Amerks Crunch(ed) in game one
By: Chamberlain Bauder
SYRACUSE, N.Y. --- The Rochester Americans fell in overtime to the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 in their first game of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Syracuse controlled possession throughout the game and ended the game with 17 more shots than Rochester. Linus Weissbach and Josh Passolt scored the two Amerks goals while Tyson Kozak, Jeremy Davies and Michael Mersch all had assists. Malcolm Subban was in between the pipes for Rochester. He posted 37 saves for a .925 save percentage.
The Crunch were dominant out of the gate. After only eight minutes of play they had outshot the Amerks 9-2. There were seven minutes between Rochester’s second and third shot of the game. Finally the Amerks were able to go to the power play almost nine minutes into the period. It was the first power play of the day for Rochester and created their first opportunity of the day in the offensive zone. Despite two power play opportunities, the Amerks couldn’t capitalize. They struggled to break past their own blue line in even play.
The second period was night and day in contrast to the first. It was the Crunch who capitalized first as their momentum finally reached its tipping point. They scored the first goal of the game on the power play four minutes into the period. The Amerks were next to find the back of the net despite the games momentum. Tyson Kozak sent a pass into the low slot from the boards, Weissbach found it on the edge of Max Legace’s pad and sent the puck into the top netting. Halfway through the period neither team looked in complete control and Subban was standing on his head to keep the Amerks in it.
Things heated up for the last five minutes of the period, Rochester went onto their second penalty kill in a row with 5:16 left in the period. With thirty seconds remaining on the penalty Syracuse scored their second power play goal of the night. Just a minute and a half later Rochester tied things up once again. Josh Passolt scored his second Amerks goal in as many games after being called up from Cincinnati in the last weekend of the regular season.
The third period returned to the themes of the first. Syracuse dominated possession and no goals were scored. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, the Crunch took chance after chance in the offensive zone. Subban came up with the puck time after time. Finally in the closing three minutes of the game Rochester earned a power play. They held the puck for almost a minute and a half before actually starting the power play, unable to find the angle they wanted. At 17:37 Subban came back onto the ice after leaving at 16:15. The Amerks couldn’t get it done on the power play either.
Rochester had the hot hand to start OT, they put the pressure on the Crunch in the opening minutes but once again couldn’t set up in the offensive zone. Momentum quickly shifted after the second minute and Philippe Myers deked into the high slot and found right side netting. Syracuse will host game two on Saturday April 22.