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by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres
Matt Hackett (Photo: M. Veluvolu)

The AHL’s Rochester Americans moved up in the standings last week, earning two victories in three tries, including a thrilling shootout triumph over a division rival.

The busy week began on Wednesday with Jamie Tardif scoring a pair of goals - including one via penalty shot - as Rochester downed Lake Erie 4-2. Kevin Porter and Mike Zigomanis provided single markers, while Matt Hackett had a light night in the Amerks crease, stopping 16 of the 18 shots sent his way to earn the victory. Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel contributed two assists for his second multipoint game of the season.

The Amerks and Monsters reconvened Friday as 11,015 fans braved the frigid temperatures to enjoy a classic outdoor battle at the 2013 Frozen Frontier.

Matt Ellis produced a goal and an assist in regulation and later added the shootout winner as Rochester earned their second-straight victory, a 5-4 decision over Lake Erie. Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Phil Varone and Colton Gillies also scored for Rochester, while Joel Armia contributed an assist and three shots on goal. Hackett was again solid with 26 saves for the Amerks.

With the magical victory behind them, the Amerks packed their gear and headed east on the I-90 for a Saturday night tilt against rival Syracuse. Nathan Lieuwen stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn the game’s number three star, but Brett Connolly’s first-period goal would hold up the rest of the way resulting in a 1-0 shutout loss to the Crunch. Johan Larsson posted five of the Amerks' 27 shots in the loss.

Sitting in second place in the North Division standings, the Amerks (12-11-2-2) will faceoff with the team one point ahead of them on Wednesday when they host the Toronto Marlies for a 7:05 p.m. start at Blue Cross Arena.

Andrey Makarov (Photo: C. Iddings)

Fort Wayne goaltender Andrey Makarov turned away 34 of 35 shots Saturday to earn the game's number two star as the Komets downed Kalamazoo 4-1. The Russian rookie has won eight of his first 13 pro starts, racking up a 2.85 GAA and .910 save% along the way.

Shawn Szydlowski picked up an assist for his first point of the year in Fort Wayne’s Saturday victory. The third-year pro has played 13 games this season, totaling 20 shots on goal, nine penalty minutes and a minus-four rating in addition to his one point.

Jonathan Parker collected two assists last week as the Colorado Eagles won two of three contests versus the Las Vegas Wranglers. Parker has 14 points (4+10) and a plus-two rating in 16 games since being dispatched to the Eagles back on Nov. 5.

Elmira forward Colin Jacobs went without a point last week as the Jackals won twice and lost once. The WHL product has scored once on 10 shots on goal through his first seven coast league appearances.

Greenville goaltender Connor Knapp was a scratch in both of team’s contests last week. The 6-foot-6 stopper has three wins in 10 starts for the Road Warriors, amassing a 2.31 GAA (9th in league) and .934 save% (3rd).

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.
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