Game Night: Amerks Take On 'Dogs At Blue Cross Arena
Tonight, the Rochester Americans return home as the first-place Hamilton Bulldogs make their way across the border for the eighth of 10 get-togethers between the two teams. Faceoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Fans can tune into the live broadcast on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester's Sports Talk. The game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26.
The game falls on the next installment of the Amerks Dollar Dogs 'N' Drafts promotion. Friday night, and now during every Friday night home game for the rest of the season, fans can take part in the "Dollar Dogs 'N' Drafts" promotion. Fans will be able to purchase Zweigle's Hot Dogs and Draft Beers for just $1 each!
O'Ree to Drop First Puck:
Willie O'Ree, the first ever African-American player to break the color barrier in the National Hockey League, will perform tonight's ceremonial puck drop. The former Boston Bruin is in town promoting his "Hockey is For Everyone" campaign. Hockey is for Everyone is a part of the NHL Foundation, the National Hockey League's charitable and community relations organization, and a major component of the league's youth hockey programming. Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children, of all backgrounds, opportunities to play hockey. Since its inception, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed more than 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences
Amerks to Join Elite Company; Nearing 2,000TH Win:
Rochester is just a mere three wins away from capturing its 2,000th win in the 54-year history of the franchise. The Amerks will become just the second team in the AHL and only the eighth team in North American hockey history to collect 2,000 wins. In addition to all the founding original six members of the NHL, the only other AHL team to accomplish the feat is the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears. The 10-time league champs claimed their 2,000th win at the tail-end of the 1993-94 season.
Taylor Continues His Climb Up All-Time Lists:
Veteran forward Chris Taylor sits just five goals and seven assists away from moving ahead of Ron Garwasiuk and Gerry Ehman for 13th and third on the all-time lists, respectively. Further, the 18-year pro is just seven games away from hitting 1,200 professional games.
Home Is Where the Wins Are... Not So Much the Road:
With half of the season already in the books, home ice advantage has been beneficial for the Amerks. After earning their first regulation loss of the season at home, the Amerks are now 17-6-2-0 on home ice. Conversely, 12 of Rochester's 18 losses in regulation thus far this season have been away from the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena.
The contest is the eighth of 10 scheduled meetings this season between the North Division rivals. Rochester is 4-2-1-0 this season and 67-53-9 all-time against the Montreal Canadiens' affiliate.
Rochester (29-18-2-0, 60 points) enters the contest after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Lake Erie Monsters Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Amerks are currently second in the North Division and 10th overall in the American Hockey League. The Amerks have won 17 of the last 24 on home ice, and have the league's eighth best winning percentage (6.12).
Seventh-year pro Jamie Johnson, presently in the midst of a season-high 10-game point streak (5+10), currently paces Rochester's offense in all offensive categories in goals (19), assists (31) and points (50). Averaging just over a point per game, Johnson is seventh in the AHL in overall point production after collecting 46 points (19+27) in his last 38 appearances. Further, his 19 goals and 31 assists rank him 10th and eighth in each category among the AHL's top scorers, respectively.
Veteran defenseman Clay Wilson, who shows six points in his last nine games, has a team-best 16 assists on the power-play this season, good enough for second in the AHL in that category. Wilson continues to be Rochester's top scoring defenseman with 33 points (7+26) and remains fifth in scoring among league blueliners. Amerks tough-guy Jimmy Bonneau is first on the team and eighth in the league with a team-high 143 penalty minutes. Third-year defenseman Jordan Henry owns the team's best on-ice rating with a plus-16.
Rookie goaltender Alexander Salak, who has started nine of the last 10 games for Rochester, boasts a 22-8-0 record with 857 saves in 32 games. His 2.58 goals-against average and.920 save percentage currently rank him 19th and 10th among league netminders, respectively, while his 22 wins are second best.
Hamilton (32-12-2-3, 71 points), kicking off a three-game North Division road trip tonight, comes into the matchup presently on the heels of a five-game winning streak after a 4-0 whitewash over the San Antonio Rampage Wednesday night at Copps Coliseum. The Bulldogs hold the top spot in the North Division and trail the league-leading and defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears by a mere seven points. Hamilton has scored 168 goals this season, while only allowing 112, both division bests.
Third-year forward Brock Trotter currently leads Hamilton's offense with a team-high 25 goals and 53 points and is second on the team with a plus-21 on-ice rating. On pace averaging more than a point per game, Trotter is fourth in the AHL in points and goals and is tied for 13th with 28 assists. David Desharnais has a team-best 32 assists, good enough for seventh in the league. Forward Ryan White remains the Bulldogs' top penalty minute leader with 95, averaging roughly 2.57 PIMs per game.
First-year blueliner P.K. Subban, who netted the game-winning goal in the shootout for team Canada in the 2010 AHL All-Star Game, is first among team defensemen and third overall with 35 points (11+24) in 50 games. His 35 points are also third among league defensemen and fourth among all AHL rookies. He is also third in the league with a plus-26 on-ice rating.
Between the pipes, Hamilton owns the best goaltending tandem in the league. Canadian All-Star goaltender Cedrick Desjardins has played in 29 games (19-6-2) and owns the league's second best goals-against average (1.84), in addition to the league's fifth best save percentage (.929). Further, his five shutouts are second best among AHL goaltenders. His counterpart, former NHL veteran Curtis Sanford, has made 27 appearances and currently holds a 13-9-2 record, averaging 2.08 goals-against along with a.919 save percentage. Sanford's goals-against average currently ranks sixth in the league among league netminders, while his save percentage is good enough for 13th.
The Amerks hit the road again on Saturday, February 6th as they travel to Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena to exchange pleasantries with the Binghamton Senators. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the sixth of 10 gatherings between the interstate rivals this season and can be heard live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester's Sports Talk. Rochester improved to 4-1-0-0 this season against the B-Sens after earning a 6-1 win in the previous meeting back on January 10th. Rochester is 26-28-5 all-time against the Baby Senators.
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American Hockey League Stories from February 5, 2010
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