AMERKS UNABLE TO HOLD LEAD IN OVERTIME LOSS TO CRUNCH
Biro, Rousek each record two points in 3-2 loss to SyracuseFeb 9, 2024
The Rochester Americans (21-16-4-1) built a two-goal lead in the first period but the Syracuse Crunch (25-14-3-2) responded with game’s next three tallies, including the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime to steal a 3-2 win from the Amerks Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
Despite the overtime loss, the Amerks have points in six of their last nine games dating back to Jan. 17. While all six games in the season-series have been won by the road team, four of the six have one-goal decisions going into Saturday's rematch in Syracuse.
Brandon Biro (1+1) and Lukas Rousek (0+2) both tallied a multi-point effort for the Amerks while Mason Jobst scored once. Biro paces all Rochester skaters this season with 10 multi-point outings while Rousek tops the club with 30 points. Ethan Prow concluded the scoring as he was credited with the primary helper on Biro’s first-period goal.
Goaltender Devon Levi (3-2-1) made his sixth appearance of the campaign and second straight, turning aside 22 of 25 shots he faced. The rookie netminder and Quebec native has finished with 20 or more saves in four of his six games with the Amerks this season.
Declan Carlile (0+2) notched two assists while Daniel Walcott and former Amerk Devante Stephens both scored in regulation. Waltteri Merelä sealed the overtime win with his first-career game-winning goal.
Netminder Matt Tomkins (9-7-1) made 19 saves in his 17th contest of the slate. Tomkins allowed two goals or less for the fourth consecutive appearance.
Facing a 2-0 deficit to start the second period, Syracuse drew a tripping penalty at the 15:25 mark.
Despite not capitalizing on the man-advantage, the Crunch kept the puck inside the offensive zone after the infraction expired. With the puck at the right point, Max Crozier slid a pass to his defense partner Carlile. The latter fired a shot towards Levi for Walcott to tuck in between the left leg and post with 12:41 left in the frame.
Later in the frame, the Crunch successfully cleared off a double-minor high sticking infraction before Stephens tied the score after Joe Carroll’s shot glanced off the defenseman’s leg and ricocheted into the cage.
During the third period, the two clubs clamped down defensively as they combined for 11 shots, but the game remained even at 2-2.
In the extra period, the Crunch forced a turnover inside their own zone before Merelä and Carroll raced up the ice on an odd-man rush. Merelä carried the puck across the blueline before wiring a shot under the crossbar to seal the 3-2 win.
Nearly four minutes after successfully clearing off its first penalty of the night, Rochester opened the scoring with a pair of goals 2:05 apart in the first period.
After Rousek tracked a Crunch player into the left corner of the Syracuse zone, Brett Murray intercepted a pass in the circle. The Amerks maintained possession of the puck before Rousek moved the puck to the right point for Prow. The veteran blueliner fired a shot that glanced off Tomkins only to have Biro cash in on the rebound for his 12th of the season at the 11:11 mark.
Less than a minute later, the Crunch were whistled for having too many men on the ice.
The Amerks used the man-advantage to double their lead as Jobst converted a centering feed from Rousek. Biro had the secondary helper as he kept the puck inside the offensive zone after Linus Weissbach nearly scored from the far face-off dot on the opposite side of the ice.
Both teams went into the intermission deadlocked with 12 shots each, but Syracuse scored three unanswered goals, including Merelä’s game-winner 38 seconds into overtime.
The Amerks and Crunch close out their weekend set as the home-and-home series shifts to downtown Syracuse on Saturday, Feb. 10 for a rematch at Upstate Medical University Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Stars and Stripes:
Lukas Rousek notched assists on both Brandon Biro and Mason Jobst’s 12th goals of the season … He leads the Amerks in points with 30 and assists with 22 … With two points (1+1), Biro recorded his team-leading 10th multi-point effort of the season … Ethan Prow notched an assist on Biro’s goal, giving him nine points on the season and assist in consecutive home games.
SYR: D. Walcott (10), D. Stephens (5) , W. Merelä (8)
ROC: B. Biro (12), M. Jobst (12)
SYR: M. Tomkins – 19/21 (W)
ROC: D. Levi – 22/25 (OTL)
SYR: PP (0/3) | PK (3/4)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (3/3)
1. SYR - W. Merelä
2. ROC - B. Biro
3. SYR - D. Walcott