The Amerks are back at home tonight for the second game of a home and home with Laval Rocket, the farm team of the Montreal Canadiens. The Amerks won a 5-2 game on Wednesday night in Laval. An early unfortunate bounce gave the Rocket an early lead but the Amerks didn’t back off. Chris Taylor said, “We stayed with it, we gave up a goal early and the guys responded instead of sitting back and thinking oh here we go again.”
Four Amerks scored their first goals of the season on Wednesday in the win over Laval. Sahir Gill, Collin Blackwell, Nick Baptiste and Casey Nelson. Multiple point nights as well for Gill (1 G / 1 A), Baptiste (1 G / 2 A) and Blackwell (2 G / 1 A).
Baptiste is leading the team with 22 shots and but was scoreless through five games. He said, “it was difficult a little bit but to generate chances those first five games is all I can ask for. If I keep playing the right way the goals will come and the points will come.”
Colin Blackwell was happy to get the monkey off his back, “going back to last year, same exact thing, statistically I don’t think I put up as many goals as I know I’m capable of doing so in order to get that on a road game early in the year I can hopefully build off and move forward.”
“I think it’s good for their confidence level and we have a lot to improve on with a lot of different things. They worked hard and earned all of the stuff that they got,” Chris Taylor commented about those big nights. “It’s what they can do the next game and that’s the biggest thing for me is how they respond. After a good win on the road how they respond at home, that’s going to tell the character of our hockey players right now.”
Talking about getting on the scoresheet for the first time and what it means Taylor said, “It’s a big confidence booster but it all depends on how far they take it and that means don’t be over confident, thats one game. I love the confidence they have in themselves but also means they have to keep putting the work in and work a little harder, be a little smarter and dig in a little bit more.”
Heading into tonights game the Amerks are 3-3 and the Rocket are 4-3-1. A big statistical different between the two games is the goals for and against column. Laval is even with 32 goals for and 32 against through eight games. Rochester has only scored 14 goals and allowed 17 in six games.
The game plan for tonight from Baptiste, “We’ve got to work hard, draw penalties, get pucks behind their defensemen. They have a lot of good forwards so we have to keep them off the ice as much as possible and just play our game.”
“They feed off their power play so we have to stay out of the box, be a little more disciplined than we were the other night,” Colin Blackwell said. “Keep getting more pucks to the net, shots to the net, control the momentum and keep them off the power play.”
Baptiste commented on his goal which was thanks to a Blackwell screen saying, “We’ve been discussing and talking about getting to the net more and having net presence, that was definitely one of the times we were able to get to the net.”
Chris Taylor has been around long enough to know it comes down to one thing first, “we have to have a good start.”
No new news. Paetsch is still week to week (lower body / broken foot). Alexander Nylander is week to week (lower body / probably groin). Evan Rodrigues has started skating again with the Sabres and is a likely candidate to be sent down when healthy.
No one is expected to be sent back down from Buffalo. When I asked Taylor he said, “We’re confident in the players we have, that’s why we signed a lot of depth players in our organization and we knew this was going to happen and we’re relying on our depth right now.”
Through four home games, all Friday and Saturday nights, the Amerks are averaging a lousy 3,562. There’s a few easy explanations for that: high school sports and activities, youth sports, nice weather leading to Halloween activities and a lousy product to start.
After three straight losses at home the importance for winning to attract fans is high on the list but Taylor also said, “it all comes down to putting in a great effort and then the winning usually comes behind it.”
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— Let’s Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) October 27, 2017