SEASON RECORD: 11-9-2-0 (24 pts.), 10th-Western Conference; 4th-North Division
LAST 10 GAMES: 4-5-1-0
THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE
Home for the Holidays – Rochester’s busy month of December continues tonight in Cleveland when they take on the Lake Erie Monsters. Coming off Tuesday’s shootout win over league-leading Abbotsford, the Amerks are 2-1-1-0 through their first four December games. Tonight’s game is one of nine remaining this month, but the first of just three road games left in 2012 – all of which will be played in the next 10 days. Following next Saturday’s game in Binghamton, the Amerks won’t play another away game until they open up a back-to-back set in British Columbia against the Abbotsford Heat on January 4-5. Of course, Rochester will also play a “home” game at First Niagara Center on Friday, December 28 against Lake Erie.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Friday, Dec. 7 vs. Adirondack, 3-1 (W)
A two-goal performance by Kevin Porter and goaltender Connor Knapp’s first professional win led Rochester to a 3-1 victory over Adirondack in front 5,948 fans at The Blue Cross Arena. Knapp, in just his third start of the season, turned away 41 of the Phantoms’ 42 shots to help the Amerks snap a three-game losing streak.
Saturday, Dec. 8 at Toronto, 4-3 (L)
Jonathan Parker scored his first two goals of the season to help Rochester stage another late-game rally, but it wasn’t enough as the Amerks fell just short in a 4-3 decision to the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. Jake Gardiner (2+1) and Nazem Kadri (1+2) led the Marlies with three points apiece, while veteran forward Keith Aucoin chipped in with a pair of assists. Ben Scrivens turned away 32 of 35 shots to earn his eighth win of the season and help Toronto improve to 4-0-0-0 against Rochester this season.
Tuesday, Dec. 11 vs. Abbotsford, 3-2 (W-SO)
Rochester stifled the Western Conference-leading Abbotsford Heat with a 3-2 shootout win on Tuesday at The Blue Cross Arena. The win was the Amerks’ second in the past three games, improving them to 11-9-2-0 on the season. David Leggio was perfect in the shootout, stopping all six Heat shooters before T.J. Brennan netted the game-winner in the sixth round. Frederick Roy (2nd of the season) and Luke Adam (4th) scored in regulation for the Amerks.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS
Tonight at Lake Erie (First of six meetings this season; 15-16-2 all-time)
Rochester hopes to continue their domination of the Lake Erie Monsters tonight at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland (7 p.m., Radio: Sports 1280 WHTK) in the first of six games between the two clubs this season. The Amerks were 5-1-0-0 against the Monsters last season, outscoring them 20-11 in the process. Lake Erie currently occupies eighth spot in the Western Conference with a record of 12-11-1-1 (26 pts.), but they are just 3-5-1-1 in their last 10. Rookie Mike Sgarbossa leads the Monsters in scoring with 20 points (9+11) in 25 games, following an OHL-best 102-point campaign with the Sudbury Wolves last season.
Saturday, Dec. 15 vs. Toronto (Season Series: 0-3-1-0, 1 pt.)
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If familiarity breeds contempt, then the Amerks and Marlies should really be starting to dislike each other. Saturday’s game at The Blue Cross Arena (7:05 p.m., Radio: Sports 1280 WHTK) will be their fifth matchup this season, and third since December 1. The Marlies have come out on top in each of the four previous meetings, with the Amerks earning their only point of the season series in a 3-2 OT loss in Toronto on December 1. Keith Aucoin tops the Marlies in points with 22 (3+19), just ahead of Nazem Kadri (6+15) and former Amerk Mike Kostka (3+17). Goaltender Ben Scrivens is a perfect 4-0-0-0 against Rochester this season, and has won three of his last four starts after struggling early. Toronto’s record of 13-9-0-1 (27 pts.) puts them fifth in the West. They are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 games.
David Leggio continued his shootout domination this season, stopping all six shooters sent his way in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win over Abbotsford. Leggio is 3-0 in the showdown session, and leads all AHL goalies with a .933 save% by stopping 14 of 15 attempts. Who is the only player to dent Leggio’s shootout armor this season? Hamilton’s Darryl Boyce on November 2. The native of Williamsville, NY, is now 14-2 all-time in AHL shootouts, and has won seven of his last eight.
Goals: Brennan/Flynn (9), Porter (7), Foligno (6)
Assists: Foligno (15), McNabb (11), Mancari (10)
Points: Foligno (21), Brennan (18), Flynn (17)
+/-: Foligno/Porter (+5), Flynn/McNabb (+4)
PPG: Brennan (4), Porter/Foligno (3)
SHG: Brennan (2), Porter/Crawford (1)
Shots: Brennan (87), Mancari (63), Foligno (54)
PIM: Finley (68), Tarnasky (67), Roy (32)
Wins: Leggio (10), Knapp (1)
Losses: Leggio (8), Knapp (3)
GAA: Leggio (2.85), Knapp (3.05)