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Syracuse Crunch survive double overtime, take series lead on Merela winner

SYRACUSE – For the second consecutive game the Syracuse Crunch required overtime in their divisional round series against Rochester.

And for the second consecutive game, the Crunch emerged with a victory.

Waltteri Merela converted a breakaway at the 10:18 mark of the second OT to give Syracuse a 2-1 victory against the Americans. The Crunch now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

Syracuse will have the chance to win the series at home on Saturday in Game 4.

Rochester goaltender Devon Levi stopped 60-of-62 shots he faced as the Crunch outshot the Americans 25-10 in overtime.

Alex Barre-Boulet scored his first of the postseason while Brandon Halverson finished with 33 saves, including a stop on a 2-on-0 chance for Rochester in the first overtime.

After a scoreless first period in which Syracuse outshot Rochester 21-8, Barre-Boulet put the Crunch in front at 11:10 of the second period. Barre-Boulet cut down the left wing side and had a step on the defender headed toward the net. Declan Carlile delivered a precise pass into Barre-Boulet’s path where he got his blade on the puck and lifted up and over Levi.

Rochester tied the game up in the final minute of the period when Isak Rosen was awarded a penalty shot and converted with 55 seconds left in the second.

Syracuse dominated the first overtime, fueled by a power play chance on a delay of game penalty at 14:09. But after the Crunch failed to capitalize, Rochester had a chance to steal the game. Just as the penalty expired, the Americans had a breakaway opportunity that turned into a 2-on-0 break as Mason Jobst exited the penalty box.

But goaltender Brandon Halverson got his left pad on the shot attempt to keep the game tied.

Merela then won the game midway through the second overtime as Gage Goncalves collected a puck just inside the Syracuse blue line and found Merrela up ice. Merrela made a quick deke, held the puck and the lifted it past Levi.

Postgame locker room celebration below:

Full game highlights below

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