AMERKS HOLD OFF CRUNCH FOR 4-3 WIN
Subban wins sixth straight, Rousek extends point streak to season-long six gamesJan 7, 2023
The Rochester Americans (18-11-1-1) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period before surviving a late push by the Syracuse Crunch (13-11-2-3) and holding on for a 4-3 win Saturday at Upstate Medical University Arena.
With the win, the Amerks have claimed four of the first six meetings against the Crunch this season, including each of the last two get-togethers in Syracuse. Overall, Rochester is tied for second place in the North Division with 38 points, six points behind the first-place Toronto Marlies.
Defensemen Ethan Prow registered his first professional two-goal outing since December 19, 2018 while fellow blueliner Lawrence Pilut added a pair of assists. The two-point effort was Prow’s third of the season whereas Pilut recorded his first in the AHL since the 2019-20 campaign. Brett Murray scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season before Jeremy Davies sealed the win with his third.
Mason Jobst, Brandon Biro, Michael Mersch and Anders Bjork all chipped in an assist for Rochester. Lukas Rousek also tallied a helper to extend his point streak to a career-best six games.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban (8-2-0) made his 10th appearance of the season. The netminder boasts an 8-1-0 record over his previous nine outings, which includes a six-game win streak, marking the longest of his professional career.
Shawn Element, Gemel Smith and Jack Finley all scored for the Crunch while Max Lagace (5-6-4) and Jack LaFontaine (1-2-0) split the goaltending duties. Lagace earned the start before being replaced by LaFontaine to begin the second period, but LaFontaine suffered the loss.
Two minutes after the Crunch tied the score at 3-3 midway through the final frame, Davies restored the lead as he scored his third of the season with 6:20 left to play.
The Quebec native scooped up the puck behind Subban and carried it along the wall before giving it to Bjork in the neutral zone. Bjork entered the offensive zone and returned a pass for Davies and the defenseman wired a shot over the glove of LaFontaine to break the tie.
Syracuse attempted to find the equalizer by pulling LaFontaine and continued to test Subban but the Amerks netminder denied the effort to preserve the win.
With the 4-3 victory over their cross-town foes, the Amerks improved to 4-2-0-0 through the first six games of the 12-game series with the Crunch this season after going 4-6-2-0 in 2021-22.
Despite not capitalizing on its first power-play of the night, Rochester grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 8:42 mark with Prow scoring his third tally of the campaign.
The veteran blueliner grabbed a loose puck just outside the crease and quickly snapped it into the net as Jobst and Pilut were awarded the helpers.
Less than two minutes later, the Amerks earned their second man-advantage of the period and used the first minute before doubling their lead just past the halfway point of the frame.
Pilut carried the puck through neutral zone before Biro dumped it deep into the offensive zone. As bodies went into the right corner of Lagace, Biro dug it out and centered it for Murray in-between the face-off dots. Murray hammered home a one-time feed for his 100th career point as an Amerk.
By picking team-leading 13th goal of the season during the first period, Murray has posted 10 points (5+5) in his last 10 games.
To close out the first period, Mersch grabbed the puck outside the Crunch zone and sent Rousek across the blueline with a pass. With his back to the opposition’s net, Rousek left it for Prow to blast past Lagace with just over four minutes in the period.
The three-goal first period was the Amerks’ first against the Crunch while on the road since the team scored four in the opening 20 minutes of play on April 3, 2021.
Syracuse scored once in the second period and added two more in the third period to erase the three-goal deficit, but Davies scored the eventual game-winner with 6:20 left in regulation to cap the scoring.
The Amerks will return to home ice as they welcome the Laval Rocket to The Blue Cross Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 11 for a 7:05 p.m. face-off. All of the action will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
With the win tonight, Malcolm Subban is the first Amerks goaltender to win six straight games since Aaron Dell totaled six consecutive victories to begin the 2021-22 campaign. By earning an assist, captain Michael Mersch became the ninth Amerk this season to reach the 10-assist mark. Mersch has tallied six points (4+2) over his last seven games. Anders Bjork’s third-period assist gives him four points (1+3) over his last six games.
ROC: E. Prow (3, 4), B. Murray (13), J. Davies (3)
SYR: S. Element (6), J. Finley (4), G. Smith (12)
ROC: M. Subban – 41/44 (W)
SYR: M. Lagace – 13/16 (ND) | J. LaFontaine – 12/13 (L)
ROC: PP (1/6) | PK (4/5)
SYR: PP (1/5) | PK (5/6)
1. SYR - G. Smith
2. SYR - J. Finley
3. ROC - E. Prow