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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Marcus Foligno (Photo: Micheline Veluvolu)

Setting The Tone Early – The first month of the 2012-13 American Hockey League season is officially in the books for the Rochester Americans and the team’s quick start has the surging Amerks already among the league’s best. With a 5-2-1-0 record through the first eight games of the campaign, the Amerks, now in their 57th season of play in the AHL, are off to their best start since the 2009-10 squad opened the season with a 6-1-1-0 mark before tying the franchise record with an 11-game winning streak. Entering the week, Rochester has won four of its last five games and has collected points in five straight to cruise to the top of the North Division standings. Looking ahead, the Amerks return home this weekend with a home-and-home series against division rival Hamilton to open a busy November schedule that has Rochester on home ice every Friday throughout the month.

Friday, Oct. 26 @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 5-4 OTL

Paul Thompson’s second goal of the game with just 14 seconds left in overtime lifted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 5-4 win over the Rochester Americans Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Skating 6-on-5 with 1:08 to play in regulation, Rochester erased a 4-2 deficit with back-to-back goals 43 seconds apart from Kevin Porter and Mancari to force overtime, but the rally would fall short as Thompson converted on a breakaway opportunity in the closing seconds of the extra frame to snap the Amerks’ three-game win streak. David Leggio turned aside 25 saves in the loss.

Saturday, Oct. 27 @ Adirondack, 6-2 W
Rick Schofield scored a pair of goals to help Rochester return to its winning ways with a 6-2 win over the Adirondack Phantoms Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Porter and Evan Rankin each found the back of net for the second time in as many nights while Leggio earned his fifth win of the campaign with a 28-save effort. Nick Tarnasky also recorded two points (1+1) in the game which also saw rookie forward Frederick Roy notch his first professional point with an assist.

Rochester kicks off its November slate on Friday, Nov. 2 as the Amerks host the Hamilton Bulldogs in the first of back-to-back tilts at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. The same two teams will meet again on Saturday, Nov. 3 as the home-and-home series shifts back across the border for a 7:00 p.m. meeting at Copps Coliseum. Both games can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK, while Friday’s matchup will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 26. Rochester defeated Hamilton by a 3-1 count in the teams’ most recent get-together on Oct. 23 at the First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo. Cody Hodgson led the Amerks with a two-point night (1+1), including the game-winning goal, while Leggio stopped 36 of 37 shots he faced for the win. Rochester is 76-67-10 all-time against the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate.

- With 21 goals through their last four games, including a combined 14 against Hershey and Adirondack over the last two Saturdays, the Amerks currently lead the AHL in goals for with 33. Most notably, however, Rochester has scored at least four goals in three of its last four games and is currently averaging four goals per game. The only other AHL teams to top the 30-goal plateau are the Charlotte Checkers (32) and Portland Pirates (31).

- Rochester’s power-play has been one of the most potent in the league over the last four games as the Amerks have converted on 10 of their last 29 man-advantage opportunities. The Amerks rank second in the league with 12 power-play goals and own the fifth-best power-play unit in the AHL with 25.0% success rate. Rochester has scored at least one PPG in six of the first eight games of the season.

- With eight points (4+4) in his last five games, T.J. Brennan presently ranks second in scoring among AHL defensemen with 10 points (4+6), two points behind Oklahoma City’s Justin Schultz. Additionally, three of his four goals have come on the power-play, tying him for second overall.

- Marcus Foligno (5+5) and Hodgson (1+9), who each show seven points over their last five games, are also currently tied with Brennan with 10 points apiece for fourth overall among the AHL’s top point-getters. Foligno also ranks tied for fifth in the AHL with five goals, including three on the power-play, while Hodgson’s nine assists are presently a league-best.

- Six of Hodgson’s nine assists have come on the man-advantage, good for second in the AHL in that category.

- Leggio, who has played every minute of the season thus far, leads all AHL netminders in wins (5), saves (246) and minutes played (485:42).

- Mancari is tied for fifth in the league with 28 shots on goal.

- Averaging 4.62 penalty minutes per game, Tarnasky is tied for fourth in the AHL with 37 penalty minutes.

- Rochester is 2-0-0-0 at home when scoring the first goal of the game and show an unblemished 3-0-0-0 mark when leading after two periods.

Brayden McNabb (Photo: Micheline Veluvolu)

Second-year defenseman Brayden McNabb brings a five-game assist streak (0+6) into the new week, one that includes four helpers on the power-play… Rankin is also on the heels of a five-game point streak (3+2) and has goals in three of his last four outings… Alex Biega has collected four assists over his last four games, inlcuding a pair in Rochester’s 5-4 overtime loss at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night… Porter has three points (2+1) in his last two appearances while Mancari has notched five points (2+3) through his last four showings, a stretch that features a pair of multi-point outings… Coming off his two-goal game at Adirondack on Saturday, Schofield shows four points (3+1) in as many games and Luke Adam has registered three points (2+1) over his last four outings.

Roy earned his first professional point with an assist at Adirondack over the weekend… Saturday’s win over the Phantoms marked the 100th AHL game for LeggioHodgson appeared in his 150th professional game this past Friday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Brennnan eclipsed the 100-point mark in his AHL career with a power-play goal against Hamilton last Tuesday and needs just three more games for 200 career AHL appearances… Mancari is just five games away from 500 AHL games while Adam is eight games shy of the century mark for his AHL career… Leggio needs another six wins to reach 100 career victories.

Food Drive – The Amerks will hold a Food Drive during each of its next three home games to benefit Foodlink, the regional food bank. The Food Drive will take place during the Amerks home games on Friday, Nov. 2 versus the Hamilton Bulldogs; Friday, Nov. 9 versus the Adirondack Phantoms; and Friday, Nov. 16 versus the Albany Devils. All three games begin at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena.

Fans are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items by dropping them off in collection bins in front of The Blue Cross Arena Box Office, located in the lower atrium, prior to each of the next three games. The items will then be donated to Foodlink. Any fan that donates two unopened, non-perishable food items prior to any of the next three home games will be able to save $5 on the purchase of a best-available lower level ticket. Fans will also have the opportunity to save $5 on the purchase of a best-available lower level ticket if they donate to Foodlink through the point-of-sale campaign called “Check Out Hunger” at the Box Office.

Hockey Night in Rochester – Friday nights are Hockey Night in Rochester, and fans who wear an Amerks or Sabres jersey to a Friday game can purchase a best-available seat for just $17.

Ditch the Dorms – Ditch the Dorm Nights are back this season, where students who present their College ID at The Blue cross Arena Box Office can purchase a best available ticket for just $12.

Amerks Happy Hour – Prior to every Friday night home game this season, there will be an Amerks Happy Hour from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Atrium Bar featuring live music and $2 Molson and Coors Light drafts for fans age 21 and over.

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