Amerks unfazed by rigors of division as regular season winds down

ROCHESTER, NY (WHEC) – The Amerks are almost to the finish line of the regular season and on the cusp of clinching their third straight playoff berth. However, this marathon of a year hasn’t been as traditional.

Head coach Seth Appert didn’t mince words when summing up the rigors of playing in the North Division.

“It’s a darn grind” he said after practice on Wednesday. “Most of the divisions are separated by 40 points and ours is separated by about a week of good play.”

Rochester (36-22) on the season, sits at 81 points in the division, one back of the 1st place Syracuse Crunch, with five regular season games remaining.

“There are still a lot of spots and teams can jump and move in different spots” Forward Michael Mersch said. “It forces us to not let off the gas.”

To that end, 35 of Rochester’s games have been have decided by one goal, 23 of which have gone past regulation.

How those games have gone for the Amerks

They are 23-12 in them, of which the lower scoring ones came tougher.

“That’s something we’ve really had to build towards,” Appert said. “Earlier in the year, we were probably only very comfortable winning 5-4 and 6-5.”

Appert added, “we’re probably still more comfortable on the higher scoring side of it but we’ve become a lot more comfortable and a lot more efficient at being a solid defensive team.”

Suffice to say, he and everyone else inside the home locker room at Blue Cross Arena hopes that continues over the final week and a half of the regular season before likely embarking on another playoff run.

The Amerks’ Eastern Conference Finals run last year was their longest in 23 years. Two years ago, they made it to the conference semifinals.

When asked if the Amerks can beat anybody, forward Jiri Kulich said, “It feels like that.”

Rochester hosts the Senators on Friday night at 7:05pm.