Crunch Surge Early, Hang On Against Bruins

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch surged early and held on in the third period.

The Crunch scored twice in the opening 8:44, but the the Bruins took advantage of turnovers in the third period. Syracuse was able to hang on for a 3-2 win over Providence at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Tonight, that game was all about momentum swings,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we had momentum for 10 or 12 minutes, and then we would turn the puck over in our zone or at the blue line and they would get the momentum for five, six, seven minutes.”

Syracuse’s Cameron Darcy, Yanni Gourde and Mike Halmo each scored once, while Dylan Blujus, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblong, Henri Ikonen and Michael Bournival each had one assist.

Adam Wilcox finished with 24 saves for the win.

“Our goalie was phenomenal,” Groulx said. “He had to stop three breakaways. He had to make key stops at key moments. He’s our number one star tonight, and I’m happy for him, obviously.”

Auburn native Jeremy Morin recorded a pair of assist in his first home Crunch game.

“I think our line had a little thing going, and we tried to build off yesterday,” Morin said. “We had a goal yesterday and we thought we could get a few tonight.”

Darcy opened the scoring 2:14 into the game when he chipped in a rebound after Letourneau-Leblond drove to the front of the net with the puck. Gourde scored 6:30 later on a backhander from the slot to give the Crunch a two-goal lead.

“Even last night, we started very well,” Gourde said. “That definitely helped us going through the game. The only thing is we have to keep pushing the same way for 60 minutes. We start every period pretty hard, we just have to finish the same way we started.”

Jordan Szwarz cut Syracuse’s lead to 2-1 before the first intermission.

Halmo restored the two-goal lead with a shot from the top of the slot midway through the second, but Anton Blidh’s shot banked off Blujus and into the back of the Crunch net 2:23 into the third.

The Bruins had surges throughout the third, but the Crunch held on for the win.

“We obviously want to get off to a good start, and we did that last night too,” Morin said. “We let them back in the game again tonight. We have to do a better job of not playing to their pace and dictate the game.”

While Groulx liked most of what he saw, he would like his team to clean up their puck management.

“We turned the puck over too many times in our zone and I didn’t like it,” Groulx said. “We can be better than that in our zone. But overall, I thought we beat a good team tonight. … They’re a fast team and not an easy team to play against. It’s a good win for us.”

Syracuse (4-2-0-0) finishes out the three-in-three weekend with a trip to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Sunday. The Penguins beat the Crunch, 3-1, on Oct. 22.

“We’re pretty confident, but we know that they have a good team and they’re going to come out hard like last weekend,” Gourde said. “We’ve got to be ready for them.”

Pictured: Crunch forward Yanni Gourde celebrates his goal against the Bruins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

For more pictures from the game, visit the BoltProspects Facebook page.

To listen to postgame interviews, go to this SoundCloud page.