Overreactions, Amerks in Buffalo Edition

(I can’t find any acceptable shots in Americans gear)

First Niagara Center has been noticeably empty this October, but for at least one night, there was some hockey at the foot of Washington Street.

Buffalo’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans (the team also known as the Amerks) hosted the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of a content crowd announced of almost 11,000 at the Sabres’ home rink. Featuring young bucks who’d have likely been in blue and gold like Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno, the Amerks defeated the Bulldogs 3-1.

Hopping out to a first period lead on a bouncing shot from the point off the stick of the mighty Joe Finley, the Amerks surrendered the lead with about eight minutes left in the second on a goal by Hamilton’s Michael Bournival. Cody Hodgson answered right back to retake the lead at 2-1.

T.J. Brennan added an insurance goal with Rochester on a two-man advantage late in the third to secure the victory.

Williamsville native David Leggio had 36 saves in his hometown for the Americans.

While no other Amerks games are scheduled for First Niagara Center, pending the current labor situation with the big leagues, that can change.

  • Cody Hodgson looked like the most polished player on the ice. Makes sense, but still. Hard to judge what the offseason training did for him because you don’t know what the talent disparity between leagues is, but he’s putting up numbers. Which is nice.
  • Really impressed with Mark Pysyk, he seemed very mature for it being his sixth professional game. Smart with the puck.
  • They announced the crowd at 10,896 or something like that, but from experience in minor league ticketing, good luck finding anywhere near that many in the building, staff included. Couldn’t have been more than 9,000 fans here.
  • While the turnout for an AHL game on a Tuesday night wasn’t that bad overall considering how disenfranchised fans are right now and it being October, the marketing for the game could’ve been much better. So many more things could have been done to bring in fans. They should’ve at least been forced to open the 300 level to accommodate.
  • T.J. Brennan’s got a hell of a shot. Big fan of his game. Other than a few poor plays in the defensive zone, he had a good game.
  • As far as Zemgus Girgensons goes, he did some nice things in limited action. He’s going to need developing before he sniffs the show. That said, he made some concerted efforts to be a physical presence (such as skating backwards across the width of the ice to line somebody up in the second period) and made concerted efforts overall. Like what I see.
  • Marcus Foligno is physically a beast. Next question.
  • Joe Finley got credited with the first goal, but I’m still not convinced it wasn’t touched at least once, if not twice on the way in the net. Replays were scarce. Such is AHL life.
  • Brayden McNabb was unremarkable.
  • For being on a line with Hodgson and Foligno, Evan Rankin had a very rough go of it. He picked up an assist on his incredible effort to get hit by Cody Hodgson’s shot and have the puck fall right back to Hodgson’s stick. Some questionable passes and turnovers marred some breakouts. Weak link on this night.
  • Luke Adam, what happened? He had a few nice chances, made some good plays, but overall didn’t look anything like the kid who was in the Calder race this time last year.
  • I liked Frederick Roy. Was a pest and didn’t make horrible plays despite being on the fourth line. Seems like he can play wherever he’s asked. Good asset, looking forward to see what he can do.

Now we wait. When’s the next game at this arena? And who the hell is going to be playing in it?

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Posted on October 23, 2012, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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