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Amerks sweep 3-in-3 weekend, prepare for 1st-place battle vs. Charlotte

Rochester improves to 8-2-0 over past 10 games

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey / Amerks.com

The Amerks are fresh off a perfect three-win weekend, during which they averaged five goals per game and outscored the opposition 16-4, including 11-1 on home ice. 

The three straight wins improved Rochester to 8-2-0-0 over its last 10 games, the second-best mark in the league over that span, while also moving the Amerks one point ahead of the Syracuse Crunch for sole possession of first place in the AHL's North Division standings. The Crunch, however, do have a game in hand. 

Rochester has now collected 35 out of a possible 48 points in its last 24 games. Among all AHL teams, only the Charlotte Checkers (39) have more wins than the Amerks (38), who are second overall in the AHL with a .644 points percentage.

 

Statistical leaders

Player GP G A PTS
1. Victor Olofsson 58 23 28 51
2. C.J. Smith 48 21 27 48
3. Zach Redmond 50 21 27 48
4. Danny O'Regan 59 18 21 39
5. Wayne Simpson 57 19 17 36

 

Goaltending leaders

Player GP W L OTL GAA SV%
Scott Wedgewood 38 24 10 2 2.55 .914
Adam Wilcox 22 10 7 3 2.90 .897


News and notes

  • By way of Sunday's 6-1 victory over Binghamton, Rochester picked up its 38th win of the season to surpass last season's win total (37) in 15 fewer games. Second-year head coach Chris Taylor is also approaching his first 40-win campaign as head coach, and by doing so, will become the first Amerks bench boss to lead his team to 40 or more wins in a season since Benoit Groulx (44) during the 2009-10 campaign. 
  • Earlier this season, Taylor reached the 30-win mark for the second straight year, becoming the first Amerks head coach to lead his team to 30 or more wins in each of his first two seasons behind the bench since Hall of Famer Randy Cunneyworth, the all-time winningest coach in franchise history. 

 

  • Coming off his eighth game-winning goal Saturday night in Binghamton, which is second-most in the league behind only teammate Zach Redmond, forward Victor Olofsson leads the club in all offensive categories, including goals (23), assists (28) and points (51) in 58 games this season while being one of just three Rochester skaters to surpass the 40-point mark. 
  • A year after pacing the SHL with 27 goals, Olofsson became the first Amerk to reach the 50-point mark since Cole Schneider during the 2016-17 campaign with his second of two goals in Binghamton this past Saturday. 

Tweet from @AmerksHockey: Gwendolyn Peck, Amerks Honorary Captain of the 2.23.19 game, toured the locker room, received her very own Amerks jersey and more!Thanks to our friends, @URMed_GCH, for help making Gwen's night! pic.twitter.com/ULb0hU8W6G

  • C.J. Smith has been piling up the points on an absolute torrid pace. With another assist Friday night against Bridgeport and his 21st goal of the season Sunday afternoon versus Binghamton, the second-year pro has amassed a whopping 31 points (15+16) over his last 27 games dating back to Dec. 5, having been held scoreless just six times over that span. 

  

  • Scott Wedgewood, who has won seven of his last eight and 15 of his last 20 games, collected his 24th win of the season Sunday afternoon as he made 18 saves. With his 24th victory, Wedgewood established a new pro career-high in wins as he boasts a 24-10-2 record in 38 games for Rochester this season. 
  • The sixth-year netminder, who previously won a season-long five straight to close out the month of October, has allowed one goal-against or less in seven of his last 12 starts, stopping 303 of 324 shots he faced. Over that span, he's posted a 7-3-1 record with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. 
  • He comes into week tied for third among all AHL goaltenders in shutouts (4) while his career-high 24 wins are four off the league lead coming into week.

Tweet from @AmerksHockey: Back in action on Wednesday night! Get FREE tickets to the game with our Early Bird Program! Learn more: https://t.co/fVtzkKeO7k pic.twitter.com/BTLerh0ML2

  • Coming into this week, Rochester's magic number to clinch a playoff spot for the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs is 15. Of the remaining 15 games, nine are outside the Flower City while six will be played as part of two different stretches of three games in three nights. Rochester will play 12 contests against North Division opponents, which includes three more against Syracuse and two with Binghamton.  


Weisbeck honored for 2,500th game

From this week's feature story…

A pioneer in athletic training. A hard-working and genuine guy. The glue that holds what goes on behind the scenes.

All words used to describe Rochester Americans assistant athletic trainer, Kent "Snacky" Weisbeck.

On Sunday, March 10, Weisbeck, in his remarkable 34th season with the Amerks, worked his 2,500th regular-season game as a member of Rochester's storied franchise. As reported by Kevin Oklobzija of Pickin' Splinters, the milestone is believed to be an AHL record for a certified athletic trainer. Only one athletic trainer in the NHL, Pete Demers, has worked more games. Demers was on the Los Angeles Kings bench for 2,632 games.

Following the game, a 6-1 win over the Binghamton Devils, Weisbeck was awarded the game puck and was deemed the "player of the game." Earlier in the week, he was presented with a watch by the team and coaching staff in recognition of his achievement.

"I never thought when I first started in 1985, I would be here so many games and so many years later," Weisbeck said. "I had a few shots to potentially move on to the National Hockey League, but things just didn't work out. I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though."

There couldn't be more truth to that.

The Buffalo native got his start with the Amerks as a 28-year-old after working eight years as an assistant athletic trainer from 1977-1985 at the University of Buffalo. Weisbeck graduated UB in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and a minor in athletic training.

"In college, I went to get a physical education degree, but I did not want to get into teaching, so I got a minor in athletic training instead," explained Weisbeck, the first-ever athletic trainer in the 63-year history of the franchise to be inducted into the Amerks Hall of Fame in 2010. "I really enjoyed earning a minor, as I had an interest in sports and working around athletes."

Over his incredible career, Weisbeck, who soon adopted the affable nickname 'Snacky' because he used to be summoned to the snack bar at Lake Shore rink for important phone calls regarding player movement and transactions prior to the cell phone era, has earned two Calder Cup rings (1987 and 1996), worked in the Calder Cup Finals on five other occasions and was the head trainer in two AHL All-Star Classics. 

"It's remarkable to be in any place for as long as he has," Amerks defenseman Nathan Paetsch, who also has a pair of Calder Cup championship rings, said. "He has been around for so long and literally done everything, especially when being an athletic trainer was a one-man show. He would unpack the bags, take care of the players and help with equipment."

You can read the full feature here.

 

Game recaps

March 8: Sound Tigers 0 - Amerks 5 

Watch: Youtube Video

With a pair of goals in each of the first and second periods, the Rochester Americans grabbed a 4-0 lead 1:08 into the middle frame and never looked back on their way to a dominating 5-0 win over the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers (35-19-5-2) Friday night at Blue Cross Arena. 

The flawless performance was the fourth this season by Amerks goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who tied a career-high by stopping all 27 shots he faced to keep the Amerks within two points of the Syracuse Crunch for first place in the AHL's North Division standings.

Forward Kevin Porter, who returned to the Amerks lineup after missing the last three games, collected his fourth multi-point effort of the season as he opened the scoring to go with a helper, while Rasmus Asplund headlined a night of firsts with his first multi-goal outing of the season. 

Will Borgen also chipped in his first pro multi-point game with a two-assist night and Andrew Oglevie also posted a pair of points (1+1), bringing his recent offensive outburst to eight points (4+4) over his last eight games. Alexander Nylander completed the scoring as he recorded his career-best 11th goal of the season.


March 9: Amerks 5 - Senators 3 

Watch: Youtube Video

On the strength of a pair of goals from forwards Taylor Leier and Victor Olofsson, as well as a two-point (1+1) night from Alexander Nylander, the Rochester Americans won their fifth straight road contest by a 5-3 score over the Binghamton Devils (24-33-5-0) Saturday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. 

It was the seventh meeting between the intrastate rivals this season and the first of two on the weekend as the Amerks look to complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon when the home-and-home series shifts up to Rochester.

While Leier and Olofsson each tallied a pair of goals in the win, Rasmus Asplund, who had his first multi-goal of the season last night, added two assist tonight as did Danny O'Regan. Nylander extended his goal-scoring streak to four games as he scored his fourth during that span and 12th of the campaign to go with an assist while goaltender Adam Wilcox improved to 10-7-3 on the slate as he made 30 saves.


March 10: Senators 1 - Amerks 6 

Watch: Youtube Video

With his third multi-point effort in the last three games, Rasmus Asplund led the Rochester Americans to a 6-1 thrashing over the Binghamton Devils (24-34-5-0) Sunday at The Blue Cross Arena, putting the finishing touches on a perfect three-win weekend for the Amerks.

While Asplund added three points (1+2), Taylor Leier and Remi Elie each recorded a goal and an assist. Matt Tennyson, Lawrence Pilut and C.J. Smith all completed the scoring while goaltender Scott Wedgewood improved to 24-10-2-3 on the season as he stopped 18 of 19 shots. The sixth-year pro boasts 15-4-1 record in his last 20 appearances dating back to Dec. 26.

"We did a good job in securing an early lead," said Leier after the Amerks outscored their opponents 7-0 in the first period over the three games this weekend. "It was good to establish that home-ice dominance we have wanted lately.

"It was a good building block for us and hopefully we can continue to keep it going down the stretch."
 

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