Joel Auerbach - Getty Images
Hockey is back! And while it may not be NHL hockey, it's still hockey with NHLers. The Tampa Bay Lightning's farm team finally opened their season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to.... Wait, that's not right. Okay, the Norfolk Admirals lost to the... No, no, no. Let me try this again.
The Syracuse Crunch lost their season opener to the Rochester Americans in a shootout 6-4.
This was not the Crunch's best showing. It's not exactly the same players that moved from Norfolk, but there were only five guys who suited up that weren't there. So, for all intents and purposes, it's pretty much the same team.
They started out slow. Very, very slow. It was sloppy at times, and they looked disinterested at other times. And, before you knew it, they were down 3-1 at the end of the first period. The lone Syracuse goal being scored by defenseman Mark Barberio.
The start of the second period wasn't much better. They were down 4-1 before they finally woke up and decided to play for serious. They were down 4-2 at the end of the second period, on a goal scored on a rebound by captain Mike Angelidis, but that competitive fire that so characterized their game during playoffs had returned.
And did it ever in the third. After being down 4-1, they tied it up. Cory Conacher scored, and he also set up a goal for Tyler Johnson. Then Johnson's second goal on the power play halfway through the third put them ahead for the first time in the game.
But undisciplined play and penalties allowed Rochester to get back into the game. They tied it up again almost three minutes after Johnson's second goal on the power play. Both teams managed to skate into overtime.
It was obvious that neither team had had much time to work on special teams, so the 4-on-4 overtime period wasn't exactly the best hockey of the game. And the Crunch finished it on the penalty kill as Angelidis got a penalty for gloving the puck directly on a faceoff - which was considered a "delay of game" penalty. That wasn't the weirdest call of the night - there had been a "face mask" penalty called earlier - though it was referred to as an "unsportsmanlike" penalty on the ice.
The game went to a shootout, and unlike the NHL which just uses three shooters, the AHL uses five. Syracuse was unable to get any pucks past the Rochester goalie. On the last shooter of the game, however, the Americans scored their game-winning goal.
Overall, it wasn't a bad effort by the Crunch. It was probably more spirited than you'd expect for the opening game of the season, in fact. However, poor play in the first period, and penalties for the entire game, sank their chances at a regulation win. But, as it went to overtime, they still earned a point in the standings - so that's something.
Their next game is tomorrow - it's their home opener, and they'll be debuting their new uniforms then - against the Hershey Bears. Game time is at 7:30 pm Eastern. There will be a game thread ready to go, if you'd like to hang out and enjoy some Saturday night hockey with us.