(Syracuse, NY) … Fueled by a pair of goals less than six minutes into Saturday night’s contest and one in each of the final two periods of regulation, the Rochester Americans (16-6-2-0) came away with a 4-3 victory over the Syracuse Crunch (13-6-2-0) at the War Memorial Arena.
With the win, the Amerks have won three straight and five of their last six games while also earning 34 of a possible 44 points in the last 22 games. Additionally, the victory gives Rochester three straight wins over their North Divisional rival and an 8-5-1-0 record against the Crunch dating back to the start of the 2017-18 season.
WATCH: GAME HIGHIGHTS
Rochester forward Wayne Simpson recorded his fifth multi-point effort of the campaign as he netted a goal and an assist, while Tyler Randell, Zach Redmond and Victor Olofsson rounded out the scoring for the Amerks. In his third start of the season against his former club, goaltender Adam Wilcox made 25 saves to earn his third win over the Crunch this season. Overall, Wilcox boasts a record of 6-2-1 in 10 appearances.
Syracuse, which came into the matchup in the midst of an AHL-best 13-game point streak dating back to Nov. 2, got goals from Andy Andreoff, Taylor Raddysh and Cal Foote while netminder Connor Ingram stopped 29 of 33. Ingram was dealt with his first loss since Oct. 27 and saw his personal seven-game win streak snapped.
In its first trip back to Syracuse since the Opening Round of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, Rochester struck for a pair of goals just 5:45 into the showdown featuring the North Division’s top two teams.
After a face-off win in the offensive zone, Rochester forward Eric Cornel fired a shot from in-between the red dots towards Ingram. The netminder kicked the rebound to his right, but Simpson quickly buried the puck past the blocker to give the Amerks an early 1-0 lead just 1:18 into the game.
The visiting Amerks rode the momentum from Simpson’s tally and further silenced the hometown crowd as Randell picked up a loose puck inside the Crunch zone less than four minutes later. The first-year Amerk carried the puck to the left of ice before tucking it inside the near post and the goaltender’s right leg as he wrapped around the net. Defensemen Jack Dougherty and Brandon Hickey were credited with the assists on Randell’s first goal as an Amerk but, it was former Crunch forward Dalton Smith that knocked a Syracuse defender off the puck to spring Randell.
Facing a two-goal deficit, Syracuse, which held its annual Teddy Bear Toss game, cut into the Amerks lead as Andreoff beat Wilcox with 3:47 left in the opening period to make it a 2-1 game going into the break.
During the second period, the clubs exchanged scoring chances but Rochester reclaimed its two-goal cushion at the 6:40 mark of the stanza as Redmond chipped in his team-leading 14th goal of the season.
With the puck along the right half-wall of the offensive zone, Simpson fired a pass to C.J. Smith, who was sneaking behind the cage. As the reigning Amerks Rookie of the Year drew the attention of the Syracuse defensemen and Ingram, he quickly dished the puck to Redmond, who was wide open in front of the net.
Simpson was credited with his fourth point (2+2) in his last three outings while Redmond snapped a season-long four-game scoring drought. Redmond’s goal moves the veteran blueliner to within one of tying his own career mark of 15 from last season and now sits just four away of tying Rick Pagnutti’s single-season franchise record for goals by a defenseman (18).
Before the end of the second period, the game tightened up defensively and Rochester successfully killed off a four-minute double-minor against the AHL’s top-ranked power-play unit. The Crunch, however, emerged from the intermission break and made it a one-goal game just 1:03 into the final 20 minutes of play.
The Amerks, though, did not budge as they drew their third penalty of the contest and made it count as Olofsson ripped a shot under the crossbar at the 9:49 mark of the frame. While on the power-play, Brendan Guhle and Rasmus Asplund traded passes before Guhle fired the puck towards the net. Olofsson was there to clean up the rebound.
Asplund and Guhle picked up the helpers on Olofsson’s ninth goal of the season which gave Rochester a 4-2 lead with just over 10 minutes left in regulation. Asplund recorded his seventh assist and eighth point in the last eight games while Guhle has recorded an assist in each of his last three outings. For Olofsson, the goal held up as the game-winner, giving him four on the season, which rank second behind only Redmond’s AHL-best six game-winning tallies.
Syracuse, facing its second two-goal deficit of the night, would not let the Amerks off easy as Raddysh made it a 4-3 score as he buried a power-play goal with 8:05 left in regulation.
The Crunch continued to force the issue and tie the game in hopes of extending their point-streak to 14 games, but the Amerks hung on for the victory to close out the weekend, which saw Rochester snap point streaks of the two hottest teams in the AHL on back-to-back nights.
The Amerks return home on Wednesday, Dec. 12 when they take on the intrastate rival Binghamton Devils at The Blue Cross Arena. Following the 7:05 p.m. contest, Rochester hosts the Cleveland Monsters for a home-and-home weekend-series beginning on Friday, Dec. 14. Both contests will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester and can be viewed on AHLTV.
ROC: Simpson (8), Randell (1), Redmond (14), Olofsson (9 – GWG)
SYR: Andreoff (11), Foote (2), Raddysh (9)
ROC: Wilcox– 25/28 (W)
SYR: Ingram– 29/33 (L)
ROC: PP (1/3) | PK (3/4)
SYR: PP (1/4)| PK (2/3)
1. Victor Olofsson (ROC)
2. Connor Ingram (SYR)
3. Wayne Simpson (ROC)