Recap: San Antonio Rampage @ Amerks, 02.11.12
“I don’t know if I can live without you, I don’t know if it’s much better when you’re there.” (Wideawake, Not So Far Away)
I will not make this a post scapegoating Luke Adam. I will not make this a post scapegoating Luke Adam. I will not make this a post scapegoating Luke Adam. I will not make this a post scapegoating Luke Adam. Because, maybe if I say it enough, I actually WON’T make this a post scapegoating Luke Adam. Because, in all seriousness, there were a lot of things that weren’t right in the Amerks’ 4-1 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.
The Rochester Americans welcomed the former Rochester Americans to the Blue Cross arena, which may be a bit confusing if you’re not on the up-and-up about the workings of the AHL. When Terry Pegula bought the Buffalo Sabres, a lot of us here in Rochester thought, “Hm. Well. Maybe Terry will buy us, too! And all will be right with the world again in Rochester hockey.” However, many (if not all) signs pointed well away from that. In true Western NY sports fan tradition, we kept hoping for the best. Contrary to Western NY sports fan tradition … we actually got what we wanted. Pegula and Co. purchased the Amerks, and brought the Portland Pirates 2010-11 team here (with a few additions and subtractions along the way), sending the 2010-11 Amerks to San Antonio (also with additions and subtractions) to remain under the care of the Panthers organization. I hope that makes sense. As sad as we were to see the Amerks we’d watched for three seasons go, a lot of hope came in with this new club. The Amerks of yore were a dull club, at best, who consistently played a boring “we’d rather be anywhere else except right here, right now” brand of hockey.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Going into this game against the Rampage, I think that a lot of Amerks fans thought, “Hell, we’ve got this! We’re SO MUCH BETTER this season! We scored NINE GOALS against Texas last night! Last season’s Amerks were terrible! AND WE HAVE LUKE ADAM NOW.” Yeah, well … while the Rampage continue to play that boring, straight forward, lack of physicality style of hockey, they were able to get the job done over Rochester.
All in all, I hate to say, I don’t have much to say about the game. I’ve been watching hockey my whole life, and this was one of the most dreadfully boring games I’ve witnessed. The Amerks looked lost and out of place all night. While it looked like Drew MacIntyre was catching few cat naps on the bench, David Leggio was equally sleepy-looking in net. In the first period, Adam went off on a tripping call and San Antonio capitalized, with a goal that did all but crawl over the line. It was like watching a goal happen in instant replay slow motion. The Amerks went into the first intermission trailing in all aspects of the game except penalty minutes.
The second period showed a bit of promise, as TJ Brennan scored what would be the Amerks lone goal of the game at the 8 minute mark, with assists to Szczechura and Schiestel. Former Amerks’ Michal Repik and Bill Thomas put the Amerks into a deep hole, however, sending both teams into the second intermission with the Rampage up 4-1. One of Repik’s two goals was on the power play, as Adam took a seat for a second time. The Amerks would not recover in the third, and the game decidedly went to the Rampage.
In all seriousness about Luke Adam … Guys, I’m glad to see Adam in the red, white, and blue, in Rochester instead of wasting away in the press box in Buffalo. His play last night was not that different than his play has been in Buffalo, and that’s why he’s here. If anyone truly expected him to come out on that ice and be a complete rockstar during this game, you should evaluate your status as a hockey fan. Could he have played better? Sure. But he’s playing with a bunch of guys he’s never played with before, and went 20 games (?) with no points and about 238402803427582 errors before landing here. Give him time. I think that he will adapt to playing in Rochester, get his legs back, and get back to the big dance. I’m interested to see what he looks like going forward. He has a lot to offer this team and this team has a lot to offer him in return. He was NOT the reason that the Amerks lost this game against the Rampage, and he likely won’t be the reason that the Amerks lose games in the future.
Game notes … The Amerks currently sit in the 9th position in the West, having played 50 games and holding a 22-19-6-3 record. They are 5-4-1-0 in their last ten games. As their record has been pretty spectacular at home as of late, it may work out to their benefit that they have five more home games in February … While the Rampage went 2-for-3 on the power play, the Amerks were unable to capitalize on any of their three PP chances … Mark Voakes lead all Amerks with 4 shots, while Derek Whitmore, Travis Turnbull, and Paul Szczechura each had three … Seven former Amerks were in the Rampage lineup, with four of them getting points in this game.
On February 17, the Amerks welcome the Lake Erie Monsters back to the Arena for the third of their six meetings this season and the first game of a home-and-home series with LEM, as well as the first game of a three-in-three weekend for the Amerks, who face the Hamilton Bulldogs on February 19. The Amerks have won their first two meetings with the Monsters this season. The Amerks haven’t fared as well against the rival Bulldogs this season, and being able to pick up 5 or 6 points against these two teams would be huge in the push to the playoffs. I will be taking up residence at the Blue Cross Arena, between Amerks games on February 17 and 19 and the Knighthawks game on the 18, so say hi if you see me!