After three weeks away from the War Memorial, the Syracuse Crunch returned to home ice to play host to the pesky Binghamton Senators on Friday. With fellow north division teams Albany and St. John’s in hot pursuit of the number one spot, a home contest with the “B-Sens” should have been a rather easy two points to cushion their lead atop the division. Syracuse however, looked rather lethargic through the better part of 60 minutes and dropped a much-needed pair of points.
The first period proved to be a “feeling-out” period as both teams played a neutral-zone heavy game. The home team was able to gain a large advantage in shots on goal early, but Senators second year pro goaltender Matt O’Connor was up to the task. At the 13:06 mark of the frame, the Sens would capitalize on only their second shot of the evening. Casey Bailey wristed a long shot through a maze of bodies and past Crunch goalie Adam Wilcox. Wilcox never saw it. Binghamton would take the 1-to-0 lead into the locker-room despite being outshot 10-to-4 in the period.
The start of the middle frame would benefit the Sens, as well. They were able to extend their lead to two goals early when former Amerk Phil Varone fed a trailing Andreas Englund. The Sens blue-liner sniped a beauty of a shot past Wilcox, off the post, and into the back of the net.
Syracuse would get one back in the waning minutes of the second period from Joel Vermin. Vermin gathered a rebound off of shot from Cory Conacher. He shoveled it off the back-hand past O’Connor to inject a little bit of life into the building. The secondary assist on Vermin’s tenth of the season went to Yanni Gourde.
In the third period, the momentum continued to lean in the favor of the Crunch as they knotted the game at two off of a Jeremy Morin penalty shot. The Auburn native put together a series of sweet moves before sliding the puck five-hole.
It was a tie game that wouldn’t last very long, however. The Sens potted the game-winner in the final minute of the contest. Instigator Max McCormick was able to beat Wilcox with a fluttering puck while the Crunch were on a man-advantage. On the night, Syracuse went a deflating 0-for-4 on the power play.
Syracuse won’t have to wait very long before getting a shot at redemption as they host the Rochester Americans tonight at 7pm.