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.