Tonight’s Rochester Americans game is a little something special, as the Amerks will be the first team to face the newly-formed Utica Comets in 2013-2014 AHL season. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
Since Utica has yet to play this season, it’s difficult to gauge exactly what the Amerks will face heading into tonight’s matchup. But these two teams will see enough of each other season, facing off a total of ten times during the regular season.
While we can’t look at any prior records for the Comets, we can look at one game so far this season – a sufferable 8-1 loss last Friday that will hopefully serve as a reminder of what NOT to do in tonight’s game and moving forward. Granted, the 8-1 loss was suffered at the hands of the defending Calder Cup champions, but still – I’m sure no one wants to see that bad of a loss happen again. Luke Adam had the lone goal that evening, with Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen combining for 29 saves in the loss.
The Amerks will see the debut of forward Tim Schaller in tonight’s game against Utica. According to Twitter reports this morning, it seems as though Johnny McGuire and Jonathan Parker will be among the scratches.
Despite having a less-than-stellar game against Grand Rapids, it seems likely that Matt Hackett should be in net for the Amerks this evening. Hackett was called up to Buffalo shortly after last Friday’s game, but never actually saw any NHL action aside from sitting on the bench.
Of course, one player who won’t be suiting up tonight in AHL action is defenseman Alexander Sulzer, who was called up to the Buffalo Sabres after last week’s game. With the injury of Henrik Tallinder and the Sabres’ rough record, Sulzer remains up with the NHL squad for the time being.
There should be at least two names on the Comets’ roster that will be familiar to Rochester Americans – and Buffalo Sabres fans. Defenseman Alex Biega and left winger Colin Stuart are both on the Comets squad this season.
Tonight’s game is the first of ten meetings between the Rochester Americans and the Utica Comets and marks the first time since 1993 that the Amerks faced a Utica-based team. The teams will next face off on October 19.