Amerks Notebook: Brennan the lead dog
by Mike Repertorio/Correspondent
Over the past four games, T.J. Brennan’s (Willingboro, N.J.) eight points have helped him leapfrog Marcus Foligno (Buffalo, N.Y.) for the team lead in scoring. With 28 points (12 goals and 16 assists) in 28 games, Brennan is also among the leading scorers in the AHL, resting in eleventh place.
Brennan’s Boxing Day (Dec. 26) performance was one to remember. En route to a 7-6 win over the Lake Erie Monster’s, the outstanding defenseman had a say in five Amerks goals. With one goal and four assists, Brennan helped keep Rochester afloat and get them into a position to win it in overtime. The games winner would be scored by Brennan’s No. 1 competitor for Amerks MVP, Foligno.
Other goals on the night came from forwards Evan Rankin, Cody Hodgson, Zemgus Girgensons and Mark Mancari. Aside from Brennan’s four apples, Kevin Porter, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Brayden McNabb (2), Brian Flynn (2), Mancari and Hodgson also joined the party.
Brennan has been on an absolute tear this year. The assistant captain is close to eclipsing his production from all of last season. Beyond that, he is only 11 points away from demolishing his single-season high for points (39 in 2010-11). Once NHL hockey starts up again, Brennan will make it difficult for Sabres brass to keep him out of the starting lineup.
Week in Review
On December 19, Rochester found themselves behind enemy lines while visiting the Grand Rapids Griffins. Led in the crease by rookie goaltender Connor Knapp (York, N.Y.), Rochester would fall 4-2. Phil Varone and Brennan got Rochester their two goals while Luke Adam, Mancari, Hodgson and Knapp all had assists.
Two nights later, Rochester took a rollercoaster ride against a stacked Binghamton Senators roster led by 6-foot-7 goalie Ben Bishop. After getting ahead early, 2-0, Rochester would surrender and regain the lead twice before forcing overtime and eventually a shootout. Rankin, Adam, Porter, Brennan and Kevin Sundher (first professional goal) all scored in regulation for the Amerks. Hodgson (2), Mancari (2), Brennan, Porter, Gauthier-Leduc and Maxime Legault all had assists. In the shooutout, the Amerks found themselves down 2-0 before David Leggio (Williamsville, N.Y.) would shut the door, allowing Brennan and Foligno to tie it up. Then with a chance to win it, Cody Hodgson would put it home for an Amerks victory, 6-5.
In their final game before Christmas, Rochester finished their home-and-home series against the Sens. Unfortunately the outcome would be less than favorable as the Amerks would fall, 5-1. Rookie defenseman Gauthier-Leduc would score the team’s only goal with assists from Mancari and Adam.
Marcus Foligno: Foligno dropped the gloves for his third and fourth fights of the season. On Dec. 19, Marcus battled Brennan Evans of the Grand Rapids Griffins and on Dec. 26, he engaged Lake Erie Monster Thomas Pock.
Nick Tarnasky: Tarnasky was also involved in two bouts of fisticuffs. Against Grand Rapids, he dropped ‘em with Triston Grant (the second bout between the two of them this season) and against Lake Erie, Tarnasky fought 6-foot-6 Patrick Bordeleau.
The Week Ahead
Friday, December 28 | Home (First Niagara Center) vs. Lake Erie Monsters
Saturday, December 29 | Home vs. Binghamton Senators
Monday, December 31 | Home vs. Hamilton Bulldogs