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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres


Amerks Ready For Busy Week – Coming off an up-and-down weekend that culminated in dominating fashion, the Rochester Americans returned to their winning ways and enter the week just three points behind the Lake Erie Monsters for the top spot in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. With three wins in their last five games, including two on the road, the Amerks remain among the AHL’s best heading into their first busy week of the 2012-13 season. After a rather light schedule to begin the campaign, Rochester now looks ahead to its first stretch of three games in four days, one that includes crucial back-to-back meetings against division rivals Hamilton and Abbotsford before a showdown with Binghamton to bring the weekend to a close.

Friday, Nov. 9 vs. Adirondack, 2-1 (L)
Garret Roe’s second goal of the season 7:49 into the third period broke a 1-1 tie and lifted the Adirondack Phantoms to a 2-1 win over the Rochester Americans in front of 8,387 fans Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The loss snapped Rochester’s three-game home winning streak as the Amerks dropped back-to-back contests for just the second time this season. T.J. Brennan scored the lone goal for the Amerks, who also received a 31-save effort from goaltender David Leggio.

Rankin (Micheline Veluvolu)

Saturday, Nov. 10 @ Syracuse, 5-2 (W)
The Amerks scored three times in the third period to break a tie game and cruise to a 5-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch at War Memorial at Oncenter on Saturday night. Five different players scored for Rochester in the win, with Marcus Foligno’s three-point night leading the way. The line of Foligno (1+2), Evan Rankin (1+1) and Brian Flynn (1+1) combined for seven points on the night while Nick Tarnasky and Brennan also scored for the Amerks. Leggio stopped 24 of 26 shots to earn the win in net as the Amerks snapped a brief two-game losing streak and defeated the Crunch for the second time this season.

Wednesday, Nov. 14 @ Hamilton (Season Series: 2-1-0-0, 4 pts.)
The Amerks kickoff the busy week on Wednesday, Nov. 14 as they travel north of the border to exchange pleasantries with the Hamilton Bulldogs for the third time in as many weeks. The special school day game is slated for 10 a.m. start at Copps Coliseum and can be heard live on WBER 90.5 FM. The game will be the fourth of 12 meetings between the North Division rivals this season and the second in Hamilton, where the Bulldogs defeated the Amerks 4-3 in the most recent encounter between the two teams just over a week ago. Flynn staked Rochester to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play, but the Bulldogs would score four unanswered third period goals, including the game-winner from Blake Geoffrion, to complete the late-game rally. Rookie goaltender Connor Knapp, a native of York, NY, and a former standout at Miami University (Ohio), got the nod for his first professional start, making 30 saves, including 23 through the first two periods. Entering the game, Leggio started 35 consecutive regular-season and playoff games for the Amerks, a stretch that began on Feb. 22 of last season. Rochester is 2-1-0-0 this season and 77-68-10 all-time against the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate.

Friday, Nov. 16 vs. Abbotsford – (Season Series: First of eight meetings)
After having Thursday off, Rochester returns to action on Friday, Nov. 16 as the Abbotsford Heat make their first of four visits to Western New York for a 7:05 p.m. matchup at The Blue Cross Arena. As the newest members of the North Division, the Heat and Amerks face off eight different times this season, which includes back-to-back two-game sets in Abbotsford at the turn of the New Year in January and February. Rochester posted a 1-1-2-0 mark in four games last season against the Heat, including a 1-0-1-0 record at home that saw the Amerks claim three out of a possible four points within the friendly confines of their downtown barn. The Heat, however, maintain the upper-hand with a 9-3-0 mark through 12 get-togethers with the Amerks since joining the AHL prior to the 2009-10 season.

Saturday, Nov. 17 @ Binghamton (Season Series: 0-1-0-0, 0 pts.)
Rochester wraps the weekend up on Saturday, Nov. 17 as they heads to the southern tier to clash with the Binghamton Senators at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The 7:05 p.m. game will be the second of eight meetings between the intrastate rivals this season after the B-Sens prevailed with a 3-1 win over the Amerks in the first meeting back on Oct. 16 in Rochester. Team captain Kevin Porter potted the lone goal for the Amerks in the loss while Leggio turned aside 34 shots. Fans can tune in for all the live action on Sports 1280 WHTK. Rochester is 37-38-6 lifetime against the Baby Sens.

-With 33 goals through their last eight games, including a combined 11 in two games against Syracuse this season, the Amerks are currently tied for fourth in the AHL in goals for with 45, just four shy of Charlotte’s league-leading 50 tallies.

-Rochester’s power play has been one of the most potent in the league over the last eight games as the Amerks have converted on 12 of their last 46 man-advantage opportunities. The Amerks rank second in the league with 14 power-play goals and own the fourth-best power-play unit in the AHL with a 21.5% efficiency rate. Saturday’s win at Syracuse marked just the fourth time this season the Amerks failed to score on the power-play.

Brennan (Micheline Veluvolu)

-With 10 points (6+4) in his last nine games, including goals in back-to-back outings, Brennan currently ranks third among AHL defensemen with 12 points (6+6), four behind Oklahoma City’s Justin Schultz. Additionally, four of his team-high six goals have come on the power-play, tying him for second overall.

-Coming off his three-point game (1+2) in Syracuse on Saturday, Foligno, who has 11 points over his last nine games, remains Rochester’s top point-getter with 14 points (6+8) in 12 games this season. The second-year pro currently ranks tied for third overall among the AHL’s top scorers while his six goals place him tied for 13th.

-Cody Hodgson’s nine assists are sixth-most in the AHL, while six of his helpers have come on the man-advantage, also good for third in the league in that category.

-Leggio, who has started 11 of the last 12 games for the Amerks, leads all AHL netminders in saves (328) and minutes played (669:41), while his six wins are second among league backstops. He also boasts the fourth-best shootout record among goaltenders, having stopped eight of nine shooters for a .889 save percentage.

-Flynn ranks 17th among AHL rookies with seven points (4+3) in 11 games.

-Brennan is third in the league with 45 shots on goal.

-Averaging 4.33 penalty minutes per game, Tarnasky is fourth in the AHL with 52 penalty minutes. He also comes into the week with a league-high eight fighting majors, including one in each of the last three games.

-The Amerks are 3-1-0-0 at home when scoring the first goal of the game and are 5-1-0-0 when leading after two periods. In addition, Rochester shows an unblemished 4-0-0-0 mark when leading after the first period.

-Rochester is also 4-2-0-0 on home ice this season and is just one of eight teams to remain unbeaten in the shootout.

Coming off his two-point (1+1) performance on Saturday, Rankin is presently riding a three-game point streak (1+3) and has registered nine points (4+5) over his last nine games… More impressively, the Portage, Michigan, native has only been held scoreless three times this season…. Flynn, who also collected a goal and an assist versus the Crunch, is in the midst of a career-long four-game point streak (3+3)… After being held scoreless in three consecutive games, Brennan snapped his season-long scoring drought this weekend with goals in back-to-back games and is now neck-and-neck with Foligno for the team lead… Foligno’s three-point game (1+2) in Syracuse on Saturday gives the Amerks’ reigning Rookie of the Year five points (1+4) in as many games… With another assist in Saturday’s win over the Crunch, defenseman Alex Biega has collected six assists over his last eight games, including at least one in three straight games between Oct. 26-Nov. 2… Despite seeing his recent three-game point streak halted, veteran forward Mark Mancari enters the week after notching seven points (2+5) through his last eight showings, a stretch that features a pair of multi-point outings… Newcomer Rick Schofield has six points (3+3) over the last eight games and second-year defenseman Brayden McNabb has seven assists in his last nine appearances.

Girgensons (Micheline Veluvolu)

Wednesday’s game at Hamilton will represent the 500th career AHL game for Mancari… Rookie forward Kevin Sundher notched his first professional point with an assist in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Syracuse… Brennan, who recently eclipsed the 100-point mark in his AHL career, skated in his 200th career AHL game Friday versus Adirondack… After sitting the first nine games of the season, Knapp officially made his professional debut on Nov. 3 at Hamilton… Rookie forward Zemgus Girgensons netted his first pro goal against the Bulldogs on Nov. 2; that also produced Mancari’s 100th assist as an Amerk… Nick Crawford needs just one more game for 150 pro appearances… Luke Adam is four games shy of the century mark for his AHL career… Leggio needs another four wins to reach 100 career victories… Schofield is just five games away from 100 AHL appearances.

Food Drive – Friday’s game against Abbotsford will mark the close of the Amerks’ Food Drive to benefit Foodlink, the regional food bank. 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. The items will then be donated to Foodlink. Any fan that donates two unopened, non-perishable food items 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 Dorms 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 6-7 p.m. in the Upper Atrium Bar featuring live music and $2 Molson and Coors Light drafts for fans age 21 and over.

Movember Continues – Throughout the month of November, several Amerks players are growing mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health. Leggio will be spearheading the fundraising efforts as he is teaming up with Urology Associates of Rochester to help raise funds for the Lipson Cancer Center at Rochester General Hospital and In addition to Leggio and UAR making donations to these causes, Amerks fans will have the chance to make in-game donations at home games during the month. The first 20 fans to make a donation of at least $10 during each of the first five home games of the month will receive an Amerks puck signed by Leggio and will also be entered into a raffle to win a game-used goalie stick autographed by Leggio.

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