Home Minors Amerks Season Ends With Playoff Loss to Syracuse

Amerks Season Ends With Playoff Loss to Syracuse

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BY WARREN KOZIRESKI —

ROCHESTER, NY — Cole Koepke scored twice and Felix Robert had a three-point game as Syracuse never trailed in a 5-2 victory in the fifth and deciding game of their best-of-five North Division semi-final series with Rochester. The Crunch will face Cleveland in the division finals.

“I thought we gave ourselves a chance this week (rebounding from seeing a 3-0 third period lead disappear in game four in overtime); the guys were really dedicated to the process and being ready for the game and I think we were,” Syracuse head coach Joel Bouchard said.

“We talked about it, we looked at it and the guys reset and came on the road with a really good performance.”

Syracuse jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the first ten minutes on tallies by defenseman Max Crozier and Koepke, but Rochester  closed to gap to 2-1 as Jeremy Davies redirected a p[ass from defense partner Joeseph Cecconi (Youngstown) into the net at 17:33.

The Crunch regained their two-goal advantage at 8:35 of the second as rookie Walterri Merela scored, but Rochester again responded on the power play as Michael Mersch redirected a pass from Jurio Kulich into the net.

In the third Syracuse closed out the series with a pair of goals over the final 5:10 of the game by Koepke and an empty-netter from Robert to advance.

Rochester closes out their season after a strong finish to the regular season that enabled them to secure second place in the division, but now a premature finish after advancing to the Conference Finals last season.

Rochester goaltender Devon Levi made 15 saves on 19 shots in the contest but appreciated his first chance at professional playoff hockey.

“It’s been great (and) I’ve learned so much about myself, my teammates and my game, being a pro” Levi said. “It was a pleasure being herewith all my heart.

“This year has been a lot of chaos and my time in Rochester has been amazing…kind of a little bit calm to the storm. It’s hard that it’s gone.”

The Syracuse-Cleveland best-of-five series begins with games one and two in Cleveland starting Thu. May 16th with games three and four (if needed) in Syracuse Wed. May 22 and Fri. May 24.

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