Crunch Offense Fizzles in Overtime Loss to Sound Tigers, 3-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

After getting off to a quick start, the Syracuse Crunch offense fizzled.

The Crunch lost a pair of one-goal leads, and fell in overtime to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. Syracuse, reeling after two straight overtime losses, clings to a two point lead in the East Division.

"Always when you lose, it's tough," said Crunch forward Ondrej Palat. "We just need to focus for the playoffs. (We have to) be better, finish the season strong."

The Crunch opened up the scoring 2:09 into the first period, with Dan Sexton tallying his ninth of the season. His linemates, Palat and Tanner Richard, each recorded an assist.

After Bridgeport's Scott Campbell evened the score at the 7:25 mark, Syracuse retook the lead with Palat's backhander -- his 13th of the season -- a little more than five minutes later.

"I would label that one as a finesse goal, for sure," said Sexton, who registered an assist, along with Matt Taormina.

After that, the Crunch's offense came to a grinding halt. Bridgeport carried the play throughout the second period, outshooting Syracuse 13-2.

"We got off to a good start, and we scored on our first couple chances, which is great," Sexton said. "Unfortunately, in the second period we didn't get enough shots on net. We got too cute and tried to make too many plays."

Bridgeport's Nino Neiderreiter tied the score with a power play goal with less than 13 minutes remaining in regulation, and Brock Nelson's wrister found the back of the net 2:42 into overtime to seal the Sound Tigers' comeback.

Syracuse goalie Cedrick Desjardins finished with 31 saves, while Bridgeport's Rick DiPietro had 28.

"We just weren't resilient enough in the third," Sexton said. "We could have easily won that game, but it definitely wasn't our best effort."

"We had a good first period, but we need to find how to play 60 minute games," Palat said.

Syracuse (40-21-6-5) hosts the Rochester Americans Saturday evening. With all four of the their final regular season games at home, the Crunch are looking to right the ship before the playoffs.

"After games like that and last game, it's pretty down and guys aren't too happy," Sexton said. "Hopefully we can use that as fuel for tomorrow. If we win tomorrow and play a great game, we get three out of four points and that's a good weekend. This team has got to expect more out of ourselves, because we haven't been up to par the last five, six, seven games."

Pictured: Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins makes a save against the Sound Tigers at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.