In just the 12th Game 7 ever to go into overtime, Norm Milley scored at 17:53 of overtime to give Rochester a 4-3 win in Syracuse, propelling the Amerks into the North Division final.
Rochester is the 12th team in AHL history to win a series after trailing three games to one.
Milley scored off a Jason Botterill assist just moments after the Crunch missed a golden opportunity at the other end of the ice. The Amerks wound up with a 16-5 edge in shots during the overtime period.
The Amerks never trailed in Game 7, but saw three separate one-goal leads disappear during regulation. Botterill, Domenic Pittis and Jason Pominville finished with a goal and an assist each, and Ryan Miller made 33 saves after sitting out Games 5 and 6.
Brad Moran had a goal and an assist for Syracuse, and Karl Goehring made 42 stops in defeat.
With the Amerks’ triumph, all four third-place teams have pulled off upsets in the first round of the Calder Cup 2004 Playoffs. Rochester will face either Hamilton or Cleveland in the next round.
MILWAUKEE 5, CINCINNATI 1
Milwaukee finished off the pesky Mighty Ducks with a 5-1 win in Game 7 on Saturday.
Simon Gamache recorded two goals and an assist for his second straight three-point effort, as the Admirals came back from series deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 to advance to the West Division final against Chicago.
Greg Classen opened the scoring with his first point of the series 2:25 into the game, and Greg Zanon made it 2-0 late in the first period.
The Ducks pulled to within 3-1 midway through the second, but Mathieu Darche answered 22 seconds later to restore the three-goal cushion for Milwaukee.
Wade Flaherty made 25 saves for the Admirals.
PHILADELPHIA 3, NORFOLK 2
Philadelphia wrapped up its series with a 3-2 win over Norfolk in Game 6 on Saturday night, advancing to face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the East Division final.
John Slaney and Peter White scored in the first period and 19-year-old Jeff Carter potted his first professional goal to make it 3-0 in favor of the Phantoms.
Rookies Matt Keith and Carsen Germyn scored 1:47 apart to pull the Admirals to within a goal late in the second period, but Antero Niittymaki shut the door the rest of the way, making 11 of his 27 saves in the third period.
Norfolk scored nine goals, an all-time AHL low for a six-game playoff series. The 21 combined goals were also a six-game series record.
HARTFORD 3, WORCESTER 0
Jason LaBarbera made 20 saves for his third shutout of the postseason and 16th overall in 2003-04, leading Hartford to a 3-0 win over Worcester and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Atlantic Division final series.
Chad Wiseman provided all the offense the Wolf Pack would need during a 5-on-3 advantage early in the second period. It was the first power play goal scored by Hartford in 10 games against the IceCats this season.
Ryan Cuthbert scored his first AHL goal 27 seconds into the third, and Ken Gernander added an empty-netter, his 24th career Calder Cup Playoff goal.