The Rochester Americans fell to the Syracuse Crunch in a shootout by a score of 4-3 at The Blue Cross Arena on Wednesday night. Despite the loss, the Amerks gained a point and moved to 8-2-0-1 over their last 11 games.
“We got a point and that is the positive, optimistic part of things, but at times in the game we didn’t take care of the puck the way we needed too.” said Head Coach Ron Rolston afterwards. “If we are going to be a playoff team down the stretch, we have to be able to take care of the game.”
Rochester’s offense on the night was supplied by the defensive corps, with blueliners Shaone Morrisonn, Nick Crawford and Brayden McNabb each scoring a goal. Evan Rankin contributed a pair of assists for the Amerks in the loss, while netminder David Leggio finished with 40 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping four of five shootout attempts in what was his 11th consecutive start.
Syracuse was led by Peter Holland (1+1) and Jean-Francois Jacques (0+2), each of whom recorded two points. Luca Caputi and Kyle Cumiskey also scored as goaltender Iiro Tarkki turned aside 38 shots between the pipes in addition to stopping all five Rochester shooters in the shootout. Dan Sexton scored the shootout-winning goal.
The Amerks took a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period when Morrisonn netted his fourth goal of the season. Colin Stuart curled out from behind the net to the right circle and sent a centering pass toward the net which Morrisonn tipped home in the slot. Rankin also collected an assist on the tally.
A power-play goal from Caputi knotted the game at one apiece less than two minutes later as he found himself alone in the slot to deposit a centering pass from Sexton straight to the back of the net.
Crawford scored for the second time in as many games to help Rochester regain its one-goal cushion 7:08 into the second period. After receiving a cross-ice pass at the top of the right-circle from Phil Varone, Crawford let a wrist shot go that beat Tarkki high to the glove side.
The Amerks opened up a 3-1 advantage at the 13:14 mark of the second period, capitalizing on a well-executed offensive rush. Upon gaining entry into the Syracuse zone, Mark Voakes put the brakes on and hit a trailing McNabb at the left point, and the rookie wasted no time in sending a slap shot past Tarkki.
A seeing-eye wrister through traffic from the right-point off the stick of Cumiskey got Syracuse back to within one with just 28 seconds remaining in the second period.
The Crunch evened the score 3-3 at 11:12 of the third period as Holland buried a two-on-one feed from Jacques for his 22nd goal of the season.
After neither team was able to end things in the overtime session, Sexton potted the lone goal in the shootout to secure the two points for Syracuse.
The Amerks remain at home for their next game on Friday, March 23 as they close out their season series with the Binghamton Senators at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:35 p.m. contest will be the eighth and final meeting between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.