A third period meltdown Friday, ill-advised penalties Saturday and an unfulfilling overtime loss Sunday left the Syracuse Crunch with one measly point for three hard days of work last weekend.
The three losses sunk the Crunch deeper into the American Hockey League’s Eastern Division cellar, one point behind the Albany Devils. After 59 games in the 2010-11 season, the Crunch have won 20 and lost 32 games including three overtime losses and four shoot-out losses, for a total of 47 points.
Things started on a hopeful note on Friday, Feb. 25, when the Crunch entered the third period ahead 4-2 in its home game against the Binghamton Senators. But Binghamton burst the Crunch bubble with five unanswered goals to snatch victory from defeat by a score of 7-4.
Back at the at the War Memorial on Saturday, the Crunch hung tough with the first-place Hamilton Bulldogs until two unnecessary penalties late in the game deprived the home team of a chance to tie the 3-2 score.
On Sunday, Feb. 27, at Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena, Syracuse finished regulation tied with the Amerks, 1-1, only to lose in overtime when Rochester defenseman Keaton Ellerby wristed a shot past Crunch goalie J.P.Levasseur one minute into the extra session.
A few high points of the otherwise depressing weekend included the fiery play of rookie left winger Nicolas Deschamps. The 21-year-old forward from Montreal recorded his second two-goal game of the season on Friday against Binghamton. Deschamps – who has played in every one of the Crunch’s 59 games this season – has 12 goals and 21 assists to lead the team with 33 points.
Matt Kennedy and David Laliberte added Syracuse’s other two goals Friday night, while Levasseur took the loss, allowing seven goals on 42 shots.
Crunch high scorer Patrick Maroon (18 goals) and rookie scoring phenom Kyle Palmieri each scored Saturday, while netminder Timo Pielmeier stopped 32 of 35 shots.
On Sunday afternoon in the Flower City, Crunch center Josh Green scored the team’s lone tally, and Levasseur recovered from Friday’s seven-goal stinker with a strong 27-save performance despite taking the loss.
While it’s difficult to see a silver lining in last weekend’s dark cloud, it could be that – after Friday’s embarrassing third period – the Crunch never gave up. They put just 23 shots on goal Friday, but increased their shots to 36 against Hamilton on Saturday.
“We had a good attitude [Saturday],” said defenseman John de Gray. “We knew we were playing a good team, and we were up for it. We just failed to execute in the third period.”
When Crunch winger David Laliberte was called for hooking with three minutes left to play, shortly followed by defenseman Nate Guerin called for slashing, the Crunch’s slim chance to pull the goalie and make a last-minute attack to tie the game disappeared into the penalty box.
In Rochester on Sunday, the Crunch followed Coach Mark Holick’s advice to take it to the net by firing 41 shots at Amerks goalie Tyler Plante, but he turned away all but one.
After a road trip to the Lone Star State, the Crunch face off at the War Memorial against the Texas Stars and the Rochester Amerks, at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, respectively. Ticket prices range between $13 and $22; 473-4444; syracusecrunch.com .