Rochester Americans Game Preview: Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Syracuse Crunch
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
- The Rochester Americans look to snap out of a three-game slide tonight as they bring the weekend to a close against the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the fourth between the 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.
LAST TIME OUT
- The Amerks allowed two shorthanded goals and were unable to find the offensive spark that they needed in suffering a 5-1 loss to the Belleville Senators Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The contest was the third game between the two clubs in three weeks and the third of the six-game season series.
- Despite the loss, the Amerks show a 16-7-1-2 record over their last 26 games dating back to Nov. 1, earning points in 19 games.
- Forward C.J Smith scored his sixth goal of the season midway through the second period while on the power-play for the lone Rochester tally. Andrew Oglevie, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous seven games, and Kevin Porter each picked up helpers on the marker. Casey Fitzgerald also returned to the lineup after he missed the last 11 contests.
- Jonas Johansson (11-3-3) made his second consecutive start in the crease but suffered his first regulation loss since Oct. 30. Coming into Friday, the AHL All-Star netminder was 9-0-1 in his previous 10 appearances. Johansson made 13 saves before being replaced by Andrew Hammond (10-7-2) at the 15:29 mark of the second period. Hammond stopped six shots he faced in nearly 22 minutes played.
ROAD AHEAD FOR ROCHESTER
- Following a six-day layoff, the Amerks return to the ice as they kick off their last three-in-three of the campaign on Friday, Jan. 17 when they welcome the Cleveland Monsters to The Blue Cross Arena. After the 7:05 p.m. contest, the Amerks faceoff with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7:05 p.m. before closing the weekend Sunday night in Hershey against the Bears at 5:00 p.m. All three games will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
PILUT EARNS SECOND RECALL OF THE CAMPAIGN
- The Amerks will be without the services of Lawrence Pilut tonight after the second-year defenseman earned a recall to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. Pilut ranks third on the team and tied for 12th in scoring among AHL blueliners with 21 points (5+16) in 29 games this season. He joined the Sabres on his first recall of the season after appearing in 33 games with the team during the 2018-19 campaign.
TEAM AND LEAGUE LEADERS
- Jean-Sebastien Dea leads the team in both goals (11) and points (25) in 34 games this season. Dea, who is second among all Amerks forwards with 68 shots, has eight points (2+6) in his last 11 games.
DYNAMIC DUO IN THE CRASE
- Anchored by the elite goaltending tandem of veteran Andrew Hammond and third-year pro Jonas Johansson, the Amerks own one of the top defenses in AHL, having allowed only 91 goals through the first 36 games of the season, the third-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 15 games, Hammond boasts a 7-6-1 record with four shutouts, a 2.03 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. With four shutouts through just 21 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 9-1-1 record in his last 11 appearances, Johansson shows an AHL career-best 11-3-3 record this season. Coming into tonight, he has the sixth-best goal-against average in the league (2.23) and is seventh among all netminders with a .924 save percentage in 18 games. Dating back to Nov. 13, the third-year netminder boasts an impressive 9-1-1 record with two shutouts, a 2.15 goals-against average and a .930 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 33 games of the season. The two-time AHL All-Star and reigning Eddie Shore Award winner is tied for sixth in scoring among all defensemen with 24 points and ranks eighth with a team-high 19 assists. He's tied for 13th 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 three shy of Redmond.
- Nelson shows a team-best plus-15 on-ice rating through 33 games, tied for sixth among all active blueliners and 11th overall in the AHL.
- Rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson is tied for fourth in the AHL for all first-year players with a plus-12 on-ice rating while being the only Amerk to appear in all 36 games so far 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 scored a power-play goal in 13 of the last 25 games against Syracuse, going 18-for-105 (17.1%) with the man-advantage over that span.
- After going 4-5-1-0 against the Crunch during the 2017-18 campaign, the Amerks have posted a 9-4-1-1 against Syracuse over the last 15 contests.
- The Amerks are facing a familiar name in goaltender Scott Wedgewood tonight. Wedgewood went 28-16-1 with five shutouts in 48 games last season for Rochester, ranking second in the AHL in wins.
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