From Where I Sat, Amerks Edition: Section 114, Row G, Seat 13
It has been quite some time since I have done an Amerks’ related post, so I thought I would recap tonight’s game against the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames). Consider this to be the last Amerks post for the season where I will specify my seat location for the game. I am now an official season ticket holder, so my seat will remain the same for the remainder of the regular season and (hopefully) the playoffs. If you were not already aware, the final score was Abbotsford 0, Rochester 3. If you are not familiar with these posts, know that I use bullet points under the headings of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.The Good:
– Amerks’ goalie David Leggio was stellar in stopping all 33 of Abbotsford’s shots. This includes fantastic stop on a shorthanded rush by Abbotsford.
– The Amerks capitalized on a power play. I repeat, the Amerks capitalized on a power play. Until Travis Turnbull drove Brayden McNabb’s rebound home in the 3rd period, the Amerks had squandered 31 straight chances on the power play. Of note is that Abbotsford has the #2 penalty kill in the AHL at 86.5%.
– Phil Varone scored shorthanded. Varone found the back of the net with his team leading 2nd shorthanded goal of the season. Maxime Legault and Mark Voakes have the other two. With the way the Amerks’ looked on the penalty kill tonight it was not a matter of if, but when they would score shorthanded. Of note is that the Amerks currently sit at #21 in penalty kill percentage at 80.9%.
– Marcus Foligno played very well tonight. If he can do that consistently, he has a good chance of earning himself a call up that is based on his performance rather than being one of the few healthy bodies in Rochester. He was rewarded with 2 assists.
– Brayden McNabb looked like he had not played in quite some time. He was out of position a few times, and it was his blocked shot from the point that led to the aforementioned shorthanded opportunity for Abbotsford. I will say, however, that as the game went on you could see the rust disappearing. I will not say that he was entirely “bad,” just that he had some rough moments.
– The Sabres inability to capitalize on scoring chances appears to have found its way to Rochester. In the first period Jacob Lagace had an open net opportunity and his backhanded shot went over the crossbar. Derek Whitmore also hit the post twice in the same period. Those are only the missed opportunities that I remember specifically, but there were certainly more.
– Obligatory bullet point about officiating. Mostly okay, but there were a fair number of “missed” holding calls that could have been called against Abbotsford. Then again, this happens in every game.
– The Amerks spent a fair amount of time hemmed in their own end, which happens quite often for them. Something that needs to be addressed.
– Did I mention that stretch of 31 straight missed opportunities on the power play? Five of those occurred tonight.
– Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. His resume of penalties tonight: Elbowing (5:15 1st), Boarding (11:55 2nd), Fighting (11:55 2nd). All he needed was a Hitting from Behind and a hit to the head to complete the “douche trick.” After Joe Finley fought him for the Boarding penalty, Finley mouthed something along the lines of “That’s 2 now. Want to make it a 3rd?” I think it is safe to say that if Leblond had gotten another penalty from a dirty play that he would have been ejected. I expect they will be watching him like a hawk during Friday’s game.
Overall I thought tonight’s game was fantastic. Sure, the Amerks were out shot 33-21 and spent a fair amount of time hemmed in their own end, but it did not hurt them in the end. The Heat had lost two straight games in regulation coming into tonight, so you had to expect that they would come hard. They certainly applied the pressure, and I am certain that their inability to capitalize on that pressure will make Friday’s game much more interesting. Hopefully former Portland Pirate/Buffalo Sabre Paul Byron will again be a non-factor in that game as well. Darcy Regier certainly does not need another reason to make some Amerks and Sabres fans dislike him.
In Professor Rolston we trust.