Ahh, October. The long awaited start of the hockey season. For the Rochester Americans the expectations were very unclear when coming into the year. While we always expect the best out of our favorite teams, it is hard to imagine a team that has lost a large portion of their lineup to do well. The onus was on the veterans Matt Ellis, Drew Bagnall, and Mike Zigomanis to lead this group of young players. The first month of the season had it all, high scoring affairs, defensive battles, and even a little bit of a goalie controversey brewing. Here is a look at the individual games;
October 4th, 2013 – Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Rochester Americans
Grand Rapids 8 Rochester 1
The Americans were ‘lucky’ enough to open up their season against the reigning Calder Cup champions; the Griffins. It was clear from the moment the teams took the ice that the Americans were going to be in for a long night. Along with opening up the scoring 14 minutes into the game on a PP goal, the Griffins also opened the flood gates. They went on to scoring 3 more unanswered goals until Luke Adam finally got Rochester on the board midway through the second period. Grand Rapids would bury two more in the second period before Matt Hackett would pull himself from the Rochester net and have Nathan Lieuwen relieve him. Grand Rapids would go on to score 2 goals on Lieuwen before the end of the game.
October 11th, 2013 – Utica Coments vs. Rochester Americans
Utica 1 Rochester 4
The Americans would have to wait a week after their horrifying loss against the Griffins to redeem themselves. This meeting marks the first meeting ever between the new rivals after Utica joined the AHL as the new affiliate team of the Vancouver Canucks. Luke Adam put on a stellar performance; scoring two of the four Rochester goals. Catenacci and Sundher had the other Amerks goals. Matt Hackett put on a much better performance than the previous game; stopping 30 of the 31 shots he faced in the win over Utica.
October 12th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Syracuse Crunch
Rochester 1 Syracuse 5
After playing in their second game in two days it was very evident that the Rochester players were fatigued. The new comer, Jamie Tardif, scored the lone goal for the Amerks. Matt Hackett, who was starting his third straight was clearly frustrated as he took a diving penalty early in the second period. He then took a game misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct with only 20 seconds remaining as he got involved in a scrum.
October 18th, 2013 – Toronto Marlies vs. Rochester Americans
Toronto 1 Rochester 4
The Marlies were undefeated (3-0-0) heading into this contest and have had a history of handing it to the Rochester Americans. Rochester came in riding high off of their win against Syrcause and were reading to roll, scoring their first goal only 9 seconds into the opening frame when Catenacci buried a one-time feed from Matt Ellis. Luke Adam, Matt Ellis, and Phil Varone recorded the other goals of the night for the Americans. Nathan Lieuwen got the start in net after Matt Hackett’s meltdown in Syracuse. He stopped 36 of 37 shots, looking stellar in between the pipes.
October 19th, 2013 – Utica Comets vs. Rochester Americans
Utica 4 Rochester 6
Matt Hackett was once again the man behind the pipes after getting the previous night off. He allowed 3 goals on 32 shots before he was benched at the start of the third after receiving his 2nd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in as many games. Lieuwen relieved him, making 10 saves on 11 shots faced. Though allowing 4 goals, the Amerks high-flying power play stuck it to Utica, as Colton Gillies netted one, and Mike Zigomanis potted 2 on the power play. Luke Adam, Alex Sulzer, and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc all scored even strength goals to give the Americans the 6-4 win against the Comets.
October 25th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Hamilton Bulldogs
Rochester 3 Hamilton 4 (OT)
Former American, Nick Tarnasky scored midway through the first period on the power play to give Hamilton the lead at the intermission. Just 2 minutes into the second period, Hamilton double their lead with yet another power play goal. Just over five minutes later the Amerks got on the board with a power play goal courtesy of Luke Adam. Though Hamilton would quickly regain their 2 goal lead, the Americans would battle back with goals from Roy and McNabb late in the period to knot the game up at 3. The game headed into overtime where Leblanc would scored for Hamilton with just over a minute remaining to secure the Hamilton win.
October 26th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Toronto Marlies
Rochester 4 Toronto 1
Though Toronto has had their number in recent years, it appears as if this season was going to be a sharp 180 degree turn from that. The Americans again scored 4 times in yet another victory over Toronto. Luke Adam, Alex Sulzer, and Varone took care of three of those goals, while Mike Zigomanis scored the eventual GWG against his former team. Matt Hackett was back in net for the Americans and made 28 saves on 29 shots, seemingly keeping his cool through the game.