GAME PREVIEW: AMERKS BEGIN WEEKEND SET WITH SENATORS TONIGHTJan 13, 2022
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Americans (19-11-0-0) continue their four-game homestand tonight in the first of back-to-back meetings with the Belleville Senators (13-15-0-0) at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the third of eight scheduled meetings between the North Division rivals this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
The Amerks have won 11 of their last 15 games and are 6-4-0-0 over their previous 10 following a 7-6 win over first-place Utica Wednesday night.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES SNAPSHOT
Rochester is 10-10-0 all-time against Belleville while being outscored 70-65 through the first 20 meetings with the Senators. The Amerks claimed the previous matchup by way of a 4-3 win back on Nov. 3 after dropping a 7-3 decision in the opening contest of the season series north of the border. It was Rochester’s first regulation loss in 10 visits to CAA Arena after going 6-0-3-0 in the previous nine exchanges between the two teams in Belleville.
The Amerks boast a 3-4-1-0 home record through the first eight all-time meetings in the Flower City. Additionally, Rochester has scored two or more goals in 17 of the previous 20 get-togethers, which includes 12 games where they have produced four or more tallies.
WATCH: TONIGHT'S FACE-OFF FIRST LOOK
AMERKS LEADING THE WAY
The Amerks own three of the league’s top point-getters in veteran forward Michael Mersch and rookie forwards Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka. The veteran Mersch, who’s closing in on 300 career AHL points, enters the weekend tied for the AHL lead in goals (16) and tied for second in points (31) while Quinn remains at a close second having reached the 30-point mark on Wednesday with a goal and three assists. He ranks second among all league rookies in goals (13) and points (30) while his team-high five power-play goals are second-most among all first-year players.
Rochester also has the top-scoring defenseman in the league in Oskari Laaksonen, who recorded a career-high four assists in Wednesday’s 7-6 win over Utica, including three in the first period and three of which came on the power-play. He finished two assists shy of tying the franchise record for most in a single game. Following Wednesday’s performance, Laaksonen, who boasts six points (1+5) in his last six games since the turn of the New Year, currently leads all AHL defensemen in scoring with 21 points (3+18) in 29 games. He also paces the league with 16 power-play assists as all but two of his 18 assists this season have come on the man-advantage. Equally as impressive, 18 of Laaksonen’s 21 points have been on the power-play.
Now 30 games into the season, Rochester’s power-play has gone 30-for-109 with a 27.5% conversion rate that is currently tops in the AHL. The Amerks’ 30 goals on the man-advantage are most among all North Division teams and only one off the AHL lead behind only the Springfield Thunderbirds.
The Amerks have scored at least one power-play goal in 19 of their first 30 games this season and have registered multiple power-play tallies in seven overall, including a season-high four goals in the 7-3 win over Hershey back on Nov. 26.
Rochester scored a power-play in seven straight games between Nov. 17 and Dec. 8, the longest such streak in the AHL this season.
WATCH: SETH APPERT AFTER MORNING SKATE
MERSCH LEADING BY EXAMPLE
With an assist on Jan. 7 against Hartford, Mersch became the first Amerk this season and just the fourth player in the AHL to reach the 30-point mark. He’s now reached the mark six times in his eight-year pro career.
Mersch has totaled 18 points (9+9) and four multi-point efforts over his last 16 games dating back to Nov. 24. He’s been held scoreless just five times over that span to move into a second place tie in the AHL in scoring with 31 points (16+15) on the season. The Amerks captain began that stretch with a five-game goal-scoring streak, the longest of his career and the longest in the AHL this season, while his five-game point streak marked his longest since posting a career-best seven-game point streak back in 2015.
With a league-leading 16 goals this season, Mersch has doubled his output from the previous season in three fewer games and is on pace to reach the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in eight years and the first time since the 2018-19 season as a member of the Texas Stars.
He’s also on pace to reach the 20-goal mark in the fewest amount of games since 2015-16 when he scored 20 in 35 games with the Ontario Reign. He finished that season with 24 goals in only 52 appearances while also appearing in 17 games with the Los Angeles Kings.
Mersch is well on his way to become the first Amerk to score 20 goals in the fastest amount of games since Luke Adam reached the mark in 31 games during the 2013-14 season.
Mersch has appeared in all but one of Rochester’s 58 games dating back to last season, including the lone player to appear in all 30 contests in 2021-22.
The Amerks currently own four of the AHL’s top scoring rookies in Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka, Peyton Krebs and Brandon Biro, all of whom have combined for 92 points (28+64) through the first 30 games this season.
Coming off a career-high four-point effort over Utica, Quinn, Buffalo’s eighth overall pick in 2020, is back to within one point of the AHL rookie scoring lead. With a goal and three assists, Quinn became the second Amerk this season to reach the 30-point mark. He enters the weekend second among all AHL rookies in both goals (13) and points (30) in 21 games. Quinn became the 101st AHL player this season to make his NHL debut when he took the ice in Buffalo’s 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night. He finished with team-highs in shots (3) and shot attempts (6) while earning 16:30 of total ice time. He also became Buffalo’s eighth player taken within the first two rounds of the NHL Draft under the age of 25 to appear in a game with the Sabres this season.
Peterka is fourth in rookie scoring despite missing each of the last two contests to due COVID-19 protocols. He is second among all first-year players with a team-high 19 assists while his 25 points are fourth-most. He and Quinn, taken just 26 picks apart from one another by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2020 NHL Draft, currently make up one of only four rookie duos across the entire AHL to rank inside the top three on their respective team in scoring.
Biro has 13 points (5+8) over his last 12 games dating back to Nov. 27. He also has four multi-point efforts in eight games over that span, which includes a season-high three-point (1+2) performance on Wednesday against Utica.
Of the 14 different defensemen the Amerks have used this season, 12 have notched at least one point while eight have recorded at least one goal.
Coming off their second seven-goal outing of the season on Wednesday against Utica, the Amerks once again have the AHL’s top-ranked offense and are currently averaging just under four goals per game. With a league-best 115 goals scored this season, the Amerks are currently one of only five teams this season to surpass the 100-goal mark so far in 2021-22.
Tonight’s contest features five players selected in the 2020 NHL Draft, which includes Belleville’s Egor Sokolov, Roby Javentie and Cole Reinhardt and Rochester’s Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka.
Belleville defenseman Jack Doughterty spent the 2018-19 season with the Amerks. He appeared in 56 games that year, recording 12 points (2+10) and finishing with a career-best plus-15 on-ice rating.
Amerks forward Ryan Scarfo had a brief six-game stint with the Senators during the 2018-19 season.
Belleville enters the weekend set fueled by forward Jake Lucchini. The fifth-year foward shows a team-best 22 points on 10 goals and 12 assists while being one of two Senators to appear in all 28 games this season.
Belleville Senators vs Rochester Americans: Head To Head Stats
|Head to Head Record 2021-22 Regular Season||Belleville 1-1-0-0||Rochester 1-1-0-0|
|Head to Head Record 2020-21 Regular Season||Belleville 0-0-0-0||Rochester 0-0-0-0|
|Last 5 Years record between teams||Belleville 10-8-2-0||Rochester 10-6-4-0|
|Belleville vs. Rochester Last 5 Years record at Belleville||Belleville 4-4-2-0||Rochester 6-1-3-0|
|Belleville vs. Rochester Last 5 Years record at Rochester||Belleville 6-4-0-0||Rochester 4-5-1-0|
|Previous Meetings This Season||Belleville 3 @ Rochester 4 (Nov 3 2021) Final
Rochester 3 @ Belleville 7 (Oct 27 2021) Final
How the two teams match up
|Team Record||19-11-0-0 -- 38 points||13-15-0-0 -- 26 points|
|Division Ranking||2nd North||7th North|
|Conference Ranking||2nd Eastern||12th Eastern|
|Past 10 Games||6-4-0-0||4-6-0-0|
|Last Game||7-6 W vs Utica (Jan 12 2022) Final||4-2 L @ Toronto (Jan 12 2022) Final|
|PP (Overall)||(30/109) 27.5%||(19/115) 16.5%|
|PP (Home)||(16/56) 28.6%||(10/55) 18.2%|
|PP (Away)||(14/53) 26.4%||(9/60) 15.0%|
|PK (Overall)||(21/107) 80.4%||(23/125) 81.6%|
|PK (Home)||(9/60) 85.0%||(11/58) 81.0%|
|PK (Away)||(12/47) 74.5%||(12/67) 82.1%|
|PP vs. Opp.||(3/11) 27.3%||(2/6) 33.3%|
|PK vs. Opp.||(2/6) 66.7%||(3/11) 72.7%|
|Leading Rookie||Quinn (13-17-30)||Jarventie (5-10-15)|
|Most PIM||Pekar - 41||Kastelic - 38|
|Leading Scorers||Mersch (16-15-31)||Lucchini (10-12-22)|
|Quinn (13-17-30)||Sokolov (7-12-19)|
|Peterka (6-19-25)||Jarventie (5-10-15)|
|Malone (9-13-22)||Agozzino (9-4-13)|
|Laaksonen (3-18-21)||Åberg (2-9-11)|
|Last 5 Games||7-6 W vs Utica (Jan 12 2022) Final||4-2 L @ Toronto (Jan 12 2022) Final|
|3-1 L @ Syracuse (Jan 8 2022) Final||7-5 W vs Springfield (Jan 8 2022) Final|
|5-2 W vs Hartford (Jan 7 2022) Final||4-3 L vs Springfield (Jan 7 2022) Final|
|2-1 L vs Syracuse (Jan 5 2022) Final||4-2 L @ Toronto (Jan 3 2022) Final|
|4-3 W @ Hartford (Jan 2 2022) Final||2-1 W @ Toronto (Jan 1 2022) Final|
|Leading After 1st||14-3-0-0||7-3-0-0|
|Leading After 2nd||13-1-0-0||9-1-0-0|
|Tied After 1st||2-2-0-0||5-3-0-0|
|Tied After 2nd||2-1-0-0||3-1-0-0|
|Trailing After 1st||3-6-0-0||1-9-0-0|
|Trailing After 2nd||4-9-0-0||1-13-0-0|
|Out Shooting Opponents||5-6-0-0||8-7-0-0|
|Out Shot by Opponents||14-5-0-0||5-8-0-0|
|24||X Jacob Bernard-Docker||2||2||0||2||0||3|
|46||X Pontus Åberg||2||0||1||1||2||1|
|3||X Dillon Heatherington||2||0||1||1||0||1|
|49||X Scott Sabourin||1||0||1||1||0||0|
|16||X Erik Brannstrom||2||0||0||0||4||0|
|7||X Philippe Daoust||1||0||0||0||2||1|
|2||X Matt Murphy||1||0||0||0||2||-1|
|17||X Kole Sherwood||2||0||0||0||0||-1|
|14||X Mark Jankowski||1||1||0||1||0||1|
|80||X Aaron Dell||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|1||X Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|80||X Aaron Dell||1||1||0||0||60:00||3||3.00||0.900|
|1||X Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen||1||0||1||0||59:53||6||6.01||0.793|