The Syracuse Crunch have struggled mightily in overtime and shootouts since the Tampa Bay affiliation began, and nothing changed on Saturday night in a 2-1 losing effort against the St. John’s IceCaps.
For the second time in as many nights the Crunch dropped a winnable contest, despite an overwhelming advantage in shots-on-goal and puck possession. Syracuse pressured Albany goaltender Yann Danis early and often but the veteran goalie and former Brown University keeper was up to the task.
The first goal of the game ironically enough came from a guy that St. John’s just inked to a PTO from the Crunch’s ECHL affiliate in Kalamazoo. Anthony Camara batted a loose puck past Crunch net-minder Kristers Gudlevskis to give the bad guys a one-goal lead with just 1:27 left in the opening period of play.
The middle stanza was more of the same for the Crunch as they continued to hammer pucks in the direction of the IceCaps goalie. At the 13:46 mark of the period, Cory Conacher set up shop in the left wing circle and sent a fluttering shot towards the net where Mike Halmo was waiting with silky mitts to deflect it in. It was the Crunch’s lone power-play marker of the night and Halmo’s team leading 11th goal of the season.
That was all of the offense either team was able to muster up in regulation. Just a minute and some change in to the overtime period, the IceCaps Stefan Matteau sauced a precision pass to Daniel Audette who sailed the puck past a diving Gudlevskis to secure the road victory.
Gudlevskis made 17 saves in total while Danis stopped an impressive 32 Crunch bids.
Syracuse (18-9-1-5) are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to the Utica Auditorium to take on the Comets (12-15-5-1).