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Amerks "Crunch" Syracuse 5-2

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Forward Eric Selleck looks for the puck against the Syracuse Crunch.

(Rochester, NY)… Despite being outshot 45-19, the Rochester Americans “crunched” the Syracuse Crunch tonight in a 5-2 final decision at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks maintained the lead throughout the contest, with goaltender Jacob Markstrom finishing strong posting 43 saves. With the win, Rochester advances to 15-15-2-1 overall, and are now 6-11-1-1 on home ice. Syracuse falls to a 11-16-1-3 record with the loss.

Leading the Amerks tonight was Scott Timmins (1+1), who registered a goal and an assist. A.J. Jenks (0+2) also had a multiple-point game with his two helpers and finished the evening with a plus-three on-ice rating. Jeff LoVecchio (1+0), Kenndal McArdle (1+0), Mike Caruso (1+0), and Michal Repik (1+0) also scored for Rochester. Despite Syracuse nearly doubling his club in shots, Markstrom saved 43 of 45 shots en route to his 11th win of the season and the game’s first star honors.

Patrick Maroon and Josh Green led the Crunch tonight, each tallying one goal apiece. In the losing effort, Syracuse netminder J.P. Levasseur saved 13 of 17 shots.

The Amerks got on the board first midway through the opening period with a goal by LoVecchio. After Jenks dished him the puck, LoVecchio wrapped around the Syracuse net and snuck it short side past Levasseur. The tally was LoVecchio’s third of the year. Jenks and Joe Callahan (0+1) also earned helpers on the play.

With minutes remaining in the first, Markstrom made two fantastic stops on two Syracuse breakaways within 30 seconds of each other. First, Nicolas Deschamps was stopped, and right after Maroon made his attempt only to be denied by the Rochester netminder.

Rochester then got a breakaway of its own when Timmins gave the Amerks a two-goal advantage with only about 28 seconds remaining in the first. After the Crunch turned over the puck on their power-play, Timmins shot up the ice and wristed the shorthanded goal for his seventh of the season.

The Crunch put their first goal on the board at 4:26 of the second period on the man advantage. Stefan Chaput (0+1) grabbed the puck at the blueline in Syracuse’s zone and passed it to Maroon, who capitalized on the play in front of the net. Mark Mitera (0+1) also assisted on the power-play goal.

After two back-to-back brawls and a Crunch penalty, the Amerks kept the momentum going by answering back on the power-play at 9:12 of the second stanza. McArdle took the initial shot from the point, which then hit a Syracuse defenseman’s skate. The puck then bounced up and over Levasseur to put Rochester back up by two. The goal was McArdle’s eighth of the season, while Mike Kostka (0+1) and Chris Taylor (0+1) picked up assists.

Caruso finished out the second period by adding his fourth goal of the season with only seconds remaining. Timmins passed the puck behind the net to Caruso, who then skated to the left of the net and snuck the puck past Levasseur’s leg. With the goal, Timmins and Jenks both added their second points of the night.

As the Amerks continued to add points to the board in the period, scoring on four of 14 attempts, Markstrom continued to be solid, only allowing one of Syracuse’s 30 shots past him in 40 minutes of play.

The Crunch came within two just seven seconds into the final stanza. After winger Dan Sexton (0+1) came into Rochester territory with the puck, Caruso poke-checked it right to the stick of Green. Green then put it past Markstrom for his sixth of the year.

But Rochester wasn’t finished yet. As the Crunch gained an extra attacker in an attempt to bring the score back within one, Repik picked up the puck and fired it right into the wide open Syracuse net for his 10th of the season. With the Crunch down by three and unable to respond, the contest resulted in a 5-2 Amerks home victory.

The Amerks hit the road on Wednesday, December 29th as they take on the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena in the heart of downtown Cleveland. The 7:00 p.m. bout will be the first of eight meetings between the North Division rivals this season and will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester’s Sports Talk.
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