Crunch Lose To Amerks, 4-1

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite a change in the cast of characters, it seemed like the Syracuse Crunch were primed to pull off the same drama Saturday.

A night after overcoming a two-goal deficit to beat the Norfolk Admirals in the shootout, the Crunch again found themselves down by a pair of goals to the Rochester Americans.

With Syracuse pouring on the pressure, Brett Connolly knocked a rebound past Rochester goalie David Leggio less than seven minutes into the third period to cut the deficit to one.

But unlike the night before, a comeback wasn't in the script. The Americans answered with a pair of goals in the following 10 minutes, topping the Crunch 4-1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Syracuse (24-8-2-3), which paces the American Hockey League with 53 points.

"That third one really hurt," Connolly said. "We were right there for a bit."

"We always believe we're in a game, no matter what the score, what the period, what the time on the clock," Crunch forward JT Wyman said. "We were in that game all the way, and we were surging too - a lot of opportunities. Sometimes you get the bounces, sometimes you don't. That's the name of the game."

With a handful of players recalled in preparation for NHL training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Syracuse gave up a pair of power play goals on nine Rochester attempts.

In all, both teams combined for more than 90 penalty minutes, including four fighting majors, a pair of misconducts, and Crunch forward Richard Panik being thrown out in the second period for a hit on Americans forward Zemgus Girgensons. The Sabres first-rounder did not return to the game.

"We worked hard, but we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit," Connolly said. "We took too many penalties, but we didn't play too bad. It's just one of those nights. We need to stay out of the box."

For Wyman, the call-ups weren't an excuse for the loss.

"I think we had a lineup that could have won the game tonight," he said. "We worked hard, had a few breakdowns, took too many penalties. You can't fault the team, I thought we played a hard game, we just didn't get the job done."

With more players expected to be recalled after the game, each player was anxious to learn whether they would get a chance.

"Guys are just taking it one minute at a time tonight," Wyman said.

"We'll finally know what's going on and what they want," Connolly said. "We're all anxious to find out the news and everyone will find out what's going on tonight."

After the game, multiple news organizations reported Mark Barberio, Radko Gudas, Tyler Johnson, and Wyman would be in Tampa Bay for training camp.

"We're on a little bit of a run here," Connolly said before finding out he is not going to Tampa Bay's camp. "For myself, I'm proud of every guy in there. We didn't have a lot of bodies and there's a lot of guys who got a lot of ice time."

Pictured: Crunch forward JT Wyman battles for the puck in front of the Americans net at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.