(Photo: Melissa Kania)

Pre-Game Primer: Rochester Americans vs. Toronto Marlies

The Rochester Americans (1-2) head into this weekend ready to face an all-too-familiar opponent. The Toronto Marlies come to town on October 18 for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff to kick off a ten-game season series between the teams.

The Rochester Americans head into tonight’s game coming off a 5-1 loss to the Syracuse Crunch back on October 12. After nearly a week of no games, the team now faces a pair of games this weekend before looking at another near-week-long stretch of none.

Three games into the season, ten players on the Rochester Americans roster have recorded at least a point. Center Luke Adam, right winger Jamie Tardif and center Phil Varone all lead the team with three points each. Luke Adam, who has three goals on the season, also leads the team in shots on goal, with 14.

Left winger Frederick Roy leads the team in penalty minutes with 35 on the season so far.

A familiar face leads the way for the Toronto Marlies, who are 3-0 on the season to date. Former Rochester Americans defenseman T.J. Brennan has found a home in Toronto, notching an astounding 10 points in his first three games with the team. He’s a plus-6 and has a pair of hat tricks already this year – and he isn’t looking to slow down against his former team.

Behind Brennan is Marlies Captain Trevor Smith, who is currently on recall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smith has seven points (3-4) in three games. There’s also John-Michael Liles, who has three points in as many games.

Of course, you can’t ignore the likes of Spencer Abbott, Jerry D’Amigo and Korbinian Holzer, who have all faced the Amerks many times before. The Marlies have several dangerous players on their lineup that won’t make things easy for Rochester in tonight’s game.

One face missing from the Marlies lineup, however, will be Greg Scott, who had a solid record against the Amerks last season. Scott signed in Sweden as a free agent over the summer.

Another face missing from the Marlies is forward Mike Zigomanis, who has joined the Rochester Americans for this season. Tonight’s game will mark his first time facing his former team.

The Toronto Marlies are tied with the Grand Rapids Griffins for the most goals-for this season (15). To date, the Marlies schedule has been as such: 4-3 overtime win over Grand Rapids; 5-1 win over Lake Erie, and a 6-3 win over St. John’s on October 12. They’ve scored 4, 5, and 6 goals progressively this season; this is a team that knows how to score, and knows how to do it well, so the Rochester Americans defense will have to keep the Marlies offense under control if they hope to carry out a win.

Although there have been many lineup changes since last season – especially on the Rochester end of things – these are two teams that have a history, and I’m certain that no one on the ice Friday evening will be unaware of it.

Last season, the Rochester Americans and Toronto Marlies faced each other 10 times during the regular season. Toronto won all but one of those games, outscoring Rochester 35-19 and outshooting them 337-269. It should also be noted that although two of the wins came in overtime or a shootout, many were not nearly as close. The Amerks also have trouble scoring against Toronto – the team notched just one goal in six of the ten games last season.

The playoff series between the teams would prove fruitful only for the Marlies, who swept the Amerks 3-0. Rochester was outscored 11-5, but managed to keep the shot tallies at least somewhat respectable, actually outshooting Toronto overall.

The point is this: these two teams have history. The Amerks were downright awful against Toronto last season, but it’s a new year and it’s time to turn things around, starting tonight. After all – we’ll be seeing a lot more of these guys soon.

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Tags: AHL Buffalo Sabres Rochester Americans

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