Crunch's Rally Falls Short in Shootout Loss to Wolf Pack

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believed his team deserved a better result.

The Crunch overcame a slow start and tied the score in the third after trailing by two, but the Hartford Wolf Pack prevailed in the shootout, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“The first period we weren’t doing many things right. I don’t think we had our legs and it seemed we were sluggish a little bit. Second, like I mentioned, you take two goals like that and it’s tough to recover right away. I thought we did that in the third,” Groulx said. “We had a very good third period, good overtime and we ended up losing in a shootout.”

Crunch rookie Mathieu Joseph registered a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup, while Carter Verhaeghe had a pair of helpers. Mitchell Stephens and Alexander Volkov each scored once, while Anthony Cirelli and Olivier Archambault each had an assist.

“I felt good. I mean it took me a little bit in the first to get used to the pace again and get into game shape like we say,” Joseph said. “I think I felt pretty good out there.”

Syracuse goalie Connor Ingram made 12 saves on 15 shots before being pulled 7:03 into the second period. Eddie Pasquale made six saves in the final 37:42.

Hartford net minder Alexander Georgiev finished with 43 saves for the victory.

“Eddie came in, and we started skating better and we scored that goal late in the period and had a very good third period,” Groulx said. “It’s disappointing. I think we deserved another point, but their goalie was extremely solid and that’s the difference in the game.”

Adam Tambellini opened the scoring midway through the first period and the Wolf Pack took a 1-0 lead into intermission. Volkov evened the scoring 1:04 into the second period, but Filip Chytil put Hartford back ahead 10 seconds later.

Ryan Gropp added to the Wolf Pack’s lead before the midway point of the middle stanza, but Stephens cut the Crunch’s deficit to one with 17 seconds left in the frame.

Joseph netted the game-tying goal with 12 minutes remaining, and despite Syracuse outshooting Hartford 15-5 in the third and 5-1 in overtime, the game went to a shootout.

Tambellini put Hartford ahead in the first round. Verhaeghe evened the score in the first half of the third round, but Gropp ended the game on the next shot.

Syracuse (26-17-2-3) hosts Laval Saturday before wrapping up the three-in-three weekend with a trip to Bridgeport Sunday.

“You want to take as much positive as possible from this game,” Joseph said. “I don’t think we played a bad game in general. We were all over them, and like I said, credit to their goalie. He was unbelievable. … Both goalies tonight made some good saves. Some tough breaks, and that’s what happened.

“For sure, we have to bring that momentum the next two games this weekend. It’s a big three-in-three for us. We got a point here — that’s the positive thing — but for sure, we want the win tomorrow.”

Pictured: Crunch goalie Connor Ingram makes a shoulder save against the Wolf Pack at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

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

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