Rochester Americans Game Preview: Saturday, October 19 at Utica Comets
TONIGHT'S GAME OVERVIEW
- After going into their second consecutive shootout, the Rochester Americans (3-1-0-1) close out the weekend tonight with a 7:00 p.m. puck-drop against the North Division rival Utica Comets (4-0-0-0) at The Adirondack Bank Center. All of the action can be heard live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
LAST TIME OUT
- Forwards Jean-Sebastian Dea and Scott Wilson led the Amerks to a shootout as they each scored a goal with an assist, but a three-goal second-period for the Amerks wasn't enough as the home team came away with a point in a 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Monsters Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
- While Dea and Wilson each recorded their first multi-point outing of the campaign, Dalton Smith was credited with his first goal of the season in the second period for Rochester, which has earned seven out of a possible 10 points to start the season.
- Amerks netminder Andrew Hammond (3-0-1) made 16 saves.
ROAD AHEAD FOR ROCHESTER
- The oldest rivalry in the American Hockey League will be renewed in Rochester on Wednesday, Oct. 23 when the Amerks host the Hershey Bears in a battle of the two senior-most franchises for the only time season. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the 457th all-time meeting between the league's two oldest teams and can be heard live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester.
EARNING POINTS EARLY ON
- Rochester has earned seven out of a possible 10 points overall through its first five games of the 2019-20 campaign. All five contests have been one-goal games, including a pair of wins beyond regulation. The Amerks are just one of two teams (Texas Stars) in the AHL this season to appear in three games that have been decided in the extra session and are the only team having won one game in overtime as well as a shootout.
AMERKS BEGIN SEASON UNDER DINEEN
- Prior to the start of the season, Gord Dineen assumed Rochester's head coaching duties on an interim basis 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 64-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.
THOMPSON TORMENTING THE OPPOSITION
- Despite being held off the scoresheet twice through the first five games of the season, Tage Thompson has totaled 16 points (10+6) over his last 16 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 13 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 has a share of the team's scoring lead with five points (2+3) while he enters the weekend tied for 20th among the AHL's top point-getters. He's also tied for 10th in the league in shots (19) coming into tonight's matchup.
RED-HOT REDMOND: THE SEQUEL
- The start of the 2019-20 season is just a different chapter in the same story for veteran defenseman Zach Redmond, who's currently second amongst all AHL blueliners in scoring after averaging a point-per-game through his first five games of the season, including the game-tying goal with 13 seconds remaining in Sunday's shootout win at Hartford. The reigning Eddie Shore Award winner has collected six points (1+5) in his last nine games dating back to last season. His four assists also tie him for second-most in the league among blueliners while his 14 shots are eighth-best.
HAMMOND AMONG LEAGUE'S BEST
- In his first four appearances as an Amerk, netminder Andrew Hammond shows a 3-0-1 record to go along with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. His three wins are tied for second-most in the league while his save percentage and goals-against average rank 12th and seventh, respectively, among his fellow goaltenders who have played in more than two games this season. Hammond also ranks second in the AHL in minutes played (252) and eighth in saves (96).
SCOUTING THE COMETS
- The Comets enter the matchup after starting the season with a perfect 4-0-0-0 record and eight points, both of which are tied for most in the AHL's North Division standings. Utica began the weekend with an 8-2 route over the reigning Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers last night at the Adirondack Bank Center.
- Utica's Reid Boucher currently holds a share of the team's scoring lead as he has six goals along with an assist through the first four games of the campaign, putting him just one point off the AHL scoring lead. Boucher finished the 2018-19 season tied for sixth in the AHL with a career-high 31 goals, nine of which came on the power-play. He also produced 31 assists and finished with 62 points in 56 games.
- Former Amerk Justin Bailey began his career in the Flower City and totaled 118 points (62+54) in 196 games with Rochester in his first three and a half seasons from 2015 to 2019.
- Rochester has collected at least one point in 15 of the last 20 games against Utica dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, going 10-3-2-3 over that span.
Eleven of the last 18 games between the two teams have been decided by one goal.
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