BUFFALO – Michael Peca sees Sabres prospect JJ Peterka as such a rare and special talent he refers to the German winger a “unicorn.” Seriously.
Peca, an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans, can’t think of a former teammate or opponent or find anyone in today’s game who resembles the type of player Peterka, 20, can become someday.
“He has no idea how good he can be yet, which is scary,” said Peca, a popular ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Buffalo Sabres defense prospect Oskari Laaksonen learned last month his offensive abilities will only take him so far.
When the Calder Cup Playoffs began, Laaksonen, a regular for the Americans all season, sat out the first eight games as a healthy scratch, watching until Game 2 of the North Division final.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Laaksonen, 22, compiled 34 points in 71 regular-season games during his second AHL campaign, numbers that ranked second among ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Goalie Aaron Dell arrived in Buffalo nine months ago as perhaps the favorite to win the Sabres’ backup job before enduring a miserable preseason and getting waived.
When an opportunity materialized to play in the NHL a month later, Dell struggled so badly the Sabres acquired another netminder and demoted him to the AHL again.
Dell, 33, compiled downright awful statistics – a 1-8-1 mark with a 4.03 goals-against average and an ... Read the full article
By the end of the Rochester Americans’ thrilling 10-game playoff run, winger Jack Quinn recaptured some of the slick form that made him a dynamic scorer during the regular season.
Three times in the final two games, including once in overtime of Wednesday’s season-ending, 6-5 loss to the Laval Rocket, Quinn, 20, had Cayden Primeau beaten but the puck hit the knob of the goalie’s stick or the post. On Monday, Quinn pumped a career-high ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – The Americans battled adversity and beat long odds for weeks, eking into the Calder Cup Playoffs on the last day of the regular season before beginning their deepest and most memorable postseason run in 18 years.
They rallied to win games, earned four overtime victories and triumphed in a do-or-die Game 5 against a top seed.
So when the Amerks dropped the first two games on the road against the Laval Rocket in ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Out of his element, up in the stands watching his Americans teammates compete in the Calder Cup Playoffs, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen sometimes feels a little jittery.
“I think I’m 10 times more nervous watching it upstairs than when I’m in the goal,” Luukkonen told the Times Herald on Wednesday after the Amerks prepared for Game 3 of the AHL North Division final at Blue Cross Arena. “So that’s the tough part of it.”... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Nearly seven months later, the novelty of playing for the Sabres, the team he passionately rooted for growing up, hasn’t worn off for winger Alex Tuch.
In the back of his mind, Tuch had hoped an opportunity to join the Sabres would materialize someday, perhaps at the end of his career. Then on Nov. 4, the Vegas Golden Knights sent him to Buffalo as part of the blockbuster Jack Eichel trade.
Tuch, ... Read the full article
The Rochester Americans just won their second Calder Cup Playoff series, and winger Jack Quinn, the AHL’s top rookie, hasn’t scored a goal.
Injuries have sidelined goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, two of the Buffalo Sabres’ other top prospects, the entire postseason.
On Thursday, the Amerks, who eked into the playoffs, defeated the top-seeded Utica Comets 4-2 and clinched the North Division semifinal without their injured captain, Michael Mersch, a 26-goal ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – In opening up a series lead and putting the Utica Comets on the brink of elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Americans hadn’t seen the best out of the AHL powerhouse.
The top-seeded Comets only showcased flashes of their slick regular-season form throughout the first three games of best-of-five AHL North Division semifinal. In a do-or-die scenario Tuesday, you figured they would come out roaring.
Well, in Game 4, the Comets gave ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – JJ Peterka could be one-and-done in the AHL. The Buffalo Sabres prospect just enjoyed the greatest offensive campaign in a teenage season since 1976. Over the weekend, the German winger was the most dynamic player in the Calder Cup Playoffs, recording five points, including a hat trick, in two Americans wins.
After a 28-goal, 68-point regular season, the excitement and pressure that accompanies postseason hockey has helped Peterka transform into a dominant presence.... Read the full article