Time: 5:00pm MST
Location: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester
The Heat got back into the win column against the Marlies on Sunday and look to continue their winning ways in Rochester this evening against the sabres AHL affiliate. Rochester has some decent firepower up front but nevertheless languish near the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a record of 10-9-2.
The Americans have scored 8 more goals than the Heat in two less games, but have also surrendered 19 more, so their weakness is obvious. Their goaltending duo of Connor Knapp and David Leggio has been mediocre, with both guys hovering below the .910 SV% mark. Combine that with the fact they give up the 7th most shots against in the league (32.29/game) and you have a club with problems in it’s own end.
The Heat, on the other hand, are the best team in the league at deterring shots right now (25.48/game). They still aren’t great at generating shots (27.61, 27th overall) but at least their shot differential is now positive, unlike earlier in the year. What helped is Abbotsford stopped taking so many minors per game. They are currently the 8th least penalized team in the AHL and have enjoyed almost 50 more minutes in terms of penalties drawn than they have taken so far.
Ben Walter joined Horak and Reinhart on a line last game and the trio combined for two goals, five points and the GWG on the PP. Horak’s two pints moved him into a tie for second on the team in scoring with Sven Baertschi while Reinhart now has two points and 13 shots on net in his last three games. Seems like the kid is finally starting to find his legs with some better linemates and an improved role.
- Olson – Street – Kolanos
- Laing – Byron – Nemisz
- Horak – Reinhart – Walter
- Bancks – Estoclet – Ruesegger
- Brodie – Piskula
- Breen – McCarthy
- McKelvie – Callahan
Greg Nemisz, on the other hand, has been shut out in five games and has a dismal seven shots on net. I haven’t watched the games but some reports suggest his skating remains a going concern.
Foligno continues to pace the Americans with 20 points in 21 games. Right behind him is defender TJ Brennan who has already counted 9 goals and 18 points. Surprising 24 year old rookie Bryan Flynn is third on the club with 17 points.
- Foligno – Adam – Mancari
- Roy – Sundher – Parker
- Flynn – Porter – Legault
- Varone – Gauthier-Leduc
- Brennan – Biega
- Pysyk – McNabb
- Schiestel – Finley
The line-up looks strange because the team went with 8 defensemen and 10 forwards in their last contest (Gautheir-Leduc is usually a rearguard). I can only imagine that has to do with injury issues which have claimed a number of guys including former Canucks Cody Hodgson (he had 10 points in nine games before going down for the count).
Sum It Up
The Americans have some weaons up front but are worse than mediocre in their own end of the rink. If the Heat can shut down their top line players like Foligno, they should be able to outchance (and hopefully outscore) the bad guys tonight.