The Rochester Americans earned their third consecutive victory on Tuesday night by defeating the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 in a shootout. The Amerks rallied with a late power-play goal with less than five minutes remaining and ultimately came out on top in the five-round shootout.
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“Guys start building chemistry and feeling better about themselves and where they are when you have success,” said Head Coach Ron Rolston after the win. “Especially with some of the injuries we have had, guys have really stepped up into spots and played terrific for us.”
Rochester was led by a strong performance between the pipes by David Leggio, who kept the game within reach for his team throughout the night and finished with 29 saves. Finding the back of the net for the Amerks in regulation were Jacob Lagace (1+0) and Nick Crawford (1+0). Jonathan Parker netted the game-winning goal in the shootout, while Leggio stopped four out of five Syracuse shooters to secure the win.
“We found a way to keep it close enough to get ourselves back in it in the third, and David Leggio is obviously a big part of that. That first goal also helped give our guys confidence and get some momentum going for us,” added Rolston.
Kyle Palmieri (1+0) and Nicolas Deschamps (1+0) each tallied a goal in the early stages of the game for the Crunch, while Palmieri was the only Crunch skater to score in the shootout. Netminder Iiro Tarkki turned away 24 of 26 Rochester shots in his first action of the season.
The Crunch struck first in the contest just 3:46 into the opening period, as Palmieri beat Leggio high to the short side with a hard wrister. Nick Bonino intercepted an attempted clear by the Rochester defense just inside the blueline and quickly got the puck to Palmieri near the bottom of the right face-off circle, who made no mistake in netting his fifth goal of the season, tying him for the league-lead.
Syracuse followed-up once again with another tally just over 90 seconds later to double its lead to 2-0. Deschamps was able to dig out a loose rebound at the top of the crease and shovel it beneath a sprawled-out Leggio after the initial shot was fired by linemate Nathan Smith.
“They are a good team and they have a lot of quick forwards, and we had a bit of a slow start,” commented Rolston when asked about his club’s play early-on. “We weren’t moving our feet very well and we weren’t taking care of the puck. They transition well as a team and we had some costly turnovers that resulted in the first two goals.”
The Amerks cut their deficit in half midway through the period at 10:11 when Lagace lit the lamp for the second time in as many games. After a strong forecheck, Riley Boychuk gained possession of the puck behind the Syracuse net and fed Lagace with a nifty no-look pass at the right side of the net that the young forward deposited into the open side of the net. Boychuk’s assist on the play represented the first point of his professional career.
After more than 44 minutes of scoreless play, Rochester finally found the back of the net with the man advantage at 15:02 of the final frame to even the score at two apiece. The power-play unit swiftly gained entry into the offensive zone, with the puck ending up on the stick of T.J. Brennan at the top of the umbrella set-up. The blueliner wasted no time in sending a one-touch pass across to Crawford at the left point, who sent a blistering slap-shot through a screen over the blocker of the Syracuse netminder.
The Amerks remain at home on Friday, October 21st as they exchange pleasantries with the Hamilton Bulldogs for the second time in as many weeks. The 7:35 p.m. contest will be the second of 10 meetings on the season between the North Division rivals and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26.