AMERKS SNEAK BY CRUNCH IN FINAL SECONDS FOR DRAMATIC WINOct 21, 2022
Facing a one-goal deficit entering the third period, the Rochester Americans (3-1-0-0) erupted for three third-period goals, including the game-winner from Brett Murray with 2.9 seconds remaining in the contest, to cap a thrilling 4-3 win over the Syracuse Crunch (0-1-0-2) Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
The Amerks are off to their first 3-0-0-0 start on home ice since the 2006-07 campaign. Tonight’s win was also the second-straight victory when trailing entering the final frame.
Forward Linus Weissbach matched a career-high as he logged a three-point night on two goals and one assist, all in the third period, while Brandon Biro also produced a multi-point effort with a pair of helpers. While Murray capped off the win with his second goal of the season, rookie forward Tyson Kozak opened the contest with his first professional marker.
Isak Rosen, Anders Bjork, Filip Cederqvist and Jiri Kulich each picked up an assist on the night. Cederqvist and Kulich have two and three assists, respectively, through the first four games of the young season while Bjork has points (1+1) in back-to-back games since being reassigned by the Buffalo Sabres.
Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (3-1-0) made 17 saves to earn his third win in his fourth consecutive start to begin the campaign. Dating back to the 2021-22 campaign, Luukkonen boasts a 9-3-5 record in his last 17 starts. The Finnish netminder leads all AHL goaltenders in wins (3) and saves (96) while being the only netminder to appear in four games.
Gemel Smith (1+1), Darren Raddysh (1+1), and Alex Barré-Boule (0+2) all turned in a multi-point outing for the Crunch, who have started the season winless. Gabriel Fortier (1+0) and Daniel Walcott (0+1) rounded out the scoring while goaltender Max Lagace (0-1-1) stopped 28 of 32 shots he faced.
Nearly 10 minutes after the Amerks were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage in the first period, Kulich carried the puck down the left wall before attempting to fire a shot towards Lagace. Kulich’s initial shot was wide of the net, but he stripped a Crunch skater before Kozak slipped the puck between the pads of the goaltender to open the scoring with 6:12 left in the opening period.
Trailing 2-1 to begin the final frame, Weissbach netted back-to-back goals 3:07 apart to flip the deficit into a 3-2 Rochester lead.
On his first marker of the period, the Swedish forward tucked a shot under the crossbar off a pass from the left of Lagace before he backhanded a shot from in-between the face-off dots at the 8:21 mark.
After Fortier steered in a centering feed from Raddysh with just over seven minutes to play, it appeared the game was headed for overtime as the two teams were even at three.
Prior to the final horn, however, Rochester forced a turnover outside the Crunch blueline with 10 seconds to play in regulation.
MURRAY'S BUZZER-BEATING GAME-WINNER
Murray scooped up the puck and banked it off the boards for Weissbach, and the duo — along with Biro — sprinted into the offensive zone on a 3-on-1, odd-man rush. Weissbach sent a cross-ice pass to Biro, who one-touched it to Murray coasting through the low slot. Although Murray’s shot appeared to be gloved by Lagace, it leaked behind him and across the goal-line in the final seconds to give the Amerks a 4-3 victory.
Prior to the completion of the first frame, Syracuse drew an interference penalty and sent out its league-best power-play unit on the ice with just 1:01 to go in the stanza.
The Crunch were unable to even the score in the first 50 seconds, however, Raddysh buried a one-time feed from Barré-Boulet and Smith from atop the point to even the score at one at the 19:50 mark.
Following two unsuccessful power-plays to begin the second period, Syracuse took its first lead of the night 8:40 into the frame but Rochester outscored the Crunch 3-1 in the final period of play to earn the 4-3 win.
Following a quick-turnaround, the Amerks and Crunch conclude their home-and-home weekend as the series shifts to the Upstate Medical University Arena on Saturday, Oct. 22. The 7:00 p.m. North Division matchup will be carried live on 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
With tonight’s power-play goal, the Amerks have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their three home matchups, going 6-for-16 over that span for a 37.5% conversion rate that is third-best in the AHL … The six power-play goals are also the most among any team at home this season ... Additionally, Rochester has scored a power-play goal in 19 of its last 34 games against Syracuse, going 31-for-116 (26.7%) with the man-advantage over that span.
SYR: D. Raddysh (2), G. Smith (2), G. Fortier (1)
ROC: T. Kozak (1), L. Weissbach (2, 3), B. Murray (2)
SYR: M. Lagace – 28/32 (L)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 17/20 (W)
SYR: PP (1/3) | PK (3/4)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (3/4)
1. ROC - L. Weissbach
2. ROC - B. Murray
3. ROC - T. Kozak