Amerks sign four to AHL contracts

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ROCHESTER, N.Y.Rochester Americans General Manager Randy Sexton announced today that the team has signed defensemen Anthony Florentino and Eric Knodel, forward Alex Wideman and goaltender Michael Houser all to one-year American Hockey League contracts for the 2018-19 season.


Florentino, 23, appeared in a career-high 47 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) last season notching, notching nine points (2+7) during his rookie campaign. The West Roxbury, Mass., native skated in five games with the Amerks near the end of the 2016-17 campaign, adding four shots.


Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman totaled 54 points (22+32) in 131 games for Providence College, leading the Friars to their first NCAA National Championship as a senior in 2014-15.

Florentino was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (143rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.


Knodel, 28, played in six games with the Amerks last season, recording three shots. He also enjoyed a career-setting season in 2017-18 with the Cyclones as he tallied 13 goals, 39 assists and 52 points in 57 contests while serving as team captain. Knodel ranked third among all ECHL defensemen in both assists and points and earned a selection to the 2017 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic.


A native of West Chester, Penn., the fifth-year pro has totaled 10 assists in AHL 39 games with Rochester, San Diego and Toronto while also amassing 121 points (33+88) over 209 career ECHL appearances between Cincinnati, Utah and Orlando. Knodel was originally drafted by the Toronto Maples Leafs in the fifth-round (128th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.


Wideman, 26, joins the Amerks after splitting the 2017-18 season between the Indy Fuel (ECHL) and the Rockford IceHogs (AHL), combining for 48 points (16+32) in 66 games. The 5-foot-7, 150-pound forward posted his best season during the 2016-17 campaign when he paced the Fuel in goals (22), assists (33) and points (55) in 70 games.


A native of St. Louis, MO., Wideman has appeared in 24 career AHL contests with Binghamton and Rockford and has collected 142 points (53+89) in 181 ECHL appearances with Indy and Evansville over the last three seasons. Wideman attended Miami University of Ohio, where he notched 56 points (24+32) in 140 career games with the RedHawks and led to the team to its first NCHC conference championship as a senior in 2014-15.


Houser, 25, is coming off a career-year in 2017-18, having appeared in 45 games for the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) while owning a 28-11-0 record. He finished the season tied for third among all league goaltenders in minutes (2,552) and placed fourth in wins (28) while leading the Komets to their second trip to the Western Conference finals in three years.


A native of Youngstown, Ohio, the sixth-year netminder joins the Amerks carrying an 82-45-9 record and seven shutouts in 143 ECHL games between Fort Wayne, Cincinnati and Manchester. Additionally, he has compiled a 32-26-4 record in 73 AHL contests for Tucson, Cleveland, Ontario and San Antonio.


Before turning pro, Houser spent three seasons with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. During his final season in 2011-12, he led the league in wins (46), games played (62) and saves (1,862) on the way to backstopping the Knights to an OHL Championship. For his efforts, he was named the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year and Most Outstanding Player (Red Tilson Trophy) and was selected to the OHL’s First All-Star Team.


Rochester opens its 63rd American Hockey League season at home on Friday, Oct. 5 against the Charlotte Checkers at The Blue Cross Arena.

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