Amerks fall to Crunch on last minute goal
(Rochester, NY) … The Rochester Americans (4-4-0-0) led the Syracuse Crunch (3-5-1-0) 2-1 entering the final period but a late goal with just 1:03 remaining in regulation proved to be the difference as the Amerks came out on the losing of a 3-2 decision Saturday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The win is Syracuse’s first in the head-to-head series after dropping the first two contests during opening weekend.
For the third straight contest, Sahir Gill tallied a goal to extend his point and goal streak to tie a career-long three games with four points (3+1) while also recording five points (3+2) over his last five games overall. In addition, Kyle Criscuolo scored his third goal of the season and second in the last two nights. Former Crunch netminder Adam Wilcox started in the Amerks crease but left the game after 49 minutes. Linus Ullmark took over the goaltending duties but took the lost to drop his record to 3-3-0.
Kevin Lynch and Michael Bournival led the Crunch with a goal and an assist each on the night while Anthony Cirelli began the comeback for Syracuse during the third period. Former Amerk netminder Michael Leighton made 25 saves to improve his record to 2-3-0 on the season.
Rochester held a 2-1 advantage going into final stanza but the Crunch wouldn’t go away quietly. Cirelli provided the equalizer on the power-play midway through the frame before Lynch netted the go-ahead goal with just 63 seconds remaining in the contest to give Syracuse its first lead of the night. Rochester made a last ditch effort to force overtime for the second straight night by pulling Ullmark, but Leighton and the Crunch hung on for the win.
“We let off the gas pedal a little bit and let them climb back into the game,” said rookie defenseman Brendan Guhle. “We got away from our game during the last period by not doing the things that got us the lead, so it is something we will continue to work on.”
The Amerks opened the scoring 9:40 into the first period, but the Crunch knotted the game at 1-1 despite being outshot 11-2. Criscuolo gave the Amerks a 2-1 lead with 4:35 left to play in the middle frame after he redirected a C.J. Smith shot in front of Leighton.
“Our defensive corps played their best game of the year tonight,” Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said. “They made a lot of nice plays, but we did not capitalize on opportunities to get the win tonight.”
The Amerks open a busy month of November with four of their next five games on the road, beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 1 as they travel to the Adirondack Bank Center for a North Division showdown with the Utica Comets. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the first of two meetings against the Comets in a span of four days and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Gill (3), Criscuolo (3)
SYR: Bournival (4), Cirelli (2), Lynch (2)