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 Rochester Americans

Amerk Even Series In Overtime Thriller Against Crunch

May 4, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release


(Syracuse, NY ) - Facing elimination and a three-goal deficit entering the third period, the Rochester Americans (2-2) rattled off three goals before Brett Murray completed an improbable season-saving comeback with 11:46 gone in overtime to cap a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Syracuse Crunch (2-2) in Game 4 of the North Division Semifinals Saturday at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Rochester forces the best-of-five series (2-2) to a decisive Game 5 for the second straight year as it shifts back to The Blue Cross Arena for a winner-take-all matchup on Friday, May 10.

The overtime contest was the third straight and fourth in the last five games against Syracuse dating back to Game 5 of last year's North Division semifinal series, with all five being one-goal decisions. The last time Rochester appeared in three consecutive playoff games decided beyond regulation in the same series was in 1983 in the Conference Finals against New Haven before going on to win the Calder Cup later that spring.

Brandon Biro (2+1), who ignited the third-period rally just 19 seconds into the final frame before delivering the game-tying goal with 5:12 remaining in regulation, and Lukas Rousek each totaled three points for the Amerks, who improved to 5-1 mark in their last six contests when facing elimination, which includes a 4-0 record against the Crunch dating back to the start of the 2023 postseason.

Joseph Cecconi (1+1) notched a multi-point effort in the third period before Murray capped the overtime victory midway through extra frame. Nikita Novikov and Mason Jobst recorded a point on Murray's game-winning tally while Jeremy Davies had the secondary helper on Biro's second of the night.

Levi (2-2) made his fourth appearance of the playoffs, stopping 41 of the 44 shots he faced. The rookie netminder, who faced double digits in shots in each period during regulation, has made 166 saves in nearly 300 minutes (293) so far in the series, including 101 in the two games in Syracuse.

Gage Goncalves (0+2) registered two assists for Syracuse while Alex Barré-Boulet, Cole Koepke, and Waltteri Merelä all scored in regulation. Goaltender Brandon Halverson (2-2) took the loss despite matching a career-high with 43 saves.

Trailing 3-0 to start the third period, Davies provided an outlet-pass to Rousek from the left of his netminder. The speedy forward darted down the left wing and fired a shot that caromed wide of the Crunch net. Cecconi corralled the loose puck and quickly centered it to Biro to steer in-behind Halverson to plot the Amerks first goal of the frame just 19 seconds into the frame.

Just over 10 minutes later, the trio combined on Rochester's second of the stanza, nearly duplicating the effort on the first goal.

Immediately following a face-off win by Biro to the left of Halverson, Rousek tucked into the corner before threading a perfect pass to Cecconi at the back-post with 9:40 left to play in regulation.

The Amerks continued their run as Biro was left all alone atop Syracuse's goal crease and tucked in his second of the night to ultimately send the game to overtime. Rousek provided the primary helper as he was given the puck from Davies in the left face-off dot.

After the intermission break, the two teams traded chances in the first half of the extra frame, but after the Crunch nearly won the series on giveaway deep inside Rochester's zone, the visitors sealed the win on the ensuing shift.

Novikov, who carried the puck from the defensive zone through the neutral zone, gave a pass to Murray along the right wing. Murray, who missed the first three games of the series, handed the puck to Jobst, and made his way towards the crease. After Tyson Kozak and Mesta exchanged passes, Jobst fired a shot on net and Murray flipped the rebound into the back of the net for his second career playoff overtime goal.

Syracuse jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a goal in the first four minutes of the first period and a pair of tallies in the opening half of the second stanza, however, Rochester erased the deficit before winning the game in overtime.

The Amerks look to advance to the North Division Finals for the third straight year and eliminate the Crunch for the second straight postseason as the series shifts back to Rochester for a decisive Game 5 on Friday, May 10 at 7:05 p.m. All the action from The Blue Cross Arena will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.

Stars and Stripes:

Rochester has outscored Syracuse 11-5 in the final 20 minutes of play when facing elimination in the last four postseason games dating back to the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs ... Of Brett Murray 's eight career postseason tallies, three have been game-winning goals, two of which have come in overtime ... Lukas Rousek matched a personal-best with three assists while Brandon Biro (2+1) produced career-highs in both goals and points in the playoffs.

Goal Scorers

ROC: B. Biro (1, 2), J. Cecconi (1), B. Murray (1 - OT GWG)

SYR: C. Koepke (1), W. Merelä (2), A. Barré-Boulet (2)

Goaltenders

ROC: D. Levi - 41/43 (W)

SYR: B. Halverson - 43/47 (L)

Shots

ROC: 47

SYR: 44

Special Teams

ROC: PP (0/3) | PK (1/2)

SYR: PP (1/2) | PK (3/3)

Three Stars

1. ROC - B. Murray

2. SYR - G. Goncalves

3. ROC - B. Biro


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