The first three months of the season are in the books and Rochester is currently sitting in 2nd place in the North Division, only three points behind the division leading Toronto Marlies. This leaves them in the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The month of December was all over the place for the club as they had to deal with a number of their players being called up for extended periods of time, as well as having some of their better players sidelined with injuries. Despite the hardship the Americans managed to hold their place in the North division as well as in the conference.
Here is a look at individual games;
December 4th, 2013 – Utica Comets vs. Rochester Americans
Rochester 6 – Utica 1
Rochester opened the month of December with a 6 to 1 thrashing of North Division laggard, the Utica Comets.
Chad Ruhwedel, Nick Crawford, and Kevin Sundher all scored for the Amerks, while Brayden McNabb also added a goal and an assist. Kevin Porter netted two goals.
Varone and Tardif tallied two assists, while Zigomanis, Ellis, Armia, and MacKenzie had one a piece.
Matt Hackett finished with 26 saves on the night.
December 6th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
Grand Rapids 5 – Rochester 1
The Americans were once again unable to solve the reigning Calder Cup champions as as they were defeated by Grand Rapids for the second time this season.
Jamie Tardiff scored the lone goal for the Amerks late in the first period before Grand Rapids rattled off five straight to finish the game. Varone and Ruhwedel were credited with assists on the goal.
Matt Hackett played the entirety of the game and finished with 29 saves.
December 7th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
Grand Rapids 3 – Rochester 1
For the second time in as many nights, the Americans were dropped by the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Americans got on the board first with a goal from Nick Crawford; assisted by Ruhwedel and Porter.
Despite taking the early lead the Amerks were unable to hold on for long. The Griffins potted three straight over the course of the second and third period to secure the victory.
Nathan Lieuwen started in net for the Amerks and made 30 saves.
December 11th, 2013 – Lake Erie Monsters vs. Rochester Americans
Rochester 4 – Lake Erie 2
Rochester got off to a fast start in the precursor game to the Frozen Frontier between the Monsters and Americans.
Jamie Tardif scored only 11 second into the game; with the lone assist going to Kevin Porter.
Tardif and Porter would find themselves on the score sheet later into the game. Porter notched the Americans second goal of the night; with assists going to Varone and Ruhwedel. Tardif would score on a penalty shot 8 seconds into the third period.
Zigomanis scored the game winning goal with less than 30 seconds remaining the the second period. Sundher and Ruhwedel with the assists.
December 13th, 2013 – Lake Erie Monsters vs. Rochester Americans
Rochester 5 – Lake Erie 5 (SO)
The build up for the Frozen Frontier game was well worth it. The Americans and Monsters faced off underneath the lights for a shootout thriller.
Matt Ellis, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Phil Varone, and Colton Gillies would all score for the Americans in regulation.
The Monsters pulled their goalie with under a minute left in regulation and somehow managed to find the back of the net with only .1 second remaining on the clock.
The Americans found themselves down early in the shootout. Lake Erie converting on 2 of their first 3 shots, while Rochester could not find the back of the net. It was do or die time for the Americans, and do they did. Matt Hackett made three straight saves while Zigomanis, Larsson, and Ellis all scored for the Americans to win in the shootout.
December 14th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Syracuse Crunch
Syracuse 1 – Rochester 0
Syracuse’s early tally would prove to be enough as Rochester was shut out at the Oncenter.
Each team had 27 shots on net, with Gudlevskis prevailing over Lieuwen, who was in net for the Americans.
December 18th, 2013 – Toronto Marlies vs. Rochester Americans
Rochester 2 – Toronto 1 (SO)
Rochester found themselves down early in the game with a goal coming from Ashton of the Marlies, assisted by T.J. Brennan.
Mike Zigomanis would not the game up midway through the third period. Luke Adam and Phil Varone earning the helpers on the play.
Matt Hackett only allowed one goal in the shootout, and rookie forward Dan Catenacci scored the game winner in the 7th round to complete the come from behind victory for the Americans.
December 20th, 2013 – Lake Erie Monsters vs. Rochester Americans
Rochester 0 – Lake Erie 1
After 65 minutes and no score the Americans and Monsters found themselves heading to a shootout.
The Amerks fell in the 5th round and Monster forward Mark Olver scored the game winning goal.
Nathan Lieuwen finished the night with 24 saves through the regulation and over time periods.
December 21st, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Lake Erie Monsters
Lake Erie 3 – Rochester 2
The Americans and Monsters found themselves heading to extra time yet agian, this time being ended by a goal from Stefan Elliot only a minute and twelve seconds into the overtime period.
The Amerks rallied from a 2 goal first period deficit with goals from Adam and Tuzzolino. Larsson assisted on both plays.
Matt Hackett finished the night with 17 saves on 20 shots.
This loss finished the Americans month of December as far as AHL action goes, however the Americans would finish the month of December in Switzerland as they take part in the Spengler Cup.
The Americans were also invited to play in the prestigious Spengler Cup that is hosted in Switzerland. This years Americans team was the second professional team from North America to ever take part in the competition; the first being the Rochester Americans team from 1996. For more information on what the Spengler cup is, check out our “Spengler Cup Preview.” Be sure to check back later for more updates, as the Americans are still participating.
Here is a look at the games up until this point;
December 26th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Geneve-Servette
The Amerks were downed 5-0 in their opening game of the Spengler Cup. Matt Hackett made 32 saves in the defeat while Brayden McNabb and Alex Hutchings led the team in shots with three a piece.
December 27th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. CSKA Moskow
The Americans were defeated 4-3 in their second game of the Spengler Cup as they took on Sergei Federov’s team on Friday night.
The Americans top line scored all three goals. Luke Adam had two goals and an assist, while Phil Varone finished the night with a goal and an assist.
Matt Hackett made 34 saves in the defeat. The Amerks are back in Spengler Cup action Sunday the 29th as they begin the elimination round. Their opponent has not been determined as of now.
Note: Spengler Cup games are completely separate from the AHL, they do not affect the statistics or standings of the Rochester Americans.
December 29th, 2013 – Rochester Americans vs. Team Canada
The Americans were sent packing in their first elimination round game of the Spengler cup as they were defeated by Team Canada 6 to 3.
Joel Armia, Alex Hutchings, and Dan Cattenacci scored the goals for the Amerks, while Luke Adam and Phil Varone each had 2 assists.
Nathan Lieuwen made 11 saves in the first period before being replaced by Matt Hackett at the start of the second period. Hackett made 17 saves to finish out the night.
For more coverage on the Rochester Americans give me a follow on Twitter; @JustinTBanker and as always make sure you are following @SHCdotcom for all of the latest Buffalo Sabres information.