After allowing a pair of power play goals in the first 16 minutes, the Syracuse Crunch searched for momentum.
A big fight at the end of the first period, a penalty shot at the beginning of the second and line juggling provided sparks that were quickly snuffed out.
But after Syracuse netted two goals in the first five minutes of the third, the Crunch came alive. Syracuse scored four unanswered goals in the final frame to stun the Norfolk Admirals, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"There were times during the game, like after the (Jonathan) Marchessault goal and after the (Eric) Neilson fight, like we had the momentum, but we let it slip away," said Crunch forward Dalton Smith, who finished with a pair of goals. "That third (period), we didn't let it slip away."
Turning point of the early season?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the win. He wasn't good, and gave up a couple of questionable goals. But, the Crunch had his back in the Third Period tonight.
NOR Theodore, (2) (Wagner, Sarault), 5:47 (PP)
NOR Theodore, (3) (Winchester), 15:10 (PP)
SYR Marchessault, (5) , 6:15 (PS)
NOR Leblanc, (2) (Sarault, Kerdiles), 15:32
NOR Blacker, (1) (Steckel, O'Brien), 17:29
SYR Smith, (3) (Angelidis, Koekkoek), 3:51
SYR Gourde, (1) (Richard), 4:32
SYR Smith, (4) (Cote, Blujus), 14:38
SYR Gourde, (2) (Richard, Paradis), 15:23
Yanni Gourde, Dalton Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault were the game's three stars. Gourde gets the monkey off his back in a big way after not potting a goal all season by getting 2, including the game winner.
Being down 3 goals in the Third Period in pro hockey is supposed to be a death sentence. Teams in that position seem to lose 98-99% of the time. It's a rare and sometimes galvanizing thing if a team can come back against those odds, and a hugely demoralizing thing to the team that blows that kind of lead. So, for Syracuse to overcome those odds tonight is no small thing, and is likely to give them some momentum as a team that they can carry forward from here on out into the season. Big, big win.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out the role Tanner Richard played in the comeback, as the next wave of Lightning prospects starts to step it up.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch had a pair of leads, but let them slip away.
Syracuse went ahead with a goal early in the third period, but the Norfolk Admirals evened the score with a shorthanded goal and scored two minutes into overtime to win, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"Hockey is pretty simple," said Crunch assistant captain Jean-Philippe Cote. "At this level, if you just tip toe and try to not take a hit to make a play, the other team is going to make you suffer the consequences. That's what happened tonight."
Joel Vermin has put last year behind him.
The Crunch forward, who finished with a disappointing 18 points in 49 games with Bern of the Swiss A-League, has found a role on one of Syracuse's top lines and registered six points in his first nine games this season.
"Last year was last year," Vermin said. "I don't really think about that too much. It was a learning process for me."
For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, a leader doesn't have to be the loudest one on the ice.
Case in point: Crunch assistant captain and frequent Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette.
A player known for his high compete level, Paquette has registered seven points in five games with the Crunch and has developed into a quality depth player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who recalled the second-year pro on Tuesday.
"I like what he brings to the table on the ice," Zettler said of the 21-year-old forward. "His work ethic in practice, his work ethic in a game -- it doesn't change. That's what I like about him, and that's why he has an A on his sweater. You don't always have to be a loud or a vocal guy to be a leader."
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory. Goal support: Kristers has it, tonight.
SYR Marchessault, (3) (Dotchin, Paquette), 1:38
SYR Koekkoek, (1) (Blujus, Richard), 9:05 (PP)
BNG Pageau, (3) (Wideman, Robinson), 10:23
BNG Puempel, (2) (Dzingel), 12:26
SYR Kunyk, (2) (Paradis, Gourde), 3:06
SYR Vermin, (3) , 4:39
BNG Wideman, (7) (Mullen), 6:48 (PP)
SYR Smith, (2) (Dotchin), 12:13
SYR Paquette, (4) (Vermin), 17:05
Joel Vermin and Cedric Paquette were the game's first and second stars. Defenseman Slater Koekkoek scored his first AHL goal in the contest, as well. And, there was #blujuspalooza happening on that goal, too.
They really faced down a hot goaltender last night, which happens, and were unfortunate to get shut out, but the scoreboard wasn't indicative of the team's play. They were doing a lot of the right things to snap their offensive funk, and the floodgates finally came open for them tonight. Hopefully they stay open now even if Paquette has to go back to the Lightning with Alex Killorn getting hurt again up top.
Syracuse gets Norfolk on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
For head coach Rob Zettler, it came down to a couple mental errors early.
The Crunch allowed a shorthanded goal on their first man-advantage and the Americans tallied a power play goal later in the first period, as Syracuse dropped its third-straight game to Rochester, 3-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"Special teams were the difference," Zettler said. "They scored on the power play, we gave up one on our power play. The rest of the game I thought we were all over them."
Makarov bests old tandem-mate.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 25 shots, dropping the decision to Andrey Makarov, who stopped all 38 he faced at the other end.
RCH Armia, (4) (Leduc, Makarov), 2:58 (SH)
RCH Leduc, (1) (Pysyk, Grigorenko), 19:02 (PP)
RCH Varone, (4) (Adam, Samuels-Thomas), 7:42
It's rough to get shutout, but I'd say there were silver linings. They settled down after a rough First Period and outshot Rochester 25-11 the rest of the way. That's solid. They just couldn't crack Makarov, who can be impenetrable when he's on his game. Rochester is pretty loaded with high draft picks, too, so it's not like they were playing the sisters of the poor. They just really need to get some continuity and some bounces to go their way, and I think they'll be fine.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Six games into his rookie season, Jake Dotchin is all about being a student.
Crunch coach Rob Zettler noticed the defenseman's focus on improvement, comparing the rookie to a sponge.
"First off, a great work ethic and a fun kid to be around," Zettler said of the 20-year-old. "He tries to absorb all of it. He's a bit of a sponge that way."
Dotchin recorded his first pro point and fight last weekend, recording an assist in Syracuse’s loss to Portland Saturday and having a short-but-spirited bout with Matheiu Gagnon in a 5-1 loss to Springfield Saturday.
"There are a lot of firsts for everybody -- the fights, the points," Zettler said. "Just feeling the speed, feeling how quick this league is and how good it is, they still have a long way to go. They have taken some strides, but they're still learning."
Jonathan Marchessault tallied up the time.
A three hour flight to Minnesota, two hours back to Boston, and another hour and a half drive to Springfield. The three-day excursion was a little more straining on his body than the usual call-up, but the Syracuse Crunch forward was happy to make his Tampa Bay Lightning debut, even if it was just one game.
"It was a helluva ride, but I think it was good for me," Marchessault said. "It was a positive to get called up."