After a fairly dismal effort on Friday night, the Syracuse Crunch came out on Saturday looking like a totally different team. The Rochester Americans came in to town looking to creep their way up the weak north division standings. Behind a stellar offensive outburst and solid goaltending from Crunch starting net-minder Kristers Gudlevskis, the home team would down the Amerks in front of a sold out crowd.
Syracuse opened the first period scoring just over two minutes into the contest. After an abysmal showing by the Crunch power play just 24 hours earlier, redemption came in impressive fashion. After a silky display of puck movement, Matt Taormina sailed a puck in the direction of Yanni Gourde who went down to one knee and swatted the biscuit past a diving Linus Ullmark. The tally marked Gourde’s team-leading 17th of the year. The helpers came from fellow 2017 all-stars Matt Taormina and Cory Conacher.
A little over a minute later the Crunch would extend their lead to an early two goal advantage. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond shielded the puck as he made an impressive power move to the front of the Amerks’ cage. PL3 was able to get off a quick back-hand shot that popped high in the air and landed in the blue paint where Cam Darcy was waiting to tap it in.
Rochester would join the scoring fun not long after when Nick Baptiste flicked a soft wrist-shot past the blocker of Gudlevskis to cut the Crunch lead to one goal.
The baby bolts also got off to a quick start in the middle stanza. Adam Erne, who returned to the lineup after being sidelined with a broken left foot, wasted little time finding his way back into the scoring column. Erne was able to gather a lose puck to the left of Ullmark and tap it past the all-star goalie to reclaim a two goal lead. The goal was Erne’s first in a Crunch uniform since scoring twice against Hartford on December 21st.
Amerks defenseman Brady Austin would tack on the only other Rochester goal of the evening late in the second period.
Syracuse would add another goal from Erne and a marker from Conacher in the third period to seal the deal and send the Syracuse faithful home happy. Gudlevskis picked up his first win since a shootout victory over the Comets on January 28th.