(Rochester, NY)... The Rochester Americans announced today that the club will open its 55th season in the American Hockey League against the Toronto Marlies at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 9th at Ricoh Coliseum. The afternoon matinee will mark Rochester’s first season-opener on the road in 12 years since the 1998-99 campaign.
The Amerks also announced that the club will again change its start times for the 2010-11 season. Friday and Saturday games will return to a 7:35 p.m. start while weekday games will commence at 7:05 p.m. All Sunday contests will remain the same at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. starts, respectively.
Rochester (44-33-2-1) finished the 2009-10 season with 91 points, a 25-point spike from last season, and its offense was the second best in the North Division, scoring a total of 253 goals. The Amerks tied a franchise record 11-game winning streak in a span where the team went 18-3-1 in the first 22 games of the regular season. In February, Rochester became just the second team in the AHL and eighth in North American hockey history to capture its 2,000th franchise win, joining the Hershey Bears and all founding members of the National Hockey League’s Original Six in the elite club. The Amerks also advanced to the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2007 postseason, snapping a three-year absence in the process.
In 2010-11, the Amerks will remain in the Western Conference’s seven-team North Division as the AHL operates with an all-time high 30 active teams for the first time in league history. Along with the second-year Abbotsford Heat, the division will still include Rochester, Hamilton, Manitoba, Grand Rapids, Toronto, and Lake Erie. This season, fans will have a chance to watch 13 of the league’s 30 teams at The Blue Cross Arena.
The Amerks will host the back-to-back defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears twice during the season, including Rochester’s home-opener on Sunday, October 10th when the two oldest teams participate in the historic kickoff to the AHL’s 75th anniversary season. The same two teams will meet again in Hershey the following week on Saturday, October 16th as part of the home-and-home series before playing in Rochester on Friday, February 18th. Other games of interest include contests against the Toronto Marlies and longtime regional rival Syracuse Crunch. The Amerks host the Marlies the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 26th. Rochester also entertains the Crunch the day after Christmas on Sunday, December 26th. Syracuse will return to Rochester a week later as the teams usher in 2011 with the featured New Year’s Day game on Saturday, January 1st.
Rochester will also renew some old rivals and create a few new ones this season. On Sunday, October 17th, the second-year Adirondack Phantoms, AHL affiliate to the Philadelphia Flyers, come to town, marking just the second season in 11 years a team from the Glens Falls area visited The Blue Cross Arena. Rochester will also make its inaugural appearance at the DCU Center in Central Massachusetts for its first-ever meeting with the Worcester Sharks on Friday, October 29th. The Amerks will then host the Sharks later in the season in the Flower City on Wednesday, February 16th. Additionally, the Amerks will see the newly formed Albany Devils four times this season, starting with the initial get-together on Saturday, November 6th at the Times Union Center in Capital District. Former Amerks head coach Randy Cunneyworth will escort his Hamilton Bulldogs to Rochester on Friday, October 15th. Cunneyworth, the Amerks’ longest tenured coach in the history of the franchise, will be behind the bench for the first time at The Blue Cross Arena since last serving as Rochester’s bench boss during the 2007-08 campaign.
The schedule will also see Rochester making trips to Western Canada during back-to-back months, including one to Abbotsford for a pair of tilts in late October. The Amerks will play a two-game series with the Heat on Monday, October 25th and Tuesday, October 26th. In November, the Amerks will skate a two-game set with the Manitoba Moose on Friday, November 12th and Saturday, November 13th. Rochester will return for its last set of games with the Moose on Tuesday, March 29th and Wednesday, March 30th.
Rochester’s busiest month this season is January with 14 games, while both December and February show the Amerks playing 13 games each month. The most arduous home schedules are December and February as the Amerks play a combined 19 games at The Blue Cross Arena, which is nearly half of their 40 home games. In December alone, 10 of Rochester’s 13 games are within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena. In November and December, the Amerks will play nine games at home during an 11-game span, including a pair of season-long four-game homestands. The Amerks are home from Friday, November 19th to Friday, November 26th and host Hamilton, Albany, Syracuse and Toronto. After travelling to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday, November 27th, Rochester returns home for its second four-game set from Friday, December 3rd to Friday, December 10th to battle Syracuse, Albany and back-to-back encounters with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The longest road trip of the season takes Rochester to Abbotsford, Worcester and Adirondack from Monday, October 25th to Saturday, October 30th. The Amerks again take a four-game road swing starting on Tuesday, January 18th to Saturday, January 22nd with stops in Hamilton, Lake Erie, Syracuse and Hershey. The most road games are in March with nine, with October and January at a close second with eight away contests each month.