(Syracuse, NY) … The Rochester Americans (23-9-4-3) entered Saturday night’s matchup with the red-hot Syracuse Crunch (23-12-1-2) notching points in an AHL-best 12 straight road games dating back to Nov. 17. However, as the final horn sounded at the War Memorial Arena, the Amerks found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 setback in the fifth of 10 meetings between the longtime rivals.
Despite the loss, the Amerks have earned points in 26 of their last 30 games and have collected 45 points dating back to Nov. 1. Additionally, Rochester’s regulation loss was just the second of the season away from The Blue Cross Arena as they show a 12-2-4-2 record on the season.
Defenseman Casey Nelson led the Amerks with four shots while goaltender Linus Ullmark, coming off a stellar 44-save effort in his season debut with the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, suffered just his third regulation loss in his last 20 appearances. The Swedish netminder has gone 15-3-3 during that span and has won 16 of his last 23 games.
Rookie forward Mathieu Joseph collected his fourth three-point (1+2) outing of the season while Mitchell Stephens also notched a three-point (1+2) outing, a career-high, to lead the Crunch to their 19th win in the last 22 games. Adam Erne and Alexander Volkov rounded out the scoring as Louis Domingue earned his first shutout of the campaign, stopping all 27 shots he faced.
Following a tripping infraction 7:16 into the first period against the Amerks, the Crunch opened the scoring on the ensuing face-off to grab a 1-0 lead.
As Stephens won the draw back to Joseph just above the left dot, the defenseman ripped a shot past a screened Ullmark four seconds into the penalty.
The Amerks had entered the contest allowing just one goal while shorthanded in the last 13 games and had killed off 42-of-43 dating back to Dec. 15.
Rochester trailed after the first 20 minutes, but the Crunch doubled their lead 2:11 into the second period as Erne exchanged a series of give-and-go’s with Joseph before tucking his team-leading 12th marker into the cage.
Syracuse continued to carry the energy, putting Rochester in a four-goal deficit as Stephens and Volkov added pair of tallies 38 seconds apart.
The Crunch had a 4-0 lead despite holding a 25-19 shot-advantage after 40 minutes.
Rochester tried to spoil Domingue’s shutout bid as they had a pair of power-plays during the final stanza, but much like the four previous chances, the Amerks could not solve the netminder as he held off the attack to give the Crunch their eighth straight victory.
The Amerks are back at The Blue Cross Arena on Monday, Jan. 15 for the final home game of the month when they host the Utica Comets in the front-end of a home and home series. The 1:05 p.m. matinee can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester and will be televised state-wide on MSG.
SYR: Joseph (8), Erne (12), Stephens (11), Volkov (11)
RCH: Ullmark– 28/32 (L)
SYR: Domingue– 27/27 (W)
RCH: PP (0/6) | PK (2/3)
SYR: PP (1/3) | PK (6/6)