Roster Moves, Conditioning Assignment, Practice Notes, and Some Winning Stats

The Amerks returned to practice this week riding a three game winning streak and holding on to the first place spot of the North Division. They’re also second overall in the conference and second overall in the league.

Three roster moves were made on Tuesday related to injuries in Rochester and Buffalo.

Myles Powell was called up from the Cincinnati Cyclones. Powell currently has 18 points (10G+8A) in 17 games with Cincy. At practice he was centering the line with Dalton Smith and Tyler Randell/Yannick Veilleux. The move is due to needing a forward. Kevin Porter was hurt this past Friday night after initiating a hit against Providence and is out week to week. Eric Cornel moved up to the top line with CJ Smith and Wayne Simpson.

Scott Wedgewood was assigned back to Rochester with the return of Carter Hutton. Wedgewood was not at Amerks practice on Tuesday morning so we’ll wait to see if he was really assigned or it was just a paper transaction as he’s on standby to make sure that Hutton is ready beyond tonight.

Sabres all announced on Tuesday that defenseman Matt Hunwick will come to Rochester to play on a conditioning assignment.

Chris Taylor talked about the move saying, “It think it’s great, he’s been out for a while. It’s good for him to come down here and get back into it. He’s coming into a good situation, we’re playing well right now.” Talking about playing time he said, “We’ll play him as much as we think that he needs and how the game is going. It’s a feel for what we’re going to do with him.”

“He’s going to help the young guys too, it’s great to have an NHL player come down here for a few games.”

Phil Housley had mentioned possibly two games – Wednesday and Friday. Rochester is hopping on a bus to Cleveland after the game on Friday, doubtful an NHL player is going to take a 4 hour bus ride for a game. Hunwick has been out of the Sabres lineup all season with a neck injury from an off-ice offseason workout.

There’s always a former teammate somewhere – Hunwick and Kevin Porter played together at the University of Michigan during the 2006/2007 season.

Rochester will also be without Dalton Smith on Wednesday night as a result of a one game suspension.

Last week saw an Amerks 5-2 win over Utica, 2-1 win over Providence, and a 4-3 win on the road against Syracuse.

CJ Smith talked about the wins saying, “We sat down (last) Monday, had a longer video session, kind of worked pretty good at practice, and we said we think we’re better than a .500 team. I thought we came out and played really well, obviously won all three games which is pretty big and now we just have to keep it rolling.”

They’re currently on a three game winning streak and have won five of the last six. The first time this season they have won three in a row in regulation. Amerks have one five game win streak early on but two of the wins came in OT/SO. Interestingly, they have not lost back to back games in regulation since the opening two games of the season. They have lost 2 straight one other time, but one was in overtime.

The recent wins have come with some balanced scoring from across the roster. In those five wins they’ve scored 16 goals from 10 different players, six players with at least one goal and one assist, and eight players with only assists.

Leading the way in those games: Wayne Simpson (3G+2A), Victor Olofsson (3G+2A), CJ Smith (1G+2A), Brendan Guhle (3A), Alex Nylander (1G+2A), Justin Bailey (2G+1A), Zach Redmond (2G), and Rasmus Asplund (6A).

Playing with a lead is the most important scenario for the team. This season they’re 8-0-0-0 when leading after the 1st period and 12-0-2-0 when leading after 2nd.

Against the North Division this season the Amerks are 10-2-1. Regulation losses so far to Utica and Binghamton, one overtime loss vs Belleville. That leaves a record of 6-4-1 outside of the division. Two of those regulation losses started the season against Charlotte, who as it turns out has been the best team in the league since opening night.

The current record of 16-6-2 has them playing with a 9-4-0 record at home and a very good 7-2-2 on the road. They’ve only gone to a shootout once and that was a 5-4 win against Toronto at home on October 19.

They have not lost back to back games in regulation since the first two games of the season. They have lost two straight one other time, but one was in overtime.

With three divisional games this week playing against Binghamton and twice versus Cleveland it will give the team a chance to create some distance in the standings.

Amerks had a late morning/early afternoon practice on Monday that was lead by Matt Ellis and Brian Gionta. It was more of an individual skills practice as they worked on playing with the puck along the boards. The work didn’t have anything to do with systems or set plays, just classic puck control.

They went into power play and penalty kill work before ending with shootout drills. Sean Malone had the biggest cheer, Will Borgen was the only one that didn’t score and Jonas Johansson put his head into making a save. Here’s clips of those: