The Rochester Americans return home for the first time since December 20 as they host the Binghamton Senators in AHL action on January 8 in what may be a challenging game thanks to injuries and several dangerously-good players on the opposing squad.
Tonight’s game may prove to have an extra level of interesting, as current Binghamton Senators GM Tim Murray may soon be named the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres. If that’s the case, Murray may have the opportunity to get a glimpse of some of his new prospects in Rochester this evening.
Binghamton sits third in the Eastern Conference, with a 21-10-0-3 record and 45 points. The Rochester Americans, meanwhile, sit at 10th in the Western Conference with a 14-12-3-3 record and 34 points.
The Rochester Americans will look for their first win this season against Binghamton, who has taken all three meetings so far – including two by decisive four-goal leads.
The season series began with a meeting in Rochester on November 8. Phil Varone and Matt Mackenzie scored for Rochester, but the Senators won 3-2 thanks to an overtime goal by Cody Ceci. Matt Hackett had 34 saves, while Andrew Hammond had 30 saves for Binghamton.
The teams met again the following day in Binghamton, a game that saw six Senators players have multiple points en route to a 7-3 Binghamton victory. Tim Schaller, Luke Adam and Matt Ellis scored for the Rochester Americans. Stephane Da Costa led all players with an outstanding five-point performance, including a pair of goals and three assists. In net, it was a battle of the Nathans: Lieuwen (RCH) vs. Lawson (BNG). Nathan Lieuwen stopped 37 of 44 shots faced, while Nathan Lawson stopped 31 of 34.
That wasn’t all for the month of November, as yet again the Rochester Americans met the Binghamton Senators on November 16.
Unfortunately for Rochester, the result was the same as the previous meeting, and the Senators won 7-3. Once again, six Binghamton players had multi-point performances, including Da Costa, Mike Hoffman and Shane Prince.
Mike Zigomanis had a pair of goals for the Amerks, while Joel Armia also tallied for Rochester. The goaltending battle was back to Hackett vs. Hammond; on the Rochester side of things, Matt Hackett stopped 31 of 37 shots faced. (One Binghamton goal was an empty-netter.) On the other side of things, Andrew Hammond also had 31 saves.
After tonight’s meeting in Rochester, the Amerks and Senators will face each other four more times before the end of the regular season. They’ll meet in Binghamton on January 25 and March 15, with games in Rochester on March 12 and April 4.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Rochester: Phil Varone is THE player to watch for the Rochester Americans. Not only does he lead the team in scoring – 29 points in 32 games – he also leads the Amerks in points against the Senators this season. Varone is the only player on the Amerks squad to have at least a point in each of the three meetings with Binghamton. Mike Zigomanis also has three points against Binghamton this year, but he’s out with an upper-body injury for at least another week. Another player to keep an eye on may be Kevin Sundher, who has three points (all assists) against the Senators this season.
Binghamton: Mike Hoffman, Cole Schneider and Stephane Da Costa are three players to watch tonight; all have at least a point in each of the three games against Rochester this season. Hoffman is second in the AHL in points scoring (39) and leads the Senators across the board in goals, assists and points. He’s fourth in the league in shots on goal (111) and is also lethal on the powerplay, with seven of his goals coming that way. Hoffman has seven points (4-3) against Rochester. Schneider has four points against Rochester, while Da Costa leads the way with an incredible nine points (3-6) against the Amerks this season.
- Tonight’s game is being televised on TWCSN.
- Following tonight’s game, the Rochester Americans face a home-and-home series against the Hamilton Bulldogs this weekend.