The Rochester Americans announced their regular season schedule for the 2012-13 American Hockey League season. The Amerks will open their 57th AHL season – and 31st as the affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres – at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12 versus the Syracuse Crunch at The Blue Cross Arena.
All AHL teams will again play a 76-game regular season schedule, including 38 home games and 38 road games. Second-year Head Coach Ron Rolston and the Amerks will play the vast majority of their home games on weekends, with 21 Friday home games, three Saturday home dates and three Sunday home outings. The team will also host six games on Wednesdays, three on Tuesdays and two on Mondays.
The start times for Amerk home games will see some change from last season. Games played Tuesday through Saturday will all start at 7:05 p.m., while games played on Sundays and Mondays will see varying earlier start times (1:05 p.m., 3:05 p.m. or 5:05 p.m.). Another change from last year’s schedule is a reduced number of three-games-in-three-nights sets for the Amerks. Rochester will play just six sets of back-to-back-to-back games this season after playing 10 such sets last season.
The Amerks, who will remain in the North Division of the Western Conference, will play 15 of the AHL’s 30 teams over the course of the 2012-13 season. While Rochester will once again be joined in the North Division by the Hamilton Bulldogs, Lake Erie Monsters and Toronto Marlies, the Abbotsford Heat will replace the Grand Rapids Griffins as members of the North this season. As for divisional play, the Amerks will face Hamilton 12 times (six home, six road), Toronto 10 times (five home, five road), Abbotsford eight times (four home, four road) and Lake Erie six times (three home, three road).
One highlight of Rochester’s divisional schedule will come on Friday, Feb. 22 when the Amerks play a road game versus the Hamilton Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, home of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.
Overall, the Amerks will play the same 15 opponents during the 2012-13 campaign as they did last season. In addition to squaring off with its North Division rivals a total of 36 times, Rochester will also play against Syracuse 10 times (five home, five road), Binghamton eight times (four home, four road), Adirondack four times (two home, two road), Albany four times (two home, two road), and twice each (one home, one road) versus Grand Rapids, Hershey, Houston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Texas and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Amerks’ longest homestands of the season will be a pair of four-game home stretches, the first of which will keep the team home for the holidays. Rochester will host Lake Erie on Wednesday, Dec. 26 and Friday, Dec. 28, then will face Binghamton on Saturday, Dec. 29 before closing out the homestand with a New Year’s Eve game against Hamilton at 3:05 p.m. The second four-game homestand begins Friday, Jan. 18 against Syracuse and conclude Friday, Feb. 1 against Toronto. In between, the Amerks will host Hamilton in a 1:05 p.m. contest on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 21) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, Jan. 25. Following that game, the league will break for the All-Star Classic, which will take place in Providence from Jan. 27-28.
Other home games of interest include a date with the Albany Devils the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 23), the first of five visits from the rival Toronto Marlies (Friday, Nov. 30), and the renewal of the AHL’s oldest rivalry when the Hershey Bears come to Rochester on Sunday, Feb. 17 for a 3:05 p.m. game during Hockey Weekend Across America. The home schedule is also dotted with visits from some more unfamiliar opponents, including San Antonio (Wednesday, Nov. 28), Houston (Friday, Feb. 15), Texas (Wednesday, Feb. 20) and Oklahoma City (Friday, Apr. 12).
Rochester’s longest road trip is a five-game trek that begins in Toronto on Mar. 16, continues to Oklahoma City on Mar. 19, then takes the Amerks through the Lone Star State for games against Texas (Mar. 22), Houston (Mar. 23) and San Antonio (Mar. 24).
Rochester’s busiest month of the season will be March, as the team plays 15 games, including nine on the road and six at home. December features a heavy home schedule, with eight of the Amerks’ 13 games taking place at The Blue Cross Arena. The schedule will also see the Amerks play eight games (four home, four road) in the month of October, 10 games (six home, four road) in November, nine games (five home, four road) in January, 12 games (five home, seven road) in February, and nine games (four home, five road) in April. The regular season closes with a three-in-three stretch that sees the Amerks host Toronto on Friday, Apr. 19 and Hamilton on Saturday, Apr. 20 before traveling to Hamilton for game no. 76 on Sunday, Apr. 21.