**This Week’s Storylines**
A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD
- Rochester continues its four-game road swing this week beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 11 with the first of back-to-back meetings against the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. The Amerks and Checkers will then conclude their season series the following night at 7:00 p.m. before Rochester closes the week-long road trip in Syracuse on Saturday with another go-around against the Crunch at Upstate Medical University Arena. The Amerks return home on Sunday, Feb. 16 when they host the Utica Comets to begin a season-long six-game homestand.
- Rochester shows a 3-7-0-0 all-time record against Charlotte while boasting an 11-6-1-1 record in their last 19 games against Syracuse, which includes a 5-2-0-0 mark this season.
- The Amerks have collected at least one point in 17 of the last 25 games against Utica dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, going 12-6-2-3 over that span while 14 of the last 23 games between the two teams have been decided by one goal.
- The Amerks come into the week eight points back of the Belleville Senators for the top spot in the AHL’s North Division standings and have a slim one-point lead on the Utica Comets. Rochester, however, has two games in hand on both the Senators and Comets.
- The month of February continues to be the busiest for the Amerks, who in all, will play a total of 10 games over a 19-day stretch beginning with their two-game road set against the Checkers Tuesday and Wednesday. The busiest stretch of the month comes later this week when the team embarks on a season-long six-game homestand over a 13-day span. Of Rochester’s 10 remaining games this month, eight will be played against North Division opponents with the only exceptions being the two in Charlotte and the final meeting of the season against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21.A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD
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 129 goals through the 48 games of the season, the fifth-fewest in the AHL coming into the week. The duo has also combined for six shutouts and rank among the AHL’s goaltending leaders as they both have 13 wins on the season.
- Hammond, who is 13-10-2 on the season, is tied for second among all netminders in shutouts after notching his fourth of the year back on Dec. 14 in a 5-0 win over Laval, a new career-high. With four shutouts through 27 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, who made his NHL debut with the Sabres on Feb. 4 against Colorado and made his first career start two nights later against Detroit, owns a career-best 13-3-3 record with two shutouts this season. Despite being on recall, he has the fourth-best goal-against average in the league (2.19) and ranks fourth among all netminders with a .925 save percentage in 20 games. Dating back to Nov. 13, the 2020 AHL All-Star selection 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.
- Jean-Sebastien Dea, who remains the only Amerk this season to reach the 30-point plateau, continues to pace the team in goals (14) and points (31) through 43 games. Coming into week, Dea, who is also second among all Amerks forwards with 85 shots on goal, has 10 points (4+6) in his last 13 games since the turn of the New Year, including goals in two of his last three outings.
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 17th in scoring amongst all defensemen with 27 points and is tied for 13th with a team-high 22 assists, nine of which have come on the power-play.
- Back with Buffalo for his fourth recall of the season, Pilut has 17 points (5+12) over his last 22 AHL games dating back to Nov. 15, including goals in four of his last nine 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 mark in points.
- Nelson is tied for seventh among all blueliners with a team-best plus-19 on-ice rating through 44 games this season while rookie Jacob Bryson is tied for 14th among all first-year players with a plus-9 on-ice rating in addition to being tied for 13th with 17 assists in 47 games.