Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Rochester Americans

Texas Stars
11-13-0-1, 23 pts
#13 Western Conference
v.Rochester Americans
11-11-3-1, 26 pts
#10 Western Conference
December 17th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Tonight, Texas plays the Rochester Americans for the first time in team history. Despite both being in the West Conference these past three years, Texas and Rochester never crossed paths. With realignment to move Charlotte west and Manitoba/St John's east, schedules were shifted to make each team play every other in their conference.

The Americans (often abbreviated Amerks) are a storied franchise. They are second only to the Hershey Bears in terms of tenure in the league, entering in 1956, and have six Calder Cups, most recently in 1996. Traditionally, the Americans have been affiliated with their NHL neighbors to the north, the Buffalo Sabres. In 2008-09, the Florida Panthers became the sole affiliate of the Americans, which led to much consternation by the Amerks fans. They felt that the Panthers did not provide the AHL team with the quality roster necessary to be competitive in the league. After three seasons of that affiliation, Rochester reaffiliated with Buffalo and Florida moved on to San Antonio.

This year's iteration of the Amerks has been plagued by injuries in Buffalo, causing callups of some of their top players including Zack Kassian, Paul Szczechura, Colin Stuart, Corey Tropp. Beat writer Kevin Oklobzija opines on Twitter: "Just not enough AHL-quality forwards in the #Amerks lineup now."

Derek Whitmore, a long-time Buffalo system farmhand, leads the team in scoring with 12-6-18. The next active player is Mark Voakes at 2-12-14. Other notables include Rob Bordson, who went to training camp with Texas and was later signed with the Trenton Titans. He has no points in four games. Rookie Joe Finley is your PIMs leader with 69.

In net, the Amerks have a familiar face for Texas in Drew MacIntyre. MacIntyre, previously of the Bulldogs and Wolves, is 4-8-1 with 2.60 GAA and .918 SV%. David Leggio is the 1A of the club with 7-7-0 record, 2.91 GAA and .902 SV%. Leggio is on a two-way to Buffalo and has been bouncing around the pros since 2007 with previous stops in Binghamton, Albany, Portland, Florida (ECHL) and TPS Turku (Finland).

The Amerks possess the worst road record in the AHL at 2-7-4 and have been outscored 45-30. They were beaten in San Antonio last night in OT, a stinging loss to some former Amerks.

The Democrat and Chronicle sums it up well:
"This has been a tough two years for the Amerk franchise. Last year, it seemed an Amerk forward or defenseman was going to South Florida because a member of the Panthers had gotten hurt. Now, injuries are seemingly an every-night happening for the Sabres.

As a result, the Amerks send a team that’s under-manned in terms of AHL talent to Texas for three games. One win would be an accomplishment. Even just stretching a game or two to overtime and garnering the “loser” point might be an acceptable outcome.

This team has averaged fewer than two goals on the road in the past nine games. Expecting anything to change would require the rosiest of rose-colored of glasses ever made."
On Texas's side, well, it's about the W. Texas needs to get back in that win column after the promise of the previous few games. Jimmy Spratt could be your starter tonight as well. I'll try to get more information on that as the day wears on.

Stars injury/call up report:
Larsen, Vincour, Bachman (callup)

Website: amerks.com
Americans Social Media: Social Media
Blog (beat): Democrat and Chronicle
Blog (amateur): Let's Go Amerks
Twitter: @AmerksHockey
Twitter (beat): @kevinoDandC
Twitter (amateur): @LetsGoAmerks

1 comment:

  1. Instead of Amerks v. Stars this game could be billed as David v. Dysfunctionals.

    Ross

    ReplyDelete

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