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CRUNCH DEFEAT AMERKS, 5-2, TO ADVANCE TO NORTH DIVISION FINALS

Credit: Syracuse Crunch

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Rochester Americans, 5-2, in the winner-take-all Game 5 to advance to the North Division Finals.

The Crunch will move on to face the Cleveland Monsters.

Crunch goaltender Brandon Halverson earned the win stopping 16-of-18 shots. Devon Levi turned aside 15-of-19 in net for the Amerks. Syracuse was held scoreless on three power play opportunities, while Rochester went 1-of-3.

The Crunch scored two goals in the first period before the Amerks even registered a shot on goal. The first came just 2:28 into the game when Declan Carlile fired in a long shot from the point. Six minutes later, Emil Lilleberg set Cole Koepke up for a shot from the right circle through traffic to double the lead. Rochester stole one back late in the frame to make it a one-goal game. Joseph Cecconi threw a cross-zone feed to Jeremy Davies for a quick redirection on the back door.

Syracuse added another one halfway through the middle frame to go up, 3-1. Félix Robert skated the puck down the left wing on an odd-man rush and sent the puck across the slot for Waltteri Merelä to chip in. Two minutes later, Rochester responded with a power-play goal. Jiri Kulich threw the puck towards the net for Michael Mersch to score.

The Crunch scored again on another odd-man rush late in the third period to build on their lead. Alex Barré-Boulet skated the puck down the left wing and sent a last-minute feed across the slot for Koepke to chip in for his second of the night. Robert then potted one into the empty net to secure a Crunch win and send the team to the North Division Finals.

Single-game tickets and ticket packages for the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Crunch office located inside the Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse, by calling the office at 315-473-4444 or online through Ticketmaster. For the latest Crunch news, visit www.syracusecrunch.com or follow the club on Facebook (www.facebook.com/syracusecrunch), Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch).

Crunchables: Niko Huuhtanen made his AHL debut tonight…Waltteri Merelä is on a three-game goal-scoring streak.

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