Buffalo Sports Day

AMERKS DROP 6-4 DECISION IN SYRACUSE

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(Syracuse, NY)… The Rochester Americans returned from the AHL All-Star break Friday night in Syracuse, dropping a 6-4 decision to the Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena. Despite two goals from Brayden Irwin and a goal from Evan Rankin in his first game in an Amerks uniform since 2013, Rochester was unable to complete a third period rally and fell to 18-25-1-0 on the season with the loss.

In addition to the pair of goals by Irwin and a tally by Rankin, AHL All-Star Phil Varone recorded a goal and an assist in the game. Dan Catenacci, Brady Austin, Tim Schaller, Jerry D’Amigo and Jake McCabe each registered an assist while goaltender Andrey Makarov finished with 27 saves on 32 shots.

Joel Vermin led Syracuse with a goal and two assists while Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals and Mike Angelidis and Vladislav Namestnikov each collected two assists. Jake Dotchin, Dylan Blujus and Jean-Philippe Cote each scored a goal to round out the scoring while Crunch netminder Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 23 of 27 shots to earn the win.

A busy opening period saw the teams combine for three goals in the first 2:23 of the game. Marchessault knocked in a rebound to open the scoring just 1:09 in, but Varone, fresh off his appearance in the AHL All-Star Classic, tipped in a point shot by Austin to tie the game just 36 seconds later. Catenacci also picked up an assist on Varone’s 10th goal of the season.

Less than a minute after Varone tied the game, Irwin scored to give Rochester a 2-1 lead as he beat Gudlevskis with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Schaller at the 2:23 mark. The goal was Irwin’s sixth of the season.

Syracuse responded just under six minutes later with a power-play goal from Dotchin. Shortly after Mark Pysyk came up with a tremendous shorthanded opportunity and rang his shot off the post, Syracuse came back the other way and tied things up as Dotchin connected on a one-timer that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net. It appeared the teams would head into the first intermission tied up at two, but a blast from the point by Cote beat Makarov in the final minute of the period and gave the Crunch a 3-2 lead.

The Amerks tied the game eight minutes into the second period when Irwin notched his second goal of the night and seventh of the season. Taking a pass from McCabe at the blue-line, Irwin drove through the right circle and snapped a shot past Gudlevskis with Varone providing a screen in front.

 

The Crunch then scored twice in the latter half of the second period to take a 5-3 lead. First, Blujus attacked from the right side and stuffed the puck just inside the post for the goal as Syracuse regained its one-goal lead. Vermin then extended the Syracuse lead when he intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and quickly sent a high wrist shot over Makarov’s shoulder to make it a 5-3 game.

 

Rankin, who was playing his first game back with the Amerks since the 2012-13 season after signing earlier this week, cut the deficit to one with a nifty goal in the third. He created a turnover right in front of the Crunch net, stick-handled several times and flipped a shot over Gudlevskis for his first AHL goal of the season.

 

Trailing by one late in the game, Rochester pulled Makarov in favor of an extra attacker, but Marchessault scored on the empty net with under a minute to play to seal the win for Syracuse.

 

The Amerks bring the month to a close on Saturday, Jan. 31 as they return to the Glens Falls Civic Center for another North Division showdown against the Adirondack Flames. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the 10th of 12 meetings between the intrastate rivals and will be carried live on FOX Sports 1280 Rochester.