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 dropped their first two games of the week to the red hot Panthers and the equally scorching Blackhawks before recovering to break the losing streak against the Jets. On Tuesday night, the Sabres welcomed the Panthers to the First Niagara Center and were defeated 5-1. Ryan O’Reilly scored the only goal for the Sabres, while Linus Ullmark allowed four goals on 26 shots. Jack Eichel recorded an assist on Buffalo’s tally to extend his point streak to four games.
On Friday night, the Sabres began a three-game road trip with a visit to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks. Ryan O’Reilly scored for the second straight game, but again he was the lone Sabre to light the lamp. He now has a team leading 17 goals and 36 points on the year. He was also named to the roster of the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star game, the Sabres lone representative in the event. Chad Johnson played extremely well in goal, stopping 42 of 44 Chicago shots, but he took the tough loss.
The Sabres finally snapped their six-game losing streak with a 4-2 win on Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg. Sam Reinhart, the Second Overall Selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, recorded his first NHL hat trick in the victory. Reinhart now has 12 goals on the season, which is good for third on the team. It can only be a positive sign for the future that two of the three leading goal scorers for the Sabres this year are rookies. Marcus Foligno scored the game-winning-goal for Buffalo in the third period to help the team end the losing streak. Linus Ullmark made 42 saves to earn the victory, breaking a personal four-game losing streak in the process. Buffalo is in eighth place in the Atlantic Division with 36 points, and a 16-22-4 record.
Rochester Americans (AHL) – The Americans won two out of three games this past weekend to inch ever closer to the last playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Rochester began the weekend with a 5-4 victory over the Hershey Bears on Friday night, at Blue Cross Arena. Rochester overcame a 3-1 deficit to earn the victory. While he allowed four goals on 28 shots, the major story to come out of this game was the return to the ice of Robin Lehner. The opening night starter for the Sabres appeared in his first game since getting injured that night. It was Lehner’s first game in the AHL since 2013, and his recovery should only help the goaltending depth throughout the organization. On the offensive front, Phil Varone scored his team leading tenth goal of the year and added three assists for his first four-point night of the year. Evan Rodrigues also contributed a goal and an assist, his first career three-point game.
On Saturday night, the Amerks travelled to Binghamton and defeated the Senators 2-1. Two first period power play goals by Bobby Sanguinetti and Dan Catenacci were made to stand up as Nathan Lieuwen stopped 37 of 38 Binghamton shots. Cal O’Reilly tallied assists on both goals. He leads the team with 19 helpers on the season. He was also named to the roster of the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Classic. It was the second straight game in which Catenacci notched the game winner for the Amerks. The third round selection of the Sabres in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is now in his third full season with the Americans. He has five goals and four assists this season, while he has tallied 31 goals and 30 assists in 173 career games for Rochester.
Rochester’s attempt to win a third game in a row was foiled by the Syracuse Crunch as the Amerks lost 2-1. Robin Lehner continued to work his way toward full health stopping 20 of 22 shots for Rochester. However, only Jason Akeson was able to score for the Amerks. Akeson is tied for the team lead with 23 points on the season. Jackals’ alums, Matt Garbowsky and Allan McPherson each played in two of the three contests over the weekend. Neither was able to record a point. Garbowsky has appeared in 16 games for Rochester with one assist, while McPherson has appeared in 10 games and is still looking for his first point of the year. Both have had more success in Elmira, as Garbowsky has a goal and two assists in six games, while McPherson has nine goals and nine assists in 18 games for the Jackals. Rochester is still in sixth place in the North Division of the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.514, 34 points, and a 17-16-2-1 record, however they are only one point behind Syracuse for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.