Courtesy of Amerks.com
Syracuse, NY – For the second time in as many nights, the Rochester Americans (21-16-5-1) couldn’t hold off the Syracuse Crunch (26-14-3-2), who scored three straight unanswered goals, including the game-winner 18 seconds into overtime, to come away with a 3-2 win Saturday at Upstate Medical University Arena.
Despite their second straight overtime loss, the Amerks have points in seven of their last 10 games dating back to Jan. 17. Six of the first seven games in the season-series have been won by the road team, while five of the seven have been one-goal decisions.
Brandon Biro (0+2) and Lukas Rousek (1+1) both registered their second straight multi-point efforts for the Amerks while linemate Brett Murray also finished with two points (1+1). Biro paces all Rochester skaters this season with 11 multi-point outings while Rousek tops the club with 23 assists and 32 points.
Goaltender Devon Levi (3-2-2) made his seventh appearance of the campaign and third straight, turning aside 33 of 36 shots he faced. The Quebec native and rookie netminder has finished with 20 or more saves in five of his seven games with the Amerks this season.
Jack Finley (0+2) earned a pair of assists while Jack Thompson and Lucas Edmonds both scored in the first period for the Crunch, who now hold the top spot in the AHL’s North Division standings. Cole Koepke delivered the overtime game-winner, his second of the season and fifth of his career.
Netminder Hugo Alnefelt (10-5-4) made 25 saves in his 20th appearance of the season. Alnefelt shows a 6-0-1 mark since the start of 2024 while allowing two goals or less in five contests over that same span.
Midway through the opening frame trailing 2-0 on the scoreboard and being outshot 5-0, Syracuse seemed to find its footing. The home club registered the next five shots, which included Edmonds’ rebound conversion that he slipped inside the post to trim the deficit in half.
Prior to Edmonds finishing off the play, Gage Goncalves weaved his way into the offensive zone before hitting Tristan Allard atop Levi’s crease. While Allard tried to swipe at the puck, it caromed to his right for Edmonds to retrieve with just under 12 minutes to play in the stanza.
To close out the back-and-forth first period, Finley won the face-off back to Thompson to tie right of Levi. The defenseman stepped down the right wall and despite stumbling, he went across the grain to even the score at 2-2 with his fifth of the slate with just over two minutes to play.
While the score remained tied at two for the final 40 minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime for the second straight night, both teams each took one penalty in the second and third periods.
Syracuse took possession of the puck after winning the initial draw to begin the extra frame, where each of the three Crunch skaters touched it.
After Carlile retreated behind his own net following the face-off win, the blueliner provided a long stretch pass for Koepke as he sprinted through the neutral zone. Koepke attempted to hit Finley with a cross-ice pass but it got caught in the feet of Levi. Koepke quickly regained possession at the top of the crease, spun and fired the winner past the sprawled Amerks netminder to seal the win just 18 seconds into the period.
Less than 90 seconds into the first period, Murray stepped in-front of a Crunch pass to the right of Alnefelt. As Murray gained ownership of the puck before his pass reached Rousek, it glanced off Biro before Rousek hammered it past the Syracuse netminder’s blocker for his ninth of the season.
Shortly after the tally, Rochester drew a hooking infraction before doubling its lead halfway into the penalty.
As the Crunch attempted to bring the puck up the ice, Biro poked it free to Rousek near the far blueline. The speedy forward raced into the offensive zone with the puck before moving it to Murray, who steered it behind Alnefelt prior to reaching the top of the crease for his ninth of the campaign.
Syracuse, much like in Friday’s contest, countered back with a pair of goals to even the score at two before ultimately winning it in the opening minute of the overtime period.
The Amerks embark on a grueling stretch of seven games in 11 nights on Wednesday, Feb. 14 when they meet the Utica Comets in a North Division showdown at Adirondack Bank Center. 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.