(Rochester, NY) … By allowing a pair of goals in the first period and three in more in the third, the Rochester Americans (43-22-4-2) fell in the first game of the weekend home-and-home series with the Syracuse Crunch (45-20-4-3) by the final score of 6-1 at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday night.
Despite the loss, the Amerks have earned a point in seven of the first 10 meetings with Syracuse and remain five points behind the Crunch for the AHL’s North Division lead ahead of tomorrow night’s rematch at the War Memorial Arena. Rochester has collected 46 of a possible 68 points in its last 34 games heading into the final five games of the 2018-19 regular season.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Defenseman Jack Dougherty tallied his second goal of the season from Kevin Porter and Tage Thompson, who has four points (2+2) in his first three games since joining the club after being reassigned the Buffalo Sabres. Netminder Scott Wedgewood (27-13-2) made 19 saves on the night but took the loss.
Forwards Alexander Volkov and Gabriel Dumont tallied a goal and an assist while rookie Alex Barre-Boulet added a pair of helpers for the Crunch, who have now won three straight contests after dropping three in a row. Boris Katchouk, Brady Brassart and Cal Foote completed the scoring for Syracuse while goaltender Atte Tolvanen improved to 3-1-0 to start his professional career.
WATCH: JACK DOUGHERTY POST-GAME
While trailing 3-0 midway through the second period, the Amerks seemed to catch a break as they drew a power-play. As luck would have it, though, Rochester had fired a barrage of shots towards the rookie netminder but several clanged off the posts and the score remained a three-goal game.
“I thought Syracuse’s goaltender played well, but we had some chances and needed to get in front of him more,” said Kevin Porter. “We are not going to win every game. Despite the score, there are some positives we can take from this one, but also some negatives that we have to learn from, too.”
WATCH: KEVIN PORTER POST-GAME
Rochester continued to test Tolvanen and finally solved the Crunch netminder when Dougherty flung a shot from the right point that found its way into the net to trim the score to 3-1 with 5:35 left in the middle period.
“Ports’ made a great pass shortly after I just got on the ice,” Dougherty explained when describing his goal. “I honestly just shot the puck and Tage had a good screen in front of their goaltender and the puck hit something and went into the net.”
WATCH: WILL BORGEN POST-GAME
As the Amerks were hoping to chip away at the deficit in the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Crunch extended their lead as they plotted three goals in a span of 7:23 and claimed a 6-1 win.
Syracuse, which capitalized on a pair of turnovers in the first period, took a 2-0 lead into the break.
WATCH: ZACH REDMOND POST-GAME
“I thought we had some really good scoring opportunities in the first,” Amekrs head coach Chris Taylor said. “But all of a sudden we made a mistake and did not get the puck deep and it was in the back of our net. We responded and had a few other chances, but then again we made another mistake and they’re a team who lives off transition.”
WATCH: CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME
“We fed into their transition tonight,” Taylor added. “We have to learn simplify and get pucks behind them.”
Following tonight’s matchup, the Amerks and Crunch will wrap up the weekend set on Saturday, April 6 as the series shifts to the War Memorial Arena for a 7:00 p.m. showdown in Syracuse. The North Division contest will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Dougherty (2)
SYR: Volkov (21), Dumont (14), Foote (10), Verhaeghe (31), Brassart (3), Katchouk (11)
ROC: Wedgewood – 19/25 (L)
SYR: Tolvanen – 29/30 (W)
ROC: PP (0/6) | PK (3/3)
SYR: PP (0/3) | PK (6/6)
1. Alexander Volkov (SYR)
2. Atte Tolvanen (SYR)
3. Gabriel Dumont (SYR)