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Amerks prep for weekend on the road

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey / Amerks.com

By picking up a win on Sunday in Toronto, the Rochester Americans improved their record to 17-21-0-1 on the year and currently sit in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 35 points. They crossed the midway point of the 2016-17 season last weekend and look ahead to three games on the road this week, starting on Friday in Providence. 

 

Before we look back at last week's action, check out this week's edition of 2 In The Box with Don Stevens and Erica Whyte:

2 In The Box

 

HFD 3 - RCH 1

HFD 3 - RCH 1

The Rochester Americans could not find a way to overcome an early 1-0 deficit to the Hartford Wolf Pack as they fell by the final score of 3-1 on Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.

Cole Schneider scored his 15th goal of the season for Rochester during the final period while goaltender John Muse made his second straight for the first time all season, stopping 26 shots of the 29 he faced.

Nicklas Jensen recorded his fifth multi-point (2+0) night of the campaign and rookie John Gilmour (0+2) helped setup a pair of goals for his first two-assist game of his AHL career in the victory for the Wolf Pack. Matt Carey tallied his eighth goal of the slate to finish the scoring for Hartford while first-year netminder Brandon Halverson finished with 31 saves to improve his record to 4-6-0 with the win.  

The Wolf Pack found the back of the cage on the game's first shift as Jensen would get credit on the tally just 30 seconds into the contest. Later in the opening frame after an Amerks holding penalty Carey redirected a shot behind Muse to give the visitors a 2-0 they would carry into the intermission break.

"We came out on the first shift and gave up a goal early on a play that should not have happened," said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert. "We then took a few penalties and found ourselves down a pair of goals and being outshot 10-1. We were better in the second and third periods, but Hartford kept us to the outside and did a nice job of checking. We just were not able to capitalize on the chances we did get."

Hudson Fasching returned to the Amerks lineup after missing the last 26 games with an injury. The 21-year-old recorded a pair of shots in his return.

"The first shift was tough to give up a goal that quick," said Fasching. "While that is not the best start, we tried to get better as a line and a team. I felt pretty good, and as the game went on, I started to get back into the rhythm of a game."

 

WBS 3 - RCH 2

WBS 3 - RCH 2

The Rochester Americans (16-21-0-1) hosted the league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (27-7-3-0) Friday at The Blue Cross Arena and came out on the short end of a 3-2 setback to the Penguins.

For the third time over his last five games, Amerks rookie Daniel Muzito-Bagenda found the back of the net during the opening frame. Rochester's captain, Cal O'Reilly, capped off the scoring for the Amerks with his power-play tally while goalie John Muse made his third consecutive start for the first time all season, stopping 21 of the 24 shots he faced.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was led by veteran Tom Kostopoulos' sixth multi-point effort and Carter Rowney's fourth of the season as each bagged a goal and assist in the victory. Stuart Percy got credited with the game-winning goal late during the third period while Tristan Jarry earned his 16th win of the season, tying him for most in the AHL, after he made 27 saves on the night.

Trailing 2-1 early in the final period, the Amerks drew their sixth power-play of the contest. After hustling to keep the puck in the Penguins zone, Evan Rodrigues sent a cross-ice feed to O'Reilly, who ripped a shot just under the cross-bar to even the game at two with 14:22 remaining in the period. The marker was O'Reilly's eighth of the season with assists to Rodrigues and Cole Schneider. Rodrigues extended his career-long home point (1+5) streak to six games and shows 11 points (3+8) in his last 11 games dating back to Dec. 17.

"It was one of our better starts of the year," said O'Reilly. "I think most guys were ready to play and we played them very tough. I feel as a team we are getting better and now we just have to bring it every night."

 

RCH 3 - TOR 2

RCH 3- TOR 2

The Rochester Americans (17-21-0-1) received a pair of familiar faces prior to Saturday's game with the Toronto Marlies (15-19-2-1) at Ricoh Coliseum and both made major contributions after being reassigned earlier in the day to help lead the Amerks to a 3-2 win to kick-off a season-long four-game road swing.
 
After rejoining the Amerks from the Buffalo Sabres, Justin Bailey recorded his eighth multi-point night as he notched a goal and an assist while goaltender Linus Ullmark made 37 saves to record the win. The victory is his 15th of the campaign and his fourth in his last five starts for Rochester. Ullmark, who served in a back-up role during his most recent call-up to the big club, is now tied for third in the AHL in wins with a record of 15-13-1 and boasts a 7-3-0-0 record over his last 10 games. Rookie defensemen Casey Nelson and second-year forward Jean Dupuy rounded off the scoring for the Amerks.
 
Marlies first-year blueliner Travis Dermott gathered a pair of assists for the third time of the season while Brendan Leipsic picked his team-leading 35th and 36th points (1+1) in the defeat. Colin Greening bagged his sixth goal of the season to open the scoring while Antoine Bibeau made 27 saves.

 

AMERKS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017

The Rochester Americans were pleased to announce Tuesday that the team will induct forward Scott Nichol and longtime reporter Kevin Oklobzija into the Amerks Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. 

The duo was unanimously selected by the Amerks Hall of Fame Committee to join the prestigious club on Friday, March 3 when Rochester hosts the St. John's IceCaps at The Blue Cross Arena at 7:05 p.m. on a Seneca Resorts & Casinos Legends Night.

Nichol played parts of six seasons for the Amerks from 1994-95 to 1999-00 and helped Rochester capture the 1996 Calder Cup championship during the team's impressive run of six straight postseason appearances. In 326 career games with the Amerks, Nichol amassed 173 points on 80 goals and 93 assists while also adding 19 points (9+10) in 34 playoff contests in the red, white and blue. 

A two-time former captain, Nichol's 173 points rank 37th all-time among Amerks forwards and his 813 penalty minutes are seventh-most in franchise history. In addition, he was named the organization's recipient of the McCulloch Trophy for the 1997-98 season for his dedicated service to the Rochester community.

Nichol enjoyed his best season in Rochester in 1996-97 when he set career-highs in goals (22), assists (21) and points (43) to rank tied for seventh on the team in scoring. He went on to add 71 more points (33+38) over 124 games over his final three seasons with the Amerks, which included another trip to the Calder Cup Finals in 2000.

Joining Nichol in this year's Hall of Fame Class is Oklobzija, who holds the distinction of becoming just the second reporter in franchise history to earn the honors and first since Hans Tanner was inducted as part of the inaugural class of 1986.

Oklobzija's first-rate coverage of the team spanned more than four decades during his 31-plus years with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Media Group. Since taking on the Amerks beat prior to the 1985-86 season, the Minnesota native has had the privilege of covering two Calder Cup championships (1987 and 1996) and 23 of the team's 44 playoff appearances, including five other trips to the Calder Cup Finals.

A two-time winner of the American Hockey League's James H. Ellery Award (1992-93, 1995-96) for outstanding media coverage in the newspaper category, Oklobzija provided consistent and first-rate coverage of the Amerks and the American Hockey League in an ever-evolving industry. In addition to providing game stories, player features, previews and daily practice coverage of the Amerks for the newspaper, Oklobzija also utilized the emergence of digital media to keep the fans closely engaged and informed. 

His blog, appropriately named the "Hockey O-Zone," was the most-read sports blog on democratandchronicle.com since its launch prior to the 2008-09 season, and provided fans with daily notes, quotes and anecdotes, while his utilization of Twitter to cover the team enhanced the overall media coverage of the Amerks.

 

Upcoming schedule

The Amerks hit the road for a 3-in-3 set this weekend. They'll be in Providence on Friday for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff against the Bruins and then head out to Hartford on Saturday to take on the Wolfpack at 7 p.m. Sunday's game in Bridgeport is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

The Amerks will be back home for a pair of games next week starting on Wednesday against Toronto.

For full coverage and ticket information, be sure to check out Amerks.com.

 

Scoring leaders

1. Cole Schneider 15G - 22A - 37 PTS
2. Cal O'Reilly 8G - 26A - 34 PTS
3. Nicholas Baptiste 17G - 8A - 25 PTS
4. Justin Bailey 14G - 10A - 24 PTS
5. Evan Rodrigues 7G - 16A - 23 PTS

 

Goaltending leaders

1. Linus Ullmark 15-13-1-0; 3.02 GAA; .908 SV%
2. John Muse 2-5-0-0; 3.10 GAA; .907 SV%
3. Jason Kasdorf 0-3-0-0; 3.31 GAA; .899 SV%

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