The victories weren’t pretty, but the Syracuse Crunch managed to win all three games last week to extend its winning streak to a season-high four games.
Amazingly, after two victories at the Onondaga County War Memorial over the weekend, the Syracuse skaters found themselves only one point back of a playoff spot in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Division.
The team has failed to make the AHL playoffs for three straight seasons.
Last week, the Crunch won three games in comeback fashion, including two games in which they trailed in the third period. On Wednesday, the Crunch fell behind the Phantoms in Glens Falls after a 5-on-3 power-play goal by Denis Hamel in the second period. But the Crunch found some late third-period magic. Riley Holzapfel scored with 6:51 remaining and John Mitchell followed it up with lass than five minutes remaining in regulation.
On Friday, the Crunch returned home to face Rochester and fell behind 1-0, led 2-1, and trailed 3-2 early in the third. But the Crunch persevered. First, Mathieu Carle scored with 8:49 remaining and then Nick Schaus tallied a power-play goal with 3:09 on the game clock.
Saturday saw more of the same with the Crunch allowing a power-play goal midway through the first period before. J.F. Jacques evened the score in the first, and Carle put the Crunch up by one in the second. After Adirondack tied the game in the second, but Jacques netted another goal with less than a minute remaining in that period. The Crunch tacked on two more in the third for a 5-2 win.
Crunch defenseman Nick Schaus, who scored the game-winning goal Friday against Rochester at the War Memorial, is a veteran of local youth hockey programs.
Schaus, who hails from Buffalo, played many games at the State Fair Coliseum when he was in the pee wee leagues and later when he patrolled the blue line for the 15-, 16- and 17-year-old New York State Select teams.
A former member of the UMass at Lowell RiverHawks, Schaus sports an interesting nickname: Cusha.
Amerks return Saturday
Schaus and his team-mates face off again against the Amerks when the Crunch continues its woeful 2011-12 season with two home games this weekend at the War Memorial, down city.
The Crunch host the St. John’s IceCapes at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 23. Then, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24, they play a rematch with the Rochester Amerks.
The Crunch is affiliated with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, while Rochester is the top farm club of the Buffalo Sabres and the IceCaps are affiliated with the Winnipeg Jets. Ticket prices for home games range from $14 to $21; 473-4444.