AHL Preview: Rochester Americans at Grand Rapids Griffins
The Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) will look to stop a two-game scoreless streak tonight when the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) make their only visit of the season to Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins were shut out 3-0 by the Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues) at home last Friday, and then suffered a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) on Sunday. They managed to stay tied with the Rockford Ice Hogs (Chicago Blackhawks) atop the Midwest Division despite seeing goaltenders Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum struggle over the weekend. The Americans currently sit third in the North Division, with a 12-9-2-1 record, collecting points in their last three games.
The Americans are led by Marcus Foligno, who has 24 points in 24 games. Defenseman T.J. Brennan is also showing why he saw some time in Buffalo last season, with nine goals and 20 points for the season. The team also features top Sabres prospects Mark Pysyk, Cody Hodgson, Luke Adam and Frederick Roy (son of Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy). David Leggio gets the bulk of the goaltending starts, and has 11 wins. He is backed up by rookie Connor Knapp, a former NCAA standout at Miami University (Ohio).
The Griffins will hope that several roster moves this week will shake things up – forwards Luke Glendening and Andrej Nestrasil and defenseman Gleason Fournier were recalled from the ECHL Toledo Walleye. Glendening, a native of East Grand Rapids and a former captain of the University of Michigan Wolverines, will make his AHL debut tonight and become the first player from the greater Grand Rapids area to play for the Griffins. He has scored 14 goals in Toledo, trailing only Nestrasil (seven goals, 24 points) and Willie Coetzee (14 goals, 26 points).
Both goaltenders for Grand Rapids have cooled off in the past two weeks, but still enter tonight’s game with respectable records. Mrazek is 7-3, while McCollum is 6-4-1-1. The team will play the rest of its games in December at home, continuing with a Friday contest against the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames) and hosting the Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks) on Saturday.