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Crunch drops pre-season opener

Defenseman Mark Flood, who also saw limited action for the Crunch last season, scored the game's first goal with a slapshot that deflected past Amerks' netminder Adam Dennis halfway through the second period. Assisting on the play were Trevor Hendrikx and Brent Walton.

Walton, a winger who played collegiate hockey last season at Western Michigan, played a solid game and could see some time with the Crunch in the event that injuries sideline regular players. Awarded a penalty shot late in the second period after being hauled down on a breakaway, Walton put the puck into Dennis' leg pads.

Hendrikx, Columbus' seventh-round draft pick in 2005, drew a stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second period while the Crunch was on a two-man advantage. Syracuse failed to score on the opportunity.

Center Paul Kelly played well, assisting on the Crunch's second score, by A.J. MacLean at 7:32 of the third period. Kelly split last season with Dayton and Augusta in the East Coast Hockey League.

Two former area collegians, Jeff Genovy (Clarkson) and Brad Farynuk (R.P.I.) saw ice time for the Crunch. Both are considered longshots to spend much time in Syracuse during the coming campaign, but either or both could catch on in Dayton.

Prospect Olivier Labelle, who racked up 100 points last season in the Quebec junior league, showed some good speed and a couple of aggressive hits but little else. His lack of maturity shone brightly when he decided to pick a fight with Rochester's Mike Card during a Crunch power play late in the first period. For his troubles, Labelle received a two-minute instigator penalty, a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct.

Not the way to make this team, Ollie. The Crunch will again feature one of the AHL's top pugilists in Brandon Sugden who, despite injuries last season, still had trouble lining up boxing opponents on the ice. Labelle signed an AHL contract with Syracuse, but if he wants playing time he'll have to earn it with goals and assists, not fights.

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