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The Battle of the Expansion Teams: Jr. Amerks take on the New Hampshire Mountain Kings

Nov 30, 2023

Article Written By Aidan Charde

 

Recap: Nov. 24–26 vs. Johnstown Tomahawks

In a series full of highs and lows, the Rochester Jr. Americans ultimately came out of the three-game weekend with two important wins and a total of four points. The first game saw the Jr. Amerks score in each period, capped off with the first career goal by Keanan Dewberry on an empty net en route to a 3–1 win. Game two was a different story. After jumping out to a 2–0 lead — including another goal by Dewberry — the Jr. Amerks gave up five unanswered goals in a game that ultimately ended 7–5 Tomahawks. The team bounced back for game three, but nobody more than goalie Cole O’Donnell. O’Donnell played his best game of the season stopping all 27 shots he faced earning him the first shutout in Jr. Amerks history. 

Preview: Dec. 1 and 2 vs. New Hampshire Mountain Kings

WHEN: Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. | Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Hooksett, NH | Tri-Town Ice Arena

WATCH: NAHL.TV

FOLLOW: @JrAmerksNAHL

History:

The New Hampshire Mountain Kings were the third and final expansion team to join the NAHL this season. After being announced in March, the Mountain Kings joined the Jr. Americans and Colorado Grit to round out the 32 team league. This is the first time these two teams have matched up in history. The Mountain Kings are sitting at 12–11–3, one point behind the Jr. Amerks with one more game played.

O’Donnell’s terrific weekend

Goalie Cole O’Donnell was called upon to play all three games past weekend while Florian Wade was dealing with an illness. In game one, O’Donnell allowed just one goal. In game three, O’Donnell was perfect earning the first shutout in team history. In total, he saved 77 shots across three games, earning two wins with eight goals allowed. A seven-goal outing in game two doesn’t tell the full story, as defensively the Jr. Americans struggled. He is expected to start both games this weekend versus New Hampshire. 

Zakrzewski lighting up the scoresheet

Defenseman Alex Zakrzewski is shooting up the team’s points leaderboard following his four-point weekend. He scored the game-winner in the first game against the Tomahawks and added three assists over the next two games. He has also now scored at least one point in five straight games, his longest stretch of the season.

Procious has weekend to remember

Defenseman Tyler Procious was a workhorse for the Jr. Americans with an electric three-game series. He tallied six assists over the weekend, tied for his most across a three game stretch this season. He also had three assists in the second game, his second such outing of the year. Despite missing a few weekend with injury, the weekend launched him into second place for defensemen in points with 23. On the defensive side of the puck, Procious has proven to be elite. He lugs the most minutes on the team and is consistently relied on to shut down opposing team’s top players. 

 

Mountain Kings’ goalie faces large workload

Much like the Jr. Amerks, the Mountain Kings have been one of the stronger offensive teams but still sit with a negative goal differential. Goalie Aiden Wright has played three straight games in the net and faced 129 shots across them. In fact, just two of his 13 games this season have seen his opponent attempt fewer than 28 shots.

Stay connected during the season by following the Jr. Amerks @JrAmerksNAHL on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online at rochesterjramerks.com.

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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 rochesterjramerks.com.