Hamilton Bulldogs @ Amerks, 11.02.2012
“Keep your head up, love.” (The Lumineers, Stubborn Love)
There are few things I dislike more than the loser point in AHL hockey. However, when it’s the Bulldogs getting the point and the Amerks getting the win in the shootout, I suppose I can be alright with it.
The Amerks welcomed the Hamilton Bulldogs into downtown Rochester to kick off a home-and-home weekend Friday night. The ice wasn’t great, given that the circus and The Boss were in town over the last two weeks, but hockey waits for no circuses or concerts. Unsurprisingly, David Leggio took the start for Rochester, and the Bulldogs wasted no time making their presence known, garnering the first penalty of the game a mere 24 seconds into the first period. And the second, at 2:40. The grand highlight of the first period, however, came at 6:31. A goal that was initially credited to Alex Biega – with assists to Zemgus Girgensons and Brian Flynn – was corrected. Zemgus nabbed his first pro goal off of assists from Biega and Flynn. The second period didn’t offer up much more in the means of scoring or excitement, with one exception. Frederick Roy, son of famed (or infamous, depending on your opinion) goaltender Patrick, notched his first professional fight, as he squared off against Hamilton’s Brendan Gallagher. It was a fairly even match, as Gallagher weighs in at 5’9, 182, and Roy is 5’10, 168. Roy came out on top, however, and the teams would take the Amerks 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
If nothing else, the Amerks have carried their ability to completely just break down into this season. Although Kevin Porter put the boys up 2-0 on the power play early in the second, with assists from Marks Mancari and Pysyk, it wasn’t long until the ‘Dogs had cut Rochester’s lead in half. Actually, it was only 41 seconds after Porter’s goal that Gallagher netted Hamilton’s first score of the night. Darryl Boyce would seal the tie for the Bulldogs, and the teams would head into the extra frame. Although the Amerks easily dominated the overtime period, there was no goal scored. Joe Finley, Mark Mancari, and Hamilton’s Morgan Ellis took exception to that, and there was a brief scuffle at the close of the overtime session. Everyone was issued roughing penalties, with Finley catching an extra 10 minute misconduct. Because of the 10 minute penalty, Finley was ineligible to shoot in the shootout, but let’s face it – he probably wasn’t going to shoot anyways. In case you’re just tuning in, the AHL shootout is a scosh different than the NHL version, going five rounds or until a winner is decided. Hamilton shot first in each round, but did not score until round four, when Darryl Boyce snuck one past David Leggio. Rochester, however, scored on three of their four attempts, with Phil Varone, Brian Flynn, and Marcus Foligno all finding the back of the net. TJ Brennan missed his third-round shot. The Amerks would skate away with two points to Hamilton’s third, and everyone would board buses to Hamilton for Saturday night’s face off. The Amerks didn’t fare as well on Saturday, however, losing 4-2 to the ‘Dogs on Connor “Gigantic Goaltender” Knapp’s first AHL start.
Game notes: David Leggio made his ninth consecutive start for the Amerks, and continues to lead the league, now with 550:42 played and a 6-3-0-0 record. He also has the best shoot out record in the AHL, having blocked 8 of 9 shots (including all five in the home opener against the Crunch) so far this season. He was league best in shootouts last season … The three stars of Friday night’s game were 1) David Leggio, 2) Brendan Gallagher, and 3) Zemgus Girgensons … The Amerks were 1-for-7 on the power play, with Hamilton not capitalizing on any of their five opportunities.
One of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, parts of this game was the pleasure of meeting our friend The Barrister, one of our friends from Dear God, Why Us? Sports. If you’re not familiar with the guys over at the Deeg, you should go check them out, because they’re pretty awesome (but clearly not as awesome as me). The Amerks return home on Friday, November 9, against the Adirondack Phantoms. If nothing else, it will give the guy who insists on wearing his Flyers jersey to every game a chance to NOT be committing a jersey foul. for once in his life. As always, I will be right there for all your updates. Stop by and say “hey,” and I’ll see you at the game!!