AMERKS STEP UP TO CHALLENGE ISSUED BY APPERTNov 22, 2022
By Suzie Cool
We’re only 15 games into the Rochester Americans 2022-23 campaign, but head coach Seth Appert felt it was the appropriate time to challenge his team, specifically the younger players.
Appert decided after Friday’s game against the Utica Comets that it was time to challenge his players to compete harder and, particularly for the forwards, to get to those dirty areas to try and score.
“Saturday morning, we challenged our forwards, in particular, (Jiri) Kulich, (Isak) Rosen, (Lukas) Rousek, (Linus) Weissbach and (Aleksandr) Kisakov, to up the compete and challenge how hard we need to play to score five-on-five and to get to dirty areas.”
The response from the group was imminent, especially for rookie forward Isak Rosen. On Saturday against the Comets, Rochester’s same opponent from Friday, Rosen went on to post his fourth two-point effort of the season with the game-winner as the cherry on top.
“I thought that their response collectively as a group of forwards but, specifically with Rosen, was outstanding just with how competitive they played. The goal was a great example that they won a puck battle. Kulich attacked them inside. Rosen went to the front of the net and scored on a rebound,” said Appert on how the forwards accepted the challenge.
So why did Appert decide that 15 games into the season was the right time to start challenging his team to up the compete level? Friday was the deciding factor in that narrative, after falling to the Comets 3-2 for their first regulation loss of the season on home ice.
Appert felt his team was playing hard, however, they weren’t competing at the level the bench boss wanted them to. And there’s a big difference in that.
“There's a difference between playing pretty hard and competing,” said Appert when asked why now was the perfect time to challenge his team. “Playing pretty hard is, I'm going to play very hard, and I'm going to use my skill and let's see if it works and competing is we're going to effing win no matter what I have to do to get it done. There's a big difference.”
The challenge Appert presented to his team seemed to work on Saturday, seeing as the very next night against the very same team ended with a different storyline, a 3-2 win in favor of the Amerks over Utica.
A good sign, since we’re at that point in the season where the younger forwards are ready to hear and accept the challenges that the coaching staff may throw at them.
“I feel that we’re at the point of the season that the young forwards are ready to hear that challenge and it’s also letting them know that my standard for them is extremely high. That's a good thing. That means they've earned that right to have that standard up here with the growth they've shown in their games,” finished Appert.
Appert and the Amerks have three more challenges ahead of them as they embark on their first week of games against non-divisional opponents.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Rochester hosts the Providence Bruins in a pre-Thanksgiving Day matchup for the only time this season at The Blue Cross Arena before taking on the Bridgeport Islanders on Friday. On Saturday, the Amerks head to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center.
All game times are slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV, while Friday’s home game against Providence will be tape-delayed on the local CW at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26.