The wait is finally over, the Rochester Americans will begin the 2011-2012 season tonight on the road against the Hamilton Bulldogs. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00pm in Copps Coliseum, you can listen to the game on 1280 WHTK or visit ahllive.com and pay $6.99.
A lot has happened in the off season. The Buffalo Sabres bought the Amerks (read here, and here, and here). Terry Pegula wrote a letter with the goal of winning a Calder Cup. They signed free agent goaltender Drew MacIntyre to lead from the net. Derek Whitmore and Colin Stuart were signed to continue to be leaders on the offense. Former Amerk and Buffalo Sabre Michael Ryan was also signed to add a scoring touch. Oh and season tickets are only $10 per game. There’s a lot more as well but that’s just a start.
As fans we’re anxious to get the season started and so are the players.
From today’s Democrat and Chronicle:
However, after a month of nothing but greaseboards, video and drills, it gets a little old. So forgive the Amerks if they’re just a bit anxious tonight for the first real puck drop of their American Hockey League season.
The 56th season of Amerks hockey begins at 7 tonight on the road when they play the Hamilton Bulldogs in Copps Coliseum.
“I think everyone’s just about sick of practice,” defenseman Drew Schiestel said. “It’s ridiculous how ready guys are to play.”
Some players will be missing from tonight’s lineup that are expected to be a key part to the success of the team. Paul Szczechura and Max Legault are out injured until next week. Drew MacIntyre is with the Sabres in Europe. Luke Adam and Matt Ellis are also with the Sabres, barring unexpected injuries both are expected to be sent down.
“I think everyone is excited for the start of the season and to start playing some games that mean something for points and standings, and more importantly to continue to find out where we are as a group,” Rolston said. “I think we’ve come a long way in the first two weeks of practice and (Saturday) night will be our first big challenge to see where we’re at.” (amerks.com)
The starting goalie for tonight’s game may not be known until the players hit the ice for warmups but it appears as though it’ll be Jeff Jakaitis. Leggio missed a week of practice with “concussion like symptons” which may have put him into the backup role for this game.
About Jakaitis from the Democrat and Chronicle:
Oh, sure, after four seasons in the ECHL, Central Hockey League and/or Europe, Jakaitis would like to become a regular in the American Hockey League. But with Jakaitis expected to start for the Rochester Americans on Saturday night in Hamilton, he’s just looking to wow one group, and it’s not rival general managers or scouts.
“The main thing is with the guys in the room,” Jakaitis said. “With any time you’re on, you want to make a good impression. But if there’s any pressure, it’s just myself wanting to perform for the guys.”
There’s a lot more to a game situation than practice but based on practices I’ve seen over the last two weeks I’d pick Jakaitis to be the starter.