The Rochester Americans completed a series comeback and wrapped up their North Division semifinal with a 5-4 overtime win at Syracuse in Game 5 on Saturday night.
The Amerks became just the 12th team in AHL history to win a best-of-five playoff series after losing the first two games. Rochester will meet Toronto in the North Division finals beginning Thursday.
Lawrence Pilut scored his second goal of the night on a power play with 11:35 gone in the extra period, salvaging the win for the Amerks after Syracuse had come back from three goals down to force OT.
Rochester grabbed a 1-0 lead in Game 5 on Tyson Kozak’s goal at 11:08 of the opening period, then broke things open with three goals in a span of 5:13 during the second. Pilut and Jiri Kulich upped the Amerks’ lead to 3-0, and Michael Mersch answered 45 seconds after the Crunch got on the board to make it 4-1.
But Syracuse began to claw back late in the second period, with Simon Ryfors scoring on a 5-on-3 power play with 13.3 seconds left in the middle frame to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Gabriel Dumont — back in the Crunch lineup after serving a two-game league suspension — made it 4-3 with 10:24 to play, and Syracuse tied the game when defenseman Trevor Carrick scored on a wrister from the left circle with 29.9 seconds left in regulation and an extra attacker on.
The Crunch finished with a 20-2 advantage in shots during the third, and outshot the Amerks 40-14 over the final two periods plus OT.
North Division Semifinals (best-of-5)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Rochester Americans
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 21 – SYRACUSE 3, Rochester 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 22 – SYRACUSE 3, Rochester 0 | Recap
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 28 – ROCHESTER 8, Syracuse 5 | Recap
Game 4 – Sun., Apr. 30 – ROCHESTER 4, Syracuse 0 | Recap
Game 5 – Sat., May 6 – Rochester 5, SYRACUSE 4 (OT)