Americans Power Past Crunch, 5-3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler was happy with the effort, but not the result.

The Crunch allowed a pair of power play goals and empty-netters, as they fell to the Rochester Americans, 5-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"I thought our guys played well tonight," Zettler said. "I thought they competed hard, I thought they played well and I thought they deserved a better fate."

Syracuse's Vlad Namestnikov opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal a little more than five minutes into the second, but the Crunch didn't stay ahead long.

Johan Larsson netted the equalizer midway through the frame and Luke Adam's power play goal put the Americans ahead one minute later.

Cedric Paquette scored his 15th goal of the season on a feed from Jon DiSalvatore to tie things up less than two minutes into the third, but Larsson scored his second of the night with the man-advantage a little more than three minutes later.

"As a defenseman, we're supposed to have the back door," said Crunch defenseman Luke Witkowski of the Americans' second power play tally. "It kind of got by us on that one."

Phil Varone scored the first Rochester empty-netter, and after Evan Rankin's 6-on-4 tally brought Syracuse back to within one in the final minute, Mike Zingomanis provided another empty-netter for the Americans.

Cedrick Desjardins stopped 16 out of 19 shots in the loss, while Nathan Lieuwen made 28 saves at the other end.

Brett Connolly finished with a pair of assists, while Paquette and Jordan Henry each had one.

"A lot of guys thought we played well tonight," Witkowski said. "Things just didn't go our way. There's nothing we can do about it right now, we have to go play Bingo tomorrow."

After dropping two-straight to Rochester, Syracuse (22-26-4-5) looks to salvage the weekend when it hosts Binghamton Sunday.

"The focus is on the two points tomorrow," Paquette said. "We need two points every game and we're going to battle hard tomorrow."

Pictured: Crunch forward Vlad Namestnikov scores a shorthanded goal against Americans netminder Nathan Lieuwen at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.