(Syracuse, NY) … The Syracuse Crunch (28-23-5-3) scored twice in the third period, including an empty-netter with 26 seconds remaining, to end the Rochester Americans’ (31-18-4-5) seven-game point streak with a 4-2 win Saturday night at Upstate Medical University Arena.
Despite the regulation loss, their first since Feb. 12, the Amerks remain in second place and eight points back of the Belleville Senators for the North Division lead with a game in hand and hold a four-point lead over the third-place Utica Comets ahead of Wednesday’s rematch in Rochester.
Andrew Oglevie opened the scoring for Rochester with his 14th goal of the campaign while Rasmus Asplund registered his third. Casey Mittelstadt finished the month of February with 12 points (3+9) in 14 games as he set up Asplund’s third-period power-play goal. The former first round selection has totaled 21 points (9+12) since the turn of the New Year and eight points on one goal and seven assists over his last nine appearances. First-year netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (3-4-3) suffered the loss while making 16 saves.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Ross Colton (1+1) turned in his second consecutive two-point outing for Syracuse, which has earned at least one point in 11 of its last 12 games dating back to Feb. 5. Alexander Volkov also had a goal and an assist while Gemel Smith and Boris Katchouk rounded out the scoring with their 21st and 13th goals of the slate, respectively. Former Amerk goaltender Scott Wedgewood made a season-high 43 saves in the crease to improve to 13-7-2. His 43 saves were his most since Apr. 7, 2018 as a member of the Ontario Regin.
The Amerks drew an interference infraction during the final minute of the second period while trailing by a goal. Following the intermission break, Rochester evened the game at two just 23 seconds into the frame.
As Mittelstadt carried the puck through the neutral zone, he left a pass for Taylor Leier atop the Crunch blueline. The duo exchanged a series of give-and-go passes before Mittelstadt slid the puck across the goal-mouth to Asplund to even the game.
The Amerks have scored a power-play goal in 17 of the last 31 games against Syracuse, going 23-for-128 (18.0%) over that span.
Syracuse responded nearly five minutes later to regain its one-goal lead as Katchouk snapped in the eventual game-winner from the right circle past Luukkonen. Tyler Bird, who was recalled from the ECHL earlier in the week, earned his first AHL point with the primary assist while Otto Somppi notched the secondary helper with 14:53 left in regulation.
Rochester attempted to force overtime and drew a pair of penalties in the final six minutes of the third, but Wedgewood turned aside each shot to preserve the win. Colton capped off the scoring as he added his 11th of the slate with Luukkonen on the bench for the extra skater at the 19:34 mark.
The North Division rivals traded goals just 33 seconds apart early in the first period, but Syracuse grabbed its first lead of the contest midway through the middle frame. The Crunch added a pair markers during the third to come away with the 4-2 victory.
The Amerks open the month of March on Wednesday, Mar. 4 against the Utica Comets at The Blue Cross Arena. It will be the second game in seven days and third between the two clubs since Sunday, Feb. 16. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: A. Oglevie (14), R. Asplund (3)
SYR: G. Smith (21), A. Volkov (9), B. Katchouk (13 – GWG), R. Colton (11)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 16/19 (L)
SYR: S. Wedgewood – 43/45 (W)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (2/3)
SYR: PP (1/3) | PK (3/4)
1. A. Volkov (SYR)
2. S. Wedgewood (SYR)
3. R. Asplund (ROC)