Crunch Come Back to Top Phantoms, 6-4

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite going down by two goals in the first period, the Syracuse Crunch kept their gameplan largely the same.

Syracuse cleaned up the backcheck that had cost them early and continued to pour on the pressure at the other end. The Crunch scored three times in both the second and the third, as they rallied to top the Adirondack Phantoms, 6-4, for their third-straight win at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"We didn't change anything," said Syracuse forward Cedric Paquette. "We played well since the beginning and took control of the game. We didn't panic and the goals came."

Eleven Crunch showed up on the scoresheet, and five finished with multiple points.

Jonathan Marchessault registered a goal and two assists, Paquette had a pair of goals, and Max Parent added a goal and an assist. Brett Connolly, Luke Witkowski and Yanni Gourde each had a pair of helpers.

But it was the Phantoms that struck first. Nick Cousins scored midway through the first period, and Marcel Noebels put Adirondack up by two before the first intermission.

"I thought we actually played really well in the first period, other than a few times coming back into our zone," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "I thought we lost some coverage coming back in, just kind of staring and the puck and not knowing what's going on."

Geoff Walker brought Syracuse back to within one with a power play goal 7:49 into the second, but a bad giveaway in the Crunch's zone allowed Jason Akeson to put the Phantoms back up by two a few minutes later. Adirondack was held to just two shots in the second period.

Paquette scored a pair of goals 70 seconds apart to tie the game at three apiece heading into the third.

Ben Holmstrom's power play tally less than a minute into the third provided the Phantoms with a short-lived lead. Dalton Smith tied the came less than three minutes later, Parent added the eventual game-winner on a 2-on-1 with Gourde and Marchessault added a breakaway goal with six minutes remaining.

"We had a late change, and I snuck behind them and went with my hockey instinct there," Marchessault said of his goal.

For Marchessault, who was acquired with Smith by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the deadline, felt the pressure to perform since the trade, but knew it was only a matter of time until the points would come.

"I wanted to show the organization that they did a good thing to come and get me," Marchessault said. "I was really happy. Tonight is a good start, but I feel like it started a few weeks ago just playing hard and good things happened tonight."

Andrej Sustr and Jean-Philippe Cote both returned from injuries to bolster the Crunch blueline. Sustr's last game was Feb. 21, while Cote had been out since March 14.

"They really helped us back there," Zettler said. "Just a lot of poise, big bodies."

While Adirondack's Cal Heeter made 25 saves in the loss, Syracuse's Kristers Gudlevskis finished with 21 saves on 25 shots.

"He finds a way to win lately, which is good … Bottom line, he made some big saves, especially on the PK at the end," Zettler said of Gudlevskis.

Syracuse (27-29-4-6) has strung together a few wins, and looks to keep rolling when it hosts the Binghamton Senators Saturday.

"Just try to be on the same page," Paquette said. "Play 60 minutes hard like we did the last three games."

Pictured: Crunch forward Cedric Paquette points to his teammates who passed him the puck, as he celebrates his goal against the Phantoms with Jonathan Marchessault at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.