The Rochester Americans return to home ice tonight for only their second home game of the season and face off against the Cleveland Monsters. The Amerks traveled last weekend for a three in three and returned home with two wins and a loss. They are currently 3-1 this season.
Big news for tonight’s game is that Lawrence Pilut is expected to play his first game of the season. Pilut returned to Amerks practice two weeks ago after recovering from shoulder surgery. He had taken a big hit in game three of the playoffs last spring that sent him to the operating table. After the Friday morning skate he said that he expects to be paired up with Will Borgen.
Last season Pilut appeared in 30 regular season games with the Amerks and tallied 26 points (4G+22A). Yes, it’s a flawed stat, but he was also a plus-22 and that doesn’t happen by accident. How long Pilut remains in Rochester will remain to be seen but with the backlog of defensemen in the system it could be good news for Rochester.
Tage Thompson has had the hottest start on this Amerks team so far with five points in four games (2G+3A). Zach Redmond isn’t far behind with four points in four games (1G+3A).
It’d be easy to point out early season scoring woes but the team is 3-1 in four games. It’s too early in the season to start doing that. That’s a topic that’ll be explored over the next two weeks.
Curtis Lazar was called up last weekend to join the Sabres while Connor Sheary was out with an injury. Sheary returned to the Sabres lineup and Lazar was reassigned to Rochester. It’s not clear on Friday afternoon if he’ll return in time from California to play tonight (but should be able to).
Goalie Michael Houser was called up from Cincinnati this week for practices while Andrew Hammond was resting up from an illness.
Hammond is currently undefeated in three starts this season with a .941 SV% and 1.60GAA in those three starts. Amerks assistant coach Toby Petersen talked this morning about how Hammond has been able to settle the play down in his own end which has been a big boost. For those going to the game also watch at how Hammond plays the puck, he’s like a sixth skater on the ice.
Cleveland has played four games this season and has a 2-2 record. Former Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe is back for another season with the Monsters and everyone knows former players always score so he’s a player to always keep an eye on.
Saturday night the Amerks travel to Utica who has started the season with a 3-0 record. The Comets play at home tonight against Charlotte.
The home crowd is expected to be on the lighter side tonight but an annual reminder that it often is early in October following the home opener. The chart below doesn’t indicate when October ends but the trend remains the same, takes a dip, and then picks back up.