Month in Review
The Americans head into the month of February with only 31 regular season hockey games to go. Rochester did not fair to well in January as the team went 4-8-1 to kick off the new calendar year.
That performance dropped the team to fourth in the North Division standings with an overall record of 21-17-2 after 41 games played, the least amount of games completed by any North Division team. The Amerks are 17 points behind the Toronto Marlies who currently lead the division with 62 points.
Rochester went on the road last week before the All-Star break to start February with a road trip to Belleville for division play against the Senators. The Amerks lost Thursday night 5-3 before bouncing back on Saturday for a 5-4 overtime win. Jeremy Davies scored the overtime goal after Michael Houser made a save at the other end of the ice. Houser returned to the net for the Americans and made 23 saves which snapped a four-game losing streak as the starting netminder.
Two weekends ago, Rochester was swept by the Charlotte Checkers as the Eastern Conference opponent traveled north to take on the Americans in the Blue Cross Arena. The 4-2 loss on Friday saw the team unable to crawl out of a three-goal deficit. Lawrence Pilut notched two assists in the loss for his third two-point game over his last eight contests.
The following evening, the team was outscored in the third period and loss 3-5 to the Checkers to split the season series which the visiting teams victorious in the contests. With two wins versus the Checkers this year, it marks the first time since the 2017-18 campaign that Rochester has multiple wins against the opponent.
Earlier in that week, the team defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 on home ice. Rochester scored three straight and extend their win streak to eight games versus the Penguins. Vinnie Hinostroza, who was assigned to the Amerks from Buffalo the week before, netted the game-winning goal for his first AHL goal since Dec. 1, 2017.
Power Play: The power play is ranked 15th in the AHL with a powerplay efficiency percentage of 19.9 percent. The Amerks have scored 29 goals this season on the man advantage. Veterans Sean Malone, Jiri Kulich, and Brett Murray lead the way on the power play with four goals each when on the man advantage.
Penalty Kill: The penalty kill is one of the worst in the AHL ranking 26th based on penalty kill efficiency. The team has given up 30 goals when serving a penalty after 131 opportunities for the opponents. The Amerks percentage sits at 77.1 percent after 41 games played.
Leading the Way
Lukas Rousek – GP 41, 10 G, 19 A, 29 PTS
After 41 games played, Lukas Rousek is tied for the points lead with 29 points. The forward has tallied 10 goals, two of those coming on the man advantage. In the team’s most recent game, Rousek tallied an assist to help push the Amerks to the overtime victory. Rousek was named the player that would represent the Americans at the All-Star game in Laval after Brandon Biro was unavailable due to injury. The winger is projected to have over 50 points by the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
Brandon Biro – GP 31, 9 G, 20 A, 29 PTS
Brandon Biro is tied with Rousek for the points lead after playing 10 less games then his teammate. Biro leads the team in assists with 20 total. However, the forward has not recorded a point in 6 games and only had 1 assist across all games in the month of January. Biro has not dressed in the lineup since the Wilkes/Barre Scranton game back on January 25 due to an injury. Amerks head coach Seth Appert said it was an upper body injury and Biro should be week-to-week.
Linus Weissbach – GP 41, 13 G, 15 A, 28 PTS
Veteran Linus Weissbach continues to rack up points in another season with the Americans. Through 41 games played, the forward has 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. Weissbach was able to put a two game point streak together with a pair of assists towards the end of January. However, Weissbach has not found the back of the net since January 11 when the forward scored against Laval. The right winger is on pace for 49 points and clearing the 20-goal mark.
Brett Murray – GP 40, 14 G, 12 A, 26 PTS
Brett Murray has continued to produce in the second half of the season with 26 points in his 40 games played in an Amerks uniform this year. Murray also put together a two-game point streak with a goal and assist one week ago. Murray is projected to get another 20 points before the end of the season.
Michael Mersch – GP 30, 9 G, 16 A, 25 PTS
The captain of the team just played in his 500th career AHL game. The right winger has 25 points this season with 16 of those being assists. The forward is on a two game point streak after tallying three points over the course of the two contests. Two of those points were goals in the last matchup versus Belleville.
Jiri Kulich – GP 34, 9 G, 14 A, 23 PTS
Jiri Kulich continues to lead the rookies in points this season. After 34 games played, the forward has 9 goals and 14 assists. Four of those goals came on the powerplay which has him tied for most man advantage goals this season. The forward is on pace for 44 points this season in high rookie campaign.
Isak Rosen – GP 35, 6 G, 14 A, 20 PTS
Isak Rosen has been keeping pace with Kulich in the points battle. After 35 games played, the forward has 6 goals and 14 assists which is good for 20 points. Rosen is on a two-game point streak with three points in his last two matchups. The winger is expected to reach 37 points this season and clear 10 plus goals.
Filip Cederqvist – GP 30, 3 G, 8 A, 11 PTS
Filip Cederqvist has reached 11 points in 30 games played in his first season in the AHL. However, the forward had a slow month to start 2023 with only one point in 11 games during the month of January. Cederqvist missed the last matchup against Belleville and their has been no report from the team on whether it is injury related.
Aleksandr Kisakov – GP 33, 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS
Aleksandr Kisakov has 7 points in 33 games played which includes 5 goals. Kisakov is another player that had a quiet start to 2023 with 1 assist in the month of January. However, the rookie is continuing to get shots on goal while limiting the amount of times he is on the ice for a goal against.
Tyson Kozak – GP 40, 3 G, 3 A, 6 PTS
Tyson Kozak has played 40 games this season for the Amerks. So far, the forward has recorded 6 points while dressing for Rochester. Kozak recorded one point in the month of January with a goal on the January 18 against Laval. Kozak is projected to find a few more points before the end of his rookie campaign.
Michael Houser – GP 11, 3.25 GAA, .892 SV%, 4-5-0
Michael Houser has taken more of a backup role behind Malcolm Subban in the second half of the season. Houser played in two games since the turn of the new year and gave up more than three goals in each start between the pipes. Houser is averaging 3.25 goals against and holds a .892 save percentage.
Malcolm Subban – GP 18, 3.05 GAA, .902 SV%, 10-7-1
Malcolm Subban has played 18 games for the Amerks in net, the most of any netminder on the roster. Subban has a 3.05 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. However, the netminder has struggled in his previous to starts for the team giving up more than four goals in each contest.
After the All-Star break, the Amerks have three games in five days starting off with the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday, February 10 in the Blue Cross Arena. The team will head on the road the following day for a game down Interstate 90 against the Syracuse Crunch. The Crunch find themselves four points above the Amerks in the North Division.
On Tuesday, the Amerks head out of town once again to face off against the Cleveland Monsters in another division matchup. The Monsters have struggled this season with an overall record of 17-20-3 so far after 42 games played.