Matthews: Crunch High Hurdle For Amerks



Nearly every fan of the Rochester Americans is aware of this city’s proud American Hockey League history and the demoralizing fact that the Amerks haven’t won a playoff series since 2005.

Rochester has since lost in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs in 2007 (2-4 to Hamilton), in 2010 (3-4 to Abbotsford), in 2012 (0-3 to Toronto), in 2013 (0-3 to Toronto) and in 2014 (2-3 to Chicago).

The Amerks will launch their bid for the seventh Calder Cup in franchise history on Friday at the Syracuse Crunch in the first game of the best-of-five first-round series.

The numbers say Rochester is the underdog:

Records this season – Crunch 46-22-3-5; 100 points...Amerks 37-22-11-6; 91 points

Home records – Crunch 24-11-2-1; .671 (5th)...Amerks 18-14-3-3; .553 (t18th)

Road records – Crunch 22-11-1-4; .645 (t5)...Amerks 19-8-8-3; .645 (t5th). Rochester was better on the road than at home this season.

Points percentage – Crunch .658 (4th in the 30-team AHL)...Amerks .599 (11th)

Last 10 games – Crunch 6-3-0-1...Amerks 7-2-1-0

Goals for/against – Crunch 234 (t9th)/189 GA (4th)...Amerks 234 (t9th) 221 GA (t18)

Goals differential – Crunch +45...Amerks +13

Penalty minutes – Crunch 1225 (1st)...Amerks 828 (25th). This could be a big help for Rochester. Syracuse figures to spend more time in the penalty box and the Amerks have the firepower to capitalize.

Power play – Crunch 15.7 percent (24th); 53-for-338...Amerks 18.3 percent (12th); 58-for-317

Penalty killing – Crunch 84.8 percent (3rd)...Amerks 84.12 percent (5th); 253-for 301. Rochester has to watch out for Syracuse’s counter-attack, The Crunch led the AHL with 13 short-handed goals this season.

Syracuse and Rochester played 10 times this season and the Crunch and the advantage 6-4. The Amerks won the first two meetings to start the season, Syracuse won the next six of the next seven meetings and Rochester won 4-2 at the Crunch last Saturday night.

Rochester should benefit from significant reinforcements from Buffalo. The parent Sabres didn’t make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Syracuse’s NHL parent team – Tampa Bay – figures to have a long run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Lightning on Sunday recalled center Matthew Peca (15 goals+38 assists in 70 games) from Syracuse.

I like Rochester’s balanced scoring – coach Chris Taylor can send out four dangerous lines – and goalie Linus Ullmark.

Bob’s pick: Amerks in 5 games.


0 – Goals allowed by coach Bob Lilley’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds in their first four games this United Soccer League season in their 2-0-2 start.

0-3 – Rochester Red Wings record at home to start this baseball season.

2.21 – Rochester’s International League-best earned-run-average.

3-0 – Rochester Red Wings on the road to even their record this season.

.389 – Gleyber Torres’ batting average with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: 14-for-34, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR and 10 RBI in 9 games.

4 – Number of NBA teams seeded fourth-or-lower to reach the NBA Finals since the current format began in 1983-84. Only the 1995 Houston Rockets (#6 seed) won the championship.

6 – Number of Major League Baseball games postponed by weather Sunday, tying the most on one day since September 12, 2008.

6.04 – The MLB-highest earned-run-average for the Cincinnati Reds.

12 – Hits needed by Albert Pujols to tie Roberto Clemente’s (3,000) for 31st on baseball’s all-time hit list.

13 – Strikeouts by Tim Tebow in his first 25 official at-bats with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies this season. He has 0 walks and is batting .200 (5-for-25) with 1 double, 1 HR and 10 RBI in 9 games.

17-14 – Golden State Warriors record this NBA regular season without Steph Curry. They were 41-10 with him.

36-8 – The combined record of the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Pittsburg Pirates entering Monday. Who could’ve projected that?

44 – Minutes played by Cleveland’s LeBron James in Sunday’s 98-80 home loss to Indiana. He could’ve used some rest.

112 – The combined age of San Antonio Spurs Veterans Manu Ginobili (40), Pau Gasol (37) and Tony Parker (35). The Spurs obviously miss superstar Kawhi Leonard but they weren’t likely to go deep into the NBA playoff anyway.

150-to-1 – Odds on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to win the 2018 Stanley Cup when this season began.

240 – Major League Baseball victories by Bartolo Colon (240-176 record; 4.03 ERA). He needs six more victories to top Dennis Martinez (245-193; 3.70 ERA) as the winningest Latin-born pitcher.

295.6 yards – John Daly is tied for first in PGA Champions Tour average driving distance. He ranks 61st in driving accuracy.

1993 – The last year a Canadian team (Montreal) won the Stanley Cup.


The Rochester Knighthawks stormed back from an 8-3 deficit to beat the host Toronto Rock 14-11 before 11,463 disappointed fans Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

The K-hawks boosted their National Lacrosse League record to 9-7. They’re 7-1 since a six-game losing streak dropped them to 2-6. They’re tied for first place in the Eastern Division with two games left in the regular season. The top three teams qualify for the playoffs.

The K-hawks didn’t get much help in Saturday night’s three games, all involving Eastern Division foes. Calgary beat visiting Buffalo 16-9 but New England won 10-6 at Colorado and Georgia upset host Saskatchewan 16-10. League-leading Saskatchewan now is 13-4 (including 0-2 vs. Rochester).

The Eastern Division standings:

Rochester 9-7

Georgia 9-7

Buffalo 8-8

New England 8-8

Toronto 7-9.

Games remaining:

Rochester – hosts New England Buffalo April 28

Georgia – hosts Vancouver Saturday...a New England April 29

Buffalo – hosts Toronto Saturday...hosts Rochester April 28

New England – at Rochester Saturday...hosts Georgia April 29

Toronto – at Buffalo Colorado April 28.


Rochester is second in the nine-team NLL in scoring (Saskatchewan 14.29; K-hawks 13.44) and second in goal differential (Saskatchewan +57; K-hawks +29).

The K-hawks have two of the NLL’s top six scorers: Joe Resetarits (4th) 34 goals+58 assists for 92 points in 16 games; Cody Jamieson (6th) 24 goals+59 assists for 83 points in 16 games.

Rochester has the NLL’s second-beat power play: 63.3 percent (38-for-60); Saskatchewan is first at 69.9 percent (58-for-83).

Saturday night’s three NLL games (in Saskatoon, Calgary and Denver) drew a total of 47,161 fans.

The average crowd this NLL season is 9,210. Rochester ranks sixth in the nine-team league at 6,587.

No home-team advantage this NLL season: visiting teams are 35-38. Rochester is 5-3 home and 4-4 away.

Two Rochester players rank second and third in NLL rookie scoring. Buffalo’s Josh Byrne, the No.1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has 58 points (24 goals+34 assists in 16 games), followed by Austin Shanks (23G+23A for 46 points in 13 games) and Eric Fannell (15G+19A for 34 points in 12 games). Shanks and Fannell didn’t see much action in Rochester’s sputtering 2-6 start.

Rochester’s third rookie first-round draft pick out of The Ohio State – Jake Withers – won 22 of 28 faceoffs last Friday night in Toronto and is an amazing 243-of-365 this season – by far the best in the NLL.


NHL – Through 19 games, home teams are 12-7...There have been 3 overtime games and 3 shutouts...Margins of victory: 1 goal (8 games); 2 goals (1); 3 goals (4); 4 goals (5); 7 goals (1)...All four games Monday night have a team leading their best-of-seven series 2-0.

NBA – Through 8 games, home teams are 6-2...Margins of victory: 3 points (1 game); 5 points (1); 6 points (1); 8 points (2); 18 points (1); 21 points (1); 27 points (1)...1 overtime game...Las Vegas favorites are 6-2 outright and 5-3 against the point spread.


Hot ticket Tuesday night in Los Angeles: The Boston Red Sox (13-2 record) versus the Angels (13-3), with sensation Shohei Ohtani on the mound.

Former Rochester Rhinos coach Bob Lilley continues to work his magic with the United Soccer League Pittsburgh Riverhounds. They beat the visiting Ottawa Fury 1-0 Saturday on a goal by Tobi Adewole in the 85th minute. Penfield native and former Rhinos goalie Dan Lynd had his third shutout of the season for Pittsburgh. His only save of the game was on a long shot in extra time. The Riverhounds are 2-0-2 and have not allowed a goal this season. They’ve outscored opponents 5-0. Pittsburgh will play a “road” game against “home team” Toronto II at Capelli Sport Stadium Saturday, May 5, 6 p.m.

Why is Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees getting so much more heat (I think) than Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets? Probably because the Mets have the much better record: Cespedes, .190 (11-for-62), 3 HRs, 12 RBI, 5 walks, 28 strikeouts; Stanton, .220 (13-for-59), 3 HRs, 10 RBI, 6 walks, 25 strikeouts.

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison attended alma mater Syracuse U.’s spring football game Friday. It was his first visit to SU since his final season in 1995. He caught 135 passes for 2,718 yards and 20 TDs for the Orange. His son, Kevin, is a freshman receiver at SU.


Monday, April 16

Albert Amora (24)...Nolan Arenado (27)...NBA version Reggie Jackson (28)...Kyle Okposo (30)...Luol Deng (33)...Jonathan Joseph (34)...Kat Osterman (35)...Boris Diaw (36)...Jonathan Vilma (36)...Kenneth Davis (56)...Bruce Bochy (63)...Bill Belichick (66)...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (71).

Tuesday, April 17

Ali Marpet (25)...Jed Lowrie (34)...Theo Ratliff (45)...Tony Boselli (46)...Marquis Grissom (51)...Craig Worthington (53)...Boomer Esiason (57)...Dave Huppert (61)...Borje Salming (67)...Dave Hynes (67)...Geoff Petrie (70)...Dennis Hextall (75). Victoria Beckham (44) and Jennifer Garner (46) are invited to the birthday party.


April 16

83 years ago (1935), Babe Ruth hit a home run in his first National League game...39 years ago (1939), Americans Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit swept the 83rd Boston Marathon...31 years ago (1987), Michael Jordan became the second NBA player to score 3,000 points in a season.

April 17

98 years ago (1920), the American Professional Football Association (NFL) was formed...79 years ago (1939), Joe Louis K0d Jack Roper in Round 1 for the world heavyweight boxing title...65 years ago (1953), Mickey Mantle hit a 565-foot home run in Washington’s Griffith Stadium...58 years ago (1960), the Cleveland Indians traded slugger Rocky Colavito to Detroit for Harvey Kuenn...19 years ago (1999), the Cleveland Browns made Nebraska quarterback Tim Couch the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL college draft.


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