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Game Recap: Crunch at Amerks, 01.18.2013

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“That’s the only way I know – don’t stop ‘til everything’s gone. Straight ahead, never turn around, don’t back up, don’t back down. Full throttle, wide open – you get tired, but you don’t show it. Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more: That’s the only way I know.” (Jason Aldean, “The Only Way I Know”)

I know. I KNOW. I was all “I’m back!” Then I took two weeks (or three …) off. Sorry, y’all. My Pops had some heart problems, I had the flu, then a concussion … it’s been a long few weeks. So, there’s been some changes in the Amerks recently, which I”m sure you’re all aware of, but I’ll remind you anyways but first …

The Amerks welcomed the AHL-leading Syracuse Crunch (well, at least they were before last night) to the Blue Cross Arena Friday night, for the fifth of ten match-ups this season. I hate to say this, but lately the first ten minutes of every Amerks game are like a small form of torture to watch. Friday night was worse. When the Amerks scored their first goal, at 14:17, there were EIGHT total shots on goal. No, really. Eight. COME ON. Eight shots on goal? Christ. I love hockey but … meingia. Anyhow, Mark Mancari, who I was not particularly keen on coming into the season but now I love, opened up scoring, with assists to Kevin Porter and Kevin Sundher. The Amerks took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission, along with an 8-5 lead in SOG.

The Amerks shook the lead out in the second period, with Brian Flynn kicking off scoring at 4:41. Assists were credited to Luke Adam and Nick Crawford, marking the thirteenth goal of Flynn’s rookie campaign. Not long after, Evan Rankin scored his ninth of the season, on an ugly, ugly goal (that I can’t find video for) from right inside the crease (thanks for that rule, stupid Brett Hull). Assists went to Rick Schofield and Phil Varone at 7:05 of the second. Unfortunately, Syracuse was able to sneak one past goaler David Leggio at 16:31, with a pooped-goal credited to Jared Nightengale. The Amerks sealed their fate in the third, however, with Phil Varone’s fourth goal of the season at 14:14.

Game Notes … The Amerks ended the night with 27 (8-12-7) SOG, tied with Syracuse (5-14-8) … Friday night’s three stars were 1. David Leggio, 2. Kevin Porter, and 3. Phil Varone … Speaking of Kevin Porter, he played like a man possessed during this game. He made it very clear that it was a lot of NHL team’s losses that he was not claimed off of waivers on Thursday. Their loss, Rochester’s gain. Rochester also gained blue liner Adam Pardy, sporting number 55. Mr. Pardy, if you need a place to stay in Rochester, my spare room is clean, empty, and there are fresh sheets on the bed … Missing from the Amerks lineup were, obviously, Marcus Foligno, TJ Brennan (EDITOR’S NOTE: Someone forgot about Cody Hodgson), who are up with the Sabres, likely for the remainder of the season. Also missing was Joe Finley, who was claimed off waivers, as were several other vets, by the New York Islanders. I will miss you, Fins, even if #TheLegendOfJoeFinley was often more interesting than the man.

The race in the North Division right now is tight. As I pointed out to our fearless leader Phil last night, it’s tight like a prom night virgin – only four points separate the first place Marlies from the fourth place Amerks. Speaking of those 4th place Amerks, they will host the Hamilton Bulldogs for a midday matinee on Martin Luther King, Jr, day. It is also Hometown Heroes Day, and Mystery Puck Day, with the proceeds from the Mystery Pucks going to the RPD Foundation. Additionally, the Amerks will wear a West Webster Fire Department patch on their sweaters. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off following the game, with proceeds going to the WWFD. As always, I’ll be there, bringing you all the stuff fit to tweet. See you at the game!

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