As anticipated, Buffalo Sabres AHL affiliate the Rochester Americans set a franchise attendance record on Friday night – and they got a 4-1 win over the Lake Erie Monsters in the process. A crowd of 19,070 fans were on hand for the action at the First Niagra Center, normally the Sabres’ home.
Amerks team president Ted Black thinks that the turnout is a testament to the game’s presence in both Buffalo and Rochester.
“This record is a result of the tremendous support from the fans throughout Western New York,” Black said. “Rochester and Buffalo are both great hockey cities, and the Amerks organization is extremely appreciative of the continuing support of the fans in both markets.”
The cherry on top is the fact that recent Sabres addition Cody Hodgson scored two goals in the game, pushing him to five goals and 18 points in 15 AHL games this season.
Friday’s crowd was the biggest in team history by a considerable margin, but Dec. 28 has been a big date for the franchise:
The previous Amerks record for the largest crowd was 17,898, which was set exactly eight years ago on Dec. 28, 2004, when Rochester defeated the Edmonton Road Runners at the then-HSBC Arena in Buffalo.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.