Crunch Capture Late Momentum, But Can't Complete Comeback

By Jeremy Houghtaling

In the first five minutes of the third period, the Syracuse Crunch seized the momentum.

With Cedric Paquette serving a five-minute major penalty for boarding, the Syracuse penalty killers turned tide on Norfolk and scored the game-tying goal with less than 18 minutes remaining in regulation.

The Crunch searched for the go-ahead goal throughout the third period and overtime, but couldn't complete the comeback, falling to the Admirals in a shootout, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday afternoon.

"I thought our penalty killers were outstanding tonight," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "I thought those guys were gaming it out, played hard, blocked shots and got us a game-tying goal, which is huge."

With Syracuse losing six-straight contests coming into Saturday, it felt like things were turning around.

"That was a huge five minutes for our team," said Crunch forward Dana Tyrell said. "It showed a lot of character and that was a turning point for our team, where we were able to at least get one point."

"We competed the whole PK, we were aggressive and we put them on their heels, and kept pressuring them and forcing them to make errors," said Syracuse captain Mike Angelidis. "Dana Tyrell comes up with a huge goal for us. If you're going to win games, you need guys to step up like that."

Tyrell finished with a goal and an assist. The winger set up Jon DiSalvatore's first period goal to give Syracuse an early 1-0 lead. Angelidis was credited with the secondary assist.

The Admirals responded with a pair of goals in the second period. Norm Ezekial and Steve Eminger each scored seconds after a Norfolk power play expired.

"We had tired guys on the ice and we got caught in our end a little bit," Zettler said.

During the penalty kill at the start of the third, Tyrell's breakaway goal knotted the game at two apiece.

"It's kind of nice when you get in the lane and the D-man shoots it off your shin pads and you've got a breakaway," Tyrell said. "I noticed it rolling on me a little bit, so I settled it down and just shot it."

While Syracuse's four shooters failed to score during the shootout, two of the Admirals cashed in. Allen York, signed to a tryout earlier in the day after both Crunch goalies were called up to Tampa Bay, finished with 29 saves.

"Every time you go into the shootout, it's 50-50," Angelidis said. "(York) did a great job for us tonight, he stepped up and played a great game."

"I thought he played really well, he gave us a chance to win," Zettler said. "He made a couple big saves."

Syracuse (17-20-2-5) looks to snap out of its slump when it travels to Rochester Wednesday.

"We've got to find a way," Angelidis said. "We can't start feeling sorry for ourselves or we're not going to get out of it."

Pictured: Crunch forward Dana Tyrell makes a pass against the Admirals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.