Breaking Down The Rochester Americans' Schedule

20140827-2014-15AmerksSchedule-page-0The American Hockey League released its 2014-15 season schedule this morning, with the Rochester Americans set to begin their 76-game season against the Adirondack Flames on Friday, October 10th.

This season will see the Rochester Americans face off against 15 AHL teams over the period from October 10 until the end of the regular season on April 19.

The Amerks will play an astounding 12 games against the Adirondack Flames, new AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames and new member of the North Division.

One of the highlights of the Rochester Americans season for Sabres fans will be a game at the First Niagara Center on Wednesday, October 29.

Just a week after Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters play at FNC, Buffalo will host the Amerks and the Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, in a 7:05 p.m. tilt.

Having the Amerks in Buffalo on a weeknight is probably a bit challenging — especially for fans in Rochester who hate to think about missing a game and thus will have to make the drive down the 90 in order to catch that game. But it fits nicely into the schedule, and as an Amerks fan in Buffalo, it’s great to see the team here even once a season. I’m not sure any other NHL team does that; it’s definitely one of the perks of having your NHL and AHL clubs located fairly close to each other. Naturally, the Bulldogs make sense as an opponent since they’re the closest AHL team to Buffalo — closer even than Rochester, in fact.

Here’s how the Rochester Americans 2014-2015 schedule breaks down:

  • vs. Adirondack Flames — 12 games
  • vs. Hamilton Bulldogs, Toronto Marlies & Utica Comets — 10 games each
  • vs. Syracuse Crunch — 8 games
  • vs. Lake Erie Monsters, Grand Rapids Griffins & Binghamton Senators — 4 games each
  • Plus two games each versus Chicago, Iowa, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Rockford, San Antonio and Texas

Binghamton and Syracuse are the only teams in the Eastern Conference that the Rochester Americans will face this season.

They won’t play the newly-formed Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Portland, Albany, Hershey, Providence, Springfield, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Bridgeport, Manchester, St. John’s, Worcester, Norfolk and Hartford are also off the Amerks’ radar this season. This will be just the second time in 59 years that the Amerks and Bears won’t face each other.

The lone team in the Western Conference that the Amerks won’t face this season is the Charlotte Checkers, who have been in the AHL since 2011 and have yet to play Rochester at home or on the road.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the way the AHL sets up its schedule. I understand wanting to keep travel to a minimum and thus playing some teams more than others, but the fact that you’re literally not seeing HALF of the league in the regular season is a bit excessive. The AHL rotates its schedule so all teams do play each other within a few years, but still.

The Calder Cup Champions Texas Stars will be in Rochester on Friday, February 20. The Amerks will visit Cedar Park a month prior on January 14. Both of those games should be good battles as the Stars look to defend their league championship victory.

Aside from the game in Buffalo, there are a few other days of note on the Rochester Americans schedule:

  • Eight-game homestand between December 13 and January 2. Hamilton, Syracuse (twice), Adirondack, Milwaukee, Lake Erie, Toronto and Iowa will all visit Rochester during that time, that also includes the break for the holidays from 12/20 until 12/26 and no game on New Year’s Day.
  • Eight-game road trip from January 24 until February 11. The Amerks will visit Adirondack (twice), Syracuse, Chicago, Grand Rapids (twice), Milwaukee and Utica. The road trip includes back-to-back games in Grand Rapids on February 6 and 7.
  • A pair of home games against Grand Rapids around Thanksgiving. The Griffins will play the Amerks the day before AND the day after Thanksgiving, with both games starting at 7:05 p.m.
  • Several morning/afternoon games, including several 3 p.m. tilts in Toronto, a 10:15 a.m. “school day” game in Hamilton in November, an afternoon (3:o5 p.m.) home game against Syracuse on New Year’s Eve and another school day game at Lake Erie in February (10:45 a.m. start).
  • Two-game road trip to close the season. The Rochester Americans will finish out the year with games in Binghamton and Adirondack on April 18 and 19.
  • Final home game on Friday, April 17 against the Utica Comets.

The AHL All-Star Classic events will take place on January 25 and 26. Last season, Amerks defenseman Brayden McNabb represented as the AHL All-Stars faced Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League.Which Amerks player will be named to the team this year? Could it be Luke Adam, Phil Varone or Nicholas Deslauriers — or perhaps a goaltender such as Lieuwen or Makarov?

It’ll be a busy season for the Amerks, who will face seven three-in-three sets this year. Compare that to four three-in-threes last season and you’ve definitely got a challenge on your hands. Those sets are all Friday-Saturday-Sundays, except for one Thursday thru Sunday set (April 9-11).

Looking at the schedule, things will get rough towards the end of the year for the Amerks. In the final month of the AHL regular season, they face four sets of three-in-threes.

This season is bound to be an interesting one for the Amerks. The introductions of new players like Zac Dalpe to the mix will bring new energy to the Rochester lineup. The goaltending triad of Nathan Lieuwen, Matt Hackett and Andrey Makarov will provide some interesting tales as the three compete for the starting spot in Rochester (though Makarov will likely end up in the ECHL for now). Plus the loss of players like Kevin Porter and Nick Crawford will leave some questions heading into October.

The full Rochester Americans schedule is listed at the side of this article (click to expand). It’s also available in PDF format here.

So now that the schedule is out, it’s time to start planning those trips! Which games are you looking forward to the most? How do you feel about seeing Adirondack TWELVE times, and a few other teams ten times each? And how about that game in Buffalo?

Individual ticket information for Rochester Americans games will be released soon.

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