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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. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions, 27th Edition: Grag reflex

It’s enough to make you sick.

With the memories lingering of Philadelphia’s last visit to First Niagara Center, where the Flyers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, the Buffalo Sabres made a concerted effort to make sure that didn’t happen Wednesday night. It didn’t. In fact, it was the opposite.

Unfortunately, a 3-0 lead wasn’t enough to get the win, as Buffalo let an early advantage slip away en route to a 5-4 overtime loss. Early goals by Ville Leino, Zack Kassian and Thomas Vanek were cancelled by Philadelphia before the end of the second period, and it was a goal by Drew Stafford with just 1:35 remaining in the 3rd that saved them from walking away empty handed.

Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux ended the game midway through the extra period, as he intercepted a careless pass by Marc-Andre Gragnani in the Flyers’ end and beat Ryan Miller on the breakaway.

“I’ll take the blame for that,” Gragnani said. “If I saw him, I wouldn’t try that pass.”

Ryan Miller made 29 saves in the loss.

Buffalo seemed to be in complete control early. They a force offensively and a force physically. They responded in kind to dirty play by the Flyers. Joe Finley jumped Zac Rinaldo in the first period after he threw a high hit on Tyler Ennis. Corey Tropp later scrapped with Rinaldo after he backed away from Finley.

In the second period, it was Matt Ellis going after Flyers’ defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon after he buried Nathan Gerbe into the boards from behind. Gerbe would be knocked out for the game, and his future status is uncertain. Lindy Ruff indicated after the game that he’d expect supplemental discipline for the hit.

The Sabres have now won just one of their last seven at home.

  • Good for Ville Leino. The goal was a beautiful effort from that Kassian-Leino-Adam line, which was solid.
  • Speaking of Kassian, whenever you wanna grab #19, go ahead Zack. You should be sticking around a bit.
  • Marc-Andre Gragnani deserves to be benched for that atrocious decision in overtime. Unfortunately for everyone except whoever the Sabres play, Buffalo has no options and can’t sit him down. They need to get healthy. When they do, Marc-Andre’s status in the lineup should be considered tenuous.
  • The powerplay was quietly 2-for-4 and the penalty kill was able to survive the only shorthanded chance from the Finley penalty in the first. Special teams like that should win you games.
  • Rough night for Brayden McNabb. -3 on the night, some awful giveaways, and overall not a great effort. Luckily for him, he wasn’t first on the defensive shitlist thanks to Marc-Andre. Read the rest of this entry

3MI Roadtrip Recap: Nashville

(In place of a traditional “Overreactions” post, which would be extremely tardy, this is the newest addition to the site, 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, well, go find a bridge.)

Preamble

As a fan who is growing increasingly tiresome of the experience at First Niagara Center, as I have over the last couple years, the answer to the disinterest in attending home games is combining the desire to see the team I follow live and the joy I find in traveling. Road games are an option overlooked by many fans who don’t see it as a feasible alternative. I tend to believe that it’s a necessity.

To this point, I had seen the team in ten other cities outside of Buffalo: Boston, Carolina, Columbus, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Toronto. Each trip, each arena is a unique experience, so when I tear apart things they do at FNC that I deem awful, I actually have a lot of other exploits to base it off of.

Things worked out perfectly time-wise to return to what I consider my second home, Nashville, for Saturday night’s matchup. I lived there from this January to September, and loved every minute of it. It’s an extremely fun city if you like to party. The food is great, the people are friendly, and there’s a bevy of places to drink.

So, along with my friend Tom, I was able to go back to the place I miss so dearly, reconnect with some friends, and check another road game off the list.

Nashville is about a 10-11 hour drive from Buffalo, an extremely enjoyable ride. You pass through enough major cities to break up the trip (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville) and it’s all major highway. We left Buffalo at 8pm Thursday night and were driving around Nashville at 5am CT.

Friday
Red Wings @ Sabres
Viewed at: Broadway Brewhouse (Midtown), Nashville, TN

In a surprise to many Sabres fans, Joe Finley can not win games by himself.

The legendary rookie made his Sabres debut, but the game was never close. Detroit jumped to an early lead and cruised to victory by a score of 4-1.

Super sniper Jochen Hecht had Buffalo’s only goal midway through the third period.

“We’ve got to win a game, that’s the bottom line,” Buffalo forward Thomas Vanek said. “We’ve got to make a run here.”

Jhonas Enroth had 32 saves for the Sabres, who were outshot 18-8 in the first period and 35-28 overall.

  • Thanks to Broadway Brewhouse for being so accommodating. Nice place to watch a game, and we were joined by another group of guys who had driven down from Buffalo. Reports on the food weren’t glowing, but the beverage options were plentiful. Tom was smitten with the 73 taps at the bar.
  • We got stuck watching the game in Midtown rather than on Broadway because there was a Christmas parade. Really. A Christmas parade on December 2nd. Can’t condone that one Nashville. Read the rest of this entry
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