Rochester Americans Game Preview - October 11 at Springfield Thunderbirds
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
- The Rochester Americans (1-0-0-0) embark on a three-game trek through New England tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Springfield Thunderbirds (1-1-0-0) at the MassMutual Center. The contest with the Thunderbirds will be the first of four games between the two Eastern Conference opponents. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
LAST TIME OUT
- On the strength of a pair of goals from forward Tage Thompson, including the game-winner with 43 seconds left in overtime, the Rochester Americans opened their 64th season in the American Hockey League with a 3-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch last Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
- Along with Thompson, who has 11 points (8+3) in his last nine AHL games dating back to last season, Rasmus Asplund and Zach Redmond each added two assists. Second-year forward Andrew Oglevie completed the scoring for Rochester while goaltender Andrew Hammond earned the victory as he made 27 saves in his Amerks debut. Jarrett Burton, Curtis Lazar, Jean-Sebastien Dea all wore the Rochester jersey for the first game while Jacob Bryson dressed in his first professional contest.
ROAD AHEAD FOR ROCHESTER
- Following tonight's matchup with the Thunderbirds, the Amerks continue the road swing through New England as they meet up with the Providence Bruins on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center before concluding the weekend at the XL Center with a 3:00 p.m. matinee versus the Harford Wolf Pack. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
OPENING THE SEASON
- Coming off last Friday's 3-2 overtime victory against Syracuse, the Amerks improved their all-time home-opening record to 39-19-6 and have outscored their opponents 263-203 dating back to when the puck first dropped on Rochester's inaugural season in 1956. Additionally, Rochester holds a 33-24-7 all-time record in season-opening games, outscoring its opponents 240-2219 over the past 64 years.
- The contest on Friday was the eighth straight year the Amerks have opened the season on home ice. Rochester has scored three or more goals in six of their last eight home-opening wins dating back to a 6-5 shootout victory over the Crunch to begin the 2012-13 campaign. The team has also won five of its last six season-openers.
AMERKS UNDER DINEEN
- Last week, Amerks assistant coach Gord Dineen was named Rochester's interim head coach as Chris Taylor joined the Buffalo Sabres coaching staff in the absence of Sabres assistant coach Don Granato, who took a medical leave from the team.
- Dineen is currently in his 18th season as an AHL coach and third with the Amerks in 2019-20. He became the 33rd head coach in franchise history and the very first to start the season behind the bench on an interim basis. Never before in the 63-year history of the franchise have the Amerks began a new season under an interim head coach. That all changed on opening night as Dineen became the first in his position to open the season with a coaching win.
RETURNERS EMERGING AS EARLY SEASON LEADERS
- Coming off his two-goal performance on Friday, forward Tage Thompson has totaled 13 points (10+3) over his last 12 games with the Amerks dating back to last season, including the two goals he scored in the first round of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Marlies. More impressively, Thompson has scored eight goals in just nine career regular-season games with Rochester, matching the total he set over a 30-game stint with the San Antonio Rampage during his rookie season in 2017-18. The third-year pro enters the week tied for second in the AHL in goals.
- Meanwhile, veteran defenseman Zach Redmond is tied for second amongst all AHL defensemen in scoring after opening the season with a pair of assists. The reigning Eddie Shore Award winner has collected three assists in his last five games dating back to last season.
- Also picking up where he left off last season is second-year forward Rasmus Asplund, who was named the team's Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player last season. The Sweden native ranked second on the team with 31 assists while appearing in all but one game for Rochester during the 2018-19 campaign.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
- As the Amerks set out on their first three-in-three of the season this weekend, they do so coming off a year in which they posted an AHL-best 25-9-3-1 road record, finishing one point ahead of the eventual Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers with a .711 points percentage.
- Rochester's 25 road wins last season tied a franchise record originally set during the 1998-99 season and were the most in the AHL.
- The team also finished with the fewest regulation road losses with nine, having collected at least one point in 29 of their 38 road contests.
LIGHTING THE LAMP IN 2018-19
- During the two meetings between Rochester and Springfield last season, the two clubs combined to score 21 goals. Over the course of the 2018-19 regular season, the Amerks posted 254 markers while the Thunderbirds tallied 250, which ranked third and fourth among all Eastern Conference teams, respectively.
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