Amerks crunched at home
ROCHESTER, NY --- The Rochester Americans found themselves caught out against North Division rival Syracuse on Wednesday night. The Amerks had an uncharacteristically poor night considering their start to the season. The Crunch walked out of Blue Cross Arena with a 7-2 victory over the Amerks.
Devin Cooley got the start for Rochester, while Syracuse went with Pytor Kochetkov between the pipes.
Rochester had an early chance to strike first, in the opening period. Devante Stephens got called for tripping with 16:38 remaining. This opportunity would not be fruitful as poor special teams was a theme on the night for Rochester. This powerplay failed to even generate a shot.
"Our power play has been awesome all year, but it wasn't good enough tonight," Appert said. "We had a couple of chances in the first 30 minutes to steal momentum. Rather they scored or not it doesn't matter, just steal momentum from them."
Rochester's offense came out slow and was completely shut down by the physical Syracuse defense throughout the first half of the first period. The Amerks offense couldn't get much of anything going until the final eight minutes of the opening period. That's when Kochetkov took over, he made save after save, denying the Amerks on multiple scoring chances down the stretch of the first period.
"They played it more like a playoff game," Amerks head coach Seth Appert said. "Hopefully that taught our young guys a lesson about how physically demanding this division can be."
The Crunch on the other hand, were able to get their offense going early as Lucas Edmonds put one past Cooley with just over seven minutes played. The goal was a gritty one, Edmonds was working in front of the net, a rebound fell to him, and he was there to tap it home. Brett Murray scored a goal in a similar fashion. He was posted in front of the net and Michael Mersch sent a beauty of a pass to the back door where Murray was set. It was an easy tap in to tie the game up with just 3:23 remaining in the first.
"I saw Mersch make a great pass and I've seen him (Kochetkov) react to rebounds and you get goals on the back door all the time, and I saw the puck bounce to the right of the goalie, and I got open," Murray said.
The second period is where Syracuse's physicality and offense took over. They scored three unanswered goals curtesy of Felix Robert on a power play, Joe Carroll short-handed and Daniel Walcott 5-on-5. Rochester would finally get one back with just 22 seconds left in the section period. Jiri Kulich sniped one home 5-on-5 from the slot after receiving a pin perfect pass from Matt Savoie, Isak Rosen was given the secondary assist. The young second forward line with three former Sabers first round picks continues to produce goals, even on an off night for the team as a whole.
"They a good hockey team, and that kind of sums up the North Division, those are the types of games we're going to have against them all the time," Amerks defenseman Ethan Prow said.
The third period saw three more unanswered goals for the Crunch. These came from Gaberiel Dumont on a power play, Devante Stephens and Gage Goncalves 5-on-5. Devin Cooley who just spent a couple days with the Buffalo Sabers would be pulled after the goal from Stephens. Syracuse would have seven different goal scorers on the night. Defenseman Ryan Johnson would be the only Amerk to finish the night with a positive +/- (1). This was the Amerks first game in the regular season thus far where they didn't score at least three goals.
"Obviously no one likes the outcome," Prow said. "But we're coming tomorrow, it's a new day and we got to put in the work, we got two big opponents this weekend."
Rochester will look to rebound on Friday night back at home against the Utica Comets, before heading to Syracuse on Saturday for a rematch with the Crunch to finish out their first week of action in November.