Admirals Sink Crunch in Shootout


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Norfolk Admirals took advantage of a penalty-filled game with a pair of power play goals, as they topped the Syracuse Crunch in a shootout, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

The Admirals began their rally in the second period amidst multiple post-whistle altercations, five misconducts and a combined 106 penalty minutes.

"Having those guys in the box for 10 minutes really hurt us at the end of the second and beginning of the third," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "It hurt our energy. They are some of our best players sitting in the box for 10 or 12 minutes, so that hurt."

The Crunch jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, with Drew Olson and Mike Angelidis each recording their first goals of the season. Cedric Paquette had assists on both goals.

Brett Connolly, also scoring his first of the season, extended the Syracuse lead with a goal 7:13 into the second period. Luke Witkowski and Dmitry Korobov were credited with helpers.

"Hopefully they come in bunches now, usually that's what happens after you get the first one and you start feeling a little better about yourself," Connolly said.

But that's when the game went off the rails for the Crunch.

Rickard Rakell cut the Crunch lead to two with a power play goal midway through the second, and Steven Whitney followed it up with a tally with the man-advantage less than three minutes into the third.

"They had two power play goals, we had no power play goals," Zettler said. Without its top four scorers, Syracuse went 0-for-5 with the man-advantage. "That ended up being the difference."

Less than four minutes later, the puck bounced around in the crease and fell behind Syracuse netminder Cedrick Desjardins.

"That third goal bounced off two guys and into the net," Angelidis said. "It's a tough bounce for us."

"We just sat back a little too much and they pushed the pace on us a little bit," Connolly said.

The teams battled, but were ultimately fruitless, throughout the rest of regulation and overtime.

Desjardins stopped two of four shootout attempts and finished with 21 saves, but was tagged with the loss. Norfolk goalie Brad Thiessen made seven saves and stopped four out of five shootout attempts for the win.

Connolly had the lone Syracuse shootout goal.

"When you go into a shootout, it's anyone's game," Angelidis said.

Thiessen came on in relief for Admirals starter John Gibson in the second period. Gibson allowed three goals on 12 shots, but left shortly after colliding with Angelidis.

Syracuse (11-7-1-2) looks for a better outcome when it hosts Norfolk in the rematch Saturday.

"They're going to come hard and they're going to be confident after coming back in the third period and winning," Connolly said. "We have to play the same way we did in the first two periods."

"It's going to be a battle, both teams are going to be at each other," Angelidis said. "There's a lot of bad blood out there."

Pictured: Crunch defenseman Jean-Philippe Cote drops the gloves with the Admirals' Mat Clark at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.