Rochester Americans General Manager Jason Karmanos announced today that the team has signed goaltender Michael Houser to a one-year American Hockey League contract for the 2021-22 season.
Houser, 28, split last season between the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans. He earned the start in each of Buffalo’s final four games, posting a 2-2-0 record with 127 saves, a 3.46 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage over that span.
Houser made his NHL debut with a 34-save effort on May 3 to earn his first career victory. He was just the seventh goaltender in Buffalo history to record a win in his first start. Two nights following his victory over the New York Islanders, Houser won his second straight contest with 45 stops against the Islanders, becoming the first Sabres goaltender to win his first two NHL starts since Mika Noronen did so on Oct. 5 and 7, 2000.
He also started four straight games for the Amerks, going 1-3-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage, winning his final appearance of the season.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, the nine-year pro netminder owns a 33-29-4 record in 77 career AHL contests between Rochester, the San Antonio Rampage, Ontario Reign, Cleveland Monsters, and Tucson Roadrunners. Additionally, he boasts a 127-57-22 record and 11 shutouts in 210 career ECHL games between the Cincinnati Cyclones, Manchester Monarchs and Fort Wayne Komets.
Houser’s best year came in 2018-19 when he showed a 29-7-5 record in 41 appearances while backstopping Cincinnati to an ECHL-best 51-13-5-3 mark during the regular season. He finished the season ranked second in the ECHL with a 2.13 goals-against average and fourth with a .922 save percentage, while his 29 wins tied for most in the league. Following the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, Houser was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Year and was selected to the ECHL First All-Star Team.
Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound goaltender spent three seasons with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. In 141 games for the Knights, he showed a record of 93-38-7 along with seven shutouts, a 2.90 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
During his final season in the OHL, he backstopped the Knights to an OHL Championship and was the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year and Most Outstanding Player (Red Tilson Trophy). Houser also earned a spot on the First All-Star Team as he led the league in wins (46), games played (62) and saves (1,862).