I went with my fiancé last night to take in an Amerks game. Luckily, since the Sabres are now re-affiliated with the Amerks, I can talk her into going a lot more. Buffalo’s farm team is playing very well at the moment, and right now in the middle of a playoff race in the AHL, in case you're not following the Amerks closely. If the playoffs started today, the Amerks are in.
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The Amerks played a great hockey game last night. We had fantastic seats in the 2nd row from the ice on the blue line. 3 seconds into the game, Joe Finley beats down Tim Conboy, rising to the challenge immediately. Both recieved 5 minute fighting penalties, although Conboy didn’t fight much. Shortly after, my fiancé got pulled off to participate in musical chairs on ice during the 1st intermission. After she went off, Maxime Legault delivered the first goal of the night for Rochester. Ten minutes later, Shaone Morrison put in the second of the game, joining the rush, and getting a great shot away from the slot. The period ended with Rochester up 2-0.
Soon after, my fiancé took the ice for the intermission entertainment. After getting strange looks for filming the event, I explained how that was my fiancé and was promptly told that I, “Must be proud”. I responded with “Proudest moment of my life”, dripping with sarcasm. She ended up winning (autographed picture of Morrison, a puck, a Amerks sticker, and a gift card to dinner) to my cheers from our seats, when 4 of my college friends called. They told me they were coming to take the 4 seats that were open in front of us right next to the glass.
As the 2nd period started, Rochester continued to play solid hockey. Meanwhile, my friends from college decided that the linesman, who had a mustache, needed to be cheered for. To my left, a young, female, “fan”, decided to very openly proclaim her drunkenness. We still don’t think she knows what type sporting event she was at.
More importantly, on the ice, 5 minutes into the 2nd, Travis Turmbull lit the lamp to give Rochester a 3-0 lead. The Amerks kept pouring it on and 3 minutes later, Derek Whitmore joined the party making it 4-0. Meanwhile, one of my college friends drew a mustache on his finger so he could bond with the linesman. Since we were sitting on the blue line, whenever the mustached linesman was by us, chants of “Mustache, Mustache” cascaded from our section. The linesman made a point to “groom” his mustache while everyone was cheering. Meanwhile, when the non-mustached referee and other linesman came over, they were ridiculed for not having mustaches. The drunk girl, in the meantime, kept taking off her shirt, and swinging it above her head (thank God she had a tank top on underneath)... When play resumed, she put her shirt back on... This continued throughout the game, with us laughing at her throughout. Meanwhile, whenever a Binghamton player was standing by us, one of my friends would lean close to the boards and mutter profane insults through the glass.
Back to the game, 3 more minutes after Whitmore scored, Alex Biega buried his shot in the back of the net to make it 5-0. A few minutes after that, Igor Gongalsky took an elbowing penalty which resulted in a lot of angry fans. However, Paul Szczechura sparked a short handed rush, and made the most of his opportunity making the game 6-0 Amerks. Throughout the first 2 periods, Rochester was very aggressive, matching Binghamton’s physical play. The Amerks crashed the net, fought for the puck in the corners, and held Binghamton to 8 total shots through 2 periods. It’s the type of effort Buffalo fans want to see the Sabres put forth every night.
Rochester backed off during the 3rd period, and sat on the lead. They allowed one late goal for Binghamton, unfortunately ending David Leggio’s chance for a shut out. The third period entertainment was provided by the chants of “Mustache! Mustache!” (the linesman continuing to groom his mustache whenever patrolling the blue line we were sitting on), and the annoying leanings of drunk girl. Plus, the 3rd period resulted in a lot of us watching for updates on the Sabres vs Senators game on our cell phones. Rochester won the game with minimal contest from Binghamton.
The highlight of the 3rd period was when Marcus Foligno scored his 1st NHL goal. The arena erupted when the voice came over the sound system announcing the score of the Sabres game, stating that Foligno had tied the game with his 1st NHL goal. The fans responded as though he had just scored for the Amerks.
As soon as the game ended, we all ran to the atrium to find a TV running the shoot out for the Sabres. Cheers erupted for every save that Miller made. When Pominville scored, everyone applauded and high fived. When Alfredsson scored, it was as though the air had been sucked out of the atrium. Finally, Ennis walked in on Bishop, and beat him clean to give the Sabres the win, and the atrium exploded. Everyone was cheering and celebrating (except the 1 Maple Leaf fan who looked very unhappy).
Ron Rolston has the Amerks playing great hockey down the stretch. They even have a chance to win their division. If Buffalo doesn’t make it to the playoffs, come on down to Rochester. The team looks great, and continues to play with determination.
What’s even better, the pride of being a Sabres fan carries on through the Amerks organization as well. The best thing about the affiliation going back to Buffalo, is that Rochester is once again, proud to be Amerks fans, and display it proudly.
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