As the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and the AHL's Rochester Americans, the Jackals are tasked with developing prospects throughout the organization. The Road to the Show provides details on how those prospects are progressing.
Buffalo Sabres (NHL) – The Sabres are currently riding a season-long four game point streak, which has brought the team to within only two points of a playoff position in the ultra- competitive Atlantic Division, where second and seventh places are separated by only four points. Following a victory over Vancouver last Saturday afternoon, Buffalo took a two game road trip to Florida, where the Sabres defeated the Lightning and the Panthers to extend their winning streak to three games.
On Tuesday, Buffalo defeated Tampa Bay by a score of 4-1, to earn their first victory over the Lightning this season, in four tries. Cody Franson scored the game winner, and his first goal as a Sabre. The 28-year-old Franson was signed as a free agent toward the end of the offseason, and the move has paid great dividends for the Sabres. His eight points rank fifth on the team and second among defensemen. Jack Eichel also chipped in his team leading sixth goal of the season in the Buffalo victory, while Chad Johnson made 30 saves for his fourth win of the year.
The Sabres carried the momentum with them as they defeated the Panthers 3-2, on Thursday, as eight different Sabres registered at least one point, while Linus Ullmark made 36 saves for his fourth victory in six starts. Ullmark, who started the season with Rochester, has taken full advantage of the opportunity provided by the injury to Robin Lehner. He now has a 2.45 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage, while his four wins are second among all rookie goaltenders in the NHL. The Sabres received offensive contributions throughout their lineup as their captain, Brian Gionta, scored his first goal of the season and 20-year-old Sam Reinhart scored his second game winner of the year. The victory brought the Sabres to the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The Sabres fell to the San Jose Sharks, in overtime, by the score of 2-1, on Saturday night. The result extended Buffalo’s point streak to four games. Ryan O’Reilly scored the team’s lone goal, late in the third period, to tie the score at one apiece, which forced overtime. O’Reilly continues to lead the team with 14 points on the year. Rasmus Ristolainen recorded an assist on the goal, his fourth consecutive game with a point. Ristolainen his three goals and three assists in the last four games, one of the best stretches of his young career. He continues to lead Sabre defensemen in scoring and ranks second on the entire team with 11 points this season. Buffalo is currently in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 17 points, and an 8-8-1 record.
Rochester Americans (AHL) – The Americans followed their three game winning streak with a fruitless three game road trip through the state of Pennsylvania. The trip began in Allentown, on Friday night, where the Amerks fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, by a score of 7-1. Rochester managed 34 shots on goal, but only Colby Robak could find the back of the net for the Americans. Allen McPherson skated in his eighth consecutive game for the Amerks.
Saturday night brought the Americans to Wilkes-Barre Scranton for a date with the Penguins. Despite Andrey Makarov’s heroic 39 save performance, the Americans fell 3-1. Alternate captain, Phil Varone scored his team leading sixth goal of the season for Rochester’s lone tally. Matt Garbowsky skated in his sixth game of the season for the Amerks. He has recorded one assists in those six contests.
Sunday evening brought the Pennsylvania tour to a close in Hershey, as the Americans fell to the Bears by a score of 3-1. Nathan Lieuwen recorded 28 saves in a losing effort. Bobby Sanguinetti recorded an assist in his second straight game. The former first round pick of the New York Rangers brings 45 games of NHL experience to the Americans roster. Sanguinetti has one goal and three assists in eight games so far this season. Former Jackal, Justin Kea made his season debut, and recorded his first fight of the season. Rochester is currently in sixth place in the North Division of the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.429, 12 points, and a 6-8-0 record.