AMERKS FALL IN REMATCH WITH CRUNCHOct 22, 2022
A four-goal third-period by the Syracuse Crunch (1-1-0-2) was too much for the Rochester Americans (3-2-0-0) to overcome in a 6-2 loss in Saturday’s rematch between the North Division rivals at Upstate Medical University Arena.
Defenseman Kale Clague recorded his first multi-point effort as an Amerk as he recorded a pair of assists. Forward Sean Malone notched his second goal of the season during the middle period from Linus Weissbach and Clague to open the Amerks scoring. In the third period, defenseman Mitch Eliot, who made his season-debut, added his first of the season from Mason Jobst and Clague.
Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (3-2-0), who entered the contest leading the AHL in wins, saves and games played, made a season-high 28 saves in his fifth straight start to begin the campaign. Dating back to the 2021-22 slate, Luukkonen boasts a 9-4-5 record in his last 18 starts.
Felix Robert registered his first AHL hat trick as he recorded his third, fourth and fifth goals of the season while Daniel Walcott also tallied a pair of goals and an assist for Syracuse, who were 0-1-0-2 to start the slate. Gage Concalves chipped in two assists while goaltender Max Lagace (1-1-1) drew his second straight start. The netminder stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced to earn his first win of the season.
Entering the third period, Syracuse held a 2-1 lead before Walcott netted a pair of goals to push the advantage to 4-1 at the 8:14 mark of the frame.
While Eliot was able to cut the deficit in half as he rifled a right point shot, the Crunch responded just 23 seconds later to restore the three-goal cushion.
As the game-clock was winding down, Luukkonen was summoned for an extra-attacker in hopes of starting an eventual comeback, but Robert capped off the three-goal outing as he sealed the 6-2 win in the final minute of play.
In the opening period, much like last night’s contest between the two rivals, the Crunch were able to capitalize on their first power-play of the night.
Following an Amerks holding infraction, Syracuse was unable to generate much for the first half of the man-advantage until Carrick gathered a pass from Jack Thompson before sending the puck through the zone to Goncavles. In a one-touch pass from Goncalves, he quickly steered it to the center of the ice for Robert to sweep past a diving attempt by Luukkonen seven minutes into the contest.
Rochester generated several scoring chances during the remainder of the frame, and despite each team registering six shots apiece, the score remained 1-0 at the first intermission.
During the second period, both clubs exchanged tallies nearly three minutes apart to keep it a one-goal score going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
On the Amerks goal, it came on their third straight power-play of the night and second of the frame as Malone finished off a play from Weissbach and Clague with 9:17 to go in the period.
Following a face-off win to the right of Lagace by Malone, Clague and Weissbach exchanged passes before the Swedish forward fired a shot from the left dot. The Crunch netminder appeared to have stopped the puck but it trickled towards the goal-line, where Malone pushed it across the stripe for his second of the campaign.
Moments after the goal, Rochester again drew another power-play but were unable to seize the lead.
After stepping out of the penalty box, Walcott dumped the puck behind the net for Simon Ryfors to the left of Luukkonen. While all the attention was on Walcott and Ryfors, Robert posted at the far crease and banged in Ryfors’ feed for his second of the night to regain the Crunch 2-1 cushion.
Syracuse scored twice early in the third period to make it a 4-1 lead, and despite Rochester scoring once more, the Crunch responded by adding two more to seal the 6-2 win.
The Amerks close out the month of October as they continue their three-game road swing with the first of back-to-back meetings against the Laval Rocket on Friday, Oct. 28 at Place Bell. All of the action will be carried live on 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Seven of the Amerks 15 goals have come on the power-play, which are the most among any team in the AHL this season … Rochester has scored a power-play goal in 20 of its last 35 games against Syracuse, going 32-for-120 (26.7%) with the man-advantage over that span … Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is the first Amerks goaltender to start the first five games of the season since David Leggio started the first nine games of the 2012-13 campaign.
ROC: F. Robert (3, 4, 5), D. Walcott (1,2)
SYR: S. Malone (2), M. Eliot (1)
ROC: M. Lagace – 32/34 (W)
SYR: U. Luukkonen – 28/33 (L)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (2/3)
SYR: PP (1/3) | PK (3/4)
1. SYR - F. Robert
2. SYR - D. Walcott
3. SYR - T. Carrick