On the farm: The Amerks are in the Hunt

Month in Review

Towards the end of February, the Rochester Americans were able to string together a three-game win streak which saw the group outscoring opponents 20 to 6. The Amerks were in and out of the win column for a majority of the month and still find themselves in fourth in the North Division with 59 points. 

The team is just five points behind the Syracuse Crunch that hold down the third spot in the division. Utica is just two points above the Crunch while the Marlies have sole control of the division with 83 points in 59 games played.

Rochester’s overall record after 56 games played is 27-24-4-1 as the team is 4-4-2 in their previous ten matchups. At the start of March, the team dropped three games to division rival Laval and Belleville. However, Rochester has been able to earn a point in five of their last seven games.

The Amerks recently had a three game weekend which was kicked off with a 8-4 win over the Hartford Wolfpack. Unfortunately, Rochester would only find points in the Friday night matchup as the team fell to both Syracuse and Toronto to end the weekend.

Power Play: The powerplay unit has improved to 12th in the league with a 21.0 powerplay efficiency percentage. The team has scored 44 man advantage goals on 210 opportunities so far this season. Brett Murray leads the way with seven powerplay goals for the Amerks while veteran Sean Malone follows with five in just 37 games played.

Penalty Kill: There are lots of room for improvement on the penalty kill side of the special teams conversation. The Amerks are ranked 24th in the AHL with a 79.0 penalty kill efficiency percentage. Rochester has given up 39 goals to opponents when in the penalty box on 186 opportunities this campaign. Defenseman Jeremy Davies leads the team in penalty minutes with 78 through his 50 games played.

Leading the Way

  1. Brandon Biro – GP 46, 14 G, 34 A, 48 PTS

The center leads the team in points this season despite missing games and playing 10 less than Lukas Rousek this year. Brandon Biro has 14 goals and 34 assists for 48 points after 43 games played. In his last 10 games, Biro has five goals and 12 assists and stays at above a point per game during that span. This includes a hat truck on Mar. 1 against Laval which was his four game in a row tallying at least a point. This past weekend, the forward notched eight points and has one point in five of the last six games. This includes 19 points in his last 14 games for the Amerks. Biro is projected to finish the season just under a point per game with 65 total points. 

  1. Lukas Rousek – GP 56, 14 G, 32 A, 46 PTS

Rousek continues to put up points in his second season with the squad. The 2019 draft pick has 14 goals and 32 assists through 56 games played this season. Rousek was an important part of the three game win streak at the end of February as the forward tallied two multi-point games during the span. Over the weekend, Rousek led the way with three goals and four assists to try and spark the offense. However, last month was not the best performance by the left-handed shot as Rousek did not record a point in six of the contests.

  1. Linus Weissbach – GP 54, 18 G, 20 A, 38 PTS

Linus Weissbach found his way back inside the top three in points on the Amerks with 10 points in his previous 10 games. The University of Wisconsin product has registered 18 goals and 20 assists for 38 points through his 54 games played in his second season with the Amerks. During the month of February, the forward tallied a four-game point streak after a six-game drought. To start the month of March, Weissbach recorded three points in a two-game span. Weissbach is projected to finish with 49 points and 23 goals at the end of the campaign.


  1. Jiri Kulich – GP 48, 17 G, 18 A, 35 PTS

The first-round draft pick from this previous NHL Entry Draft has been on a hot streak as of late. In his last 10 games, the rookie has six goals and three assists. Through 48 games played, the prospect has 17 goals and 18 assists which is good for fourth in points on the Amerks squad. Kulich was able to string together a four-game point streak with four goals and three assists at the end of February. Kulich’s powerful shot has been a lethal weapon on the powerplay this season as the forward has tallied four powerplay goals from the shooting role in the umbrella powerplay format.  

  1. Isak Rosen – GP 50, 10 G, 19 A, 29 PTS

The 2021 draft pick product has played in 50 games this season in his rookie campaign in Rochester. Isak Rosen has 10 goals and 19 assists for 27 points this year. Rosen has also been successful on the powerplay with four man advantage goals this season. However, the forward has a quiet month in February only tallying eight points through 11 games played. Rosen had a three-point game against Hartford and a goal late in the third period against Toronto.

  1. Filip Cederqvist – GP 39, 4 G, 9 A, 13 PTS

Filip Cederqvist has recorded four goals and nine assists in 38 games played this season. In the Amerks most recent game, Cederqvist recorded an assist for his first point in three games. Cederqvist continues to try and make an impact off the box score with a plus minus rating of -1. Unfortunately, the forward has only played in two games so far in March with one of those games being Sunday against Toronto where Cederqvist recorded two shots.

  1. Tyson Kozak – GP 49, 4 G, 4 A, 8 PTS

Tyson Kozak has four goals and four assists in 49 games played this year. Kozak has been a solid part of the depth in the forward core this season for the Amerks has the rookie has stayed consistent in the lineup since the start of the season. On Mar. 1, the forward recorded a goal against Laval. Kozak is projected to finish with 12 points at the end of his rookie campaign. Kozak has not been in the lineup since Mar. 3. There is no official word from the team on whether this is injury related.

  1. Aleksandr Kisakov – GP 41, 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS

Aleksandr Kisakov is last in production in terms of rookies this season but continues to be another solid piece in the depth chart for the coaching staff of Rochester. Kisakov has five goals and two assists this season after 41 games played this season. Kisakov could work on his defensive game as the forward has a -6 plus minus rating so far this campaign. Kisakov has been in and out of the lineup in the beginning of March only seeing action in 3 games. The forward has not recorded a point since Jan. 27.


  1. Michael Houser – GP 16, 3.09 GAA, .899 SV%, 6-6-2

After some movement in between the pipes, Houser has returned and started some more games for the Amerks. After 16 games played, the netminder holds a 3.09 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. The AHL veteran recorded 46 saves in the overtime loss on Mar. 3 to Laval and had a 40 save effort in the win on Feb. 25 against Springfield. In his most recent game, Houser recorded 18 saves in the Amerks loss to the Marlies.

  1. Malcolm Subban – GP 28, 3.13 GAA, .900 SV%, 14-13-1

Both goaltenders currently on the Amerks roster have similar numbers after the halfway mark of the season. Malcolm Subban has a larger sample size and has played above expectations after UPL headed up to Buffalo. Subban’s play has fallen off a touch since December as his numbers have slipped to a 3.13 goals against average and .900 save percentage. Head coach Seth Appert has started a different rotation with goaltending now which features more starts for backup Houser. It will be interesting to see what form Subban can find in March to push the Amerks towards another trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs. 

  1. Devon Levi – 

Devon Levi is a possible option that could be added to the Amerks goaltending core ahead of a playoff push once his collegiate season ends with Northeastern. There is speculation starting on Sabres Twitter about what options Levi and management could take. There has been three options laid out as possibilities. The first and most realistic option is an Entry Level Contract starting in 2023-24 with an Amateur Tryout Agreement for 2022-23 to play with Rochester. The other options include only an ELC in 2023-24 and taking the spring off if there is an injury lingering. The last option is starting the ELC right away and playing games in Buffalo as soon as this season.

Movement at the NHL Trade Deadline:

The Buffalo Sabres did make some moves at the trade deadline that will impact the farm team down in Rochester. The most important being the loss of Anders Bjork to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations. Bjork had eight goals and 17 assists in 42 games played after being sent down by the Sabres earlier this season.

However, the Amerks went out of their way to pick up Carson Gicewicz from Rockford, Chicago’s farm team, to fill the role down the middle of the offensive core. The Orchard Park native has 43 games played this season in the AHL and has tallied four goals and two assists. In 114 games in the league, Gicewicz has tallied 22 points. This will be a good change of scenery for the forward who is looking to add to the forward core.

On defense, the Sabres exchanged AHL defenseman as the group sent Chase Priskie west in exchange for Austin Strand. Strand is an undrafted defenseman from Calgary, Alberta, Canada who has played 46 games this season and tallied 8 points. The 6’ 3” defenseman has 181 games played in the AHL and has recorded 53 points. Strand recorded his first point with the team this past weekend has the defenseman registered an assist.

Playoff Picture:

With the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs remaining the same format as last season, a total of 23 teams will qualify for the post season which will include five rounds leading up to the crowning of a league champion. The top five finishers will make the postseason from the seven-team North Division. 

Last season, the Amerks were the fifth seed in the division and upset Belleville in the first round to move on to the Division Semifinals. The team would upset the best team in the North by defeating Utica to head to the Division Finals. Unfortunately, the team fell to Laval to end their 2021-22 campaign.

With just 19 games remaining in the regular season, the Amerks will look to improve their fourth place ranking in the division and settle in for another post season run that could see sell out crowds in the Blue Cross Arena like last year.

Looking Ahead:

The Amerks continue their season on Wednesday with a home division matchup with Laval before heading on the road for two games in Pennsylvania. Rochester takes on two Eastern Conference teams with the Penguins and Bears on tap before returning home for a Tuesday night game on Mar. 21 versus Syracuse.

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