The Rochester Americans used a pair of power play goals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch 2-1 in overtime at the War Memorial at Oncenter in Syracuse on Saturday night. Amerks defenseman Brayden McNabb scored the game-winning goal with just 10 seconds remaining in overtime as Rochester snapped a four-game losing streak.
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Veteran forward Mark Mancari, Rochester’s leading scorer, led the way with a goal and an assist on the night. Goaltender David Leggio picked up his AHL-leading 27th victory of the season by turning aside 35 of 36 shots on goal.
Crunch forward Ondrej Palat scored the lone goal for Syracuse, while netminder Riku Helenius finished with 24 saves on 26 shots.
The Amerks took a 1-0 lead at 10:25 of the first period with a power play goal from Mancari. Patrick Rissmiller carried the puck into the offensive zone, then left it for Cody McCormick on the right wing boards. McCormick then sent a cross-ice pass to the left point for Mancari, who took several strides before firing a wrist shot to the top right corner of the net for his team-leading 17th goal of the season. With the primary assist, McCormick registered his first point as an Amerk.
Syracuse nearly tied the game in the middle stages of the second period when a shot from the point rang off the post. The puck bounced into the crease and was loose for a moment, but Leggio was quickly able to locate it and cover up. Less than two minutes later, Leggio foiled a shorthanded two-on-one opportunity to keep the Crunch off the scoreboard.
The third period began with the Crunch on a 5-on-3 advantage, and Syracuse capitalized less than 90 seconds into the frame. Palat, who recorded a hat trick against Rochester on Tuesday night, tied the game at one apiece when his wrist shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle beat Leggio short side. After Syracuse worked the puck around the zone, Palat found himself with time and space to shoot as he netted the equalizer. Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas collected the assists.
In the closing minutes of the third period, both Leggio and Helenius came up with point blank saves to keep the game tied and force overtime.
After the Amerks killed off a penalty early in the overtime session, they later used a power play of their own to win the game. Mancari set up McNabb for a one-timer from the top of the right face-off circle, and the defenseman blasted a shot past Helenius for the game-winning goal, snapping Rochester’s losing streak at four games. Luke Adam also assisted on the goal for his 100th career AHL point.
The Amerks wrap up their three-game road trip on Sunday, March 3 as they head to Cleveland to face the Lake Erie Monsters in a North Division showdown at Quicken Loans Arena. The 4 p.m. contest will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK and televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.