Szczechura Hat Trick Leads Amerks to Comeback Win Over the Crunch

Anything is possible with this Amerks team.  The Amerks came back for the second night in the row to tie a game in the third period, this time they were able to leave the arena with two points and an overtime win.  Paul Szczechura was the hero of the game for the second night in a row as well this time with three goals and an assist.  On Friday night he scored the game tying goal in the third period that carried the game into overtime, unfortunately they lost that one.

Based on how the team continues to play with a few key players out of the lineup it continues to bring up the thought, what’s possible when players return to the lineup?  See yesterday’s post Playing the What if Game.

(Photo by Lauren Long / The Post Standard)

I’ll take this way of thinking at this time of the season compared to a “grumbling fan base” that seems to be going on in Syracuse.

From Crunch reporter Lindsay Kramer:

The uninspired programming that is the Syracuse Crunch’s season has apparently gone into winter re-runs.

To a growingly grumbling fan base, it looks like a sure ratings loser.

Rochester’s Paul Szczechura put the topper on his hat trick with the game-winner with 1 minute, 17 seconds left in overtime to demoralize teetering Syracuse and lift the Amerks to an improbable 5-4 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

It was the second time in a week, spanning three games, that Syracuse had coughed up a two-goal lead in the third. Bridgeport exploited the Crunch in much the same manner on Jan. 28 to win in a shootout.

To read more about the game from him.

Drew MacIntyre got his first win since December 27th.  It was his second consecutive four goal game, both against the Crunch.  It was also the fourth time in five games that MacIntyre has allowed at least four goals against this time picking up a win.

Marcus Foligno has now had at least one assist in the past four games, this time with two assists.  He has six assists in the past four games.

Phil Varone and Travis Turnbull also scored for Rochester, both players with two goals in the past three games.

The Toronto Marlies won as well yesterday keeping their four point lead over the Amerks for the division lead.  The Amerks did move up to a tie for seventh place in the conference with 51 points.  The Amerks are only three points out of sixth and four away from fifth in the conference.  These numbers will continue to jump all over the place but picking up five out of six points on the weekend is a great way to start the month of February.

Toronto and Rochester play next on Wednesday morning at 11am in Toronto.. big game on the line!

Below is the game report from the Amerks:

February 4, 2012


(Syracuse, NY)… A hat-trick and a four-point performance from Paul Szczechura helped the Rochester Americans complete a two-goal third period rally to defeat the Syracuse Crunch 5-4 in overtime at the War Memorial at Oncenter on Saturday night. Szczechura tied the game late in regulation time and capped off his spectacular night with the game-winning goal with 1:07 to go in the extra session, extending his point streak to four games along the way.

The win represented the 100th win in franchise history for the Amerks over the cross-state rival Crunch.

Brayden McNabb and Marcus Foligno, who has also picked up points in four straight games, each contributed two assists, while Phil Varone and Travis Turnbull both chipped in a goal apiece. Goaltender Drew MacIntyre turned away 33 shots to earn his first win since December 27.

Syracuse was led offensively by Patrick Maroon (1+1) and Kyle Palmieri (0+2), each of whom chipped in a pair of points in the loss. Luca Caputi, Josh Brittain, and Peter Holland also lit the lamp for the Crunch and Marco Cousineau finished with 36 saves between the pipes.

The Amerks struck first in the contest for a 1-0 lead, as Szczechura finished off a perfect feed from Foligno. Off a fast break for Rochester, Foligno took the puck wide around the defense and found Szczechura driving to the net for an easy tap in.

The Crunch came back with a pair of goals just 20 seconds apart within the first five minutes of the middle frame. First, Maroon beat MacIntyre on the power-play with a no-look shot from the middle of the slot, followed by Caputi burying a point-blank wrister behind the Rochester netminder.

Syracuse found the back of the net for the third consecutive time at 13:08 of the second period to build a 3-1 lead, as Brittain deposited a rebound for his first of the season.

After Varone blasted a one-timer from the high slot past Cousineau to bring the Amerks back to within a single goal at 13:49, Peter Holland responded for the Crunch to restore their two-goal cushion and make the score 4-2.

Rochester pulled back to within a single goal with a power-play goal at 7:49 of the final period. Turnbull deflected a left-point slapper from Drew Schiestel for his eighth goal of the season and second of the weekend.

Szczechura scored his second of the game with just 4:07 remaining in regulation, beating Cousineau off the rush with a slapper from just inside the Syracuse blueline.

Szczechura then completed the hat-trick 3:53 into overtime, sending a wrister from the left circle to the top corner of the net on a three-on-one rush for his ninth goal of the season.

The Amerks travel north of the border on Wednesday, February 8 for an 11:00 a.m. meeting with the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum.