After a dramatic comeback victory last night against Grand Rapids, the Rochester Americans look to continue their winning ways and use their momentum from last nights four goal effort as they face off tonight against the oldest franchise in AHL history – the Hershey Bears.
While the Hershey Bears can’t claim to be around longer than the NHL Original Six teams, they are the seventh oldest continuously operating professional hockey club in North America. Tonight’s contest is the home opener for the Hershey Bears, top affiliate of the Washington Capitals. The Bears were at one point in history an affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. The Bears come into tonights contest with a 1-1 record, looking to bolster their position in the standings.
For the Amerks, goalie David Leggio has carried the torch so far in the young season, and in back to back games, I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaching staff tapped backup goaltender Connor Knapp for tonights contest. With the age of Knapp – the Amerks could be riding Leggio for much of the season, a ala Ryan Miller style – but the back to back opportunity with travel gives the backup a good chance at seeing the net tonight.
The Amerks have definitely relied on a mix of good young prospects and NHL ready players, several players have chipped in on the score sheet, but Marcus Foligno, Cody Hodgson, and T.J. Brennan are leading the team with point per game production.
New addition, veteran player, and Amerks Captain Kevin Porter has been a stantion for the team, and is right behind with three points.
If the Amerks can clean up their game and stay out of the penalty box – they could have a real solid chance of making waves in the AHL standings. Special teams have either been the make or break of the Amerks young season.
Tonight’s game for the Bears is the 75th anniversary of their first home opener – and the team will wear commemorative sweaters to mark the occasion. After the game the sweaters will be auctioned off, with the proceeds donated to charity.
To further their celebration, the Bears will host the AHL Winter Classic on January 20th against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. For die hard fans of the outdoor game, if Lockout 2012 continues – the annual NHL Winter Classic is in jeopardy, and the AHL will continue to be your only avenue of relief.
Game time tonight is 7PM – and the only place to witness the action is on the radio on Sports 1280 WHTK, or on AHL Online GameCenter.