A strange scheduling quirk had the Rochester Americans lining up against North Division rivals, the Toronto Marlies in four-of-seven games starting with a home-and-home set on November 30 inRochester– a 4-1 loss.
The return engagement at Ricoh Coliseum – a 3-2 loss – kick off the month of December and became the bookend between a game versus Adirondack (3-1 win) with another loss to the Marlies seven days later, a 4-3 nail-biter after they were down 4-0 to cut the deficit to 4-3 with just over a minute left, eventually running out of time to complete the comeback.
Having taken in both dates at Ricoh Coliseum, here are some notes on the Rochester Americans standouts.
Marcus Foligno, LW
Sabres 4th round pick in 2009 (104 overall) continues to put up good offensive numbers, mostly from a playmaking standpoint, scoring six goals – with only one goal in the last 16 games played – and just under a point-per-game pace, good enough to rank among top-30 in AHL points production .. slushy start up seems improved from previous season, with improved edges that has improved his first-step burst .. skating still remains an issue to improve on, start up aside .. could generate more power from stride, but keeps up with the play adequately .. displayed the tough, physical game that makes him a handful in open ice and even more so when battling along the wall .. more inclined to lead the rush than as a support option, an offshoot from him carrying the puck more than last season – especially with his head up .. difficult to knock off the puck, even more so in motion .. positioning and hockey sense was on display, getting to dirty areas in the offensive zone without the puck and focused defensively, backchecking and as a presence in the defensive zone .. development continues in a good uniform fashion.
Luke Adam C
Struggles continue for the 2008 2nd round pick (44th overall) scoring his first goal in the Dec 8, 4-3 loss, his first in 11 games that included a three game absence .. content in advancing the play from the perimeter, finding outlets and keeping the play going through the middle, but doesn’t drive into scoring areas .. competitive drive has been spotty in all live viewings so far this season .. doesn’t engage enough .. didn’t recognize his defensive assignment with a lackadaisical back check that almost ended up as a scoring chance had the Marlies forward not bobbled it – a prime example of the intent to be better defensively, without actually putting up an effort to do so .. had he been in position to intercept the pass, the ensuing pressure in the zone that ended up as a penalty wouldn’t have occurred on that same play .. passes aren’t crisp and consistently miss their targets .. can be guilty of looking for the long bomb passes too often .. creativity and imagination are also not optimized, a side effect of not handling the puck very much .. has be more engaged, and up the compete level.
Brayden McNabb D
Took 14 games for the former 3rd round pick (66 overall) in 2009 to score his first of the season, and then scored again, five games later .. has recorded a point in 12 of 21 games, never going more than three games without a point .. offensive puck rushing blueliner carries it from behind his net to take the opposition blueline, although is capable of slick outlet passing and zealous in jumping up to support the rush .. walks the blueline effectively and changes his angles for shots on goal .. can be pressured into mistakes in defensive coverage, hurried with the puck to make decisions, or bodied off the puck along the boards .. thinks the play a few steps ahead and executes on the thought pattern, very creative converting imagination into a reality .. initiates contact instinctively, using his six-foot-four frame whenever he can, boxing out opposition, or intimidating physical punishment .. can be guilty of overplaying the physical elements at times, taking himself out of the play .. also has to mind gaps widening as he skates backwards .. impressive puck control at the end of the blade and dexterity to use feet to steady puck before playing them .. may not live up to the offensive potential but it’s a complimentary feature for a well-rounded two way game .. defensive gaps are tight and he’s rarely out of position, with an emerging active stick .. good potential, not too far away either.