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Panthers Prospect Report: 02.03.10

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers


Position: C          Shoots: Left
Height:   5-10       Weight: 192
Born: 3/23/89 in Bloomfield Hills, MI
How Acquired: Panthers fourth round pick (101st overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
The Skinny
Matt Rust takes home this week's honor of “Prospect On Fire”.

Rust posted strong offensive numbers (2-6-8) in January for the University of Michigan, coming in second only to his linemate left wing Carl Hagelin (N.Y. Rangers).

The junior center scored two big goals, including the game-winner against Western Michigan (Jan. 9) and a game-tying shorthanded tally against in-state rival No. 13-ranked Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena (Jan. 30). His +7 rating for the month led the team.

Overall, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native ranks second on the team in scoring with a 9-16-25 line. He surpassed his single-season career high of 11 assists in January, registering assists in five games including one multi-assist contest. Rust leads the team with a +12 rating, which indicates the success Rust has had at both ends of the ice this season. As the team’s No. 1 pivot, the junior forward has taken the most faceoffs (531) of his teammates, posting a 53.3% success rate. Rust also plays on Michigan’s top penalty-killing unit, which ranks sixth in the nation with an 87.9% success rate (138/157).

Recap courtesy Christy Janice Hammond (U of Michigan Athletics)

Team GP G A PTS PIM +/-
MICH 37 9 16 25 16 12

(29-17-2, 5th in AHL Western Conference)

Wednesday February 3rd at Lake Erie (7:00pm)
Friday February 5th vs Hamilton (7:05pm)
Saturday February 6th at Binghamton (7:05pm)

WEEKLY NOTES: With the American Hockey League stepping into its fifth month of the 2009-10 season, the Rochester Americans enter perhaps their busiest part of the campaign with 14 games on tap throughout the month of February. After playing three of the first four games of the month on the road, the Amerks return home to play seven of the next eight on home ice, all of which include a season-long five-game homestand. In all, out of Rochester’s 14 games in February, nine of them will be played at The Blue Cross Arena, the most at home in a single month this season. Coming off a weekend where the Amerks have already matched their win total of last season, and after winning seven of their last nine, the team continues its chase against North Division-leading Hamilton Bulldogs to remain among the top of the league standings. This week, Rochester kicks off its February slate with road games at Lake Erie and Binghamton with a lone home tilt against Hamilton in between.

AMERKS TO JOIN ELITE COMPANY; NEARING 2,000TH WIN: Rochester is just a mere three wins away from capturing its 2,000th win in the 54-year history of the franchise. The Amerks will become just the second team in the AHL and only the eighth team in North American hockey history to collect 2,000 wins. In addition to all the founding original six members of the NHL, the only other AHL team to accomplish the feat is the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears. The 10-time league champs claimed their 2,000th win at the tail-end of the 1993-94 season. The Bears currently sit with 2,521 all-time regular season wins.

AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (29-17-2-0, 60 points) enters the week second in the North Division and tied for eighth overall in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals. The Amerks have won 17 of the last 24 on home ice, and have the league’s sixth best winning percentage (6.25).

The Amerks, who have won seven of their last nine, have allowed the second fewest number of goals in their division with 144. Additionally, their 154 goals for are also the second most in the division. Rochester is 10th in the AHL with an 18.8 power-play percentage and is 12th with an 83.4 penalty-killing percentage.

Seventh-year pro Jamie Johnson, presently in the midst of a season-high nine-game winning streak (5+9), currently paces Rochester’s offense in all offensive categories in goals (19), assists (30) and points (49). Averaging just over a point per game, Johnson, who assisted on both game-winning goals over the weekend, is sixth in the AHL in overall point production after collecting 45 points (19+26) in his last 37 appearances. Further, his 19 goals and 30 assists rank him 10th and eighth in each category among the AHL’s top scorers, respectively.

Veteran defenseman Clay Wilson, who shows six points in his last eight games, has a team-best 16 assists on the power-play this season, good enough for second in the AHL in that category. Wilson continues to be Rochester’s top scoring defenseman with 33 points (7+26) and remains tied for fourth in scoring among league blueliners. Amerks tough-guy Jimmy Bonneau is first on the team and seventh in the league with a team-high 143 penalty minutes. Third-year defenseman Jordan Henry owns the team’s best on-ice rating with a plus-16. 

Rookie goaltender Alexander Salak, who has started eight of the last nine games for Rochester, boasts a 22-7-0 with 823 saves in 31 games. His 2.56 goals-against average and .920 save percentage save percentage currently rank him 20th and 10th among league netminders, respectively, while his 22 wins are second best.

(23-17-6, 7th in ECHL American Conference)
Thursday February 4th at Charlotte (7:00pm)
Friday February 5th at Charlotte (7:00pm)
Tuesday February 9th vs Gwinnett (7:30pm)

WEEKLY NOTES: The Florida Everblades finished off five-straight at home this week with three games against the Trenton Devils. The Devils got revenge against the ‘Blades for two defeats they suffered in Trenton two weeks ago.

Florida's five-game win streak was stopped Wednesday night at Germain Arena with a 2-1 loss as Ryan Ginard and Tony Zancanaro scored for Trenton. Florida bounced back Friday with a gutsy 5-4 effort as Chris Beckford-Tseu stopped 38 of the 42 shots thrown at him for his fifth win of the season. Trenton would take the rubber match with the 6-3 victory as Ginard recorded the hat trick in the victory for the Devils.
The Everblades play three games this week, with two on the road in Charlotte, North Carolina before returning home to host the Gwinnett Gladiators. The Everblades play five games in six days, including the Gwinnett contest Tuesday. Thursday’s game in Charlotte marks the first of seven straight games against South Division opponents.


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