Rochester Americans Game Preview: Saturday, December 7, 2019 vs. Charlotte Checkers
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
- The red-hot Rochester Americans (15-3-2-2) continue their four-game homestand tonight when they host the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers (9-11-3-0) at 7:05 p.m. in the second of back-to-back meetings at The Blue Cross Arena. Tonight's matchup will be the second of four meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
LAST TIME OUT
- Just two days after earning a 4-0 win over the Toronto Marlies, the Amerks duplicated the effort in shutting out the Checkers by the same score last night at The Blue Cross Arena.
- The only difference was goaltender Jonas Johansson, who was perfect in stopping all 26 shots he faced to earn his first AHL shutout while also collecting his 100th pro win. The win helped Rochester take over the top spot in the AHL's North Division standings.
- The Amerks have picked up points in 17 of the last 19 contests overall, going 13-2-2-2 over that span, while also earning 34 out of a possible 44 points through their first 22 contests of the season.
- Dalton Smith notched his first AHL multi-point game since Nov. 14, 2014 as a member of the Syracuse Crunch and first as an Amerk while Zach Redmond produced his third two-assist outing of the season. Forwards Sean Malone, Kevin Porter, Brady Vail and Eric Cornel all lit the lamp as Johansson improved to 7-2-2 on the season as he made all 26 saves. With Andrew Hammond earning a shutout on Wednesday and Johansson last night, it marked the first time the Amerks posted back-to-back shutout wins since March 24 and March 27 during the 2012-13 season.
ROAD AHEAD FOR ROCHESTER
- Following tonight's rematch with the Checkers, the Amerks will close out their season-long four-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 11 as they welcome the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to The Blue Cross Arena for the only time this season. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
STREAKING INTO DECEMBER
- The Amerks come into the weekend riding a 12-game point streak, showing a 10-0-1-1 record over that span dating back to a 4-2 win over Binghamton on Nov. 1. Rochester began the month of November with back-to-back wins before reeling off five straight victories between Nov. 13 and Nov. 23, marking the team's longest stretch since a five-game win streak from Oct. 10 to Oct. 19 of last season. Coming off last night's win, the Amerks extended the point streak to 12 games, their longest since a 14-game run from Jan. 16 to Feb. 11 during the 2004-05 season.
TEAM AND LEAGUE LEADERS
- After an injury-riddled rookie season limited him to just 28 games, Andrew Oglevie has certainly made up for lost time in his second season with the Amerks. In just two months' time, Oglevie has already surpassed his goal (5), assist (5) and point (10) total from last season and now paces the Amerks with nine goals and 17 points and ranks fifth in assists (8). Oglevie, who's one of just three skaters to appear in all 22 games this season, enters the weekend with 11 points (7+4) over his last nine games after seeing his career-long seven-game point streak halted on Wednesday.
- Rookie forward Brett Murray enters the weekend with one goal, six assists and a pair of multi-point efforts over his last seven games. He begins the first weekend of December tied for ninth in scoring among all AHL rookies with 14 points (3+11) in 17 games while being held off the scoresheet only six times this season.
- Rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson leads all AHL first-year players with a plus-14 on-ice rating.
DYNAMIC DUO IN THE CREASE
- Anchored by the goaltending duo of veteran Andrew Hammond and third-year pro Jonas Johansson, the Amerks own the top defense in the league, having allowed 53 goals through the first 22 games of the season, the fewest in the AHL. In addition to showing 2.41 goals-against average, the club has also allowed the fewest amount of shots in the Eastern Conference (609).
- Wednesday's shutout against Toronto was Hammond's third in his last six appearances, matching his season total with the Iowa Wild last season. He boasts an 8-1-2 record this season while ranking second among all netminders in shutouts (3) and tied for seventh in wins (8). In his last six games, Hammond has posted five wins, three shutouts, a 1.32 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage.
- Fresh off last night's shutout, Johansson improved his record to an AHL-best 7-2-2 while also upping his personal win streak to five games. Coming into tonight, he owns the second-best goal-against average in the league (2.10) and is tied for sixth with a .924 save percentage.
THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE
- Rochester owns three of the AHL's top point-producing defensemen in Zach Redmond, Casey Nelson and Lawrence Pilut, all of whom have been mainstays on Rochester's blueline this season. The start of 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 19 games of the season. The reigning Eddie Shore Award winner and two-time AHL All-Star is currently tied for fifth in scoring among all defensemen with 16 points and ranks sixth with a team-high 13 assists. Casey Nelson ranks fifth among all active blueliners with a plus-13 on-ice rating. Since returning from the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 3, Pilut has registered eight points (1+7) over his last nine games dating back to Nov. 15.
- Tonight is just the 10th all-time meeting between the Amerks and Checkers. The Amerks have earned at least one point in four of the last nine contests.
- Last night's 4-0 victory snapped a four-game skid against the Checkers dating back to last season and was Rochester's first regulation win over Charlotte at The Blue Cross Arena.
- The Amerks have allowed 53 goals this season through the first 22 games while the Checkers have scored 57 times in 23 games this season.
- Seven of Charlotte's nine wins this season have come against North Division opponents.
- The Checkers come to the Flower City fueled by second-year blueliner Jake Bean, who has 14 points (4+10) through 22 games. In Charlotte's 5-1 win at Syracuse on Wednesday, Bean tallied his first- three-assist game. He's the only AHL defenseman to lead his respective team in scoring this season.
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