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Crunch rally late but fall short against rival Rochester, 4-3

The Crunch erased a two-goal deficit twice but ultimately couldn't solve the Amerks in the shootout.

Crunch goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis made his first start for the Crunch since December 18th against Providence.
Photo by Scott Thomas

The Crunch skated in to the Blue Cross arena in Rochester on Friday night to try and add some cushion to their slight lead in the North Divison. The puck dropped to signal the start of the contest and the Crunch wasted little time before peppering Rochester goaltender Linus Ullmark with shots.

Despite Syracuse's dominant start, the Amerks were able to strike first. The goal came at the 8:06 mark of the opening frame after a defensive-zone turnover ended up coming off of the stick of Kyle Bonis and past Crunch goalie Kristers Gudlevskis.

Just 5 minutes later the Americans cashed in once more on only their third shot of the contest. Crunch blue-liner Adam Comrie misplayed a puck behind his own net and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda was there to collect the lose puck in the trapezoid and jam home a wrap-around bid to put the home team up 2-0.

A little bit of life was injected in to the Crunch bench with three minutes remaining in the period. Crunch catalyst Matt Taormina notched his team leading tenth goal of the season on the power play, with helpers coming from Adam Comrie and Cory Conacher.

That jolt of energy wouldn't last long, however, as penalties near the end of the first period to Crunchers Matthew Brodeur and Gabriel Dumont left the Crunch with a lengthy 5-on-3 penalty kill to begin the middle stanza.

1:08 into the second period Amerks forward Nick Baptiste posted up in the left wing circle and blasted home a one-timer off of a quick pass from Evan Rodrigues. The man-advantage marker extended the Rochester lead back to two and was the only goal of the period.

The Crunch once again had a little bit of life early in the regulation period. Syracuse forward Mike Halmo pick-pocketed an Amerks defender deep in the left corner of the Rochester zone and deked Ullmark silly to bring the Crunch back within one goal.

After a string of penalties left the Americans with a 4-on-3 advantage, the resilient Crunch found a way to knot the score at three. Taormina sprung Eric Condra on a break-away where he was able to beat Ullmark and send the large section of Crunch fans in to a frenzy.

The final moments of the third period as well as the overtime period came and went without any noteworthy action. Syracuse went 0-3 in the skills competition while Rochester's first shooter, captain Cal O'Reilly sniped a shot over the glove of Gudlevskis and in to the twine. That goal would prove to be winner in a 4-3 Crunch loss.

Gudlevskis made 15 saves in the losing effort.

Syracuse (18-9-5) is back in action tonight when they host the St. John's IceCaps (17-14-3-1)