The Rochester Americans host a pair of home games this weekend before heading off on a four-game road trip. The Amerks will face San Antonio on Friday before hosting Hamilton the following day. After that, the team won’t play in Rochester until March 7.
As the weekend begins, the Rochester Americans are coming off consecutive overtime victories over the Texas Stars and the Iowa Wild. Last Sunday, the Amerks rallied from a 3-0 deficit to eventually win the game 5-4 in overtime.
Texas’ Cameron Gaunce opened the scoring just 29 seconds in. Matej Stransky and Colton Sceviour added goals in the third, putting Rochester in a hole early on. The Amerks, however, weren’t ready to lie down. Phil Varone scored his ninth goal of the season to kick things off for Rochester, with Johan Larsson and Dan Catenacci also adding goals in the middle frame.
With the game tied at three, Texas’ Taylor Peters scored late in the second to regain the lead for Texas. Despite all of that, it still wasn’t over, as Colton Gillies tied the game once more, scoring 3:25 into the third period. Phil Varone would complete the comeback with the overtime-winning goal, his 10th of the year.
Nathan Lieuwen had 22 saves in the win.
This past Wednesday, it was a little bit of the same, as the Rochester Americans once again came out on top in overtime thanks to a goal by Phil Varone.
The Wild kicked things off with a goal from Erik Haula near the end of the first period. Jamie Tardif tied things at one in the second period, but Haula notched his second of the night in the third period to give Iowa the lead.
Exactly seven minutes later, Johan Larsson tied the game on the power play.
And for the second game in a row, Phil Varone played the hero, winning the game for Rochester in overtime. Once again, Nathan Lieuwen tended goal for the Amerks, stopping 18 of 20 shots faced.
Heading into this weekend’s games, center Phil Varone leads the Amerks with 38 points in 43 games this season. Luke Adam leads the team with 21 goals, while Varone leads with 27 assists. Right wing Jamie Tardif has also been solid this season, notching 32 points (16-16) in 37 games. Center Johan Larsson has 30 points in 29 games.
The Rochester Americans will kick off the weekend by hosting the San Antonio Rampage, who sit six points below them in the AHL Western Conference standings. The Rampage are 22-21-3-5 on the season (compared to the Amerks’ 26-18-3-3). Both teams have done extremely well lately, going 7-0-2-1 (SA) and 7-3-0-0 (RCH) in their last ten games.
The Rampage are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Monday. The team has had several days off – compared to the Amerks, who played just Wednesday- so it’ll be interesting to see if that time off helps or hurts them in any way.
Rookie center Vincent Trocheck leads the Rampage across the board in goals (15), assists (21) and points (36). Bobby Butler also has 15 goals on the season, with 17 assists added on to that. The Amerks should also keep watch on Greg Rallo and Quinton Howden, two more of the top-producing players on the Rampage.
Friday’s game is the second meeting of the season between the Rampage and the Americans. Rochester won the first meeting, a 3-2 victory on January 18.
Following Friday’s meeting with San Antonio, the Amerks will host the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday. Hamilton sits nine points below Rochester in the standings, with a record of 22-23-1-4. They’re coming off a loss to San Antonio, but host the Binghamton Senators at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC on Friday night before heading to Rochester for Saturday’s matchup.
Hamilton’s leading scorer is captain Martin St. Pierre, who has 35 points (8-27) in 47 games. Rookie Sven Andrighetto leads the team with 12 goals, so he’s also one to watch out for. Mike Blunden, Gabriel Dumont and Louis Leblanc are others that the Amerks should watch for in Saturday’s meeting. Also: former Amerks Nick Tarnasky and Drew Schiestel — though the latter has been scratched on and off throughout the season.
Saturday’s game marks the seventh of eight meetings this season between Rochester and Hamilton. The Rochester Americans have won four of the six meetings to date, including the most recent one – a 3-1 victory in Hamilton on January 11. The teams will meet one last time on April 12 in Hamilton to close out the season series.