(Syracuse, NY) The Rochester Americans have successfully extended their losing streak to eight games with tonights 5-2 loss against the Syracuse Crunch. Alexandre Picard scored a hat trick to lead the Crunch to victory. This team has not won a game since March 1st when they defeated the Binghamton Senators 3-2. Entering the month of March it appeared as if the Amerks were going to end the season on a high note, instead they’ve spent the month putting together the worst losing streak of the season.
The game started off well though, maybe too well.
Janis Sprukts returned to action tonight after missing the last nine games with a shoulder injury and his prescence was immediately noticed. Sprukts did a great job leading the power play unit and setting up the play that led to the first goal of the game by Randall Gelech at 7:37 of the first period, also assisted by Shawn Matthias.
The best scoring chance of the first period for the Crunch was Nikita Filatov streaking down the left side, wrapped around the net, tried to pass the puck to Craig MacDonald, but Duco was there to trip MacDonald to the ice and took the penalty to stop the scoring chance.
The first period ended with a shoving match in front of the Amerks net with Mike Duco and Alexandre Picard having words all the way to the penalty box. I guess the words were strong enough that the linesmen sent Duco to the locker room instead of finishing the period in the penalty box with 7 seconds left in the period.
The Amerks controlled the pace of the first period by scoring the first goal and limiting any real chances for the Crunch. The second period was a different story when the Amerks spent eight of the 20 minutes in the penalty box.
Janis Sprukts called for a tripping penalty at 7:2o which led to the first goal of the game for the Crunch.
Shawn Matthias tried to clear the puck from the corner but it was held in by Mike York who sent a shot towards the net. Dan Spang was able to get a few good pokes at the puck before Alexandre Picard finally knocked it past Brodeur.
Amerks’ second goal scored on a huge blast from Jason Garrison at the point for his 5th goal of the season. It’s about time we saw that shot used again. Assists to Kenndal McArdle and Randall Gelech (second point of the night).
“We had a strong second period, 2-1 on the road heading into the third period, where we wanted to be,” Randall Gelech commented.
This is when the meltdown happened. This game meant a lot more to the Syracuse Crunch than the Rochester Americans so I’m sure something was said between periods that got them to turn on their A game.
Dan Spang tied the game in the third period off a loose rebound by Brodeur. Derek MacKenzie took a shot from the right side, Brodeur tried to sweep the puck out to the opposite side by unfortunately Spang was waiting and easily scored.
The Crunch took a 3-2 lead off Alexandre Picards second goal of the night, assisted by Nick Holden.
Picard put the nail in the coffin at 14:09 with his third of the game and the hat trick. The goal was unassisted as he went untouched from the blue line, around Gelech, around Ellerby and went stick side beating Brodeur. Picard is fast on the ice, but there’s no excuse for the Amerks to allow him to skate in so easily like that.
Once he got back on the bench Picard must have passed the word as Filatov practically made the same play. Keaton Ellerby seemed to stand around as if he was going to catch a disease if he played the body as he watched Filatov skate around him to the net to score his 12th goal of the season.
Randall Gelech summed up the end of the game by saying, “third period we had a meltdown. Started turning the puck over at there blue line and miscommunication in our zone and next thing you know it’s 5-2. Catchup hockey is losing hockey.”
“It’s not pretty,” is what Tyler Plante said as he was headed to the bus.
Jason Cippola said, “I have nothing to say and I wouldn’t ask (Benoit to talk) tonight.”
The same two teams play again on Sunday night at 6:05pm at Blue Cross Arena.
Riley Emmerson and Jon Mirasty played a combined three minutes at most. If it was more than that neither player was noticed.
With the Amerks hoping to end a seven game losing streak it may have been the game to let Brett Parnham play. Parnham did particpate in pre-game warmups. Parnham will play on Sunday night.
Matt Duffy was sent down to the Florida Everblades to play a couple of games down there and is expected to join the Amerks next week.