3MI Roadtrip Recap: University of Sabres Doubleheader

In place of a traditional “Overreactions” post, which would be extremely tardy, this is 3MI Roadtrip Recap. A mix of what the postgame blogs usually look like and a look into the trip. Hope you like it. If you don’t, feel free to move to the Congo.)

Preamble

Not often that you get opportunities to see your team play twice in one day. Well, sort of.

Couple weeks ago a buddy of mine alerted me that the Rochester Americans were playing a weekday morning game in Toronto. He suggested we go for the 11am start. Oh, and the Sabres were hosting the Bruins the same night. What are the odds? Luckily, getting a day off work was feasible, and it worked out great. Easy drive Sabres game didn’t start until 7:30. Plenty of time.

So we hit the road early and headed up the QEW to Toronto to see the Sabres’ minor-league affiliate play the Leafs affiliate to start one hell of a day.

Rochester Americans @ Toronto Marlies
Viewed at: Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Amerks have had their struggles with injuries. With Joe Finley out with a lower body injury, facing a Toronto team they’ve had tough games against this season, things didn’t get much better.

Getting an early start in front of thousands of school kids, the Rochester Americans lost 4-3 to the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.

Rookie Zack Kassian scored twice for Rochester, who now sits 9th in the AHL’s Western Conference.

Max Legault scored the other goal for the Amerks. David Leggio made 21 saves in the loss.

Rochester struggled offensively for much of the game, generating just ten shots through two periods. Kassian’s second goal came with under four seconds left.

  • Kassian looked like the Kassian we know. Wasn’t throwing his weight around, but strong physically and good around the net. He’s not going to be the player everyone wants him to be. He’ll be good though.
  • Made an effort to watch Dennis Persson as much as I could. Seems like he’s slowly becoming a bit steadier. His selection was always assumed to be under the intention that he’d grow into a Henrik Tallinder-type, and I can see it. Tallinder took his sweet time developing. Persson is progressing slowly as well. Not ready to say “bust” yet. He was -2 on Wednesday.
  • If you’re into roadtrips, I highly recommend heading up to Ricoh for a game. Beautiful little AHL arena. Very intimate environment.
  • Travis Turnbull is a guy that can be a mainstay on the Amerks for a few years. A joy to watch. Plays with a lot of intensity and spunk. Had a nice scrap with Toronto’s Kelsey Wilson.
  • I submit the Marlies’ ice girls as Exhibit A for why they are a positive addition to a game atmosphere. Wow.
  • Drew Schiestel looked really good to me. He’s been on the verge of deserving a recall for a couple years. He’s struggled with injuries, but I liked his game. Solid.
  • Seeing Mike Ryan out there, I still wonder how he got so much time on the Sabres’ roster a few years back. More speed than hands. Hell, more looks than hands. He doesn’t have good hands.
  • I’d like to see the Sabres and Amerks try to work some more day-night games into the schedule next year, like an afternoon Amerks game and evening Sabres game. I bet you could get a good amount of people trying to do both if you market it right.
  • Brayden McNabb looked like the best defenseman on the ice for both teams. Good. Let him get used to that feeling before you worry about getting him in a Sabres uniform for good.
  • I tried letting Toronto’s Mike Zigomanis know that I was coming, hoping I could meet him after the game. I don’t think he got the fax though. Still funny.

We were back on the road before 2:00, which gave us plenty of time to beat any semblance of afternoon traffic. We got back to Niagara Falls and grabbed some food and entertained ourselves for a bit.

[Events occurring between 3:30pm ET and 5:00pm ET redacted.]

Bruins @ Sabres
Viewed at: First Niagara Center, Buffalo

Ryan Miller was spectacular. When Ryan Miller is spectacular, usually the team will come away with points.

Goals usually help too.

Facing the team that seemed to bring out the worst in them back in November, the Sabres played possibly their best game of the season, earning a 6-0 victory in front of the home crowd.

Captain Jason Pominville scored twice for Buffalo, who won their fourth in five games. The Sabres also got tallies from Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford and the night’s lightning rod, Patrick Kaleta.

Kaleta was in top form, goading the Bruins into multiple penalties and taking on Boston’s Milan Lucic in a scrap.

The first star was Miller, making 36 saves for his 25th career shutout.

Buffalo’s scant playoff hopes remain alive. If this game showed anything, it showed that the team that was expected to contend still has something in the tank.

  • If it weren’t for the fact that the league’s supplemental discipline system is so fucked, I’d think Shawn Thornton would be up for a suspension for jumping off the bench and jumping Mike Weber. Rule 70.2 indicates that it would be justified. He received an instigator. But I don’t expect it. Shit, they barely call penalties as it is.
  • Best part about Leino’s goal wasn’t the spin-pass to Pominville, but Ville juking the shit out of Boychuk at the blueline. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
  • Doc Emrick is the best. I counted four references to Drew Stafford going to North Dakota alone. Also snuck in a Nathan Gerbe-Boston College shout-out as well.
  • For being a rough-and-tumble rout of a hated rival, the crowd was dead. Same garbage that I’ve complained about in the past reared its ugly head. If the people dining at your restaurant are complaining about the food, you tweak the recipe until you get it right. If you can’t get the right recipe to satisfy the customers, then you gotta look and see if your cook is good enough. I think it’s approaching the time where you need to get rid of the cook.
  • Tyler Ennis had a great game. A beauty of a goal and an assist on the last-minute marker by Stafford. The kid is a big reason for the recent success.
  • Ville Leino is finally getting rewarded for his efforts. Two assists and a +3 rating. Hopefully he keeps it up.
  • The fourth line was hardly relevant, save for Cody McCormick’s early scrap with Thornton. The lack of depth there will hurt this team if they try to make a run.
  • The goal song is a solid pick. I wouldn’t call “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys inspired, because it’s just a great song with that sing-songy type thing that everyone loves for a goal song since “Chelsea Dagger” took over the world. Good pick, but it’s not an unearthed gem like “Beautiful” was.
  • Lost count of how many fake Bruins jerseys I saw. Would’ve been easier to count the real ones. Typical bandwagon.

Posted on February 9, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great blog post. Sounds like you had an epic great time. I’m sure your friend enjoyed it as well.

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