(Rochester, NY) … The Rochester Americans (8-3-1-2) scored three goals in the first period and held off a late push from the Syracuse Crunch (7-5-2-0) to come away with a 4-3 win over their intrastate rivals Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The win was Rochester’s third straight over the Crunch this season, sending the Amerks into the weekend in a three-way tie atop the AHL’s North Division standings with Toronto and Laval.
Rochester has now earned 19 out of a possible 28 points through its first 14 games of the campaign and has picked up points in nine of the last 11 contests overall, going 6-2-1-2 over that span.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Rookie forward Brett Murray tallied his first pro multi-point game as he recorded a pair of assists while Kevin Porter, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Tyler Randell and Eric Cornel all scored for Rochester, which improved to 9-4-1-1 in the last 15 games against Syracuse. Goaltender Jonas Johansson (3-2-2) stopped 28 shots during his eighth appearance of the slate while earning the win.
Forwards Alex Barre-Boulet and Ross Colton both collected two helpers for Syracuse while Taylor Raddysh, Cameron Gaunce and Danick Martel tallied a goal in the defeat. Former Amerk netminder Scott Wedgewood (3-2-1) made 29 saves but was suffered the loss.
During the opening minute of the third period with the contest knotted at 3-3, Rochester drew its first power-play of the night. With the puck at the right point, Jacob Bryson fired a shot towards the cage searching for his pro goal, but Cornel provided a last-second redirection into the top-right corner to give the Amerks a 4-3 lead 1:13 into the frame.
WATCH: BRETT MURRAY POST-GAME
“We have been struggling on special teams as of late, but we have been working hard in practice just trying to get better and better every day,” Murray said. “Tonight, we just tried to get pucks on net and Bryson made a nice shot and Cornel was there for the tip in front.”
Syracuse pressed to find the equalizer, but Johansson and company hung on for the one-goal victory, the third of its kind in the head-to-head matchup this season.
WATCH: SEAN MALONE POST-GAME
Rochester opened the scoring just 74 seconds into the first period as Porter banged in his fourth goal of the slate from Murray and Andrew Oglevie, however Raddysh tied the game 45 seconds later.
Near the midway point of the first period, the Amerks regained the lead as they tacked on a pair of goals 1:50 apart and took a 3-1 advantage into the dressing room as Dea and Randell scored their sixth and first markers of the slate, respectively.
“We had a really good start,” explained Cornel, who has scored in each of his last two games. “We let them back in the game in the second period, but the leaders did a really job sending a message in the dressing room and what we needed to do and we did a job of doing that in the third.”
WATCH: ERIC CORNEL POST-GAME
During Dea’s tally, Casey Nelson earned his sixth point (2+4) over his last four games while Pascal Aquin, who was recalled from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) earlier in the week, earned his first-career AHL point.
Amerks third-year winger Sean Malone earned a secondary helper on Randell’s goal to push his point streak to a career-best seven games, where he shows three goals and four assists.
“Sean has been a really good utility guy,” described interim head coach Gord Dineen when asked about Malone. “I don’t like using that term, but if you look at tonight for example, he began the night on a line with Dalton Smith and Tyler Randell and ended the night on the left side with Rasmus Asplund and Tage Thompson.”
WATCH: GORD DINEEN POST-GAME
Syracuse, which was outshot 15-6 in the first 20 minutes of play, responded in the second period as they netted a pair of goals to knot the game at three before Cornel’s game-winning goal in the third.
“We had an excellent start, much like the last game, but we took our foot off the gas in the second and got away from the good habits that we did in the first,” added Dineen. “It’s a sign of a good team when you can take a breath and regroup after losing some players and come up with a big goal to win the game in the third.”
Rochester closes out its three-game homestand on Friday, Nov. 15 as they host the Cleveland Monsters at The Blue Cross Arena for Military Appreciation Night presented by Veterans Outreach Center. Both teams will wear special Military-themed jerseys and matching socks as a tribute to the U.S Armed Forces. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: K. Porter (4), J. Dea (6), T. Randell (1), E. Cornel (2 – GWG)
SYR: T. Raddysh (2), D. Martel (5), C. Gaunce (1)
ROC: J. Johansson – 28/31 (W)
SYR: S. Wedgewood – 29/33 (L)
ROC: PP (1/2) | PK (3/3)
SYR: PP (0/3) | PK (1/2)
1. E. Cornel (ROC)
2. B. Murray (ROC)
3. A. Barre-Boulet (SYR)