GAME PREVIEW: AMERKS CLASH WITH MONSTERS IN REMATCH TONIGHTNov 18, 2023
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Americans (7-4-2-0) close out their three-game road swing tonight with a rematch against the Cleveland Monsters (8-3-1-0) at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m. The North Division showdown will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
The Amerks and Monsters will meet eight times during the 2023-24 season.
One point separates the two teams in the AHL’s North Division standings. With points in nine of its first 12 games, Cleveland is off to best start in franchise history under second-year head coach Trent Vogelhuber.
HEAD-TO-HEAD RESULTS AGAINST CLEVELAND
Rochester boasts a 39-20-6-4 record against Cleveland over the last 10 years dating back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign and has earned at least one point in 28 of the last 43 games overall.
The Amerks have scored at least one power-play goal in 12 of the 25 games (15-for-80) against Cleveland since Seth Appert took over as head coach prior to the 2020-21 season.
Filip Cederqvist led all skaters last season with six goals and eight points in six games between the two clubs.
Jeremy Davies scored two of his career-high 11 goals last season against the Monsters on Dec. 1, which included the overtime game-winner. It was his first multi-goal game since March 11, 2022.
LAST TIME OUT
The Amerks were held scoreless for the second straight game, falling 2-0 to the Monsters in the first of back-to-back meetings between the two teams Thursday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Michael Mersch led all Rochester skaters and matched a season-high four shots on goal as he returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games. Kale Clague and rookie Zach Metsa both recorded three shots each, which topped the Amerks defense corps. Brandon Biro and Aleksandr Kisakov also returned to lineup as they joined Mersch on a line.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski (2-2-0) made his fourth appearance of the season, and despite making 20 saves, suffered the defeat.
THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE
The Amerks own two of the league’s top 10 scoring defensemen in Jeremy Davies and Kale Clague, who each have nine points through Rochester’s 13 games of the season.
Davies, who scored a career-high 11 goals last season, including three game-winning tallies, is tied for 18th in goals by a defenseman while his team-high 41 shots are fifth-most amongst all blueliners. Davies, who closed out the month of October on a five-game point streak, has recorded at least one point in seven of his first 12 games this season, never going more than three straight games without a point.
Clague, meanwhile, currently leads all Amerks skaters and is tied for sixth among all rearguards with eight assists in 11 games. Clague opened the campaign with three multi-point performances through his first six games
DYNAMIC DUO: THE SEQUEL
Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen both return for their second seasons in Rochester after putting up one of the most impressive and productive seasons as teenagers in the history of the AHL during the 2022-23 campaign.
Kulich continued his torrid start to the season earlier this month in Syracuse, scoring his team-leading ninth goal in just his 10th game. Kulich, whose 24 goals last season were the second-most ever by an 18-year-old in league history, is currently tied for fourth in the AHL in goals while his 13 points tie him for 19th in overall scoring. Kulich joined Luke Adam (2013-14) and Jack Quinn (2021-22) as the only other Amerks skaters to score nine goals through their first 11 games of their respective campaigns.
Rosen began the season with the AHL’s longest active point streak after notching a point in each of his first six games.
The duo has combined for 109 points (52+57) in 154 regular season games. Rochester owns a 17-3-2-1 record when they each have at least one point and a 7-1-0-0 mark when they both score in the same game.
TOKARSKI AMONG ELITE COMPANY
Veteran goaltender Dustin Tokarski, who missed the first eight games of the season due to an injury he sustained in training camp, made his season debut last week against Utica.
Tokarski, who’s in his second stint with the Amerks and 10th different AHL franchise, went 1-1-0 during a brief two-game stint with Rochester as part of the COVID-shortnened 2020-21 campaign. He went 12-20-7 in 42 appearances with the Buffalo Sabres from 2021-23.
On Nov. 3, the two-time Calder Cup winner and AHL All-Star became just the 18th goaltender in league history to play in 400 career games, a list that also includes former Amerks Bobby Perreault (512), Michael Leighton (507), Drew MacIntyre (440) and Ed Chadwick (417).
The 34-year-old Tokarski ranks 18th all-time in games played and remains the only active goaltender on the list.
Currently in his 15th season, he joins Marcel Paille and Michael Leighton as the only goaltenders all-time to play at least 15 seasons in the AHL.
In addition to being a two-time Calder Cup winner (2012, 2019), Tokarski won a Memorial Cup in 2008 followed by a gold medal with Canada in 2009.
Tokarski, who’s 2-1-1 in his first four starts, recently surpassed the 10,000-save mark for his AHL career following a 31-save effort against Utica last on Nov. 10. He also reached the 12,000-save mark for his pro career the week prior when he appeared in his 400th AHL game against the Comets.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Amerks come into the weekend with one of the AHL’s top-producing offenses, averaging 3.62 goals per game through 13 games of the season.
Rochester has put up at least four goals in eight of its first 13 games, including five outings with five goals or more.
The Amerks are a perfect 5-0-0-0 this season when scoring five goals in a game and their 47 goals are ninth-most in the league.
Rochester’s overtime win against Laval on Oct. 18 was the third straight game that went beyond regulation. Never before in the near 68-year history of the franchise have the Amerks opened a season with three consecutive overtime contests.
The Amerks show a 2-2 record in overtime this season and a 1-0 mark in the shootout. Rochester is one of two teams in the league with five games decided beyond regulation this season (Belleville).
Dating back to last season, 13 of Rochester’s previous 28 regular-season games have required overtime to determine a winner.
The Amerks and Monsters played in a combined 38 games last season decided beyond regulation, including three of the last eight meetings between the two teams. The Amerks went 7-6 in overtime and 4-3 in the shootout while the Monsters showed a 6-5 mark in the extra frame and 5-2 in the skills competition, respectively.
In the last meeting in 2022-23 between the two teams on April 15, Filip Cederqvist recorded a natural hat trick in a span of 4:45, including a pair of goals in nine seconds in the opening minute of the second period.
Amerks forward Justin Richards spent the 2022-23 campaign with the Monsters, recording 39 points (10+29) in 61 games. He also made his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets, recording one assist in two games.
Providence Bruins vs Cleveland Monsters: Head To Head Stats
|Head to Head Record 2023-24 Regular Season||Providence 1-1-0-0||Cleveland 1-1-0-0|
|Head to Head Record 2022-23 Regular Season||Providence 0-0-0-0||Cleveland 0-0-0-0|
|Last 5 Years record between teams||Providence 1-1-0-0||Cleveland 1-1-0-0|
|Providence vs. Cleveland Last 5 Years record at Providence||Providence 0-0-0-0||Cleveland 0-0-0-0|
|Providence vs. Cleveland Last 5 Years record at Cleveland||Providence 1-1-0-0||Cleveland 1-1-0-0|
|Previous Meetings This Season||Providence 4 @ Cleveland 5 (Nov 4 2023) Final
Providence 7 @ Cleveland 3 (Nov 3 2023) Final
How the two teams match up
|Team Record||8-3-1-0 -- 17 points||6-5-1-2 -- 15 points|
|Division Ranking||2nd North||6th Atlantic|
|Conference Ranking||5th Eastern||10th Eastern|
|Past 10 Games||7-2-1-0||5-3-1-1|
|Last Game||2-0 W vs Rochester (Nov 16 2023) Final||4-2 L vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Nov 17 2023) Final|
|PP (Overall)||(12/45) 26.7%||(11/67) 16.4%|
|PP (Home)||(7/28) 25.0%||(5/36) 13.9%|
|PP (Away)||(5/17) 29.4%||(6/31) 19.4%|
|PK (Overall)||(13/55) 76.4%||(13/51) 74.5%|
|PK (Home)||(6/29) 79.3%||(6/30) 80.0%|
|PK (Away)||(7/26) 73.1%||(7/21) 66.7%|
|PP vs. Opp.||(3/9) 33.3%||(3/12) 25%|
|PK vs. Opp.||(3/12) 75%||(3/9) 66.7%|
|Leading Rookie||Del Bel Belluz (2-3-5)||Farinacci (4-7-11)|
|Most PIM||Blankenburg - 16||Kuntar - 33|
|Leading Scorers||Fix-Wolansky (4-12-16)||Lysell (4-8-12)|
|Blankenburg (3-7-10)||Farinacci (4-7-11)|
|Gaunce (4-5-9)||Megna (4-6-10)|
|Christiansen (3-6-9)||Merkulov (4-5-9)|
|Meyer (5-1-6)||Renouf (3-6-9)|
|Last 5 Games||2-0 W vs Rochester (Nov 16 2023) Final||4-2 L vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Nov 17 2023) Final|
|2-1 L @ Belleville (Nov 12 2023) Final OT||3-2 W vs Hartford (Nov 12 2023) Final OT|
|4-2 W @ Belleville (Nov 10 2023) Final||2-0 W @ Hartford (Nov 11 2023) Final|
|5-4 W vs Providence (Nov 4 2023) Final||5-4 W vs Springfield (Nov 10 2023) Final|
|7-3 L vs Providence (Nov 3 2023) Final||5-4 L @ Cleveland (Nov 4 2023) Final|
|Leading After 1st||3-0-0-0||2-1-0-1|
|Leading After 2nd||6-0-0-0||4-1-1-0|
|Tied After 1st||5-0-1-0||4-2-1-0|
|Tied After 2nd||2-0-1-0||2-2-0-1|
|Trailing After 1st||0-3-0-0||0-2-0-1|
|Trailing After 2nd||0-3-0-0||0-2-0-1|
|Out Shooting Opponents||2-2-1-0||2-2-0-1|
|Out Shot by Opponents||6-1-0-0||4-3-1-1|
|3||X Ryan Mast||1||0||0||0||2||-2|
|65||Luca Del Bel Belluz||2||2||1||3||0||1|
|64||X Trey Fix-Wolansky||2||1||2||3||2||1|