Do Or Die: The Jr. Americans Must Win Three Straight To Keep Season Alive

Apr 25, 2024

Article written by Aidan Charde


Recap vs. Maine Nordiques on April 19 and 20

The Rochester Jr. Americans put together a pair of solid third period performances last weekend but it was not enough, dropping both of the first two games to the Maine Nordiques.

Goalie Florian Wade started game one in the net for the Jr. Amerks and had a good performance, stopping 18 of 20 shots across the first two frames. Unfortunately, his offense could not back him up with even a single score and Rochester went into the third period trailing 2–0.

Despite holding the Nordiques to just four shots on goal in the final period, Rochester surrendered two more goals in quick succession to fall behind 4–0. While the team fought back, adding goals from defenseman Tyler Procious and forward Luca Leighton, it was too little too late for the Jr. Amerks and the game ended in a 4–2 victory for Maine.

In game two, the Jr. Amerks came out firing, logging 17 shots on goal in the first period, but they failed to connect on any of them. Instead, Maine scored a pair of goals in under two minutes to grab the early 2–0 lead. While the Nordiques did add a third goal in the second period, the Jr. Amerks comeback started much sooner and looked more promising in game two.

The third period saw Rochester out-shoot Maine 23–8 and it paid off early — forward Luca Leighton scored his fourth goal of the postseason before forward Thomas Rockey tightened up the game with 10 minutes left, making it 3–2 Nordiques.

The comeback stalled there, though, and the Nordiques would ultimately make the score look like more of a blowout with a couple of empty net goals, winning game two 5–2.

The teams now travel to Rochester for at least one more game this weekend. If the Jr. Amerks win, the series will be extended to game four, also in Rochester.


Preview: April 26 and 27 (if necessary) vs. Maine Nordiques

WHEN: April 26 at 7 p.m. | April 27 at 6 p.m. (if necessary)

WHERE: Rochester Ice Center | Fairport, NY




East Division playoff update

Round two action has seen few upsets around the league and the East Division is no exception. The higher-seeded team has won all four games in the bracket, although the New Jersey Titans have been giving the Maryland Black Bears a tough task, taking one game to overtime and being one minute away from taking the other game to the extra frame as well. Regardless, Maryland holds a 2–0 lead over the Titans.


Playoff Leighton is something special

In four games, forward Luca Leighton is reminding the NAHL that he is one of the best scorers in the league. He has scored a goal in all four Rochester playoff games so far, tied for the league lead, as well as adding three assists to top the points leaderboard. He is getting it done in every phase of the game: two even-strength goals, one power play goal and one shorthanded goal.


Where did the offense go?

In the regular season, the Jr. Amerks were one of the best scoring teams in the league and averaged 3.55 goals per game. The offense looked solid against the Northeast Generals in round one, but it has looked less consistent in the second round so far. All four Rochester goals have come in the third period, and while goalies Florian Wade and Cole O’Donnell have done their part to keep the Jr. Amerks within striking distance until the end, the offense needs to pick back up to keep the playoff hopes alive.


Playing clean

For what feels like the first time all season between these teams, the Jr. Amerks did not have excessive penalty minutes in either game last weekend. The Nordiques and Jr. Amerks have gotten into it several times, but Rochester tallied just 20 minutes in the box across the first two games of the series and held Maine scoreless on the power play to boot.



The Rochester Jr. Americans are members of the NAHL which is the oldest and largest junior hockey league of its kind in the United States and one of only two USA Hockey-certified leagues that operate under the non pay-to-play model. The NAHL is also one of the best at advancing players to NCAA and professional hockey. All league games are viewable via NAHLTV. For more information, visit

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