SYRACUSE With top scorers Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino and defenseman Nate Guenin currently soaking up some California sunshine with the Anaheim Ducks, the Syracuse Crunch lost two games in a row at the Onondaga County War Memorial last weekend.
After falling behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 1-0 late in the first period of Friday’s game, the Crunch played catch-up all weekend. Despite admirable last-minute efforts Syracuse came up one goal short both nights, losing 3-2 to the Penguins Friday and 4-3 to the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday.
The dual losses dropped the Crunch’s W-L record to below .500 for the first time this season.
While he admitted the elusive victories were frustrating, Crunch left wing Jean-Francois Jacques enjoyed his most productive weekend of the season. On Friday, the 26-year-old Montreal native brought the Crunch within one, for a final score of 3-2, when he scored his eighth goal of the season with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Then he scored a hat trick, netting all three of Syracuse’s goals Saturday. Crunch forward Patrick Maroon also scored Friday.
Jacques’ hat trick was the second three-goal game this season for a Crunch player against Adirondack. Kyle Palmieri did it on Oct. 15, in a 6-2 win at the War Memorial.
On Friday Crunch goalie Iiro Tarkki stopped 33 of 36 shots, and on Saturday back-up netminder Jeff Deslauriers stopped 23 of 27 shots.
On the other side of the rink, the Crunch poured it on, putting 36 shots on goal Friday and 42 on Saturday – all to no avail.
The Crunch’s bus down to Pennsylvania for a Dec. 21 against the Hershey Bears before returning to the War Memorial on Dec. 28 for a clash with the Springfield Falcons.
Crunch return next Wednesday
The Syracuse Crunch continues its American Hockey League season with a home game against the Springfield Falcons at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the Onondaga County War Memorial at State and Harrison streets, downtown.
The Crunch is affiliated with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Springfield is the top farm club of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ticket prices range from $14 to $21; 473-4444.