The Rochester Americans announced their schedule for the 2017-18 American Hockey League regular season. The Amerks will open their 62nd AHL season – and 36th as the affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres – on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:05 p.m. against the defending Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks and Crunch will then meet again on Saturday, Oct. 7 as the home-and-home series shifts to the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse.
The Amerks, who remain in the North Division of the Eastern Conference, will again play a 76-game regular season schedule (38 home games and 38 road games) against 14 of the AHL’s 30 teams. First-year head coach Chris Taylor and the Amerks will play 28 of their 38 home games on weekends, with 19 Friday home games, six Saturday home dates and three Sunday home outings. The team will also host nine games on Wednesdays and one Monday afternoon contest that will see Rochester host the North Division rival Utica Comets at 1:05 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15 at The Blue Cross Arena.
For the second straight year, the Amerks will play all 76 of their games against Eastern Conference opponents this season, with 54 coming against their North Division rivals and 22 versus teams from the Atlantic Division. Joining Rochester in the North Division are three new franchises set to make their AHL debuts in 2017-18, including the Belleville Senators, Binghamton Devils and Laval Rocket, in addition to the Syracuse Crunch, Toronto Marlies and Utica Comets. Rochester will face Binghamton, the newest affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Syracuse and Utica 10 times apiece (five home, five road) and will play Belleville, top developmental team of the Ottawa Senators, Laval, which will serve as the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto eight times each (four home, four road).
The Amerks will again play the entire Atlantic Division this coming season, with four matchups (two home, two road) each against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford Wolf Pack and Charlotte Checkers, who will shift to the Eastern Conference beginning in 2017-18. The Checkers are scheduled to make their inaugural visit to Rochester on Friday, Oct. 20 and again on Friday, March 30 later in the season. Similar to last season, they will also face the Providence Bruins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, last year’s Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners, twice (one home, one road) while also seeing the Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Springfield Thunderbirds for a pair of meetings (one home, one road), down from four from last season.
All home games will start at 7:05 p.m. this season, with the exception of the three Sunday games which will begin at 3:05 p.m., and the lone Monday afternoon contest at 1:05 p.m.
For the seventh straight year, the Amerks will host a game at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center when they face-off against the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7:05 p.m. Rochester is 5-1-0-0 while playing in Buffalo since the Sabres and Amerks renewed their affiliation prior to the 2011-12 campaign.
The Amerks’ busiest month of the season comes in December as the team will play a total of 14 times, including nine games over a 17-day stretch to close out the 2017 calendar year. Rochester will spend the most time on home ice in February and March with seven games each within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena during those months.
Rochester’s longest homestand of the 2017-18 campaign is a pair of four-game stretches, beginning Friday, March 23 versus Binghamton and concluding Friday, March 30 with the final visit from Charlotte. The Amerks are then home again for four straight between Friday, April 6 and Friday, April 13, all of which are against North Division opponents. Rochester’s longest string of road games is five games, which comes after the New Year from Friday, Jan. 17 to Saturday, Jan. 27 and features a two-game set against the Checkers during its first-ever trip to Charlotte. The team will also travel to Utica and Toronto before rounding out the 10-day road swing in Belleville.
Rochester has a total of four “three-in-three” situations on the docket, less than half as many from last season. The Amerks will be in action three straight nights when they embark on a three-game trek through the Atlantic Division with stops in Springfield on Friday, Dec. 8, Hartford on Saturday, Dec. 9 and Bridgeport on Sunday, Dec. 10. The Amerks will also have another three-in-three stretch in February and back-to-back three-game weekends in March.
Information on promotional and annual theme nights will be announced at later dates.
Amerks Season Ticket Memberships for the 2017-18 campaign, which start as low as just $12 per game, are on sale now. The Amerks are also offering a variety of partial plans, including Half-Season Memberships and Flex Season Memberships with vouchers good for best available seating to any home game. All memberships are up to 40 percent off Box Office day of game pricing. For more information, visit www.amerks.com/seasontickets or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.