By Jeremy Houghtaling
The game turned quickly.
Having shut down eight previous Adirondack Phantom power plays, the Syracuse Crunch clung to a 3-2 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Brayden Schenn capitalized on a 6-on-3 with 1:02 left in regulation with Cal Heeter pulled from the Phantoms' net to tie the game and Brandon Manning found the back of the net on a 5-on-3 14 seconds into overtime as Adirondack stunned Syracuse with a 4-3 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday afternoon.
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the overtime loss. He's struggled in his past couple of starts and currently checks in with a horrific .824 save percentage. Ouch.
SYR Connolly, (3) (Conacher), 8:21 (PP)
ADK McGinn, (2) (Syvret, Schenn), 1:07
ADK McGinn, (3) (Schenn, Mangene), 8:45
SYR Killorn, (1) (Palat), 13:31
SYR Killorn, (2) (Taormina), 14:01 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (4) (Couturier, Gustafsson), 18:58 (PP)
ADK Manning, (2) (Schenn, Couturier), 0:14 (PP)
Alex Killorn (pictured) was named the game's second star. I got a question on the message boards about Alex Killorn's quiet start. Two goals and six points in his first seven games is nothing to sneeze at. On the list of things that concern me about the start of this season, J.T. Brown getting nicked up and Richard Panik having his photograph on the side of a milk carton rate quite a bit higher.
Syracuse came within 1:02 if taking a win against an Adirondack team that, on paper, looks to be one of the better teams in the conference. I liked the start, with Brett Connolly cashing a check he wrote in his interview after yesterday's game, and I liked Killorn bringing the team back after surrendering the lead in the first half of the second period. But, they got back on their heels a bit in the third period and didn't quite get that one more big save they needed. Welcome to the lockout version of the AHL, boys. You're going to have to up your game when protecting a lead when 1/4 of Adirondack's roster was playing in Flyers jerseys last year.
The rematch goes down Friday night in Adirondack.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Fruitless on four previous power play attempts, the Syracuse Crunch found themselves with a two-man advantage for nearly two full minutes early in the third period Saturday.
"I had a few chances last night and tonight," Connolly said. "It's always nice to see the puck go in the net."
Despite the large void the NHL lockout created, the hockey season is already long underway. Various amateur and professional leagues throughout North America and Europe have wrapped up their preseasons and are set to begin or are already in the thick of regular season action.
The Lightning's new AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, open their 2012-2013 season tonight with an impressive roster that boasts the nucleus of last season's Calder Cup-winning roster and an infusion of talent with varying professional experience: (J.T. Brown, Brett Connolly, Danick Gauthier, Riku Helenius, Dmitry Korobov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Jared Nightingale, Matt Taormina and J.T. Wyman). In the absence of big-league action, watching much of the (currently foreseeable) lifeblood of the Lightning's future skate and bond together is a much-welcomed tonic.
Alex Killorn (pictured) had 3 goals and 1 assist to lead Syracuse to a 6-5 overtime victory over St. John's. Richard Panik also had a multi-point game with 1 goal and 1 assist, as did Mark Barberio with a pair of assists, including 1 on Ondrej Palat's overtime winner. Reigning AHL MVP Cory Conacher also had a goal and J.T. Brown and Keith Aulie added single helpers.
Dustin Tokarski was between the pipes for the Crunch.
Syracuse completes its preseason 3-0-0, sweeping the IceCaps, and moves on to Rochester where they'll face the Americans on opening night of the regular season on Friday.
Game story from syracusecrunch.com.