Focus key element in all-star campaign

Kenn Oliver
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Luke Adam leading the way for Rochester Americans’ resurgence

There is little doubt Luke Adam is a talented hockey player. The Rochester Americans’ forward is, after all, back in his hometown of St. John’s as part of the American Hockey League’s all-star team on the strength of his team-leading 20-goal, 34-point effort so far this season.

AHL All Star players Brenden Kichton (8) of the St. John’s IceCaps and St. John’s born Luke Adam (17) of the Rochester Americans turn to chase the puck in front AHL goaltender and former St. John’s Fog Devil Jake Allen during the AHL All Star game Wednesday night. At left are AHL player Colton Sissons (18) and Farjestad BK player Tomas Hyka (28). The AHL squad picked up a 7-2 win in the league’s first-ever international challenge— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

But Adam, a big forward with soft hands and a scoring touch, isn’t exactly known for his powerful shot.

Yet, Tuesday night, during the league’s skills competition, the centreman found himself in the hardest shot contest.

“That’s not really my forte,” Adam says with a chuckle. “It was seven defencemen and me. It was a blast.”

Well, not really.

Adam’s blast — his third — topped out at 93.7 miles per hour, the seventh slowest of the eight competitors in the event.

Still, Adam, in his second All-Star Classic following a rookie appearance in 2011, didn’t look out of place among his AHL teammates in the skills component or Wednesday’s all-star game against Färjestad BK at Mile One Centre.

The 2013-14 campaign has been a rewarding one for the former St. John’s Fog Devil, both from personal and team perspective.

Rochester entered the all-star break with eight wins in its last 10 games, to sit second in the Western Conference’s North Division behind the Toronto Marlies.

“We’re really starting to come together as a team and get a lot of important players back in the lineup,” says Adam, who collected 11 points over the stretch.

“Hopefully we can keep building on that and keep moving forward going to the playoffs.”

Adam is also leading the Americans in plus/minus (+13), power play goals (10) and game-winners (5). His 20 goals are good for seventh in the circuit.

“The team is winning, that’s my main focus, but personally I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s going. I’m just continuing to work to get to where I ultimately want to be, in the NHL.”

In his one call-up to the parent Buffalo Sabres this season, a nine-game stint last fall, he notched one goal while averaging 15 shifts and 12 minutes of ice-time per game.

But since being sent down in December, the Sabres haven’t called on him again.

Granted, if Adam, who is on a one-year, two-way contract, had played one more game with Buffalo, he would be forced to clear waivers on his next recall.

“I had a feeling I wouldn’t be called up before the Olympic break,” Adam says, who insn’t concerned with his extended stay in upstate New York.

The Kilbride native entered this season, his third as a pro, intent on focusing on playing well in Rochester and not worrying about getting called up to the NHL. At the season’s midway point, he’s sticking to that plan.

“People take notice when you’re stringing wins together and if we can continue to move up the standings, and I can keep playing well and help the team win, that’s all I can control.”

 

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NHL, Toronto Marlies, Buffalo Sabres

Geographic location: Rochester, Buffalo, New York.The Kilbride

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