By: Matt Hanes
Rochester NY -- The Rochester Amerks fought to hang on against the Syracuse Crunch, losing a fast 2-0 lead throughout the night. Offensive issues and power play struggles made the lead hard to hold onto against the Crunch, losing 3-2 after a game-winning goal from the Crunch in overtime. After this loss, the Amerks drop to 21-16-4-1.
"It was a little more open at first," Amerks head coach Seth Appert said. "You know, you'd like to get out of the second up 2-1. You're not going to outplay a team of their caliber for 60 minutes. I think we outplayed him a bit in the first but we didn't outplay them that much in the first. We just capitalized on two chances and they didn't capitalize on theirs."
Amerks center Mason Jobst after scoring on a power play (Photo Credit: Michelle Veluvolu)
After the Amerks had their hot start in the first period, the Crunch brought it back to 2-2 in the second period. The Amerks had multiple chances to score in the middle frame, but Syracuse's defense slammed the door shut. They also used their physicality throughout the entire match, finishing every hit against the Amerks to wear them out.
"The power play has not been clicking and it's cost us some games." Amerks center Mason Jobst said. "I think the message has just been simplicity and trying to get more shots through. We're moving around the perimeter a little too much and not getting bodies in front."
While the Crunch scored two goals in the second period, the offensive action seemed to be dying down compared to the first period. The Amerks only had 4 shots on goal while the Crunch had 6, compared to 12 for each team in the first.
At the start of the third period, the Amerks got another power play opportunity. Their efforts to score were quickly shut down by the Crunch however, leading to the most even period of the game. With tensions rising and each team getting more and more physical after each whistle blew, the game was sent to overtime with a scoreline of 2-2.
Amerks players Kale Clague, Lukas Rousek and Brett Murray pictured left to right (Photo Credits: Michelle Veluvolu)
Overtime started and within the first minute Crunch center Waltteri Merelä scored the dagger against the Amerks.
"It's hard to play against Syracuse at times," Amerks winger Lukas Rousek said. "This team has about one to two goals every single game, it's always about the details."
With this overtime loss, in every game of the Amerks versus Crunch series, the road team is 6-0. The Amerks take on the Crunch again tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. as the road team this time in Syracuse.