Last weekend, the Syracuse Crunch played as though someone lit a fire under the players’ chilly butts.
The local American Hockey League team coached by Trent Yawney won two out of three games, one by a shootout and one by a landslide.
The shootout win came after a hard-fought 1-1 game against the Albany Devils Friday, March 9, at the Onondaga County War Memorial. Pete Holland scored Syracuse’s lone regulation goal and netminder Iiro Tarkki turned aside 30 of 31 shots before stopping two of Albany’s four shooters in the shootout.
Holland, Kyle Palmieri and J.F. Jacques scored in the tiebreaker to earn the Crunch a 2-1 victory.
On Saturday night in Massachusetts, the Crunch dug themselves into a deep hole in the first period by allowing four goals, including three power play tallies, to the Springfield Falcons.
To their credit, however, the visitors refused to give up and fought back valiantly with two goals by Holland and one each by Troy Bodie, Kyle Cumiskey and Patrick Maroon. Five goals proved one two few, though, as the Crunch fell 6-5 at Springfield’s MassMutual Center.
After bussing back to Central New York Saturday night, the Syracuse skaters rebounded strongly on Sunday, March 11, in an afternoon game against those pesky Albany Devils. Midway through the first frame, Mathieu Carle and Luca Caputi each netted goals followed by the red-hot Pete Holland, to forge a 3-1 lead after one.
Crunch defenseman Nick Schaus and right winger Dan Sexton each scored in the second, increasing the home town team’s lead to 5-1, which held up as the final. Despite the lopsided score, the Devils tried to even things up with physical intimidation. Referees Tim Mayer and Terry Koharski assessed 13 penalties against Albany and nine against Syracuse.
The Crunch was scheduled to take its 25-27-4-4 record to Glens Falls on Wednesday, March 14, for a game against the Adirondack Phantoms before returning to the War Memorial at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, to face off against the Rochester Americans. They’ll do it here again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, against the Adirondack Phantoms.
The Crunch is affiliated with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, while Rochester is the top farm club of the Buffalo Sabres and the Phantoms are affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers. The War Memorial is downtown at State and Harrison streets. Ticket prices for home games range from $14 to $21; 473-4444.