May 15, 2021

The Rochester Americans (10-15-2-1) held a 2-1 lead in the second period against the Syracuse Crunch (19-10-3-0) before allowing four straight goals and ultimately falling 5-3 to their intrastate rivals Saturday night at The Blue Cross Arena.

























Rookie’s Brent Gates, Jr. (1+1) and Mattias Samuelsson (0+2) both chipped in a pair of points as did defenseman Nick DeSimone (0+2) in the defeat. Patrick Polino and Remi Elie each scored to complete the scoring for the Amerks, who finished with a 5-5-2-0 record over the 12-game season series with Syracuse. With his 10th goal of the season, Elie became the first Amerk this season to reach the 10-goal mark. It is also the first time in Elie’s career he has reached the mark.


In his third appearance with Rochester since making his NHL debut, goaltender Michael Houser (0-3-0) made 22 saves but was dealt with the loss. In three starts in the Amerks crease, Houser has made 82 saves while posting a 2.79 goals-against average to go with a .911 save percentage.




Antoine Morand and Chase Priskie each registered a pair of assists while Henry Bowlby posted a multi-goal night as he netted two goals for Syracuse. Gabriel Fortier, Jimmy Huntington and Otto Somppi rounded out the scoring.


First-year goaltender Tyler Johnson made his first appearance in a game since Jan. 31, 2020 as a member of the University of Windsor (QUAA), making 20 saves to earn his first-career professional win.


Trailing 2-1 at the end of the first period, the Crunch countered the Amerks lead with four straight goals to take a 5-2 advantage with 5:21 left in regulation.


Before the conclusion of the middle frame, Bowlby tied the score at two goals apiece with his first of two markers on the night.




With less than five minutes remaining in the stanza, Morand centered a pass to Bowlby between the face-off circles. With Houser still looking to his left, the forward tucked a shot under the cross bar to make it a 2-2 score going into the third period.


Syracuse regained the lead 2:04 into the third period following a redirection goal from Huntington.


The Crunch won a face-off to the right of Houser and Priskie sent a pass to fellow blueliner Jack Thompson at the point. The rookie defenseman fired a shot towards the net and Huntington steered it into the cage.


Near the midway point of the third, Bowlby skated down the right wing and tucked a backhand between the arm of Houser. The goal gave Syracuse a two-goal cushion.




Rochester was penalized with just over seven minutes left in regulation, and much like Huntington’s tally, Fortier redirected a shot out in front of the goal crease to make it 5-2 score.


Following the goal with 5:21 left to play and facing a three-goal deficit, Houser was summoned for an extra skater.


DeSimone sent an outlet pass from his own zone to Samuelsson at far blueline. The first-year defenseman tucked into the offensive zone before leaving a drop pass for Gates, Jr. Picking up the puck near the top of the circle, Gates, Jr. slipped a shot behind Johnson for Rochester’s third of the night.


The Amerks pulled Houser again for the final two minutes of regulation but it was too-little-too-late, as they fell 5-3.




The game did not start off well for the Amerks in the first 20 minutes of play, but they were able to take a 2-1 lead going into the intermission break thanks to goals from Polino and Elie.


Rochester took a roughing penalty and a delay of game infraction in the first 65 seconds of the period. Syracuse was unable to capitalize during the first minute of the two-man advantage, but after re-establishing its offense, Somppi fired a shot past the blocker to open the scoring 2:13 into the contest.


The power-play marker was the first the Amerks had allowed after beginning the month of May 15-for-15.


Just 21 seconds after Somppi’s tally, Polino evened the score with his first professional shorthanded goal.


With the lone helper on Polino’s third tally of the season, Mersch has tallied 10 points (5+6) over his last 13 outings, including a season-high four-point effort on April 23 versus Syracuse.


Six minutes after Polino’s shorthanded goal, the Amerks continued to ride the special teams’ momentum as Elie gave the home team its first lead of the night at the 13:35 mark of the period.


During the man-advantage, a Crunch defenseman broke his stick, ultimately giving Rochester a two-man advantage. As Elie was parked to the right of Johnson, Elie was on the receiving end of a one-time feed from Gates, Jr. before rifling a shot over blocker with 6:25 left in the period.


In the middle period, the teams combined for 23 shots after each had six in the first 20 minutes of play, but Syracuse scored its first of four straight to take a 5-2 lead.


Rochester tallied once more before the final horn but Johnson held on for the victory.


The Amerks bring their historic 65th season in the American Hockey League to a close on Sunday, May 16 with one final go-around against the intrastate rival Utica Comets at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time for Rochester’s 2020-21 season finale is slated for a 5:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leaders 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV. The North Division matchup will also be tape-delayed on CW Rochester beginning at 10:00 p.m.

Goal Scorers
ROC: P. Polino (3), R. Elie (10), B. Gates, Jr. (2)
SYR: O. Somppi (12), H. Bowlby (7, 8 – GWG), J. Huntington (5), G. Fortier (6)

ROC: M. Houser – 22/27 (L)
SYR: T. Johnson – 20/23 (W)

ROC: 23
SYR: 27

Special Teams
ROC: PP (1/2) | PK (2/4)
SYR: PP (2/4) | PK (1/2)

Three Stars
1. H. Bowlby (SYR)
2. B. Gates, Jr. (ROC)
3. A. Morand (SYR)

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