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AMERKS SET FOR HOME GAME WEDNESDAY AT FIRST NIAGARA CENTER

by Jourdon LaBarber / Buffalo Sabres
(Photo Credit: Micheline Veluvolu)

A chance to see familiar faces such as Patrick Kaleta, Matt Ellis and Cal O'Reilly play alongside up-and-coming prospects like Justin Bailey, Nicholas Baptiste, Jean Dupuy and Evan Rodrigues is coming to Buffalo.

The Rochester Americans will host the St. John's IceCaps at First Niagara Center on Wednesday for their annual game on the Buffalo Sabres' home ice. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m., and tickets can be purchased here.

The game will be a homecoming for Bailey, a Williamsville, N.Y. native, who has already set aside tickets for his family and friends to watch him play his first regular-season professional game at his hometown rink.

“It’s exciting and special, something I’ve worked my whole life toward,” Bailey told Amerks.com.

The Amerks have won three-straight games against the IceCaps. To build upon that would also mean a reversal of their recent play, as Rochester came out of the holiday break with back-to-back losses against the Utica Comets and Hartford Wolf Pack.


Utica came into Blue Cross Arena with seven-straight road wins on Saturday. That night, Rochester opened the scoring 5:55 into the first period when defenseman Matt Donovan backhanded a rebound off the end boards for his third goal of the season, but it would be their lone strike of the night.

"I thought we had the start we wanted and then momentum is taken away from us," Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth said. "There were some calls there that I was concerned about and that's partially why we lost our momentum."

The Comets went on to score one goal in each period in a 3-1 victory. Cole Cassels, Blair Jones and Jordan Subban each tallied and Richard Bachman made 32 saves for Utica. Andrey Makarov made 28 saves for Rochester in the losing effort.


Rochester and Hartford entered the third period in a scoreless tie on Sunday, but Chad Nehring scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season 5:51 into the period to make the difference in a 1-0 Wolf Pack win at Blue Cross Arena.

Hartford goaltender Jeff Malcolm made 24 saves for his first AHL shutout while Nathan Lieuwen made 25 saves for Rochester. Philip Varone led the Amerks with a team-high four shots.

"I think we had our opportunities, they're just a little off the mark or just not enough," Cunneyworth said. "Both goaltenders, I thought, performed well and it was kind of an evenly-matched game."


SCORING LEADERS
1. Jason Akeson 19 points (6+13)
2. Cal O'Reilly 18 points (3+15)
3. Philip Varone 13 points (9+4)
4. Nicholas Baptiste 12 points (5+7)
Jean Dupuy
12 points (3+9)

GOALTENDING LEADERS
1. Andrey Makarov 6-6-1, 2.96 GAA, 436 saves, .910 save percentage
2. Nathan Lieuwen 7-6-0, 3.14 GAA, 383 saves, .905 save percentage


After their game against the IceCaps at First Niagara Center, the Amerks will hit the road to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Providence Bruins on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Both games can be heard on Fox Sports 1280 in Rochester.

At the end of the week, on Jan. 8, the Amerks will return home for a very special night against the Hershey Bears as they celebrate their 60th anniversary at the Blue Cross Arena. Rochester alumni Mal Davis, Richie Dunn, Dan Frawley, Paul Gardner, Jody Gage, Dick Gamble, Steve Ludzik, John Van Boxmeer are among those expected to attend the game.

More information on the 60th anniversary celebration can be found here and coverage all season long can be found at Amerks.com.

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