From Where I Sat: Monsters at Amerks, 11/11/2013
This afternoon marked the first meeting of the season between the Lake Erie Monsters and the Rochester Americans. The question on this fan’s mind was whether the Amerks’ domination of the Monsters would continue from last season, or if the Monsters would remember how to play hockey against the Amerks. It turns out that the latter was the case. The final score was 2-1 in favor of the Monsters in a shootout. You know the drill, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are after the jump.
-I thought Hackett looked fairly solid in net (assuming we aren’t talking about the shootout). He seems to have calmed himself down, so it’s good to see that he can keep his emotions in check.
-Patrick Kaleta scored a shorthanded goal. I guess that’s a good thing.
-The Amerks’ home penalty kill is the only thing keeping them from being dead last in the AHL on the penalty kill. Overall they’re 29th in the league at 72.7% (48 of 66). At home, they’re 10th at 84.4% (27 of 32). On the road, however, they’re 30th at a terrible 61.8% (21 of 34). I don’t know how they manage to be so bad on the road, yet respectable at home. It’s baffling, to say the least.
-The Amerks actually showed some life in overtime. That is not a typo. In the two full seasons the Amerks have been re-affiliated with the Sabres, they have TWO overtime wins. TWO. Both of those wins came at home, one last season and one the season before. Maybe this number is skewed by having played in a small number of OT games, right? Nope. They’ve played in 17 of them. Ugly might not be a harsh enough word.
-I’m not a big Kaleta fan. In fact, I’m the opposite of a Kaleta fan, but I’ve seen guys do a few things to him that probably should have been called but weren’t. I know this happens, but I can’t help but feel like his reputation is hurting him in this regard in the AHL as well.
-Obviously the loss is something bad, but I’ll give Calvin Pickard credit as he played quite well. He was just enough better enough than Hackett in regulation and overtime to keep the Amerks from winning a game they probably should have won. In the shootout, however, Hackett looked completely lost. Now, I know David Leggio was a force to be reckoned with in the shootout, but there isn’t much Hackett can do when nobody is scoring at the other end. Small sample sizes, I know, but in the Amerks’ 8 shootout attempts (in two shootout games) they have one goal. Only two other teams with shootout games have a worse shootout shooting percentage.
This is the Amerks’ third loss in as many games, and fourth in their last five. To be fair, the Amerks have earned points in all but one of those losses; Saturday’s 7-3 throttling by the Binghamton Senators being the lone exception. The Amerks definitely played well enough tonight to earn two points, but Calvin Pickard was just good enough to steal a win for the Monsters. The Amerks next game is against the Hamilton Bulldogs in Hamilton. Hopefully they can earn two points in regulation to increase their slim 1 point lead on the division. The next Amerks’ home game is November 20 against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.