The game that was played for 60 minutes on the ice pretty much speaks for itself. The team was outplayed by a more skilled Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins team. Going into further detail really won’t accomplish much and does anyone really want to discuss it further? It’s only two games into the season, there’s absolutely no reason to hit a panic button but there’s reason for concern. Time to get into the good things before the negative..
The Rochester Americans home opener overall though had a great atmosphere to it. There were fans in the building early for the current Amerks players to walk the red carpet and then for the alumni to arrive. Many of the alumni were seen hanging out throughout the game and intermissions with fans chatting.
The Moose and Sabretooth were hanging out signing autographs and taking pictures together.
The new video scoreboard that had a cost of over 200k was impressive (even if it didn’t show any shots on goal). The video quality was improved and just added to the overall atmosphere.
It was also great running into people that you only see during hockey season and catching up on life.
The home opener had that special event feeling. The pre-game festivities, the on ice introductions, the video montages, the standing ovation to new owner Terry Pegula and of course the mention that Amerks legend Joe Crozier will be inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame.
Now the negatives..
Allowing a short handed goal when you have a 5 on 3 advantage. Also worth mentioning that one of the defenseman had lost his stick. Oh and the goalie didn’t have a stick either. I’d like to see a replay though, it almost appeared as if MacIntyre made the save but Zack Kassian who was trying to catch up accidentally tipped the rebound over MacIntyre’s pads.
The game itself. Again, the Amerks were outplayed. No panic button is being pushed just yet but there’s obvious holes in this team compared to the team that played in Portland last season. There’s a lack of scoring that needs to be addressed. It doesn’t help that they’re withut Paul Szczechura and Matt Ellis, players that are supposed to be the top two centers. It also doesn’t help that last seasons Pirates squad had Mark Mancari, Luke Adam, Paul Byron and and Mark Parrish.. none are on the current squad. Something to be discussed and addressed.
The defense is also young and seems unsure of what to do in game situations. They’ve looked well in practice but when the opposition is breathing down your neck it’s a whole different game. With Drew Schiestel and Dennis Persson out of the lineup it was time for guys like TJ Brennan and big guy Joe Finley to step up, it didn’t happen. Brayden McNabb and Shaone Morrisson need to keep the puck from crossing the blue line.
The defense was often caught out of position allowing the Penguins to freely move the puck around as they pleased.
Drew MacIntyre was clearly run over by a Penguins player and there wasn’t as much of a little scrum after the play to stick up for the guy. Not sure if it’s a memo handed down from management or it could just be a lack of toughness. Other teams stick up for their own. They need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
With 10 goals allowed in two games it could be easy to look at MacIntyre and Leggio but there’s more to things than the two goalies.
The only player who appeared to be able to finish a hit was Derek Whitmore. Everyone else was just bouncing off of other players or missing completely. Travis Turnbull did a great job throwing some punches and trying to get something going. Appeared a little in over his head but he went for it and made the attempt.
With 9,217 fans announced in the building it’s a shame the game turned out the way it did. It’s a shame the play was so poor that fans were boo’ing after the 2nd period. It was easy to hear other people saying they weren’t ready to come right back to another game.
A great quote from Derek Whitmore after the game when he said, “Unfortunate we’re 0-2.. but what’s going to help us now is playing 4 games in 6 nights.. to get right in thick of things.”
The team is on a bus heading to Cleveland to play the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday night before returning home on Sunday. Here’s hoping for different outcomes!
Now for a couple of other non game related things….
$2 for a Ryan Miller “poster” and lineup sheet? I gave my kid a couple dollars to get one expecting a little bit more than that. Why couldn’t it have been a current Amerks player to get the thing autographed? I love the former Amerks and Sabres but can we stick with who’s here? Maybe only a $1?
SMG still stinks at managing the arena. If you wanted a hot dog, burger or fries you were going to be stuck waiting in line and missing half a period of play. Why were there only two people working cash registers? Did they not get the memo about the number of tickets sold? It was mentioned that they ran out of pizza before the first period even ended. The easy answer is to not give any money to them for concessions.
It’s also sad that Blue Cross Arena had a security guard stationed in the back hallway behind section 127 to make sure that no kids were playing hockey. It’s a game that’s been played since hockey was invented. The group of kids that usually plays back there has been playing for the past four seasons. They’ve never hurt each other. The parents are always watching. It’s something the kids look forward to and you just busted the bubble for their evening. Even when the team on the ice stinks they find a way to have fun. Hopefully I can talk to someone there to discuss it.