The injury bug in Buffalo has had an impact in Rochester.
Such is the life of a minor league team which ultimately is in service of the big-league club. The Amerks have felt the pain, losing seven of their last nine games. Rochester did find some success last week, winning two of three games including a win over Utica on Nov. 30 which snapped a six-game losing streak. The Amerks beat the Toronto Marlies on Friday but ended the weekend with a 4-0 loss at Syracuse.
“It is part of the business,” Amerks coach Dan Lambert said Monday in Blue Cross Arena as he team practiced again without one of its players as defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer was recalled by the Sabres. “Certainly the injury bug is hitting, has hit, continues to hit the Buffalo Sabres and the Rochester Amerks. We’re hoping that the second half will be much better.”
There is good news on the horizon on the Amerks’ injury front.
Casey Nelson, who missed time with an upper body injury, returned to the Amerks lineup against Syracuse on Saturday. Hudson Fasching (groin) and Jean Dupuy (lower body) are nearing a possible return.
“To be honest with you, we’re hoping that Hudson Fasching and Jean Dupuy are able to join us after Christmas so I guess there is a glimmer of light for both of them,” Lambert said. “I know it’s frustrating for guys to get hurt long term, but they are progressing nicely.”
One of the best players for the Amerks continues to be second-year pro Nick Baptiste, who has been the team’s leading point-getter since returning from his NHL call-up on Nov. 18. He has 10 goals on the season, leading the Amerks and ranking fifth in the AHL despite playing just 13 games with Rochester. His five power-play goals ties him for sixth in the league.
“At the end of the day I think Nick has been I think a little bit like our season,” Lambert said. “He’s scored some goals and certainly he has the ability to score goals. I think at times we’d like to see a little more consistency from him. Being a second-year player that’s often what you battle is consistency. But in saying that he has scored quite often for us and that line has been really good for us.”
The Amerks play three games on the road this weekend, playing back-to-back games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms them playing Sunday in Hershey.
Vojtech Budik (Prince Albert Raiders, defensemen ) – Had an assist in a 5-3 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Dec. 2. On the season he has seven assists in 26 games.
Giorgio Estephan (Lethbridge Hurricanes, forward) – Scored early in the third period on Dec. 3 but the Hurricanes saw their six-game win streak end with a 3-2 loss to the Red Deer Rebels. Fellow Sabres draft pick Brandon Hagel scored the OT game-winner. Estephan has 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 24 games.
Brandon Hagel (Red Deer Rebels, left wing) – Scored the overtime game-winner on Dec. 3 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Hagel saw his five-game point streak ended over the weekend with two pointless games before notching the winner on Saturday. He has 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 28 games.
Devante Stephens (Kelowna Rockets, defenseman) – With 11 points in 26 games he has already matched his totals of the last two seasons. Stephens has six goals and five assists this year, a plus-four ranking and 28 penalty minutes.
Austin Osmanski (Mississauga Steelheads, defenseman) – Has four points in 24 games this season (one goal, three assists) along with 24 penalty minutes.
Cliff Pu (London Knights, forward) – Held off the scoresheet the last two games but Pu continues to be on eof the best offensive players in the OHL. Ranks sixth in the league in scoring with 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) in 25 games.
Vasily Glotov (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, forward) – Had an assist on Dec. 4 in a 3-2 shootout win over Val-d’Or Foreurs. Glotov ranks third on Cape Breton in scoring with 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) in 27 games. Ten of his points have come on the power play.
Christopher Brown (Boston College, center) – Scored his sixth goal of the season for the Eagles in a 4-3 loss to North Dakota.
William Borgen (St. Cloud State, defenseman) – Notched his first goal of the season in a 5-5 tie with Western Michigan on Dec. 3. Picked up a point in the Huskies’ 3-0 win over Western Michigan on Dec. 2.
Ivan Chukarov (UMass, defenseman) – Assisted on a power play goal for the Minutemen in a 5-4 win over Notre Dame on Dec. 2.
Casey Fitzgerald (Boston College, defenseman) – Has five goals and eight assists in 17 games.
Anthony Florentino (Providence, defenseman) –The senior has five goals and five assists in 12 games.
Connor Hurley (Notre Dame, center) – Had one assist as the Fighting Irish split their weekend series with UMass. Has four goals and 11 assists in 16 games.
Sean Malone (Harvard, center) – Had a shorthanded goal and an assist in 7-2 win over Clarkson on Dec. 3 . The senior has 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 12 games.
Philip Nyberg (Wisconsin, defenseman) – The native of Sweden originally signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Wisconsin this season, but reports from the Wisconsin State Journal said the letter of intent was voided because Nyberg did not pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language. He was projected to join the team for the second semester, but it was reported Wisconsin expected to roster additions at the semester break. Playing with Madison Capitols of the USHL where he has one goal and five assists in 21 games.
Cal Petersen (Notre Dame, goalie) – Split the weekend against UMass. He gave up five goals and made 19 saves in 5-4 loss on Dec. 2 then recorded 22 saves in a 3-0 win for his second shutout of the season.
Judd Peterson (St. Cloud State, center) – Had an assist in a 3-0 win over Western Michigan on Dec. 2. Has seven goals and four assists in 14 games.
Max Willman (Brown, forward) – Had an assist in a 3-1 win over Army on Dec. 3. Has four goals and two assists in 10 games.
Rasmus Asplund (SHL, forward) – Has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 23 games for Farjestad BK.
Jonas Johansson (Allsvenskan, goalie) – Has a 2.05 goals against average and a .919 save percentage in 18 games for Almtuna IS.
Victor Olofsson (SHL, forward) – Has five goals and six assist in 25 games for Frolunda HC.
Gustav Possler (SHL, forward) – Websites from Sweden say that he has a broken ankle and will be out until Christmas.