(Photo: Melissa Kania)

Pre-Game Primer: Amerks vs. Iowa Wild

The Amerks head out on a four-game road trip that begins tonight in Iowa as they face the Wild in an 8:05 p.m. matchup.

Tonight’s game is the second meeting of the season between the two teams, and comes just eight days after the Amerks defeated the Wild 3-2 at home in overtime.

That game saw Erik Haula score twice for the Wild, while Amerks regulation goals came from Jamie Tardif and Johan Larsson. Phil Varone scored in overtime to give Rochester the extra point and the victory, while Nathan Lieuwen had 18 saves.

Lieuwen, in fact, is on a pretty good stretch of his own right now. He’s started seven of the last 10 games for the Amerks, including each of the last three games. His start on Saturday against Hamilton came due to a flu bug that hit the Amerks, taking down Matt Hackett who may otherwise have tended net that night. Overall, Lieuwen has won five of the last seven games he’s started.

The Amerks have won three of their last four games and are currently coming off a 3-2 victory over Hamilton on Saturday. They’ve earned at least a point in each of their last four games and look to extend that streak tonight.

The Wild, meanwhile, are looking to end a two-game losing streak. After falling to the Amerks on February 19 in overtime, they defeated the Lake Erie Monsters two days later; however, after that, they fell to Lake Erie the next day and then lost to Rockford at home on Tuesday.

The Amerks have been doing well lately, going 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games. Iowa…. not so much. The Wild are 3-5-1-1 in their last ten. The teams are separated by seven points in the standings.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Amerks forward Luke Adam is carrying a two-game point streak into tonight’s matchup with Iowa. He has 11 points total this month, including three points (1-2) in the last two games. Adam leads the Amerks team in goals and points, as well as in power-play goals — 11 of his 22 goals this season have come with the man advantage.

Brayden McNabb is also looking to extend his two-game point streak (1-2).

Johan Larsson will look to create a streak of his own, as he recently saw a four-game point streak end. Other Amerks that have been hot this month include Rasmus Ristolainen and Phil Varone, who each have seven points in February. Varone leads the Amerks in assists (28) and is tied with Adam for the points lead (40).

Wild left winger Erik Haula has 10 points in his last seven games, including five goals and five assists. Haula leads Iowa in goals (14) and is second on the team in points (27). The good news for the Amerks, however, is that Haula is up with the Minnesota Wild right now; he was recalled by the NHL squad on February 24.

Top defensive producer Brian Connelly was traded yesterday to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Defenseman Jonathon Blum has five points in nine games in the month of February. Blum has 26 points (7-19) in 44 games this season, including a team-high six power play goals. That’s right – six of his seven goals this season have come on the power play.

Rookie forward Raphael Bussieres has two points in his last three games, so he’ll look to continue on a hot streak in tonight’s meeting with Rochester.

Tonight’s game begins at 8:05 p.m. EST (7:05 p.m. CST). Catch the game on AHL Live, or listen to audio (Iowa feed) here.

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Tags: AHL Iowa Wild Rochester Americans

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