The Amerks are on the road tonight against the Hamilton Bulldogs, a team they have only beat twice out of nine games so far this season. Â If the Amerks are going to make the postseason they’ll need to win at least four out of their last five games. Â If there was a way to paint a bright picture I’d be trying my best but it’s easier to say that the season is on the line tonight.
The defense will be playing without Matt MacKenzie (upper body) and Dennis Persson (lower body) so they signed Ryan Grimshaw, from Greece, to an amateur tryout contract. Â Grimshaw just finished four years at Harvard and played three games with Trenton in the ECHL. Â After the Buffalo Sabres finish their season today in Boston they’ll send Brayden McNabb and TJ Brennan to join the Amerks in Glens Falls for the game on Sunday afternoon, hopefully it’s not too late.
Center Dan Catenacci has not played yet. He joined the Amerks after signing his contract with the Sabres but he isnâ€™t healthy. He was struck in the ankle by a shot in his season finale with Owen Sound of the OHL.
Considering the fact that the playoffs are not a guaranteed path at this point it’s time to start playing the “what if” game.
â€œIf we had just got half the points against Hamilton, weâ€™d probably be in the playoff picture,â€ Rolston said, â€œbut it is what it is. We just have to focus on playing well tonight.
â€œWeâ€™ve said all year that weâ€™ve had the ability to go on a string of losses or a string of wins. Weâ€™re in that string of losses right now (five straight, though two were in overtime).
What if they had a team with depth that could have withstood the call ups to Buffalo. Â What if they had some real goal scorers that could have made the difference in 32 games that went beyond regulation and a number of others they lost by one goal. Â What if they had a team of players that had to earn roster spots but were instead given out due to a lack of bodies. Â What if the goaltending had been better earlier in the season. Â It’s a safe assumption to say that David Leggio will start in the remaining five games of the regular season for the Amerks. Â Leggio has played well since early February and started in every game since. Â Drew MacIntyre just never found his groove this season to be the top goaltender that he was expected to be.
The list could go on.
Assuming the Amerks can sneak into the playoffs it’ll be a miracle if they could get beyond the first round. Â I’ll be in my seat cheering them on and hoping they do but compared to other veteran filled teams built to win and not just develop it’ll be a tough battle ahead.
Amerks at Bulldogs tonight at 7pm. Â I know Rob Sanderson will be there covering the game, you can follow him on Twitter @DropThePuckWHTK.