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The Jr. Amerks Make Only Trip To Danbury While Attempting To Win 10 Straight Road Games

Feb 29, 2024

Article by Aidan Charde
Recap vs. Maine Nordiques on Feb. 23 and 24

The Rochester Jr. Americans marched into the Maine and came away with two incredible wins last weekend to pull within four points of second place in the East Division.

Although Rochester struggled to play clean all weekend — the team gave Maine 15 power play opportunities — their penalty kill continued its meteoric improvement, only allowing one goal to improve their formerly-worst mark in the league (.755 on Dec. 15) to a respectable 19th place (.812).

In game one, the Nordiques got one past goalie Danick Leroux in the first period to take a 1–0 lead that held for about 20 minutes, when forward Massimo Gentile tied the game up with his 21st goal of the season. As the clock ticked down and the end of the third period approached, it was looking like the game would head to overtime until a pair of goals from forwards Landon Brownlee and Adam Gionta found the back of the net 45 seconds apart with under three minutes to play.

The Nordiques earned one more back with 32 seconds left, but could not tie it and ultimately fell 3–2. For highlights from game one, go here.

In game two, the Jr. Amerks started the day off the way it ended the night before with two quick goals from Gentile and forward Michael Sandruck also about 45 seconds apart. The second period was quieter with just one goal from the Nordiques, but Sandruck got on the board a second time early in the third before forward Matteo Disipio blew the game wide open with a score to make it 4–1.

After a lengthy line brawl that led to a handful of penalties, the Jr. Amerks would end the game with three more goals in the final 10 minutes, including a third from Sandruck, to cruise to a massive 7–2 win. For highlights from game two, go here.

Preview: March 1 and 2 vs. Danbury Hat Tricks

WHEN: March 1 at 3 p.m. | March 2 at 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Danbury Ice Arena | Danbury, CT




The Rochester Jr. Americans travel to Danbury for the first and only time this season. Earlier this year, the Hat Tricks split a series with the Jr. Amerks in the last weekend of 2023. Rochester’s 6–1 game two win over Danbury sparked the team’s incredible second half, where they have gone 13–1–2 and put themselves firmly in playoff position.

East Division playoff race update

The Maryland Black Bears (71 pts) solidified their hold on the top spot in the East, but the Jr. Amerks (61 pts) drew even closer to the Maine Nordiques (65 pts) in second this weekend after the sweep. With 13 games left for both squads and two against each other, those seeds could go either way. The Johnstown Tomahawks (57 pts) sit in fourth place with a game in hand over Rochester, but only came away from the weekend with three points after falling once in a shootout. The five and six seeds are getting closer to being locked up as well, as the fifth-place New Jersey Titans (51 pts) and sixth-place Northeast Generals (48 pts) extend the gap back to seventh. Out of playoff positions, the Philadelphia Rebels (41 pts) and New Hampshire Mountain Kings (39 pts) still could make a run, but the Danbury Hat Tricks (34 pts) are all but out of contention.

In addition to their series against the Hat Tricks this weekend, the Jr. Amerks will have to do some scoreboard watching to see if they can get any help with their playoff push. Both the Nordiques and Tomahawks face teams that are worse on paper in the Generals and Mountain Kings, respectively, but Rochester will hope for some upsets.

Strange week ahead for Rochester

Because of some unusual scheduling, the Jr. Amerks will be playing three games this week with a Wednesday night game against the Tomahawks on March 6. That game will be in Johnstown, but holds big playoff implications for the two teams that are still neck and neck for third place.

Sandruck’s birthday gem

What better way to celebrate turning 18 than a hat trick against a division rival? Michael Sandruck nearly doubled his goals total on the season in the second game against Maine last weekend when his three goals, including the game-winner, powered the Jr. Amerks to their third seven-goal outing of the season. It was also the second hat trick of the season by the Jr. Amerks.

Sandruck has only played 14 games for the Jr. Amerks this season and was officially added to the roster just a few weeks ago, playing with the Bishop Kearney Selects prior to joining the team. He said coming from the Selects was an adjustment, but his old team did a good job of preparing him for the next level and he is starting to feel more confident.

“I think overall recently, I’ve had a few games under my belt, I feel as if I’m beginning to feel more comfortable playing with my line [and] playing on the powerplay,” Sandruck said. “I’ve been getting more chances and this weekend I got to capitalize on three of those. … If we keep it going we’ll have a good run in the playoffs here.”

Road tripping

After starting 2024 with three consecutive home weekends, the Jr. Amerks have been largely on the road and will only play four more regular season games at home. But the team is making the most of it so far, earning four straight road sweeps following the series against Maine. You

would have to go back to a 3–1 loss to New Hampshire on Dec. 1 to find the last time the Jr. Amerks were defeated on the road. It is a promising sign, especially because the team still has to play seven more away games before the season comes to a close.

Canadian connection stays strong

Forwards Matteo Disipio and Massimo Gentile have been electric all season as they continue to climb the points ranking. The pair sit in third and fifth place, respectively, with a combined 120 points between them that ranks second best for teammates.

Danbury’s abysmal weekend

The Hat Tricks had a series to forget last weekend as they fell twice to the New Jersey Titans by a combined score of 15–2. In game two, the Titans put up 10 goals in a contest where nine players earned multiple points. It was by far the worst performance on both sides of the ice for the Hat Tricks this season and with the red hot Jr. Amerks coming to town, it has the potential to be a high-scoring weekend.