately in more people playing the game at all levels. Family members of USA Hockey registrants will be able to purchase additional tickets to the Feb. 17 game for just $12. To take advantage of the offer, visit www.amerks.com or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.
Family Friendly Festivities: The day’s family friendly festivities will also include a Teddy Bear Toss, a visit from Spiderman and other mascots, as well as a postgame skate for fans on The Blue Cross Arena ice. In addition, 2,500 fans in attendance will receive an Amerks folder courtesy of Wendy’s. Kids ages 12 and under can receive a complimentary ticket for the game with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Moose's Birthday: The Amerks longtime mascot, the Moose, will be celebrating his birthday during the game and has invited many of his mascot friends to join him, including the famous Spiderman, who will be making a special appearance at the game. Several local mascots will also be in attendance to mingle with fans, pose for pictures and compete in intermission activities on the ice.
Teddy Bear Toss: Following the first goal scored by the Amerks in the game against Hershey, Rochester’s oldest rival, fans will be encouraged to “toss” Teddy Bears onto the ice to celebrate. Fans can bring a new Teddy Bear to the game to toss, or can purchase a Teddy Bear at the game for just $2. Fans that bring a new Teddy Bear can purchase a ticket for just $12 at the Box Office and will be entered into a raffle for Amerks prizes. All Teddy Bears that are tossed onto the ice will be collected and donated to the Ronald McDonald House.
Postgame Skate: There will also be a one-hour postgame skate on the ice that is free of charge and open to all fans upon the conclusion of the game. Fans will have to bring their own skates, as rental skates will not be available. Kids 12 and under must wear a helmet. There will be a Skate Check area in the tunnel located below Sections 114-116 where fans can store their skates during the Amerks game and pick up prior to the postgame skate.