Rochester Americans Game Preview: Wednesday, November 24 at Utica
With three players currently performing at or just over more than a point- per-game pace, the Amerks have the AHL's third-best offense and are one of only three teams averaging more than 3.85 goals per game. Collectively, Rochester's 54 goals this season are tied for-most in the North Division and are tied for third-most in the league only behind the Ontario Reign (59) and Springfield Thunderbirds (56).
Third-year goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was selected as the AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 14, 2021. In three starts from Nov. 10 to Nov. 13, Luukkonen went 2-1-0 while totaling 112 saves and posting a 1.68 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage and registering the first shutout of his AHL career. Luukkonen, who made five straight starts to open the month of November, has allowed two or fewer goals in three of his last six appearances. His 278 saves also rank among league leaders.
With his second-period assist this past Wednesday, veteran forward Michael Mersch has totaled 13 points (7+6) and four multi-point outings over his last 12 games. The Amerks captain began that stretch with a five- game goal-scoring streak, the longest of his career and the longest in the AHL this season, while his five-game point marked his longest since posting a career-best seven-game point streak from Mar. 27 to April 10, 2015.
Rookie forward JJ Peterka enters tonight with 10 points (3+7) over his last nine games dating back to Oct. 30. With 15 points (4+11) on the season, he ranks second among all Amerks in overall scoring.
Defenseman Mattias Samuelsson has six points through his first eight games of the season, which includes five assists in the last six contests.
With a goal Wednesday and an assist on Friday, defenseman Ethan Prow has seven points (1+6) over his last 10 games, including a goal and four helpers in his last seven outings.
Wednesday | November 24, 2021 | 7:00 PM ET | Adirondack Bank Center | Game 229 | AHL TV, ESPN Rochester A total of 10 points separates the two teams in the American Hockey League's North Division standings. The Amerks have won eight of their last 13 games, which includes four on home ice.
Dating back to the start of the 2016-17 campaign, Rochester has collected at least one point in 30 of the last 48 games against Utica going 23-18-3-4 over that span.
The Comets have claimed all three meetings thus far against the Amerks, outscoring Rochester 14-7 despite being outshot each time. The Amerks held Utica to a season-low 12 shots last Wednesday, including only two in the third period, while registering a season-best 37 shots Saturday night.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES SNAPSHOT
The Rochester Americans (8-6-0-0) go up against the undefeated Utica Comets (13-0-0-0) for the third time in seven days as the intrastate rivals close out a two-game set tonight at the Adirondack Bank Center. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Tonight's matchup will serve as the fourth meeting of the season between the North Division rivals and third in a week. Utica puts its AHL-best 13- game win streak to open the season on the line tonight.
The Amerks currently own four of the AHL's top scoring rookies in Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka, Peyton Krebs and Linus Weissbach who have combined for 49 points (18+31) through the team's 14 games this season.
Buffalo's eighth overall pick in 2020, Quinn comes into the week leading all AHL rookies in goals (9) and ranking second in points (18). He's also tied for second in goals and is third in scoring overall among the AHL's top point-getters.
Peterka, meanwhile, is tied for third amongst all first-year players with a team-high 11 assists while his 15 points are fourth-most. He and Quinn, taken just 26 picks apart from one another by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2020 NHL Draft, currently make up one of only two rookie duos across the entire AHL to rank first and second on their team in scoring.
After recording his first goal as an Amerk in Saturday's 5-3 loss in Utica, Krebs has produced seven assists in nine games this season, tying for 10th among all AHL rookies.
With four goals and four assists, Weissbach comes into the week with three points (1+2) over his last four games. Weissbach, who was Buffalo's seventh-round selection (192nd overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft, has totaled eight points through his first 14 games.
Jack Quinn was named the AHL's Rookie of the Month for October after leading all first-year players with 10 points (5+5) through the first month of the regular season. In just six games to begin the season, Quinn already surpassed his offensive output from his truncated 2020-21 campaign, and became the first AHL player to reach the 10-point mark this season.
Quinn continued his torrid start to the season by scoring his team-leading ninth goal of the year in Rochester's 4-0 win over Cleveland back on Nov.
13. With two assists in the last two games, Quinn has totaled 21 points (9+12) in his last 17 games dating back to last season.
Quinn has been held scoreless just three times through his first 14 games and comes into tonight having recorded six multi-point performances this year. Entering the week, he remains one of only six AHL rookies currently leading his respective team in scoring.
On Nov. 12, Quinn became the first AHL rookie since Frank Vatrano in 2015- 16 to score eight goals through his first 10 games of the season.
Tonight's contest features four players selected in the 2020 NHL Draft, which includes Utica's and Niko Daws (3rd round, 84th overall) and Alexander Holtz (1st round, 7th overall) and Rochester's Jack Quinn (1st round, 8th overall) and JJ Peterka (2nd round, 34th overall).
Comets forward and assistant captain Brian Flynn spent two seasons with the Amerks, recording 33 points (16+17) in 50 games from 2011 to 2013.
Both Rochester (8-1-0-0) and Utica (8-0-0-0) enter tonight with winning records this season when being outshot by an opponent.
Utica head coach Kevin Dineen is the younger brother of former Amerks assistant coach Gord Dineen.
Last Friday night, Amerks forward Brett Murray scored twice for his first multi-goal game of the season and first since April 3, 2021. With five goals over a five game-stretch, it marks the best five-game mark of his pro career.
Three of his five goals this season have come on the power-play, tying for most on the team and ninth in the AHL.
By way of a 5-3 win over Rochester last Saturday, the Comets pushed their American Hockey League record to 13 consecutive victories to begin the 2021-22 season. It bested the 37-year-old mark set by the 1984-85 Amerks, who won their first 11 games that year to set the standard.
The Comets, in their first year of affiliation with New Jersey, have outscored their opponents by a 54-24 margin on the year, including 34-14 on home ice.
Utica has held the opposition to two or fewer goals-against in all but three games this season.
Goaltender Akira Schmid leads all netminders with a 1.65 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. His counterpart, Nico Daws, currently is second with seven wins and hasn't allowed more than three goals.
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American Hockey League Stories from November 24, 2021
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