Crunch Fall in Overtime to Amerks, 2-1

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch could have blamed it on bad luck.

In a game filled with shots ringing off the posts and pucks sliding through the Rochester Americans' crease, the Crunch could have made plenty of excuses after the 2-1 overtime loss Saturday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

"There's a few posts and a few shots that popped up on us or whatever, but the bottom line is we didn't bear down when we had the chance," said Crunch forward Tyler Johnson. "They did."

Syracuse, which had its eight-game win streak snapped with a 3-1 loss to Albany Friday, have now lost two straight. The Crunch still lead the Eastern Conference and are tied for the league lead with 75 points in 56 games.

Rochester took the early lead Saturday, with Mark Mancari scoring from the point on a power play midway through the first.

Syracuse, despite outshooting Rochester 18-12 throughout the first two periods, couldn't find an answer until the start of the third.

With 1:45 of 5-on-3 power play time to start the third, the pressure was on to find the equalizer.

With more room on the ice, Ondrej Palat's shot beat Americans goalie David Leggio 1:28 into the frame. Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas were each credited with an assist on Palat's 11th of the season.

"We didn't have much else, so I just tried to shoot it low glove," Palat said.

"When you have a 5-on-3, you should score…We had a lot of opportunity there," Johnson said. "Thankfully, we did (convert). That was a little later than what we wanted, but I thought we got the momentum going for the third period. We just couldn't capitalize later."

The Crunch swarmed the Americans net, and even with a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, couldn't bury the winning goal.

Instead, it was Rochester that capitalized on an overtime power play, with Brayden McNabb netting the winner with less than 10 seconds remaining in the extra frame.

While Crunch goalie Riku Helenius finished with 24 saves, Leggio had 35.

After the game, Syracuse (34-15-3-4) jumped on the bus to Hershey to finish out its three-game weekend Sunday. With one point over their last two contests, the game has taken on a new meaning.

"Obviously, we need the win," Johnson said. "That's the bottom line, we need that. We're not really happy with what came about the past two games, so it's good that we get right back at it. We just have to give a better effort."

Pictured: Crunch forward Ondrej Palat guards the puck against the Americans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.