TODAY’S GAME: The Rochester Americans continue their busy stretch of five games in eight days this afternoon as they make their way across the border to take on the red-hot Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum. The 3:00 p.m. matinee will be the eighth of 12 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 2012-13 NHL STANDINGS
ROCHESTER STATS BUFFALO STATS
HAMILTON STATS MONTREAL STATS
Last Game: Rochester vs. Hershey – 2/17/13
Rochester (1) vs. Hershey (4)
Goalie(s): Lieuwen (17 saves/21 shots, 60:00)
Special Teams: PP: 1/5 --- PK: 2/2
Shots: Rochester 36 --- Hershey 21
PIM: Hershey 15 --- Rochester 9
3 Stars: 1. Grubauer (HER), 2. Stoa (HER), 3. Taffe (HER)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Amerks carry a near-perfect 6-1-0-0 record against Hamilton into today’s matchup and have claimed the last four get-togethers with the Bulldogs, including a 6-3 win in the teams’ most recent encounter back on Jan. 21 in Rochester. Kevin Porter scored a goal and added a pair of assists and Rick Schofield (1+1) and Mark Mancari (0+2) each notched two points in the win. Porter leads the Amerks with 10 points (2+8) in seven games against the Bulldogs and rookie forward Brian Flynn remains at a close second with nine points on five goals and four assists. David Leggio, meanwhile, boasts an unblemished 6-0-0 mark with an incredible 1.48 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage, making 163 saves on 172 shots, in six starts versus Hamilton. Rochester has surrendered its only loss of the season to the Bulldogs in southern Ontario and has outscored Hamilton 26-13 throughout the season series thus far, including 17-6 through the last four contests.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (26-18-2-1, 55 points) enters the contest on a two-game skid after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Hershey Bears in a battle of the AHL’s oldest teams last night at The Blue Cross Arena. Veteran forward Patrick Rissmiller potted Rochester’s lone goal and rookie goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made 17 saves in first career AHL start for the Amerks, who have now dropped two straight contests for the first time since posting consecutive losses to Abbotsford on Jan. 5 and Syracuse on Jan. 9. The loss also marked just the second time this season Rochester was held to a single goal in back-to-back games. The Amerks, though, still remain just a point out of second place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings and trail the top-ranked Abbotsford Heat by a mere four points entering play today. With another assist in last night’s setback to Hershey, Porter once again took over the team lead in scoring with 44 points (15+29) and is one of just two skaters to appear in all 47 games this season. With 13 points (4+9) in his last nine games, including four different multi-point outings, Porter enters play tonight tied for seventh in scoring among the AHL top point-getters, while his team-best 29 assists are also sixth-most among league leaders. Leggio leads all AHL netminders in wins (25), saves (1195) and minutes played (2359:54)
HAMILTON NOTES: Hamilton (19-24-1-5, 44 points), in the middle of its season-long nine-game homestand, comes into the matchup the winners of four straight and five of its last six games after a 4-2 win over the Houston Aeros Saturday night. Michael Bournival’s third period hat trick erased a 2-1 deficit and goaltender Dustin Tokarski made 24 saves in his Bulldogs debut after being acquired by Montreal late last week in a trade that sent fellow netminder Cedrick Desjardins to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite their recent success, however, Hamilton remains in the basement of the American Hockey League’s Western Conference standings with the third-most regulation losses and a league-low 108 goals scored. Third-year pro Gabriel Dumont paces Hamilton’s offense in goals (15), assists (15) and points (30) and has appeared in all but one game this season for the Bulldogs. Three of Hamilton’s top five scorers are currently in their first professional season, including rookie forward Brendan Gallagher, whose 20 points (10+10) earned him an immediate recall to the parent Montreal Canadiens at the close of the NHL lockout.
UP NEXT: The Amerks return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 20 as they entertain a rare visit from the Texas Stars at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the first of just two meetings this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- With 78 goals through their last 22 games, including 12 in their last four, the Amerks are currently third in the AHL in goals for with 162, eight shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 170 tallies. Rochester is also second in the league in goals-per-game with 3.45.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 14 games as the Amerks have converted on 14 of their 69 man-advantage opportunities, including nine times over the last nine games. The Amerks rank third with 46 power-play goals and own the fourth-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 21.3% efficiency rate. Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 33 of the first 47 games this season.
- Though presently being on recall with Buffalo, T.J, Brennan, who left the Amerks riding a five-game point streak (2+3), ranks second among AHL defensemen in goals (14) and points (35). Seven of his goals have come on the power-play, tying him for 12th in the league in that category. The special teams extraordinaire is also tied for 13th in the AHL with 12 power-play assists and leads all rearguards in power-play goals (7) and shorthanded goals (2) and ranks second in shots (132).
- Porter and Mancari, who are tied for seventh and 11th in scoring in the league, respectively, have combined for 25 multi-point outings between the two of them since the puck dropped in October. More impressively, the duo has also recorded at least one point in the same game in 23 out of 47 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.
- Despite missing the last two games with an injury, Brian Flynn enters the contest eighth among AHL rookies with 32 points (16+16) in 43 games. The Amerks are 11-2-0-0 this season when Flynn scores a goal.
- Leggio, who’s started 18 of the last 20 games for the Amerks and is coming off a personal seven-game winning streak, continues to lead all AHL netminders in wins (25), saves (1195), minutes played (2359:54) and games played (39). He also boasts the third-best shootout record (4-1) among goaltenders, having stopped 20 of 25 shooters 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 played the fewest games in the AHL with 47, tying them with Chicago and Toronto, who is also in action today.
- The Amerks have allowed at least five goals in a game 10 times this season, but are 5-4-1-0 in those games.
MANCARI MAKING HIS MARK
The return to Rochester has been quite the homecoming for Mancari, who is in the midst of what could perhaps be his best season as an Amerk since joining the organization as a rookie for the 2005-06 campaign. Entering this year, the eight-year pro ranked 46th all-time in scoring among forwards in franchise history with 156 points (62+94) in 215 career games in the red, white and blue, but has since jumped to 30th on the list, surpassing some notable names like Dane Jackson, Scott Nichol and Jason Pominville along the way. With 43 points (15+28) in 47 games already this season, Mancari is now just a point of 200 as an Amerk, which will tie the mark Peter Ciavaglia set in his two seasons with Rochester.
BRENNAN GETTING CLOSER
With his power-play goal at Syracuse on Jan. 12, 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. After officially reaching the halfway point with a pair of shorthanded tallies against the Albany Devils on Nov. 23, Brennan is now within four goals of tying the mark and five away from setting a new record. The fourth-year pro fell just two short of the record last season, scoring 16 goals in only 52 games with the Amerks.
MAKE THAT THREE STRAIGHT FOR LEGGIO
Leggio recorded his 20th win of the season with a 21-save effort in Rochester’s 6-3 victory over Hamilton on Jan. 21, solidifying the fifth-year netminder’s third consecutive 20-win season. Leggio began the impressive streak with 22 wins during the 2010-11 campaign with Portland before posting a career-high 28 victories last season with Rochester. With 25 wins to date, Leggio needs just another four victories to best his personal mark and is on pace to capture his first career 30-win season.
HOME, SWEET HOME
With half of the season already in the books, home-ice advantage has certainly been beneficial for the Amerks. On the heels of their 5-1 win over Toronto ob Feb. 1, the Amerks have nine of their last 13 games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena, where it has outscored its opponents 86-71 in 26 games. The Amerks, who recently had their season-long five-game home winning streak snapped, boast a 16-9-0-1 record in their downtown venue, making them the seventh-best home team in the AHL, while their 16 wins trail only Portland and Abbotsford.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 14-7-1-1 (30 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 12-11-1-0 (25 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 30 of the first 47 games of the campaign and show a 21-7-2-0 record when doing so, including a 12-3-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 21-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 13-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 30.19 shots per game, the 15th-highest output among opponents.
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.
More than a dozen different crowds of 7,500+ fans in attendance have taken in an Amerks game this season, including eight in the Flower City’s downtown hockey barn. The number is a vast improvement from the 2011-12 season, when only three crowds of 7,500 or more were on hand. Rochester is currently eighth in the AHL in total attendance to date and is averaging 6,743 fans per game through the first 26 home games of the 2012-13 campaign.
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 each 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.
Flynn has collected 15 points (7+8) through his last 18 games and hasn’t gone longer than five games this season without a point… Newcomer Patrick Rissmiller, who is just six games into his Professional Tryout, has six points (2+4) and a pair of multi-point performances since re-joining the Amerks on Feb. 2… Porter, meanwhile, has 31 points (10+21) over his last 28 outings, including 14 points (4+10) in his last 10, and has been held scoreless just five times in his last 15 showings… Despite being injured, Evan Rankin has four points (2+2) in five games, and more impressively, has only been held scoreless just 14 times in 37 games this season… Nick Crawford has been hot as of late, scoring two goals, both of which came on the power-play, and adding two assists in his last seven appearances… Coming off his career-high four-point game (2+2) Tuesday at Lake Erie, second-year pro Phil Varone also shows five points (2+3) in his last seven games… Mancari enters the matchup with 30 points (12+18) over his last 25 games, a stretch that featured a season-long five-game point streak from Dec. 19 to Dec. 28 and his first hat trick of the season against Toronto on Feb. 1… More interesting, Mancari has posted 10 games with multiple points during the same stretch, including four straight outings between Jan. 21 and Feb. 2, recording 11 points (4+7) over that span… Rookie forward Frederick Roy has three goals in his last five games, while fellow rookie Kevin Sundher has tallied six points (3+3) over his last 10 games, including a five-game point streak from Jan. 18 to Feb. 2.
Lieuwen made his American Hockey League debut last night Hershey, stopping 17 of 21 shots through a full 60 minutes between the pipes, while Friday’s game against Houston marked the 200th career game Leggio… Pardy is six games shy of 400 pro appearances and Porter is four assists away from 100 career helpers … Adam is just two points away from reaching the century mark for his AHL career… Mancari’s next goal will be the 200th of his pro career and needs just one more point to reach 200 as an Amerk… Newcomer Matt Ellis is a mere 12 points shy of the 300-mark for his pro career and needs another 13 games to reach 700 pro appearances.