Gameday: Amerks Host the Hershey Bears; 12 Days of Hockey

Nick TarnaskyIt’s another gameday in Rochester and it’s against the Hershey Bears, the longest existing member club of the American Hockey League.  There was a time when games between the Amerks and Bears were something to look forward to.  A game that had people excited and the barn would be filled but not so much anymore.

The Bears have had off since last Saturday when they easily defeated the Amerks by the final score of 6-2.  The last game for the Amerks was on Tuesday night when they beat the Syracuse Crunch by the score of 5-3.

On paper the Bears have the better lineup but if Graham Mink and Mike York are able to play they could help even things out.  Mike York practiced with the team on Thursday morning but is questionable for the game tonight.  Graham Mink hurt a back muscle last Saturday and has not been on the ice since then.  Mink had said he hoped to return this weekend, hopefully it’s tonight.

If Nick Tarnasky can play at the same level he did on Tuesday night along with other players like Mike Duco and Brady Calla getting goals there could be some hope.  The Amerks have been strong at home all season and hopefully a big crowd will be on hand to cheer them on as well.

The Amerks defense is really going to be put to the test.  Ville Koistinen is injured and likely done for the season.  As of writing this it’s expected that Jason Garrison will be called up to Florida.  A.J. Thelen is being brought in from the Florida Everblades.  It’s also likely that Peter Aston will dress for the game.  Clay Wilson, Keaton Ellerby, Michael Caruso, Jordan Henry, AJ Thelen, and Peter Aston.. not exactly a lineup that will make a team change it’s game plan.

Alexander Salak should get the start in net and will once again be expected to play a strong game.  Unfortunately last Saturday the Bears lit up the scoreboard with four goals on Salak in the first 20 minutes, hopefully he has a rebound performance.

Friday nights game will also have the debut of “12 Days of Hockey” with different players singing.  The version last year was an instant classic with Franklin MacDonald singing “5 power play goals.”  Apparently Shawn Matthias has #5 this year, we’ll see if he can top MacDonalds version.  I’m not sure when the video will air but it’ll be worth staying in your seat to watch.

Friday night will be the second and final night of the “Toys for Tots” toy drive campaign. The team will once again collect toys for the United States Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” drive in an effort to provide Christmas gifts to the needy children of the Greater Rochester Area and the surrounding communities. This year marks the eighth consecutive season the Amerks have been affiliated with the program. Fans who bring in a new, unwrapped toy on those nights will receive $5.00 off 100 and 200 Premium seats or $4.00 off seats in the 100 and 200 Ends at The Blue Cross Arena Box Office.

See you at the game!