Saturday afforded me the chance to check out a pair of games and sample some of the best BBQ in Western New York.
Rather than just stay at home for Saturday’s Sabres – Senators game, a few friends and I took a quick trip to Rochester for a Bandits game, Dinosaur BBQ and the Amerks – Senators game.
The purpose of the trip was to see the Amerks and see some of the talent the Sabres have in the pipeline. It ended up being a great day trip featuring a sports double header. The Bandits game was a loss. They are a team in complete disarray who don’t seem to have a clue which way is up. Buffalo was held to three goals fro most of the game until they finally went on a late run. The final score was 13-10, but that was hardly indicative of the domination the Bandits endured.
The Amerks game was far better. Joe Finley dropped the gloves just three seconds in and Rochester put on a clinic against the AHL’s cellar dwellers. Mark Voakes (0+3) and Travis Turnbull (1+2) paced the Amerks as six different players scored for Rochester.
David Leggio didn’t see his tenth shot until the third period and was largely untested for most of the night. He did allow one goal, but did mange to make a few impressive stops along the way. Leggio finished with 17 saves.
While Marcus Foligno was busy scoring his first NHL goal, there were a few bright spots from some of the players biding their time in Rochester this season. Paul Szezchura, Brayden McNabb and even Finley had some strong moments in the blowout victory.
The highlight of the day may have been grabbing a massive plate of BBQ between the games. Dinosaur BBQ is located about 100 yards from Blue Cross Arena. Would it be that difficult to put a location in downtown Buffalo? Seriously, are the people making decisions on the waterfront that obtuse?
- Brayden McNabb plays a tidy game. He makes simple plays with the puck, doesn’t force the issue and is physical when need be. He has shown he is able to make the big hit at the second level, but Saturday was about the simple plays. A nice showing from him, +3 and one assist on the night.
- David Leggio is going to make things very difficult for the Sabres this summer. He has played his way to the starting job in Rochester. I’ll have a full organizational goalie post later this year.
- Colin Stuart, Derek Whitmore and Paul Szezchura are terrific minor league veterans. They all play a sound game at the AHL level. It is clear they have the chops to fill in as NHL players, but their true talents are in the A. These are important players to keep around, I’m hopeful they all see extensions at some point.
- Ryan Miller made some tremendous saves on Saturday. I didn’t see all of the game, but he was still shining, despite allowing three goals. The dude has been on lately, he is a major reason the Sabres still have a sniff of the playoffs.
- What was Mike Weber doing on Ottawa’s third goal? If you’re making a pass to a streaking forward, hit his tape. This is particularly important when the pass is coming from inside your own zone. Weber threw the puck in Cody Hodgson’s skates and it almost cost the Sabres.
- A 2-1-0 record for the day was pretty solid. I was able to catch a few minutes of the Sabres victory (sick dangle by Ennis in the shootout), saw a dominating performance by the Amerks and saw some indoor lacrosse. Sadly, the Bandits laid an egg. But a quick trip to an Amerks game should be a must for any Buffalo hockey fan.