On the Farm: Kulich, Murray heating up as the Amerks chase Toronto for Division Lead

Month in Review

After a quarter of the AHL season, the Rochester Americans find themselves second in the North Division standings with an overall record of 10-6-2. In November, the Amerks were able to hold a 6-3-2 record and grab points in 8 of their last 11 games played.

The team trails the Toronto Marlies by a point in the North Division after 18 games played.

Most of their success has come inside the Blue Cross Arena this season as the Amerks have secured points in 8 of their first 9 home games. 5 of the 7 victories have been 3rd period comebacks as Rochester has outscored its opponents 17-10 during the 3rd period.  

On Wednesday, November 23rd, the squad made a third period comeback against the Providence Bruins to force overtime. Linus Weissbach would score the game winner in the dying seconds of the extra period for a 4-3 win. Brett Murray notched two goals to spark the comeback in the final stanza. 

After Thanksgiving, Rochester took on another Atlantic Division team and found success in overtime with a 6-5 win against the Bridgeport Islanders. Veteran Sean Malone recorded his first career hat trick and tallied an assist for a 4-point outing. Goaltender Malcolm Subban earned his first win as an Amerk in his second appearance in between the pipes for the team.

The Amerks would head on the road on Saturday, November 26 to face the Leigh Valley Phantoms who broke the team’s 3-game win-streak with a 5-1 victory over Rochester. Jiri Kulich was the lone goal scorer with a tally on the powerplay.

Power Play: At the end of November, the Amerks powerplay has improved to 7th league wide with a 25.4% efficiency percentage. The team has 16-man advantage goals after 63 opportunities and is led by Sean Malone and Jiri Kulich with three tallies each.

Penalty Kill: The penalty kill has not been so hot for the Amerks which can found in the basement of the AHL at 28th. The group has given up 15 goals short handed after 53 trips to the penalty box. 

Leading the Way

  1. Brett Murray – GP 18, 8 G, 6 A, 14 PTS

After a quieter first part of the season, veteran Brett Murray has climbed to the top of stats sheet with 8 goals and 6 assists. In his 4th year in Rochester, Murray has been streaky in terms of production after a multiple point streaks. To start the month of November, the forward tallied a 4-game point streak with 3 goals and 1 assist. Heading into December, the left winger is riding a 3-game point streak that features 3 goals and 3 assists.

  1. Linus Weissbach – GP 18, 7 G, 7 A, 14 PTS

Linus Weissbach continues to prove to be one of the top forwards on the roster with 7 goals and 7 assists through 18 games played this season. The right winger has 3 points in the last 3 games including the game winning goal in overtime against Providence. 2 of the 7 goals have come on the man advantage. However, the forward holds a -7 plus/minus rating, the worst of any player on the Americans roster. 

  1. Lukas Rousek – GP 18, 4 G, 9 A, 13 PTS

Lukas Rousek continues to have a breakout season in his second campaign with Rochester. The forward started the month with two multi-point games before a stretch of five games off the box score. The left-handed shot would bounce back tallying two assists in the past three games who is on place for a 52-point season.

Rookie Watch

  1. Isak Rosen – GP 18, 3 G, 10 A, 13 PTS

Isak Rosen leads the rookies in points and the team in assists so far this season. The left winger has 4 points in the past 4 games. The left winger ranks 11th in points for rookies league wide. The 2021 NHL draft product has continued to provide offensive production while transitioning to the North American style of gameplay. The forward is on pace for a 52 point season. However, Rosen’s defensive game can improve as he posts a plus/minus rating of -6. 

  1. Jiri Kulich – GP 18, 4 G, 8 A, 12 PTS

Jiri Kulich heads into the month of December on a 4-game point streak after stringing together a point in the last 4 games. In the past 2 games, Kulich has scored 2 power play goals with one coming from the high slot and the other from the right side of the Amerks 1-3-1 power play system. Currently, the right winger is on pace for a 48 point campaign in his rookie year.

  1. Filip Cederqvist – GP 13, 2 G, 5 A, 7 PTS

Filip Cederqvist has not played in a game since November 12th due to an upper-body injury reported by the team (via Twitter on November 18). Prior to that setback, the forward had 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) in two games with both goals coming on the power play. Once healthy, Cederqvist will continue to be a key part in the depth of the offensive core for the Amerks.

  1. Aleksandr Kisakov – GP 14, 3 G, 1 A, 4 PTS

Aleksandr Kisakov has been in the gameday roster more in the month of November. The forward scored his 3rd goal of the season in the November 19 contest against the Utica Comets. The 2021 NHL draft product is on pace for a 20-point campaign.

  1. Tyson Kozak – GP 18, 1 G, 2 A, 3 PTS

Tyson Kozak continues to play minutes in the offensive core for the Amerks as the forward has played every game so far this season. The center last recorded a point in the November 12 contest against Belleville. Kozak’s game comes from plays off the puck in a depth role in the lineup. Kozak heads into the second quarter of the season with a plus/minus rating of zero. 

Goaltending

  1. Michael Houser – GP 7, 3.03 GAA, .907 SV%, 3-2-0

After the call up of UPL, Houser has taken over as the starting netminder. Houser heads into December posting a 3.03 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage and posts the best goals-against average and save percentage out of the goaltending core. In his most recent performance, Houser faced a season-high 40 shots and allowed five goals for the first time since January 1st, 2022 against Springfield. 

  1. Malcolm Subban – GP 2, 3.97 GAA, .862 SV%, 1-1-0

Malcolm Subban has started to back up Houser after the movement in the organization. The netminder has played two games this season for the Amerks. The goaltender’s season stats sit a 3.97 goals-against average and a .862 save percentage. In his most recent action, Subban made 28 saves in the overtime victory against Bridgeport. 

  1. Beck Warm

Beck Warm was called up from the Cincinnati Cyclones by the Rochester Americans on November 11. The Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month for October was saw action in two contests. Warm relieved Houser in a 6-5 overtime loss to Cleveland on November 11 before gaining the start against Belleville on Saturday, November 12 which ended in a 3-2 shootout loss.  After the two contests, the netminder posts a 3.52 goals against average and a .881 save percentage. Warm was sent back to Cincinnati on November 26.

Looking Ahead

Rochester heads into another month full of division play with 9 games against North Division opponents. The Amerks head on the road to take on the Cleveland Monsters for two games in three days. The team returns home for a mid-week game versus Syracuse on Wednesday, December 7 for another matchup between the Thruway rivals.

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