PATRICK McGRATH'S TOP THREE MOMENTS OF THE 2020-21 SEASONJun 10, 2021
As the Rochester Americans embarked on their 65th season in the American Hockey League, no one knew what was in store for a year that only had 32 games on its slate and was to be played over a three-and-a-half-month span.
For some players, it meant the chance to see more regular playing time and presented the opportunity to prove themselves. Eight-year pro Patrick McGrath was just one of many examples on the Amerks roster this past season, scoring the squad’s first goal of the year, appearing in his 100th AHL game and tying his second-best year in the league in points.
Here’s a closer look at McGrath’s top three moments as an Amerk this past season.
1. AMERKS DEBUT
To kick off the 2020-21 season, the Amerks were running with a roster that still needed to be filled in the weeks to come and this only meant that lineups were creative from the get-go.
As Rochester opened its 65th season in the AHL on Feb. 5 against the Utica Comets, the squad ran with 10 forwards and seven defensemen. In his Amerks debut, McGrath, playing the right on the fourth line, racked up four penalty minutes while also finding the back of the net on his only shot of the night.
2. STARTING THE SQUAD OFF STRONG
With his Amerks debut, came McGrath’s first and only goal of the 2020-21 campaign, and the first of the season for the entire team.
As the Amerks faced off against the Comets on that Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena, it was Utica that struck first, getting a one-goal lead 9:43 into the contest. With 26 seconds left in the opening frame, the Amerks tied the contest at 1-1 as rookie forward Dominic Franco dug the puck off the boards from behind the net. When Franco recovered the puck, he sent it up the left wing to rookie defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, who was sitting right above the left face-off circle.
After Samuelsson’s initial shot was denied by Comets goaltender Jon Gillies, Franco was there to try and pick up the deflection, but it would rebound right off the pad of Gillies once more. As the puck sat in the blue paint, McGrath dove towards the crease and poked home the equalizer.
3. ENDING HIS EIGHTH YEAR AT THE EDGE OF HIS BEST
Despite the usual 76-game schedule being condensed to just 32 games during the 2020-21 season, McGrath tied his second-best year in the league.
Now McGrath only saw time in 11 games, however, in those tilts he managed to tie his second-best point total and accumulate 24 penalty minutes. With his first point as an Amerk coming in his first game with the club, it took until McGrath’s seventh game of the season to find the scoresheet again with his one and only assist on the year as the club took on the Syracuse Crunch on April 21.
With McGrath’s two points on the year, he tied his second-best point total in a single season dating back to 2017-18 when he spent the year with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. notching a career-best two goals. McGrath’s best season to date came back in 2016-17 when he produced four points (1+3) over 30 games with the Penguins.
He also appeared in his 100th AHL game against Cleveland on April 10.