**This Week’s Storylines**
By splitting a weekend set with the defending the Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers, the Amerks open the second week of December with points in 17 of their last 20 games overall, going 13-3-2-2 over that span, while also earning 34 out of a possible 46 points through their first 23 contests of the season. Rochester suffered its first loss in regulation since Oct. 30 on Saturday as they came up short in a 3-1 setback in the second-half of the two-game set to the Checkers. Prior to the loss, the Amerks produced a 12-game point streak, showing a 10-0-1-1 record dating back to Nov. 1. Rochester begins the week three points behind the Toronto Marlies for the top spot in the AHL’s North Division.
After an injury-riddled rookie season limited him to just 28 games, Andrew Oglevie has certainly made up for lost time in his second season with the Amerks. In just two months’ time, Oglevie has already surpassed his goal (5), assist (5) and point (10) total from last season and now paces the Amerks with nine goals and 17 points and is tied for fifth in assists (8). Oglevie, who’s one of just three skaters to appear in all 23 games this season, enters the week with 11 points (7+4) over his last 10 games, which included a career-long seven-game point streak that produced his first hat trick. Rookie forward Brett Murray enters the week with one goal, six assists and a pair of multi-point efforts over his last eight games. He’s currently tied for 13th in scoring among all AHL rookies with 14 points (3+11) in 18 games while being held off the scoresheet only seven times this season. Centering Murray and Oglevie is veteran Kevin Porter, who’s second on the team with 16 points while his six goals are tied for third-best through 23 games this season.
THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE
Rochester owns three of the AHL’s top point-producing defensemen in Zach Redmond, Casey Nelson and Lawrence Pilut, all of whom have been mainstays on Rochester’s blueline this season.The start of the 2019-20 season is just a different chapter in the same story for the 31-year-old Redmond, who’s averaged nearly a point-per-game through his first 20 games of the season. The reigning Eddie Shore Award winner and two-time AHL All-Star is currently tied for 10th in scoring among all defensemen with 16 points and ranks ninth with a team-high 13 assists. Casey Nelsonranks fifth among all active blueliners with a plus-13 on-ice rating. Since returning from the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 3, Pilut has registered eight points (1+7) over his last 10 games dating back to Nov. 15. Rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson leads all first-year players with a plus-13 on-ice rating.
Through their first 23 games of the season so far, Rochester has appeared in eight contests that went beyond regulation for the Amerks, the third-most behind only Hartford. The Amerks, who tied an AHL record during the 2017-18 season with 29 overtime games, are 3-2 in the bonus period this season and show a 1-2 record in the shootout.
One of the biggest factors attributed to Rochester’s early season success is the fact that the Amerks have outshot their opponents in all but three games so far this season, including a season-high 50 shots in Springfield back on Oct. 27. The Amerks come into the week ranked sixth in the AHL in total shots (762) and are averaging 33.13 shots per game, the most behind only the Iowa Wild and San Antonio Rampage. Going into the Nov. 15 matchup against Binghamton, the Amerks were the only team in the league to have outshoot their opponent through the first 14 games of the 2019-20 campaign.
DYNAMIC DUO IN THE CREASE
Anchored by the goaltending duo of veteran Andrew Hammond and third-year pro Jonas Johansson, the Amerks own one of the top defenses in the league, having allowed 56 goals through the first 23 games of the season, the second-fewest in the AHL. Last Wednesday’s shutout against Toronto was Hammond’s third in his last seven appearances, matching his season total with the Iowa Wild last season. He boasts an 8-2-2 record this season while ranking second among all netminders in shutouts (3) and tied for 11th in wins (8). In his last seven games, Hammond has posted five wins, three shutouts, a 1.42 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage. Fresh off his first AHL shutout Friday against Charlotte, Johansson improved his record to an AHL-best 7-2-2 while also upping his personal win streak to five games. Coming into week, he owns the third-best goal-against average in the league (2.10) and is seventh with a .924 save percentage.