Crunch Cruise Past Marlies in Rough Game

By Jeremy Houghtaling

In a game marred by many physical altercations, the Syracuse Crunch offense had a breakout performance.

The Crunch took a three-goal lead in the first period, and continued to cruise through multiple incidents, as they topped the Toronto Marlies, 6-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"We played a good game," said Syracuse forward Brett Connolly, who finished with four points. "I think they embarrassed themselves."

In the first period, Syracuse scored three times, including a pair of power play goals. The Marlies and Crunch then traded goals early in the second before the first flareup.

"We started out playing good hockey, then all of a sudden we start getting a bunch of power plays," said Crunch captain Mike Angelidis. "Emotions ran high on both teams, and it triggers that type of stuff."

Dmitry Korobov's hit provoked a large scrum, which culminated in Dalton Smith and Sam Carrick exchanging blows.

Less than three minutes later, Marlies defenseman Korbinian Holzer jumped Crunch forward Yanni Gourde after the two crashed into the Toronto net.

The teams came together, and Vladislav Namestnikov dropped the gloves with Zach Yuen. After the two had been broken up, Brad Staubitz threw a punch that bloodied Tampa Bay's former first-round pick.

"I thought it was a fair fight going on between Vladdy and whoever it was on their part, and then Staubitz came in and suckered Vladdy," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "I thought it was a complete cheap shot, totally uncalled for and unfair during a fair fight."

When play resumed, Jonathan Marchessault scored twice to put the Crunch up by four, but the Marlies climbed back to within three in the final minute of the frame.

The final bout came midway through the third, when Smith dropped the gloves with Frazer McLaren, who was also given a major penalty for charging.

The Marlies finished with 85 penalty minutes, while the Crunch had 37.

"They had a lineup that had some tough people in it, but I was surprised at the way they played," Zettler said. "There was a lot of slashing, whacking, hacking, hits from behind (that) potentially injure people."

The list of people ejected included Toronto coach Steve Spott.

"I think the ref saw a lot of ridiculous stuff on the ice and he wanted to try get control of it, and that was his way of trying to get control of it," Zettler said.

Namestnikov returned to the ice to start the third, and assisted on a Connolly goal to put the exclamation point on Syracuse's victory.

"He's a gamer, he's a tough kid," Zettler said. "That shouldn't have happened to him."

Connolly finished with a goal and three assists, Marchessault had two goals and Angelidis registered a goal and an assist.

Jean-Philippe Cote, Henri Ikonen and Jon DiSalvatore each recorded a pair of assists, while Namestnikov and Adam Erne each had one. Philippe Paradis rounded out the scoring for Syracuse.

Cedrick Desjardins finished with 33 saves in the win.

Syracuse (30-30-4-8) travels to Albany to finish out the weekend. Although they are out of the playoff hunt, the Crunch have registered a point in eight of their last nine games.

"It's too bad we couldn't do this earlier," Connolly said. "We're playing some really good hockey as of late, and it's fun."

Pictured: Crunch forwards Jon DiSalvatore and Philippe Paradis celebrate a goal against the Marlies at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.