The Amerks lost on Thursday by three goals and they’ll get another crack tonight at the Barons. The difference between the Amerks and Barons was defense and goaltending. The Barons were able to keep the puck clear of their zone and advance the play which ultimately lead to goals scored. Yann Danis was also great coming up with some big saves when needed. Paul Szczechura, Marcus Foligno and Jonathan Parker all had great chances but Danis was able to make the save.
Drew MacIntyre will be starting for Rochester tonight. It’ll be another chance for MacIntyre to have a big game and challenge Leggio for the top goaltending spot he’s had recently. Rolston said he has no confidence issues in either goalie but didn’t think Leggio was as sharp as he has been so MacIntyre will get the start. This team as it is needs the goalie to be able to bail them out of games.
Drew Schiestel wasn’t at the morning skate today but is traveling and Ron Rolston expects to have him back in the lineup tonight. Schiestel hasn’t been one of the top defensemen but he’ll make the defense better than they were last night.
As for the status of Michael Ryan, who knows. Up until yesterday things were looking well, the doctors thought things were going well, Ryan expected to play, the coaches expected him to play. Before he could play though he had to get final clearance from the doctors and that’s something he did not get. Today could be different. It could be weeks or months from now. The only time we’ll really know he’s playing is when he’s on the ice for a shift during regulation.
Have to love seeing that accountability from one of the leaders of this team. If an NHL team won’t give him a look they need to lock him up for life in an Amerks uniform.
The benefit to playing the same team a second night in a row is that it gives the players an opportunity to bounce right back against a familiar team. The Barons are fresh in their minds. They know how they play. The Amerks know what they did wrong and can make adjustments for a different game.
Early in the game Marcus Foligno made an attempt to clear the puck but ended up firing it right into the Amerks bench hitting the back glass. I asked Rolston about having a discussion with Foligno and Rolston joked saying “maybe he was trying to tell me something.” Rolston said he’s been hit in the head before behind the bench from plays like that and that they happen. It wasn’t anything that had an impact on the game but everyone had a good laugh about it.
Another missed opportunity was late in the game when Yann Danis fell to the ice and was essentially trapped in his own net because of the way his stick was. Maxime Legault was a factor in that happening with his physical play down low but Danis had he bottom portion of the net and the Amerks weren’t able to get a shot off. I asked Drew MacIntyre if he’s seen that before and he said, “For how long I’ve been around, I’ve seen it plenty of times.” It would’ve been a great goal if the Amerks had scored because of the circumstances.
The defense will likely have challenges again tonight and Jay McKee has been working overtime working with the guys to make sure they’re ready. I asked Rolston if he has a contract ready for McKee and Rolston laughed saying, “If we get many more (injuries/call ups) we may have to get the #74 available.”
The team will also be looking for some more energy tonight on the ice and as well as from the crowd. Compared to many other games it was a small announced crowd of only 3,548. Typical for a Thursday night AHL game in January, especially with snow falling around the time people would decide to go to the game. The players could sense that as well and hopefully the War Memorial will have a better crowd to get behind the time to a win.
It was a light conversation as usual with Rolston just talking about the game and what they’re looking for and he summed it all up in one line nicely, “We’ve got to be better and made too many mistakes with the puck and have to clear that up tonight.”