Rochester goalie Devon Levi freezes the puck in front of Syracuse’s Gabriel Fortier on Sunday afternoon. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Faceoffs, tips doom Rochester in loss; Devon Levi shines for Amerks

ROCHESTER – On the bench in overtime, coach Seth Appert heard it. Center Tyson Kozak touched the puck, seemingly negating an icing call against the Americans.

Instead, the officials let the icing stand, sending the faceoff into the Rochester zone.

“It’s a terrible call,” Appert said following Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Syracuse Crunch in Game 2 of the AHL North Division semifinal. “Clear as day, and Kozak is honest as the day is long.”

Still, no problem, right? Just win the faceoff and grab possession.

Well, the Amerks struggled all afternoon in the dot, helping the Crunch even the best-of-five Calder Cup Playoffs series at one game each.

Syracuse’s Gabriel Fortier won the draw and seconds later, he tipped Declan Carlile’s shot past Amerks goalie Devon Levi 10:56 into the extra session.

In erasing a 2-0 deficit and roaring back to down the Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate, the Crunch scored three times by tipping the puck in after winning a faceoff.

That the winner came after a call Appert believes the officials blew can’t be used as an excuse.

“It’s not why we lost,” Appert said. “We got to defend. … Centers need to do a better job. Our D need to do a better job doing that. So we have to do a better job of that. We can’t give up three faceoff goals. I mean, that’s most of their offense there.”

Still, Appert wishes the officials at least gathered to discuss the icing.

“It’s a big call to have four guys not want to get together and confer, to decide whether it’s not right call or not,” he said.

Similar goals helped the Crunch get back in the contest. Amerks center Mason Jobst lost a faceoff before Jordy Bellerive tipped Philippe Myers’ shot past Levi 19:13 into the second period.

“I take a lot pride in trying to win those, especially at critical times, last minute,” said Jobst, who tied the game at 3 16:06 into the third period. “Yeah, it was a momentum-shifter. You never want to give up a goal in the last minute.”

Gage Goncalves tied the game at 2 after the Crunch won a faceoff and he tipped Myers’ shot past Levi.

“I saw two out of three deflections,” said Levi, who made 30 saves. “… I think that was part of their game plan, just shoot pucks to the net and try to get something on it to try and create some chaos.”

After seizing the momentum, Sean Day put the Crunch up at 9:03, its third goal in a span of 10:20.

Jobst knotted the game from his knee in the left circle, igniting the noisy crowd of 7,728 fans in Blue Cross Arena.

Levi’s work after the Crunch grabbed the lead helped the Amerks tie it. The Sabres’ top goaltending prospect made several key stops to keep it close.

“He’s rock solid back there,” Jobst said. “Like, when you have a goalie, when he’s that good, like, it just gives you so much belief that you’re in every game, you can win every game. And he’s critical to our success, and we have so much belief in him. He was great again tonight.”

The Amerks took an early lead again, getting a power-play goal from captain Michael Mersch 10:40 into the contest.

Winger Linus Weissbach made it 2-0 13:00 into the second, scoring one second after an Amerks penalty expired. The Amerks also blew a 2-0 lead Friday before winning 3-2.

Game 3 is Thursday in Syracuse.

One thought on “Faceoffs, tips doom Rochester in loss; Devon Levi shines for Amerks”

  1. Thought officiating was horrible crunch got away with slashing and interference all night

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