Road to the Show - Ninth Edition

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) – Buffalo headed into the holiday break by going 1-1-1 in a three game home stand this week. On Tuesday night, the Devils came into the First Niagara Center and shutout the Sabres 2-0, as Cory Schneider made 25 saves for New Jersey. Linus Ullmark made 19 saves for the Sabres and was credited with the loss. The game marked the first time that the O’Reilly brothers, Ryan and Cal had played together in the NHL. Ryan O’Reilly continues to lead the Sabres with 12 goals and 29 points. He was joined in Buffalo by his brother Cal, who was called up from Rochester earlier in the week. The Americans’ captain is second on Rochester in scoring and was playing his first NHL game since 2012.

Buffalo’s week continued with another shutout on Thursday night. This time, it was Chad Johnson who led the Sabres to a 3-0 victory over Anaheim, with a career high 44 saves. In addition to a career record, Johnson set the Sabres’ team record for most saves in a shutout, eclipsing Ryan Miller’s 43 saves against the same Ducks in 2012. Johnson has done an admirable job filling in for the injured Robin Lehner. He has a 9-9-2 record with a 2.31 goals-against-average, and a .918 save percentage. The Sabres also received a balanced offensive attack as nine different players recorded a point in the contest. Goals were scored by Evander Kane, Jake McCabe, and Jamie McGinn.

The final game for the Sabres before the break was a tough, 3-2 shootout loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks. It appeared as if the Sabres would come away with the victory as Cody Franson and Ryan O’Reilly scored to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead, late in the third period. However, Buffalo’s own Patrick Kane ensured that a Sabres victory would not occur. He tied the game for Chicago on a six-on-three man advantage with only 34 seconds remaining. Kane then netted the only tally of the shootout. While he did not record a point, Buffalo received an early Christmas present in the return of Tyler Ennis. Last season’s leading scored had missed the previous 12 games with an injury. Ennis has 10 points in 20 games so far this season. Buffalo is currently in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 32 points, and a 14-16-4 record. They are seven points out of the last playoff position, in the Eastern Conference.

Rochester Americans (AHL) – The Americans continued to play well this past week, as they won two of three games. In Utica, on Wednesday night, the week got off to an ominous start, as the Amerks lost to the Comets by the score of 5-2. The bright spot in the loss was Tim Schaller, who scored both Rochester goals. It was his first multi-point game of the season, which has already seen him called up to Buffalo for six games with the Sabres. Schaller, who is on a season long four-game point streak, came to the Buffalo organization as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Providence College, where he played under Jackal’s head coach, Jamie Russell for two of his four seasons.

The Americans responded to the defeat by scoring the most goals they have had in a game all season in a 7-1 throttling of the Hartford Wolfpack. Fourteen of 18 skaters registered at least one point for Rochester, and seven different players scored one goal apiece. Andrey Makarov made 28 saves to earn the victory, losing the shutout with only 22 seconds remaining. Cal O’Reilly, returning from his stint in Buffalo, posted two assists and a team high plus-four rating. The captain now leads the Amerks with 14 assists on the year. Nick Petrecki made his season debut for the Hartford Wolfpack in the game. He had been loaned to Hartford earlier that morning by the Jackals. In 14 games for Elmira, Petrecki has six assists and a plus-11 rating, good for second on the team. In two games for the Wolfpack this weekend, Petrecki recorded two fights.

The week was capped off with an impressive 4-1 victory over the second place, Albany Devils. Four first period goals by Tim Schaller, Patrick Kaleta, Nick Baptiste, and Colby Robak were more than enough for Andrey Makarov to work with, as he made 30 saves to earn his second straight win. Makarov is now 4-1-1 in his last six starts with a 2.45 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. Matt Garbowsky played in his tenth game of the season for Rochester. He still has one assist for the Amerks, while he has recorded three points in five games for the Jackals. Despite the good week, Rochester is still in fifth place in the North Division of the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.536, 30 points, and a 14-12-1-1 record. The Americans are only two points behind Utica for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they welcome the Comets to the Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night.