Buffalo Sabres Prospects: An old face saves the Amerks in Syracuse

SYRACUSE, NY - APRIL 21: Lawrence Pilut #20 of Rochester Americans moves the puck during the first period against the Syracuse Crunch at Upstate Medical University Arena on April 21, 2023 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE, NY - APRIL 21: Lawrence Pilut #20 of Rochester Americans moves the puck during the first period against the Syracuse Crunch at Upstate Medical University Arena on April 21, 2023 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images) /
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When Lawrence Pilut returned to the Buffalo Sabres organization, he probably had no idea he would play more than a pivotal role in Rochester. 

When Lawrence Pilut returned to the Buffalo Sabres last summer, we knew there would probably be no room for him in the lineup. At the time, Casey Fitzgerald and Jacob Bryson looked like they would at least become serviceable players in the defensive rotation, so Pilut was likely the first odd man out.

And while he saw more than a few games in a Sabres uniform this past season, Kale Clague became the top preference and passed Pilut in the lineup. Clague eventually found himself neck and neck with Bryson, the latter of whom the Blue and Gold refused to give up on. And that left Pilut toiling in Rochester.

A familiar face in the Buffalo Sabres organization saves the Amerks

Long story short, the Amerks were enjoying a 4-1 lead when things started to unravel. Toward the end of the second frame, they found themselves trying to kill off a 5-on-3 power play, and predictably, it didn’t happen.

Roughly midway through the third, the Syracuse Crunch scored again, making it 4-3. And finally, in the game’s final minute, the Crunch, with the net empty, surrounded goaltender Malcolm Subban, and the Amerks lost track of the three Crunch players in front of the net, which led to yet another, and an eventual trip into overtime.

And this is when Pilut again stole the show. He already scored once earlier on one of the more bizarre goals you will ever see. I would describe it here, but I think the film will do more justice.

Throughout overtime, the two teams continued to send the puck into their respective offensive zones, yet no one managed to gain the ultimate upper hand. Then Crunch defenseman Jack Thompson committed an ill-timed delay of game penalty for Syracuse, but a well-timed one for the Amerks.

Rochester took control of the puck from behind the net, where Michael Mersch initially looked like he was going to try and sneak one by Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt, but at the last second, he found Isak Rosen, who immediately saw a wide open Pilut creeping up between the circles. Pilut did the rest, and the Amerks will move on to face the Toronto Marlies in the North Division Finals.

Sure, the Amerks gave us a scare, but we all saw just how relentless this team is. They were down two games to nothing, and were even shutout in Game 2. Then the tide turned when the series made its way back to Rochester, and the Amerks managed to complete an unprecedented comeback.

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We’ll see if they can beat Toronto and take the North Division. The fun begins on Thursday, May 11th at 7pm.