**This Week’s Storylines**
A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD
- Rochester embarks on its final three games prior to the annual All-Star break beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 22 when they travel to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for a North Division showdown against the Cleveland Monsters at 7:00 p.m. The Amerks will then close out the weekend as they host the Laval Rocket at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday, Jan. 24 before facing the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday, Jan. 25.
- Rochester shows a record of 28-7-3-4 since the start of the 2011-12 seasons against Cleveland and a 11-3-0 record all-time record versus Laval.
- Saturday’s contest with Syracuse will be the 263rd all-time meeting between the Amerks and Crunch. The Amerks hold a 138-116-8 lifetime record versus Syracuse and have posted a 9-5-1-1 record over the last 16 games. Additionally, Rochester has scored a power-play goal in 13 of its last 26 contests against the Crunch, going 18-for-109 (16.5%) with the man-advantage over that span.
AMERKS GET THREE FORWARDS FROM BUFFALO
- The Buffalo Sabres reassigned forwards Rasmus Asplund and Scott Wilson as well as defenseman Lawrence Pilut to the Amerks on Sunday.
- Asplund returns to Rochester after spending nearly three months during his first-career recall with the Sabres.
- The Swedish forward posted three points (1+2) in 28 contests since making his NHL debut for Buffalo back on Nov. 16 against Ottawa. He recorded his first NHL point on Jimmy Vesey’s second-period goal against Calgary on Nov. 27 and scored his first NHL goal at the 19:01 mark of Buffalo’s 7-1 rout over New Jersey on Dec. 2.
- Wilson and Pilut both return following their first and second recalls of the season, respectively. Pilut registered five shots in six games with the Sabres while Wilson posted three shots in two contests.
- Defenseman Lawrence Pilut and goaltender Jonas Johansson have been named to the North Division All-Star roster for the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport. The annual event will take place Jan. 26-27 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif., home of the Ontario Reign. The Swedish duo will also be joined by Amerks head coach Chris Taylor, who clinched the honor of coaching the North Division squad.
SHARING THE CREASE
- Anchored by the goaltending tandem of veteran Andrew Hammond and third-year pro Jonas Johansson, the Amerks own one of the top defenses in AHL, having allowed only 108 goals through the first 40 games of the season, the third-fewest in the AHL coming into this week. The duo has also combined for six shutouts and continue to rank among the AHL’s goaltending leaders with 10 and 11 wins on the season, respectively.
- Hammond (10-9-2) ranks second among all netminders after notching his fourth shutout of the season back on Dec. 14 in a 5-0 win over Laval, a new career-high. With four shutouts through just 23 games this season, he’s on pace to match the franchise record for most shutouts in a season (8) set by Ryan Miller during the 2004-05 campaign.
- Having won nine of his last 11 appearances, Johansson shows an AHL career-best 11-3-3 record with two shutouts this season. He has the fifth-best goal-against average in the league (2.23) and ranks sixth among all netminders with a .924 save percentage in 18 games. Dating back to Nov. 13, the third-year netminder boasts an impressive 9-1-1 record with two shutouts, a 2.15 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage while allowing just two goals or less in six consecutive starts over that span.
- Jean-Sebastien Dea continues to lead the team in both goals (12) and points (28) in 38 games this season. Coming into week, Dea, who is also second among all Amerks forwards with 74 shots on goal, has 10 points (2+8) in his last 13 games dating back to Dec. 20.
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 2019-20 season is just a different chapter in the same story for the 31-year-old Redmond, who hasn’t gone more than five games without a point all season. The two-time AHL All-Star and reigning Eddie Shore Award winner is tied for 10th in scoring among all defensemen with 24 points and ranks 10th with a team-high 19 assists. He’s also tied for 20th for goals by a defenseman with five through 37 games this season.
- Back from his second recall with the Sabres, Pilut has 16 points (4+12) over his last 21 games dating back to Nov. 15, including goals in three of his last seven outings. Having already established a new AHL career-high in goals, the former SHL Defenseman of the Year is also on pace to set a new career-high in points.
- After missing two games and returning to the lineup this past Friday night, Nelson is tied for 13th among all active blueliners with a team-best plus-13 on-ice rating through 35 games.
- Rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson is 18th in the AHL for all first-year players with a plus-6 on-ice rating while being the only Amerk to appear in all 40 games so far this season.