Apr 21, 2021

After giving up a three-goal lead, the Rochester Americans (8-9-2-1) nearly clawed their way back but ultimately could not overcome a six-goal run by the Syracuse Crunch (13-8-1-0), who held on for a 7-6 win in a back-and-forth high-scoring affair Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.
























The contest, which was Rochester’s seventh straight home defeat, was the ninth of 12 meetings between the two teams this season. The Amerks, however, have recorded points in six of the first nine get-togethers with the Crunch this season while also posting a 16-10-3-1 record in their last 30 games against Syracuse.


Newcomers Brandon Hawkins and Brent Gates, Jr. both netted their first goals as part of multi-point efforts while Brendan Warren also scored his first at the American Hockey Level in his Amerks debut. Rookie blueliner Ryan Jones (0+2) added a pair of helpers while Remi Elie and C.J. Smith both scored for Rochester. Patrick Polino also recorded his first professional goal in the defeat.


First-year goaltender Stefanos Lekkas (0-3-1) made his third straight appearance in net and made 26 saves but suffered the loss.



Syracuse, which came into the matchup boasting a 7-3-0-0 mark in its last 10 games, was fueled by the trio of Boris Katchouk (1+2), Taylor Raddysh (1+2), and Otto Somppi (2+1), all of whom registered three-point outings. Lucas Carlsson picked up a pair of helpers while Peter Abbandonato, Sean Day and Antoine Morand also found the back of the net to give the Crunch a 12-4-0-0 record since the start of March while outscoring their opponents 61-44 during that span.

Goaltender Spencer Martin allowed three goals on five shots he faced before Samuel Montembeault entered in relief during the first period. Montembeault stopped 12 of the 15 shots he faced to improve to 7-4-1 on the campaign.


Syracuse began the second period facing a three-goal deficit but outscored Rochester 7-3 during the final 40 minutes to pick up the victory, including six straight goals.




The visitors got on the board at the 8:25 mark thanks to Katchouk’s team-leading 10th goal of the season while Syracuse was on the power-play. The tally extended his point streak to 12 games, tied for the league’s longest active streak. He currently paces the team with 16 assists and 26 points.


During the penalty kill, the Amerks had several blocked shots but were unable to successfully kill off the infraction as Carlsson’s shot from the top of the zone was flagged down by Katchouk. As the puck was atop the crease, Katchouk tucked it under the cross-bar to make it a 3-1 game.


Syracuse used a quick scoring attack late in the second period when Day and Morand scored 24 just seconds apart during the final minute to knot the score at three going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.




The Crunch rode the momentum after the intermission break and added a pair of goals as Abbandonato and Somppi both scored in the opening minute of the frame to give Syracuse a 5-3 lead, their first of the contest.


At the 6:05 mark, Raddysh poked in a loose rebound to double the advantage before Rochester staged its late comeback.


Elie scored a backhanded tally from Brett Murray and Jones to bring the Amerks within two at the 14:38 mark before Gates, Jr. redirected a Casey Fitzgerald shot from the right point for his first of the campaign.




With the primary assist, Fitzgerald, who established a new career-high in both assists (8) points (10), has recorded four helpers in the last four games and five over his last six outings.


Rookie blueliner Oskari Laaksonen was rewarded with the secondary assists to give him seven points (2+5) over his last nine outings, which includes back-to-back multi-point games over that span.


With the score 6-5 in favor of Syracuse, Somppi’s second of the night and 10th of the season proved to be the game-winner as he beat Lekkas between the legs with 2:06 remaining in the contest.


Prior to the final horn sounding, Hawkins one-timed a perfect pass from Jones and Nicholas Welsh, but it would be as close as Rochester would get as the Crunch hung on for the wild 7-6 victory.


With three goals in a span of 5:51, including Smith’s tally just 72 seconds into the contest, the Amerks quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead to put an early end to Martin’s night with 14:09 to go in the first period.




On Rochester’s first goal of the frame, their fourth straight game in which they opened the scoring inside the game’s first two minutes, Gates, Jr. fired a shot wide of the cage from the right face-off dot. The puck caromed around the boards to Mersch and the veteran wrapped it back to Gates, Jr. behind Martin before centering the puck to Smith on the goal-mouth for his third marker of the season.


Four minutes later, the Amerks used a pair of goals 19 seconds apart as Warren and Polino both recorded their first goals in the red, white, and blue to extend the lead.


Franco and Hawkins forced a turnover deep inside the offensive zone to earn the helpers while Patrick McGrath and Alec McCrea were awarded the assists on Polino’s tally in front of Martin.


Syracuse erased the 3-0 deficit and eventually picked up the win as they scored seven times over the final two periods of regulation.


The Amerks continue their busy stretch of three games in four nights on Friday, April 23 when they welcome back the intrastate rival Utica Comets for a North Division showdown at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leaders 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV. The matchup will also be tape-delayed on CW Rochester beginning at 10:00 p.m.

Goal Scorers
ROC: C. Smith (3), B. Warren (1), P. Polino (1), R. Elie (8), B. Gates, Jr. (1), B. Hawkins (1)
SYR: B. Katchouk (10), S. Day (3), A. Morand (5), P. Abbandonato (3), O. Somppi (9, 10 – GWG), T. Raddysh (8)

ROC: S. Lekkas – 26/33 (L)
SYR: S. Martin – 2/5 (ND) | S. Montembeault – 12/15 (W)

ROC: 20
SYR: 33

Special Teams
ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (3/4)
SYR: PP (1/4) | PK (2/2)

Three Stars
1. B. Katchouk (SYR)
2. O. Somppi (SYR)
3. B. Hawkins (ROC)

Back to All