The Rochester Americans (1-2-0-0) concluded their three-in-three Opening Weekend to begin the 2016-17 campaign by falling 6-3 to the Syracuse Crunch (2-0-0-0) at The Blue Cross Arena Sunday night. The contest was the at back-end of a home-and-home series with Crunch in as many nights.
The Amerks were led by rookie forward Alexander Nylander’s two-point (1+1) outing. Evan Rodrigues found the back of the net as did Tyson Strachan for their first goals of the season.
|DAN LAMBERT POSTGAME|
|ALEXANDER NYLANDER POSTGAME|
|TYSON STRACHAN POSTGAME|
Syracuse was paced offensively by former Amerk Cory Conacher as the winger chipped in with a pair of assists and a goal. Joining Conacher to lead the Crunch to victory was Matthew Peca’s two goals, one of which was the game-winning goal, and Tanner Richard’s two helpers while Adam Wilcox picked up the win in between the pipes for the Crunch.
Similar to Friday night’s season-opening contest with the Hershey Bears, the Amerks nabbed the first goal early in the game as Rodrigues opened the scoring for the home team.
Chasing down the puck deep inside the Crunch end, Rodrigues tucked behind the net before wrapping around and flinging a wrist-shot on Wilcox. With newcomer Justin Vaive blocking the vision of the Syracuse netminder, the shot found its way over the glove 5:31 into the contest.
The Crunch, however, answered with the game’s next four goals to build a 4-1 lead midway through the second period as Peca scored a pair of goals in between strikes from Yanni Gourde and Michael Bournival.
The Amerks did not go down easily, though, as Strachan buried his first goal of the year with 6:29 remaining in the middle period to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Strachan was on receiving end of a Mac Bennett pass atop the point just above the left face-off dot and ripped a shot towards the cage. As William Carrier attempted to redirect the offering, the shot made its way past Wilcox and into the net. Nylander and Bennett each picked up an assist on the tally.
The visiting Crunch were able to regain control of contest when Conacher scored less than two minutes later after he was left all alone in-between the face-off circles inside the Amerks zone to push the lead back to a three goals.
The two clubs returned to the ice for the third period with the score 5-2, but the Amerks made one final push to narrow the gap as Nylander picked up his first professional goal at the 9:34 mark. With Cole Schneider applying pressure to a Syracuse defenseman inside the Crunch zone, an errant pass was sent to Cal O’Reilly along the sideboards. The Amerks captain wasted little time getting the puck to a wide open Nylander, who fired it over the right pad of Wilcox.
“It felt good to get the first goal out of the way, but we did not get the more important thing done and that was the win,” said Nylander.
The Crunch, however, ended the scoring with just under three minutes to go to preserve their second consecutive win over the Amerks in the last two nights.
After allowing a combined five goals in the first two periods of play, Amerks goaltender Jason Kasdorf (0-1-0) allowed just the one goal, but suffered his first loss of the season. At the opposite end of the ice, Wilcox stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced to pick up his first victory of the campaign.
The Amerks remain home on Friday, Oct. 21 when they host the first visit of the season from the Toronto Marlies. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. and will be carried live on the Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Rodrigues, Strachan, Nylander
SYR: Gourde, Peca (2), Bournival, Conacher, Vermin
RCH: Kasdorf – 24/30 (L)
SYR: Wilcox – 18/21 (W)
RCH: PP (0/7) / PK (4/6)
SYR: PP (2/6) / PK (7/7)