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Crunch rally late but fall in the shootout

Syracuse Crunch defenseman Jake Dotchin
Photo by Scott Thomas

The Syracuse Crunch were back at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena Friday night when the Bridgeport SoundTigers came to town. The Crunch entered the contest looking to extend their winning streak to three straight games and push closer to the top of the North Division standings.

The boys in blue didn’t quite get off to the start they would have hoped for. In the first 20 minutes the Crunch could only muster up four shots on goal. Bridgeport goaltender Stephan Williams easily turned all of them aside. At the other end of the ice, Crunch back-stopper Kristers Gudlevskis stopped ten Tiger bids.

The second period was almost a carbon copy of the first with both teams looking sloppy at both ends of the rink. The SoundTigers finally cracked Gudlevskis with only 22 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Kyle Burroughs fired a point shot that was tipped by Connor Jones past a sliding Gudlevskis. Bridgeport went into the locker-room with the one goal lead.

The Crunch’s misfortunes continued a little over halfway through the final regulation period when Burroughs came down the ice on a shorthanded rush and fed linemate Kellen Jones for an easy tap-in goal.

Syracuse struggled to get pucks on net largely due to consistently errant passes and poor stick handling. They finally got their first shot of the third period over halfway through the frame despite numerous opportunities in their attacking zone.

At the 16:09 mark of the period alternate captain Matt Taormina tallied his first marker of the year. It came on the man-advantage. Taormina toe dragged the puck around a sprawling defender and snapped a quick shot in to the top right corner to cut the SoundTigers lead to one goal. Erik Condra and Tanner Richard were credited with the assists.

The equalizer came at the 17:09 mark when a cross ice pass from Yanni Gourde found a streaking Jake Dotchin who buried a wrister past Williams. The goal came short-handed and was Dotchin’s first goal of the season.

The SoundTigers ultimately came out on top after burying two goals past Gudlevskis in the shootout. The Crunch only scored one goal during the skills competition. Cory Conacher put one in for Syracuse during the first round. The overtime appearance brings the Crunch’s point total to 13 on the season, which is good for second in the North Division behind Toronto.

Syracuse is back in action Saturday when in-state rival Rochester comes to town.