Amerks season ends with 6-3 loss to Crunch
(Rochester, NY) For the first time in the series, the Rochester Americans held the lead twice, but the Syracuse Crunch countered with three goals in a span of 2:29 before holding on for a 6-3 victory in Game 3 of the North Division Semifinals at The Blue Cross Arena. With the win on Wednesday night, the Crunch eliminate the Amerks in the best-of-five opening round series of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Amerks got goals from Danny O’Regan, Justin Bailey and Zach Redmond while netminder Linus Ullmark made 20 saves in the contest but was tagged with his third straight loss.
Forwards Mathieu Joseph and Matthew Peca each added a goal and a pair of assists in the series-clinching win for Syracuse while Carter Verhaeghe and Gabriel Dumont both recorded two assists. Mitchell Stephens (1+1), Alexander Volkov (1+1), Cal Foote (1+0) and Olivier Archambault rounded out the scoring. Rookie goaltender Connor Ingram, who made his AHL postseason debut, stopped 33 of 36 in a winning effort. Dating back to the regular season, Ingram boasts a 3-0-1 record in four appearances against the Amerks.
Bailey gave the Amerks a 2-1 lead at the 7:48 mark of the middle period with his second playoff goal in as many games, but the Crunch responded to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead as they netted three goals in 2:29.
On the ensuing shift after Bailey’s tally, Foote evened the score with his first-career postseason marker, tying the game 2-2. Syracuse continued to the ride the momentum as Archambault scored at the 8:36 mark to give the Crunch their first lead of the night.
“We made a lot of young mistakes,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “Syracuse is a team who makes you pay for those mistakes. It seemed every time we did make one, the puck ended in the back of our net.”
Syracuse tacked on one more goal midway through the period and took a 4-2 lead into the intermission break while trailing the Amerks 23-21 in shots after 40 minutes.
The Amerks were whistled for a slashing infraction 5:35 into the third period but the Crunch needed 30 seconds of the penalty as Stephens scored his first tally of the series to push the lead to 5-2.
Rochester did not go down without making things interesting as O’Regan and Kevin Porter exchanged a give-and-go pass below the goal-line before O’Regan deposited his first of the postseason.
“We played hard down to the last second of the series,” said Porter, who led the club with five points (1+4) in three games. “It was not the results we wanted or had hoped, but I was a pleasure playing with all these guys and wearing the jersey.”
After killing off its sixth penalty of the night, Syracuse sealed the win as Volkov tapped in a shot into Ullmark’s net as the Swedish netminder was on the bench for the extra attacker.
The two teams exchanged goals during the first 20 minutes of the game to go into the dressing rooms deadlocked at 1-1 before Syracuse outscored Rochester 5-2 over the final 40 minutes of play.
“I am so proud of the group of guys in this room,” said Amerks assistant captain Nathan Paetsch. “It was a pleasure playing with them. The excitement they brought back to the City of Rochester and the way they came to work every day was something special. There is a lot of character in the room and a really good group of guys.”
“It was a great atmosphere,” said Taylor od the crowd of 6,145. “As an organization, we cannot thank the fans effort for coming out on a Wednesday night and providing the support like they did tonight. They were loud throughout the game despite us not getting the results we wanted.”
Game 1 | Friday, April 20 – Rochester (2) at Syracuse (6) | Syracuse leads 1-0
Game 2 | Saturday, April 21 – Rochester (5) at Syracuse (6) | Syracuse leads 2-0
Game 3 | Wednesday, April 25 – Syracuse (6) at Rochester (3) | Syracuse wins series 3-0
RCH: Redmond (2), Bailey (2), O’Regan (1)
SYR: Peca (2), Foote (1), Archambault (2), Stephens (1), Joseph (2), Volkov (3)
RCH: Ullmark – 20/25 (L)
SYR: Ingram – 33/36 (W)
RCH: PP (1/6) | PK (1/2)
SYR: PP (1/2) | PK (5/6)