The Amerks head into tonight looking for their first win against the team that swept them in the first round of the playoffs last season. It’s still fresh in the minds of those who played, the fans and the new guys have heard about it. It’s the first of 12 regular season games against Syracuse and can certainly set the tone for the season. A lot will likely change between now and April with the lineups but the teams stay the same.
Danny O’Regan talked about playing Syracuse saying, “We’d like to get a little pay back and just a bounce back game from opening weekend, not the results we wanted.”
“A very important game with three games at home and we’re 0-2 right now,” Chris Taylor said after practice. “It’s important to get some confidence ion ourselves and as a group. It’d be nice to beat up on Syracuse tonight.”
Rochester opened the season with back to back losses against Charlotte while being outscored 10-4. The team struggled all over the ice. Ten goals scored against would quickly make one think that goaltending was an issue but that was the least of their concerns. Scott Wedgewood held up well, he didn’t have much help.
Andrew MacWilliam will make his first appearance after finishing his three game suspension that carried over from last season. He’s expected to be paired up with Will Borgen. MacWilliam is a tough stay at home defenseman and an anchor on defense last season.
“Doesn’t really matter who we’re playing,” is what MacWilliam said when asked about playing tough against Syracuse tonight. “I think that’s just an identity we want to establish not only individually for myself but for our team.”
Defense was an issue in the first two games of the season. On paper it’s one of the most talented groups in the league. It didn’t show over the weekend. Taylor had talked about mistakes being made that he had never seen before like players jumping up in the play and leaving the blue line open. Watching film and three days of practice should have the team in sync more than they were.
The phrase not being prepared was mentioned after the first two losses. I asked both Taylor and O’Regan about that.
Chris Taylor, “I think we’re prepared but we were tentative. Guys not on the same page. Too gung-ho about going up the ice instead of being prepared to play defense. We had a lot of great moments and I thought we had some poor decisions. Other than that I thought the guys were ready. They were trying just trying too hard in a different manner.”
Danny O’Regan, “I thought guys worked hard in practice. You can only go over so much until you get on the ice and play a couple games with a lot of new guys. Sometimes it just takes a few games to build some chemistry and figure out our structure and straighten up things like that.”
Special teams and odd man rushes was a focus at practice this week after the team gave up two power play goals and a short handed goal on Saturday night. Five on five it was a closer game on Saturday but all it takes is a few mistakes to result in a loss.
Tyler Randell and Justin Bailey are expected back in the lineup after sitting out on Saturday.
With MacWilliam in the lineup we can likely expect Taylor Fedun to sit out again. The top four defensive spots will likely be held down most of the season by Redmond, Guhle, Borgen and Pilut. The fourth and fifth spots to be rotated by MacWilliam, Dougherty, Hickey, Fedun and Paetsch. Dougherty took a costly penalty in his first game but there was enough in the rest of his game to get the nod back in the lineup tonight.
June like weather in October resulted in a foggy practice on Tuesday morning as you can see in the video below. The featured picture was taken this morning at practice with the windows fogged over.
A little foggy at ice level this morning. June weather in October. pic.twitter.com/BB0b9KbaPz
— Let’s Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) October 9, 2018
They may have to bring in Mika Noronen to clean the glass before game time.
Reminder to eat at home before going to the game. Concessions are being addressed by Delaware North but it’ll likely take some time to have more options available that we’ve been used to in recent years. For those on Twitter take a moment to reach out to @delawarenorth and share your feedback. They’ve actively reached out to many people since Friday night.
A statement by @delawarenorth was issued to @13WHAM below. It’s kind of weird, fans complaining that they couldn’t spend money on concessions! A sign that people enjoyed the options and have money to spend.
— Let’s Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) October 10, 2018
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