TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rochester Americans wrap up their busy stretch of five games in eight days tonight as they head back across the border to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs in a North Division showdown at the Bell Centre in downtown Montreal, home of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. The 7:30 p.m. contest will be the ninth of 12 meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS FAN GUIDE
2012-13 AHL STANDINGS
2012-13 NHL STANDINGS
ROCHESTER STATS BUFFALO STATS
HAMILTON STATS MONTREAL STATS
Last Game: Rochester vs. Texas – 2/20/13
Rochester (1) vs. Texas (5)
Goalie(s): Leggio (33 saves/38 shots, 60:00)
Special Teams: PP: 0/2 --- PK: 3/4
Shots: Texas 38 --- Rochester 22
PIM: Rochester 13 --- Texas 9
3 Stars: 1. Sceviour (TEX), 2. Hedden (TEX), 3. Campbell (TEX)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The game will also be the second go-around this week for the longtime foes, who met just five days ago at Copps Coliseum, where David Leggio backstopped the Amerks to a 2-0 win over the Bulldogs with a 30-save shutout. The win improved Rochester to a near-perfect 7-1-0-0 record against Hamilton this season having claimed the last five get-togethers with the Bulldogs. Brayden McNabb and Luke Adam provided the scoring to help the Amerks snap a brief two-game skid on their way to outshooting the Bulldogs 49-30 throughout the contest. Leggio boasts an unblemished 7-0-0 record, including two shutouts, with an incredible 1.13 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage, making 193 saves on 202 shots, in seven starts versus Hamilton. Rochester has surrendered its only loss of the season to the Bulldogs in southern Ontario and has outscored Hamilton 28-13 throughout the season series thus far, including 19-6 through the last five contests.
AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (27-19-2-1, 57 points) enters the coming off its 5-1 loss to the league-leading Texas Stars Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena. Alex Biega scored the lone goal for Rochester while Leggio, making his 41st appearance between the pipes this season, steered aside 33 shots in the loss for the Amerks, who have now dropped three of their last four games entering play tonight. Despite the recent skid, however, Rochester trails Toronto by one point in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings and sits three points back of the first-place Abbotsford Heat with five games in hand. The Amerks will be without the services of their captain and leading scorer in veteran forward Kevin Porter, who earned his first career recall to the Buffalo Sabres yesterday afternoon. Currently in his fifth professional season, Porter paces the Amerks with a team-high 44 points (15+29) in 48 games this season. He left Rochester tied for ninth in scoring among the AHL’s top point-getters, while his team-best 29 assists rank eighth among league leaders. Leggio, who has now won eight of his last 10 starts and is just two wins shy of matching the career-high 28 victories he set in 54 games last season, currently leads all AHL netminders in wins (26), saves (1258) and minutes played (2479:54).
HAMILTON NOTES: Hamilton (19-25-1-5, 44 points), in the middle of its season-long nine-game homestand, comes into the matchup after seeing its season-high four-game winning streak snapped following a 2-0 setback to Rochester on Monday afternoon. Dustin Tokarski made 47 saves in just his second game with the Bulldogs after being acquired by Montreal late last week in a trade that sent fellow netminder Cedrick Desjardins to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The loss marked the seventh time this season the Bulldogs were held scoreless in a game, including the second time against the Amerks. Despite showing points in five of its last seven games, Hamilton remains in the basement of Western Conference with the second-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 home on Tuesday, Feb. 26 when they host the first-place Syracuse Crunch at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the seventh of 10 meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK.
AMERKS QUICK HITS
- With 81 goals through their last 24 games, including 15 in their last six, the Amerks are currently second in the AHL in goals for with 165, 14 shy of Syracuse’s league-leading 179 tallies. Rochester is also second in the league in goals-per-game with 3.37.
- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most effective in the league over the last 16 games as the Amerks have converted on 15 of their 72 man-advantage opportunities, including 10 times over the last 11 games. The Amerks rank fourth with 47 power-play goals and have the third-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 21.4% efficiency rate. Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in 34 of the first 49 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).
- Kevin Porter and Mark Mancari, who are tied for ninth 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 49 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 four 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 won eight of his last 10 starts, continues to lead all AHL netminders in wins (26), saves (1258), minutes played (2479:54) and games played (41). He also boasts the fourth-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 second-fewest games in the AHL with 49, including the least among North Division opponents.
- The Amerks have allowed at least five goals in a game 11 times this season, but are 5-5-1-0 in those games.
ROLSTON TAKES OVER IN BUFFALO
The Buffalo Sabres promoted former Amerks head coach Ron Rolston to serve as their interim head coach for the remainder of the 2012-13 season on Wednedsay. Rolston replaces Lindy Ruff, the all-time winningest coach in Sabres history and longest tenured coach in the NHL, who was relieved of his duties after 16 years behind the Buffalo bench. Rolston becomes the 16th coach in franchise history after assembling a 63-56-5 regular-season record over 1 ½ seasons with the Amerks, who he led to the Calder Cup Playoffs in just his first season as an American Hockey League coach. He officially made his NHL coaching debut in Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night at the Air Canada Centre.
CASSIDY APPOINTED HEAD COACH IN ROCHESTER
The departure of Rolston to Buffalo elevated Amerks assistant coach Chadd Cassidy as the new bench boss in Rochester. Cassidy, who previously worked alongside Rolston for five seasons at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, becomes the 30th head coach in Amerks history and the first to take over the position as a midseason replacement since Joe Crozier was appointed the title midway through the 1987-88 season. Cassidy made his American Hockey League coaching debut in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the league-leading Texas Stars, a mere four hours after being named the Amerks’ new head coach.
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 amongst 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 49 games already this season, Mancari is now just a point shy of 200 as an Amerk, which will tie the mark Peter Ciavaglia set in his two seasons with Rochester.
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 26 wins to date, Leggio needs just another three victories to best his personal mark and is on pace to capture his first career 30-win season.
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.
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 won nine of their last 14 games within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena, where they has outscored their opponents 87-76 in 27 games. The Amerks, who recently had their season-long five-game home winning streak snapped, boast a 16-10-0-1 record in their downtown venue, making them the seventh-best home team in the AHL, while their 16 wins trail only Portland and Abbotsford. Conversely, Rochester is 11-9-2-0 on the road and bring a three-game road winning streak into tonight’s game.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks are 15-7-1-1 (32 points) this season against North Division rivals, but show a 12-12-1-0 (25 points) mark versus non-divisional foes. The Amerks have scored the first goal in 31 of the first 49 games of the campaign and show a 22-7-2-0 record when doing so, including a 12-3-0-0 mark at home. Rochester is also 22-1-1-0 when leading after two periods, a streak that also shows an unblemished 13-0-0-0 mark at home. The Amerks are averaging 30.41 shots per game, the 14th-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 ninth in the AHL in total attendance to date and is averaging 6,649 fans per game through the first 27 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 eight 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, despite presently being on recall with Buffalo, has 31 points (10+21) over his last 29 outings, including 14 points (4+10) in his last 11, and has been held scoreless just six times in his last 16 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 three assists in his last nine appearances… Coming off his career-high four-point game (2+2) at Lake Erie on Feb. 12, second-year pro Phil Varone also shows six points (2+4) in his last nine games… Mancari enters the matchup with 30 points (12+18) over his last 27 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… Veteran defenseman Adam Pardy has collected an assist in each of his last two games and has totaled five points (1+4) through his first 10 games in the red, white and blue.
Porter made his Sabres debut in Buffalo’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, finishing with four penalty minutes and 14:34 of ice time… Rookie goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made his American Hockey League last Sunday against Hershey, stopping 17 of 21 shots through a full 60 minutes between the pipes, while last Friday’s game against Houston marked the 200th career game Leggio… Pardy is four games shy of 400 pro appearances and Porter is four assists away from 100 career helpers … Adam is just one point 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 11 games to reach 700 pro appearances… Rankin, meanwhile, needs another seven games to reach 300 for his pro career.