The Syracuse Crunch picked up their second win in as many days as they scored three times on the power play and held on to beat the Binghamton Devils 3-2. It was a bit of a surreal game as recently traded Louis Domingue started in net for the Devils just 24 hours after they acquired him from the Lightning for a conditional 2021 pick. It was a shaky start for the former Crunch netminder as he surrendered three goals on the first four shots he faced.
His former goaltending partner fared a bit better. Scott Wedgewood, making starts on consecutive nights, stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced on the night including 13 of 14 first period shots. The Devils kept him much busier throughout the night than the Bridgeport Sound Tigers had on Friday, but Wedgewood was up to the challenge.
Special teams were the difference on the night as Syracuse finished 3-for-6 with the man advantage while they killed off all seven shorthanded opportunities they faced from Binghamton. For the second night in a row they protected a third period lead as it appears they’ve sorted out a few of their defensive issues. While Binghamton had the better of the play in the first period, the Crunch controlled most of the final two thirds of the contest, outshooting them 26-13 in the last two periods.
Fabian Zutterlund (Egor Sharangovich, Marian Studenic) 1-0 Binghamton
This goal kind of came out of nowhere. The Devils skate it into the zone and Studenic centers the puck. Sharangovich makes a nice little touch pass, but it’s actually behind Zutterlund. That throws off the back checking Crunch players just a bit as Taylor Raddysh skates right by. Zutterlund makes a nice shot that slides right on the ice and through Wedgewood’s five-hold.
Chris Mueller (Alex Barre-Boulet) Power Play 1-1
Thirty seconds after the Devils scored they committed a penalty. That gave the Crunch a chance to get back into the game and they took advantage. There wasn’t anything fancy about this goal. Alex Barre-Boulet had space down the far boards, he saw Chris Mueller unguarded in front of the net with his stick on the ice and put the puck right on the tape. Mueller shoveled it past Domingue for the goal. Simple plays work.
Alex Barre-Boulet (Cory Conacher, Cameron Gaunce) 5-on-3 Power Play 2-1 Syracuse
Taking penalties against the Crunch is rarely a great idea. It’s especially bad when you take penalties back to back. The Devils apparently like to live dangerously as Ryan Smeltzer (elbowing) and Josh Jacobs (high-sticking) took penalties within two seconds of each other. On the ensuing 5-on-3 Syracuse had plenty of room to operate and a Cory Conacher cross-ice pass found Barre-Boulet alone in the right circle. He fired his one-timer back into Domingue, but it hit his side and bounced into the net.
Otto Somppi (Cal Foote, Gemel Smith) Power Play 3-1 Syracuse
If the play worked for the first power play unit, why wouldn’t it work for the second? This time it’s Cal Foote swinging the puck to Otto Somppi in the right circle. His one-timer beat Louis Domingue cleanly over the glove and inside the far post. Somppi’s third goal of the season was the third Crunch power play goal in a span of four minutes. It also came on only their fourth shot of the period. Efficient.
Nathan Bastian (Michael McLeod, Ryan Schmeltzer) 3-2 Syracuse
Another early period goal allowed by the Crunch. There have been some periods this season where they’ve come out a little flat and their opponents have burned them. This time the Devils caught the Crunch out of position in the neutral zone which led to a two-on-one. Micheal McLeod feathered a nice pass over to Nathan Bastian who beat Wedgewood with a nice shot.
There were no goals in the third period, not for lack of opportunity for the Devils, though. The Crunch gifted them four power plays in the final twenty minutes. That was the bad news. The good news was that of the eight minutes with an extra attacker (including two at the end of the game with two extra attackers) the Devils had maybe one decent scoring chance.
The Crunch forced them to dump the puck in by standing up at the blue line and then Syracuse won the battles along the boards. Binghamton only had a total of four shots on all of their power plays in the third period, a testament to how well the Crunch played down a man.
As for the Crunch, they did have seven shots of their own in the third, but other than the occasional rush into the offensive zone they were content to sit back and make sure they made it tough for the Devils to do anything offensively. Taylor Raddysh did put the puck into an unguarded net with 5:34 left in the game. Unfortunately it was left open because Otto Somppi and Brett Seney had collided with Louis Domingue and knocked the net off of its moorings.
The Charlie Marlow Memorial Turning Point of the Game
The Crunch successfully killing off the 5-on-3 penalty late in the first period. Syracuse had been a bit opportunistic up until that point, scoring on their three power plays but mustering little offense. With Dominik Masin and Nolan Valleau in the box for a prolonged period, Binghamton had a chance to get back into the game.
Instead, the Crunch killed it off despite having the same three players on the ice for most of the time shorthanded. While the Devils were able to keep the puck in the zone, they weren’t able to get the puck moving side to side for open looks. Syracuse maintained their shape, didn’t over pursue and forced Binghamton to take shots from further away than they would have liked. When they did let them go, Wedgewood was there to make the saves.
Best Crunch Players on the ice
The Crunch Penalty Kill - They killed off seven penalties including two, two-man advantages for Binghamton. The Crunch only allowed 8 shots shorthanded while having a couple of solid offensive opportunities of their own. It’s not a strategy for long term success, but it is something Crunch fans are familiar with.
Alex Barre-Boulet - 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots. The Crunch’s most lethal power play weapon is warming up and he found his spots in Saturday night’s game. Despite playing more time at the point this year than he did last, three of his five goals this season have come on the power play. It is still early, but it looks like he’s picking up right where he left off last season.
The Crunch head down to Hershey to take on the Bears at 5:00 p.m. Following a long home stand, Syracuse looks to keep their November points streak against a Hershey team that starts the day with a 5-4-1-1 record.