The Amerks are on the ice tonight vs Binghamton Devils for the first of ten games between the two teams this season. Four of the Amerks next six games are against Binghamton as well. One familiar name on the Devils roster is former Amerks forward Tim Kennedy.
This’ll be the first game back in the lineup for Justin Bailey since he was called up in mid October. Bailey scored two goals in the first game of the season for the Amerks. He had a quick start in Buffalo before losing a step and then an injury.
Chris Taylor complimented Bailey for his athletic skills, his forecheck and penalty kill abilities but also added, “He has to show us that he can play down here just as hard as he can play up there. We want that same emotion he’s been bringing up there.”
The lineup will be depleted on defense. Zach Redmond and Barry Goers have missed practice this week for undisclosed reasons. Andrew MacWilliam will be serving a one game suspension after hitting an opposing player in the head this past Saturday. Brycen Martin and Devante Stephens were called up from Cincinnati to fill in.
Linus Ullmark had the morning off. As seen in the featured picture, the net he’s usually in was flipped upside down. Wilcox was given every work this morning at practice which usually indicates the other guy will start. We’ll find out shortly after 6pm tonight.
Alexander Nylander and Evan Rodrigues are close to returning but they aren’t expected to play tonight.
Rodrigues said, “Conditioning I think I’m 100%, just waiting to get back to healthy and body feeling 100%.”
Nylander said he’s just, “taking it day by day, just getting better at practice. Feels just like normal.”
The update from Taylor was that they’re just waiting until the doctors give an ok and then they’ll be ready to go. Both Nylander and Rodrigues have been skating on their own but this is the first week they’ve practiced with the team. They both spent a lot of extra time on the ice this morning at practice with all three coaches.
Talking about the ever changing lineup and dealing with it Taylor said, “Everybody’s buying in. We didn’t think we’d be using our depth as much as early as we are especially on defense but we have been and everybody is been buying in. Thats what we tried to bring in is good people, willing to work hard every day, care about each and thats what we’re doing, the guys are caring and I think that’s why we’re having a little more success.”
The Amerks have gotten points in seven of their last eight games, have played in overtime six of their last seven games with four of those going into overtime. They’re currently in second place having played less games than Toronto who is in first place.
Playing at home and on the road appears to have been two different teams though. The Amerks are only one of two teams that hasn’t lost a game in regulation on the road but have lost four at home in regulation. Ten of the teams 16 points have also come on the road.
Asked about that Taylor said, “The consistency of playing simple and playing for each other and that’s what we’ve been doing on the road. We’ve gotten off to a couple of good starts on the road but sometimes we haven’t finished properly and its the opposite way here, we haven’t started out well but we finish a lot better here so its just putting those two together and it’d be great.”
Binghamton has lost four straight and they’re aware of. “We can’t take teams lightly coming in to our building and we’ve done it a couple times this year so far so we have to make sure we’re on top of our game,” Chris Taylor.
Sahir Gill is aware of playing at home saying, “We need to start at home a lot better. We’ve have had a few games at home where we’ve come out and dug ourselves a hole. Our start is going to be key tonight.”
“We simplify our game a little bit on the road. We get the pucks in deep and play to our strengths a little bit more,” Gill added. “I think sometimes our details kind of get a way from us a little bit. At home we just have to bring that road mentality and keep things a little bit more simple. Outwork the other team and that usually leads to success for our team.”
Puck drops at 7:05pm at Blue Cross Arena.
From the Amerks web site:
Buy One, Get One: The Amerks are offering buy one, get one tickets for every Wednedsday home game this season! Stop by the Amerks office, The Blue Cross Arena Box Office or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS to take advantage of the special offer!
Distillery Eats & Seats: This popular package returns for another year as fans can purchase a Best-Available ticket and $10 gift card to The Distillery for just $25.
Kids Tickets: New this year, the Amerks are offering a special Kids Ticket price of just $10 per seat for kids age 2-6 with the purchase of an adult ticket at the Box Office for all home games.
Moe’s Hot Player of the Game: At each home game, three Amerks players will be selected as the “hot players” of the game. If any of the three Amerks players scores a goal, fans will be able to redeem their ticket stub for 50% off any entrée at participating Moe’s locations the following day. If any of the three Amerks players scores a hat trick, fans will also be able to redeem their ticket for an enhanced offer (free burrito) at participating Moe’s locations the following day. Tonight’s Moe’s Hot Players are Stuart Percy, C.J. Smith and Hudson Fasching.