**This Week’s Storylines**
A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD
- Rochester opens the first full week of February beginning on Wednesday 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 welcome back the Syracuse Crunch back to The Blue Cross Arena on Friday, Feb. 7 before facing the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4:00 p.m.
- Rochester shows a record of 29-7-3-4 since the start of the 2011-12 seasons against Cleveland and a 11-5-1-1 record in their last 18 games against Syracuse, which includes a 5-1-0-0 this season.
- Saturday’s contest with Toronto will be the 124th all-time meeting between the Amerks and Marlies. The Amerks hold a 50-69-4 lifetime record versus Toronto and have posted a 6-2-1-0 record over the last nine games. In 15 of the last 21 meetings dating back to the 2016-17 season, the team that scored first has gone on to come away with the victory.
- The month of February is by far the busiest for the Amerks, who in all, will play a total of 14 games. The highlight of the month is a season-long six-game homestand over a 13-day span that follows a four-game road swing. Of Rochester’s 14 games this month, 11 will be played against North Division opponents with the only exceptions being a two-game road set in Charlotte against the defending Calder Cup champion Checkers and the final meeting of the season against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday, Feb. 21.A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD
AMERKS STREAKING INTO FEBRUARY
- Beginning with their 3-2 overtime win against Cleveland on Jan. 22, the Amerks are currently riding a five-game winning streak. In each of the five contests, the Amerks have held the opponent to two goals while outscoring them by a combined score of 18-10.
- During Rochester’s second five-game win streak of the season, the club has used the goaltending trio of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Jonas Johansson, and Andrew Hammond.
- In addition to relying on the goaltending trio, the Amerks have had five different game-winning goal-scorers during that stretch.
SHARING THE CREASE
- Anchored by the goaltending tandem of veteran Andrew Hammond and third-year pro Jonas Johansson, who’s currently on recall with the parent Buffalo Sabres, the Amerks own one of the top defenses in AHL having allowed only 118 goals through the first 45 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 12 and 13 wins on the season, respectively.
- Hammond (12-9-2) 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 25 games this season, he’s on pace to tie the franchise record for most shutouts in a season (8) set by Ryan Miller during the 2004-05 campaign.
- Johansson, whose first NHL recall came just days after representing Rochester at the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic in Ontario, Calif., owns a career-best 13-3-3 record with two shutouts this season. He had the third-best goal-against average in the league (2.19) and ranked fourth among all netminders with a .925 save percentage in 20 games leading up his NHL promotion. Dating back to Nov. 13, the third-year netminder boasts an impressive 11-1-1 record with two shutouts, a 2.11 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage while allowing just two goals or less in eight starts over that span.
- Prior to earning his second recall of the season to the Sabres last Friday, Jean-Sebastien Deabecame the first Amerk to reach the 30-point plateau in 41 games and is tied with Andrew Oglevie for the team lead in goals (13). Coming into week, Dea, who is also second among all Amerks forwards with 84 shots on goal, has 12 points (3+9) in his last 16 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 presently 13th in scoring amongst all defensemen with 27 points and ranks 10th with a team-high 22 assists, nine of which have come on the power-play.
- Back with Buffalo for his third recall of the season, Pilut has 17 points (5+12) over his last 22 games dating back to Nov. 15, including goals in four of his last eight outings. Having already established a new AHL career-high in goals (6), the former SHL Defenseman of the Year is also on pace to set a new career-high in points.
- Nelson is tied for ninth among all blueliners with a team-best plus-18 on-ice rating through 41 games while rookie Jacob Bryson is tied for 13th among all first-year players with a plus-9 on-ice rating.