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Missed opportunities come back to haunt Crunch in game 2 loss against Providence

After an impressive Game 1 victory over the Providence Bruins, the Syracuse Crunch failed to leave Rhode Island with a 2-to-0 series lead after an overtime loss on Sunday night.

It was a classic goaltending duel at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday evening. Both Mike McKenna and Zane McIntyre were on top of their game for 60 plus minutes, turning aside high-quality scoring chances left and right. Each team would only find the back of the net once in regulation and the Crunch were the first to do so.

Just over a minute into the contest, two Syracuse blue-liners linked up to get the scoring started. Mathieu Brodeur set up shop near the top of the left-circle and sent a slick pass to the other side of the rink where rookie Ben Thomas was waiting to notch his second goal of the postseason.

In the period and a half that would follow, Syracuse had plenty of great scoring chances that they couldn’t cash in on. Captain Erik Condra shot the puck high and wide on a 2-on-1 break with Matthew Peca, a 4-on-1 chance off the rush ended without a shot on goal being registered, and Tye McGinn whiffed on a open net. Combine the Crunch’s inability to finish, with the four man-advantages they handed over to the Bruins and it was only a matter of time before the bad guys cracked the score sheet.

Michael Bournival took a blatant tripping penalty late in the second period behind the Bruins net that set up Providence’s first goal of the evening. On their third powerplay of the game, Jordan Szwarz got loose in front of the Crunch net just long enough to one-time a puck to the top shelf. The game tying marker was Szwarz’s fifth of the playoffs.

After a scoreless third period that was highlighted by the two goalies standing on their heads, overtime was needed to determine a winner. At the 8:28 mark of the first OT period, that winner was determined. It almost seemed as if a fluke goal was going to be the only way to beat either goaltender on Sunday and that’s exactly what happened. Jordan Szwarz circled the top of the attacking zone and wristed a seemingly harmless shot through traffic and into the back of the Crunch cage. A screen in front prevented McKenna from getting a good read on the shot.

Mike McKenna was brilliant again, stopping 34 out of 36 Providence shots. The series is now tied at one as it shifts to Syracuse for the next three games. Game three is set for Wednesday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena.


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