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 celebrated Boxing Day with one of their most impressive victories of the season, a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins. With only ten minutes remaining in the game, the Sabres trailed 3-1, but the Buffalo offense exploded for five goals in the final 10 minutes. Jack Eichel enjoyed the finest game of his young career. He registered his first career four-point night in the city where he was playing college hockey, one short year ago. Eichel, who is still only 19-years-old, is second on the Sabres with 11 goals, and third on the team with 20 points. Both men acquired from Colorado in the offseason also played key roles in the Buffalo comeback. Ryan O’Reilly scored two goals and tallied the primary assist on Jamie McGinn’s game winner. O’Reilly continues to lead the Sabres in all offensive categories with 14 goals, 18 assists, and 32 points. McGinn is tied for third on the team with eight goals and ranks fourth with 17 points.
Buffalo’s momentum from the great comeback was stifled by Braden Holtby, and the Washington Capitals, who shutout the Sabres, 2-0, on Monday night. Holtby made 31 saves to earn his second shutout of the year, including a highlight reel glove save on Evander Kane. Despite the loss, Buffalo still has reason to be positive. They played well against the best team in the Eastern Conference, a team that is now on an eight game winning streak. The Sabres have gone 4-2-1 in their last seven games and continue to play competitively, even on nights where the result on the scoreboard is not ideal. Buffalo is currently in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 34 points, and a 15-17-4 record. They are eight points out of the last playoff position in the Eastern Conference, but only 11 points out of first place in the hyper-competitive Atlantic Division.
Rochester Americans (AHL) – The Americans dropped both of their games this past weekend as their inconsistent play continued. Rochester was plagued by a lack of offense in both defeats. On Saturday night, the Amerks dropped another close game to Utica, this time, 3-1. Matt Donovan scored the only goal of the game for the Americans. He now has three goals on the year, and is tied for the team lead among defensemen with 11 points. Cal O’Reilly tallied his team leading fifteenth assist of the year, on the goal. Andrey Makarov allowed three goals on 31 shots and was credited with the loss.
The following night, the Amerks were blanked by the Hartford Wolfpack, 1-0. This came only nine days after Rochester scored a season high seven goals against the same Wolfpack. Jeff Malcolm, who yielded the final two of those goals, stopped all 24 Rochester shots in this game to earn his first AHL shutout. Nathan Lieuwen played well in the loss, stopping 25 of 26 shots. Both Matt Garbowsky and Colin Jacobs played in both contests for the Americans. Garbowsky has now skated in 12 games for the Americans this season, where he has one assist. Jacobs appeared in his first two games of the year for Rochester without recording a point. In 46 games over the course of four seasons with the Amerks, Jacobs has two goals and five assists. He also has six goals and 11 assists in 25 games for the Jackals this season. Despite the losses, Rochester is still in fifth place in the North Division of the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.500, 30 points, and a 14-14-1-1 record.