The Buffalo Sabres have called up two more Rochester Americans, sent another player down to the farm and forced the Amerks to again raid the roster of the Cincinnati Cyclones.
With Buffalo's once-promising season swirling faster than the eddy at the base of Niagara Falls, the Sabres announced Wednesday the recall of AHL rookie forward Victor Olofsson from the Americans. Thursday the Sabres recalled defenseman Matt Tennyson from Rochester. In a corresponding move, the Amerks announced the team recalled defenseman Arvin Atwal from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)
Olofsson (5’11”, 181 lbs., 7/18/1995) joins the for his first career recall in the midst of a three-game point streak during which he has recorded seven points (3+4) with the Americans.
In his first season in North America, Olofsson has recorded a team-high 60 points (27+33) through 64 AHL games, leading all Rochester skaters in goals and assists. He is tied for the AHL lead with nine game-winning goals and also ranks in the top 10 in the league in points (T-5th) and goals (T-10th).
Olofsson was selected by Buffalo in the seventh round (181st overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He signed a two-year contract with the team in April 2018 after finishing his third Swedish Hockey League (SHL) season with career highs in both goals (27) and points (43) for Frölunda. He led all SHL players in both goals and power-play goals (14). The Ornskoldsvik, Sweden native totaled 60 goals in 200 career SHL games from 2013-14 to 2017-18, converting on 15 percent of his 400 shots in Sweden’s top professional league.
Tennyson (6’2”, 205 lbs., 4/23/1990) joins the Sabres for the fourth time this season, having skated in four games with the club in total. The Minneapolis, Minn., native has recorded 20 points (4+16) in 45 games with the Americans this season, including an assist in each of his last two games. In his career, Tennyson has totaled 20 points (3+17) in 124 NHL games with Buffalo, the Carolina Hurricanes and the San Jose Sharks.
A native of Delta, British Columbia, Atwal joins Rochester on his first recall of the season after producing 39 points (10+29) in 65 games with the Cyclones. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound blueliner is enjoying his best season with career-highs in all offensive categories, including goals (10), assists (29) and points (39) while leading all ECHL defensemen with a plus-44 rating. He’s also currently tied for eighth in scoring among all league defensemen.
In 14 games with the Amerks last season, the 23-year-old recorded a pair of goals, one assist and 13 shots. Prior to turning pro, Atwal played five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Vancouver Giants, recording 108 points (25+83) in 225 career WHL games.
Thursday the Sabres announced forward Tage Thompson has been assigned to the Americans. A former first round pick of the St. Louis Blues, Thompson was acquired by Buffalo last summer in the deal that sent center Ryan O'Reilly to St. Louis. The 6'6", 205 lb. Thompson had 12 points, including seven goals, in 65 games this season with Buffalo. In 106 career NHL contests, the Phoenix, Ariz. native has 10 goals and 11 assists.
All of the player movement did not help Buffalo Thursday night as the Sabres rallied twice from two goal deficits only to lose, 5-4, to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime. Wednesday the Americans (41-21-4-2) also erased a two-goal deficit to tie the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (33-27-4-3) but fell 4-3 in overtime at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the overtime loss the Amerks remain three points behind the Syracuse Crunch for the AHL’s North Division lead. Forward and team-captain Kevin Porter notched his fifth two-point game of the season, scoring his 10th goal of the season to go with an assist while Eric Cornel and former Phantom Taylor Leier each found the back of the net. Adam Wilcox (11-8-3) suffered the overtime loss. He made 13 saves in 30 minutes after replacing Scott Wedgewood with 7:33 left in the second period.
Lehigh Valley took a 3-1 lead 12:27 into the second period to end Wedgewood’s night, but the Amerks trimmed the deficit in half as Cornel tallied his eighth goal of the year with five minutes remaining in the middle period.
As Porter was sprung into the offensive zone thanks to an outlet pass from Jack Dougherty, the veteran dished a pass to Cornel in the right circle. Cornel calmly kicked the puck from his skate to his stick before tucking a shot between the left pad and right post to make it one-goal game going into the third.
Rochester continued to press for the equalizer during the final period and were rewarded as Porter deflected a centering pass from Kyle Criscuolo 4:01 into the frame while on the power play.
“As the power-play was winding down, ‘Simmer’ (Wayne Simpson) kicked the puck out to ‘Crisco’ and I just drove toward the net,” Porter said of his goal. “Crisco made a great pass and I didn’t really do much as the puck just banked off my stick, but I’ll take it.”
“I thought we had lot of chances,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “We just couldn’t get the puck behind their goaltender. I loved our energy for coming home as it was better than the last couple of games here. We had chances to win the game but just came up short as we had a lot of new players in the lineup and I thought they played well.”
The two clubs went into the first intermission tied at one as Leier, who became the fourth different Rochester skater this season to join the 20-goal club, and Friedman scored 42 seconds apart.
“It felt good to score against them,” said Leier, who appeared in 226 games with Lehigh Valley to begin his pro career prior to the midseason trade that landed him in Rochester. “We had the puck in their zone for quite a bit of time, and after (Matt) Tennyson’s shot got blocked, it came right to me in the slot and I kind of got lucky as it went five-hole.”
Laberge added a pair of tallies to give Lehigh Valley a 3-1 cushion at the 12:27 mark of the second, but the Amerks twice found the back of the net in the final two periods to force the game beyond regulation.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” said rookie defenseman Kurt Gosselin, who made his Amerks/AHL debut after earning a promotion from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) earlier this week. “As the game went on, I started to get my own feel for it out there. It’s disappointing as we didn’t get the results we wanted, but I’m glad to get the first game out of the way.”