Three Quick Strikes in Third Lift Crunch Over Devils

By Jeremy Houghtaling

After being held silent for more than 50 minutes, Syracuse’s offense made a bold statement.

The Crunch wiped away the Devils’ lead by scoring three times in a span of 2:53, as Syracuse rallied past Binghamton, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

The Crunch has now won six straight games.

“I don’t think that was our best effort, but overall, you’ll be happy with the win and the comeback we made showed character,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we were very opportunistic in the third.”

Matthew Peca and Erik Condra each recorded a goal and an assist for Syracuse. Carter Verhaeghe scored once, while Mathieu Joseph, Gabriel Dumont, Alexander Volkov and Daniel Walcott each collected an assist.

Connor Ingram made 25 saves for the win.

Nick Lappin scored on a 2-on-1 to open the scoring for Binghamton midway through the first period. The Devils outshot the Crunch 9-7 in the first and 14-5 in the second, and kept Syracuse’s power play 0-or-4.

“It’s always frustrating when you’re getting chances but they’re just not going in. It’d be a different situation if we were all out of sorts,” Peca said. “Obviously, we have some things to work on, but it’s nice to see those go in.”

Jacob MacDonald added to the Devils’ lead with a power play goal from the point 7:49 into the second, but it was all Crunch from there.

With Syracuse on a 5-on-3, Peca broke into the zone and wired a shot past Binghamton goalie Ken Appleby’s glove. Verhaeghe netted the equalizer from the right wing circle on the power play 1:11 later.

Less than two minutes later Walcott made a behind the back feed to Peca, who fanned on the shot but was able to make a cross pass to Condra. The Crunch captain quickly flicked it into the wide-open net.

“I think it goes to show that when we play 60 minutes, we’re a dangerous team,” Peca said. “Like I said, the first two periods weren’t great and we came out in the third period a little hungrier with a little more attitude. That’s the type of mentality we need to have for a full 60.”

Syracuse has also beaten Charlotte, Rochester, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Toronto during its winning streak. All are in playoff positions in their respective divisions.

“Streaks are normally about the way you play and the schedule you’re facing,” Groulx said. “If you look at our schedule, our last seven games were against the top teams in the league. We found a way to win those games and tonight, against a Bingo team that was working from the first to the last minute, we had to battle hard.”

Syracuse (35-18-2-3) hosts Laval on Saturday. Syracuse’s game plan is to continue with how it played late in the game Friday.

“Continue what we did in the third,” Condra said. “Just play like we know how. Every game matters now with seeding and jostling and everything.”

Pictured: Crunch captain Erik Condra battles for the puck with a Devils defenseman at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

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