The first of three sets of three game weekends in December is completed but not with the results anyone wanted. The Amerks lost all three games this weekend to the Houston Aeros, Hamilton Bulldogs and Albany Devils. The scores of the games were 4-3, 3-2 and 4-2 and the positive way to look at those is that on paper they were close games. It’s surprising the scores weren’t different but this Amerks team works hard and even though they’re short on players due to injuries and call ups they’re not using that as an excuse and throwing in the towel. With these three losses and wins by other teams the Amerks are now in the eighth spot in the conference with four other teams breathing down their necks.
Albany was the last stop of the weekend for the Amerks and they didn’t put anything on the scoreboard until there was less than five minutes left in regulation. Marcus Foligno scored at 15:16 of the third period and then Drew Schiestel scored his first of the season with only a minute and 12 seconds left on the clock. At that point they were only down 3-2 until Albany scored an empty net goal with seven seconds left in the game.
A difference maker in the game was that Albany was able to score their first goal of the game on the power play. The Amerks had five power play chances and failed on each and every one of them. One of them they didn’t even manage to get a shot on net. It doesn’t help that the team travelled by bus and probably didn’t get into Albany until around 4am and then had to play at 4pm .
When Albany went up 3-0 at 6:22 of the 3rd period I had written on Twitter that the game was over but give the Amerks credit for continuing to battle away and not give up. They found a couple of ways to put the puck in the net but it was too little too late. The first Albany goal looked like a great low shot that went five hole on MacIntyre. The second he appeared screened and the third was just a defensive zone break down with Albany going to the net and beating him.
Here’s the video highlights courtesy of the Albany Devils:
** Joe Finley had been sent down by the Buffalo Sabres and he arrived by flight on time but his equipment did not so he was not able to play. Don Stevens had said on the broadcast that the Amerks let the Sabres know they would be down a player due to Matt MacKenzie getting injured Saturday so they put Finley on a plane. It’s possible that Finley goes right back to the Sabres.
The Amerks had to play fatigued and were short on players putting an extra burden on those getting a lot of ice time. It’s not acceptable that they list all three games this weekend but it’s easy to see why they did at least on Sunday.
They only had 17 skaters on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. It’s hard to believe the Buffalo Sabres allowed them to play so shorthanded knowing what the schedule was like but it’s something that American Hockey League teams are used to. This time around it’s different though, money shouldn’t be an issue. The only other explanation is that they somehow couldn’t find any warm bodies in a 400 mile radius this weekend. We’ll find out this week I’m sure from Amerks coach Ron Rolston.
** How does that scheduling with travel make any sense? This weekend they played at home Friday and drove almost three hours to Hamilton and then drove over six hours to Albany to play at 4pm. Next weekend they play at home against Albany on Friday and then drive over four hours to Adirondack and then back this way another six plus hours to play Hamilton at 3pm on Sunday. Someone buy these boys a couple of cases of red bulls, they’ll need it.
It could be a long month with three in three sets the next two weekends, the second set is a trip to Texas followed by a trip to Oklahoma City later in the month. The standings are getting close and the team could either sink quickly in the standings or find a way to rise up. The offense is still struggling creating chances that aren’t skate down, shoot and go back the other way. The power play continues to struggle as well as evident by the five chances on Sunday with zero goals.
The team will likely have a day off to rest on Monday and get back to the rink on Tuesday in preparation for another long weekend against Albany, Adirondack and then Hamilton again.
Sunday afternoon box score:
Rochester Americans 2 at Albany Devils 4 – Status: Final
Sunday, December 4, 2011 – Times Union Center
Rochester 0 0 2 – 2
Albany 1 0 3 – 4
1st Period-1, Albany, Taormina 4 (Anderson, Gelinas), 17:21 (PP). Penalties-Sislo Alb (hooking), 7:19; Zajac Alb (tripping), 13:08; Boychuk Rch (holding the stick), 15:42.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Perkovich Alb (tripping), 2:28; Schiestel Rch (cross-checking), 7:15; Voakes Rch (tripping), 13:04; Legault Rch (major – boarding), 15:32; Mills Alb (roughing), 15:32.
3rd Period-2, Albany, Sova 1 (Anderson, Sislo), 1:45. 3, Albany, Veilleux 3 (Mills, Harrold), 6:22. 4, Rochester, Foligno 8 (Biega, Morrisonn), 15:16. 5, Rochester, Schiestel 1 (Stuart, Lagace), 18:48. 6, Albany, Anderson 5 (Taormina, Veilleux), 19:53 (EN). Penalties-Harrold Alb (tripping), 4:07; Zajac Alb (slashing), 10:14.
Shots on Goal-Rochester 8-11-8-27. Albany 10-19-8-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Rochester 0 / 5; Albany 1 / 4.
Goalies-Rochester, MacIntyre 3-6-1 (36 shots-33 saves). Albany, Kinkaid 7-4-0 (27 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Chris Brown (86).
Linesmen-Robert St. Lawrence (10), Jim Harper (59).