Amerks fall in Crunch time
ROCHESTER, N.Y.--- The Rochester Americans hosted the Syracuse Crunch at Blue Cross Arena. It was a battle for second place in the north division, not decided until Syracuse scored the game winner in overtime. Brandon Biro scored the game tying goal in the second period, his first game back from an injury. Malcolm Subban posted 27 saves and kept the Amerks in the game through the third period. Despite the loss, Rochester keeps rolling on an eight-game point streak as they took the game to overtime.
The first period started with a one-two punch by Syracuse. At 1:07 Jack Finley opened the scoring, the benefactor of an odd man rush. Moments later it was Ilya Usau scoring in similar fashion, unmarked at the backdoor at 4:38. Rochester had two power play opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the game. They did not capitalize on either opportunity. By the end of the second power play, around the nine minute mark, Rochester seemed to have warmed up a bit. Their handling improved, their speed improved, and their composure improved.
That all came to fruition at 9:42 in the first period. Sean Malone won a puck battle right behind the net and was able to make the quick pass to Linus Weissbach in the low slot. That was the last of the first period action on the score sheet. Each team went back and forth for the last ten minutes of the period, neither offense being able to set up their offense completely.
The themes of the back half of the first period carried over into the second. Neither offense could find a comfortable way through the other's defense. Then came a cross-check by Max Crozier and a power play for Rochester. While distributing from behind the goal, Loukas Rousek found Biro wide open on the right side face-off dot and he notched home the wrister.
As the second period continued, Rochester found themselves on the receiving end of two separate penalties. They found a way to successfully kill off both penalties, utilizing an aggressive forecheck from their third and fourth line forwards. The third period was more of the same along with some game saving stops from Subban. Syracuse was dominant in transition, creating many fast break opportunities and causing Subban to go post-to-post time after time.
When it came down to the last five minutes, both teams seemed complacent to head into overtime and each secure a point. Syracuse wasn't so complacent once the overtime horn sounded. After a successful face-off for the Amerks, they turned it over in between the blue lines. Alex Barre-Boulet found Philippe Myers at the backdoor and Subban had no chance at it.
Due to the overtime, the Amerks snuck out a point. They will hope for more composure as they travel to Syracuse to take on the Crunch again on Friday. Rochester now sits alone at third place in the north division, one point over the Utica Comets.