Rochester Americans Game Preview: Friday, January 10, 2020 vs. Belleville Senators
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
- The Rochester Americans (21-9-2-3) remain on home ice tonight as they host the Belleville Senators (20-13-2-1) at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. Tonight's matchup will be the third in seven games between the North Division rivals as Rochester looks for its third straight win over the Senators dating back to the final week of December. The contest will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
LAST TIME OUT
- The Amerks overcame a pair of one-goal deficits and forced overtime against the Binghamton Devils before coming up short in the shootout by a 4-3 score Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.
- Despite the shootout loss, the Amerks are sporting a 16-6-1-2 record over their last 25 games dating back to Nov. 1, earning points in 19 games over that span, and remain atop the AHL's North Division standings. Additionally, Rochester has picked up points in 24 of the last 32 contests overall, going 19-8-2-3, while also earning 47 out of a possible 70 points through its first 35 contests of the season.
- Zach Redmond registered his fifth multi-point game of the season with a two-assist effort. Casey Mittelstadt scored his third goal in as many games, giving him five points (3+2) over his last six outings, while Eric Cornel tallied his seventh marker of the season. Andrew MacWilliam rounded the scoring for the Amerks, who have points in 21 of their last 27 contests against Binghamton dating to the start of the 2017-18 campaign while producing a 15-6-3-3 record.
- Goaltender Jonas Johansson (11-2-3), who entered the contest riding a nine-game win streak, made 27 saves in addition to stopping one of two shooters he faced in the shootout, but suffered the loss.
ROAD AHEAD FOR ROCHESTER
- The Amerks close out the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 11 as they face-off with the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the fourth between the two North Division rivals this season after Rochester took the first three meetings all by one-goal margins and a combined score of 14-11. The matchup will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
TEAM AND LEAGUE LEADERS
- Jean-Sebastien Dea leads the team in both goals (11) and points (25) in 33 games this season. Dea, who also leads all active Amerks forwards with 65 shots, has eight points (2+6) in his last 10 games.
DYNAMIC DUO IN THE CREASE
- Anchored by the elite goaltending tandem of veteran Andrew Hammond and third-year pro Jonas Johansson, the Amerks own the top defense in AHL, having allowed only 86 goals through the first 35 games of the season, the fewest in the AHL coming into the weekend. The duo has also combined for six shutouts and continue to rank among the AHL's goaltending leaders with 10 and 11 wins on the season, respectively.
- Hammond (10-7-2) ranks second among all netminders after notching his fourth shutout of the season back on Dec. 14 in a 5-0 win over Laval, a new career-high. In his last 14 games, Hammond boasts a 7-6-1 record with four shutouts, a 2.01 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. With four shutouts through just 19 games this season, he's on pace to match the franchise record for most shutouts in a season (8) set by Ryan Miller during the 2004-05 campaign.
- Entering with a 9-0-1 record in his last 10 appearances, Johansson shows an AHL career-best 11-2-3 record this season. Coming into tonight, he has the fourth-best goal-against average in the league (2.12) and is also fourth among all netminders with a .928 save percentage in 17 games. Dating back to Nov. 13, the third-year netminder boasts an impressive 9-0-1 record with two shutouts, a 1.97 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage while allowing just two goals or less in six consecutive starts over that span.
THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE
- Rochester owns three of the AHL's top point-producing defensemen in Zach Redmond, Lawrence Pilut and Casey Nelson, all of whom have been mainstays on Rochester's blueline this season.
- The 2019-20 season is just a different chapter in the same story for the 31-year-old Redmond, who's averaged nearly a point-per-game through his first 32 games of the season. The two-time AHL All-Star and reigning Eddie Shore Award winner is sixth in scoring among all defensemen with 24 points and ranks eighth with a team-high 19 assists. He's also tied for 12th for goals by a defenseman with five.
- Leading up to his recall, Pilut had 16 points (4+12) over his last 21 games dating back to Nov. 15, including goals in three of his last seven outings. Having already established a new AHL career-high in goals, the former SHL Defenseman of the Year is also on pace to set a new career-high in points. His 16 assists are two shy of Redmond.
- Nelson shows a team-best plus-15 on-ice rating through 33 games, tied for fifth among all active blueliners and 10th overall in the AHL.
- Rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson is third in the AHL for all first-year players with a plus-13 on-ice rating while being the only Amerk to appear in all 35 games this season.
HOW SWEDE IT IS
- Defenseman Lawrence Pilut and goaltender Jonas Johansson have been named to the North Division All-Star roster for the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport. The annual event will take place Jan. 26-27 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif., home of the Ontario Reign. The Swedish duo will also be joined by Amerks head coach Chris Taylor, who clinched the honor of coaching the North Division squad.
- The Amerks have claimed at least one point in 10 of the first 14 meetings with the Senators dating back to the 2017-18 season. Rochester holds a record of 6-0-2-0 in the all-time road portion of the head-to-head series.
- Tonight is just the 15th all-time meeting between the North Division rivals. In eight of the first 14 contests, the team who has scored the first goal of the game has gone on to come away with the victory.
- The Senators lineup features two former Amerk defensemen in Jack Dougherty and Stuart Percy.
- Belleville's Drake Batherson comes into tonight tied for the league lead with a team-high 41 points and ranks second in the AHL with 28 assists in 33 games.
- The Senators saw their franchise-best 10-game road win streak halted in their last trip to The Blue Cross Arena back on Dec. 27.
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