Crunch creep closer to playoff spot

Andrew Penner made 40 saves and Peter Ferraro dished out three assists as Syracuse posted a 3-1 victory over Rochester on Saturday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter.

The win was the third in a row for the Crunch, and prevented the Americans from becoming the first team to clinch a berth in the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs. Syracuse is now just one point behind fourth-place Edmonton in the North Division.

Jiri Novotny gave Rochester the lead midway through the second period, but Penner shut the door from there, making 32 of his 40 saves over the final 40 minutes of play.

Rookie Greg Mauldin tied the game 18 seconds before intermission, and Prestin Ryan put the Crunch ahead to stay at the 7:38 mark of the third.

Nathan Robinson, acquired earlier in the week from Grand Rapids, scored his first goal in a Syracuse uniform to provide the final margin.

Tom Askey got the call for the Amerks and made 28 saves, but suffered his first loss in 11 decisions (9-0-1) since Oct. 26.

Elsewhere on Saturday:
Mikael Tellqvist made 30 saves and was a perfect 4-for-4 in the shootout as St. John’s got past Edmonton, 3-2… Peter Sejna scored three consecutive goals in the third period to lift Worcester over Providence, 5-2, and give the IceCats a six-point lead over the fifth-place Bruins in the Atlantic… Antoine Vermette‘s natural hat trick lifted Binghamton past Albany, 5-3, and kept the Senators in first place in the East… Rene Bourque‘s second goal of the night gave Norfolk a 3-2 overtime win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Dave Steckel and Mike Cammalleri each scored twice for Manchester in a 6-3 win over Springfield, moving the Monarchs back into a tie for first in the Atlantic… Brian Willsie had two goals in Portland’s 3-2 win over Philadelphia… Bridgeport coughed up a two-goal lead in the final 3:24 of regulation, but Justin Mapletoft‘s goal gave the Sound Tigers a 3-2 overtime win over Hershey… Mike Zigomanis recorded a goal and an assist for Lowell in a 3-1 win at Hartford… Matt Ellis scored two shorthanded goals to help Grand Rapids to a 4-1 victory over Hamilton… Greg Hawgood had the only goal in Chicago’s 1-0 win over Manitoba… Milwaukee stayed two points up on the Wolves in the West as Brad Tiley scored shorthanded with 3:46 left in regulation and the Admirals went on to a 4-3 shootout win over Cleveland… Mikko Koivu celebrated his 22nd birthday with two goals and an assist in Houston’s 8-0 rout of San Antonio… David LeNeveu made 35 saves and Utah scored on all four of its shootout attempts to escape with a 2-1 win over Cincinnati.