The Syracuse Crunch opened their season on the road against division rival Rochester, twice battling back from one goal deficits before falling in overtime 3-2. Tage Thompson played the hero for the hometown team as he opened the scoring in the second period and then tapped in the overtime winner with just 43 seconds left in the extra session.
Andrew Oglevie added a goal in the third period for the Americans while the Syracuse offense was provided by Cory Conacher (who else) and Danick Martel. Both Crunch goals came on the power play. (Again, is that surprising?)
The game started as a bit of a track meet in the first period as both times rushed up and down the ice before settling into more of a punch/counterpunch affair for the final two-thirds. Rochester did an excellent job bottling up the Crunch in the neutral zone for most of the game, and when Syracuse did manage to break through, goaltender Andrew Hammond made the save.
After a scoreless first period, Thompson opened the scoring by skating into the Crunch zone. Defensemen Ben Thomas and Cameron Gaunce ceded ground to him until Thompson had no choice but to shoot from a prime spot right between the circles.
It took about 8 minutes for the Crunch to find the equalizer. For some reason the Amerks let Conacher have two shots from his office in the right circle. He didn’t miss on the second.
The third period was a repeat of the second as Oglevie scored a minute into the game. A point shot from Scott Wilson kicked out to Oglevie who was unmarked in front of Louis Domingue. Wilson potted the rebound for the go ahead goal.
It took a little longer for the Crunch to tie it up this time, but they did it in pretty nice style as Danick Martel went end to end and buried a backhander from an almost impossible angle to tie it up.
The Crunch had a chance to take the lead thirty seconds later (more on that in a minute) and probably had their best flurry of offense but couldn’t beat Hammond. The game ended tied in regulation and it took almost all five minutes of overtime for their to be a winner, but Thompson came through after Domingue made several key stops early in the bonus session.
A bit of sloppy line change by the Crunch led to a two-on-one and Thompson had a pretty wide open net that he almost missed, but it looked like the puck caught a bit of Domingue on the way by and deflected into the net.
Look forward to eleven more of these contests over the next five months.
The Holden Morrisey Caulfield Turning Point of the Game:
As mentioned above, less than a minute after the Martel goal tied things up, the Crunch had a chance to go ahead. Boris Katchouk picked a pass off in the offensive zone and got a step on Amerks defenseman Zach Redmond. The veteran blueliner was twisted around a bit and in his flailing interfered with Katchouk’s attempted shot. The referee whistled a penalty and immediately pointed at center ice- penalty shot!
Katchouk came in with speed on Hammond and froze the goalie with a fake forehand shot. Unfortunately, as Katchouk dragged the puck to his backhand in order to flip it into the yawning void that was the goal, the frozen piece of rubber decided to bound off in the direction it was already traveling and rolled past Katchouk’s stick and harmlessly into the corner.
Katchouk awarded a penalty shot. Nothing. pic.twitter.com/KFZzWBY82w— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) October 5, 2019
The Three Best Crunch Players on the Ice:
3. Dennis Yan - his final stats don’t look like much, but he seemed to be everywhere on the ice. He had some time on the first power play unit and skated with Mitchell Stephens and Alex Barre-Boulet at times at even strength. He was very engaged and skated well. Hopefully he can keep the energy going.
2. Danick Martel - the goal he scored showed why the organization is high on his talent and was willing to keep him around all last year instead of risking the chance Philly would snatch him back on waivers. Speed, forechecking and hard work were all on display.
1 Louis Domingue - for a guy who would rather be in the NHL, he didn’t sulk. Instead he played a steady three periods and then was spectacular in overtime. Rochester had two or three chances denied before they were able to bury the winner. Chances are that he won’t be around for long, but Crunch fans should enjoy his play while he’s there.
Friday October 11th at Cleveland, 7:00pm