The Syracuse Crunch were not able to keep their road momentum going this weekend as they dropped two out of three games.
The Crunch went into the weekend with a nine-game road winning streak and had yet to lose a road game in regulation, but that streak ended Friday night at the hands of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Crunch found themselves down 4-1 midway through the third period before cutting the Penguins lead to one with 2:30 left to play, but Syracuse couldn’t find the back of the net in the waning minutes of the game to force overtime. The Penguins added an empty-net goal with just seven seconds remaining to secure the 5-3 victory and hand the Crunch their first regulation road loss of the season.
After a disappointing Friday night, the Crunch traveled to Connecticut to face off with the Whale on Saturday night.
The Crunch endured another three-goal deficit in the third period before the AHL’s leading goal-scorer, Tyler Johnson, lit the lamp and provided a spark for his team. Just six minutes later Richard Panik scored two goals within a minute of each other, tying the game at three and forcing overtime.
With only 47 seconds to play in overtime, Crunch defenseman Mark Barberio beat Whale keeper Cameron Talbot to give Syracuse the 4-3 comeback win.
On Sunday the Crunch traveled to take on division foe, the Binghamton Senators.
The Senators jumped on the board first, but Tyler Johnson’s 15th goal of the season knotted things at one heading into the locker room after the first stanza.
Binghamton came out in the second period with some jump as Stephane Da Costa scored his second goal of the game early in the frame. Binghamton would add another goal before Danick Gauthier found the back of the net, cutting the Senators lead to one heading into the third period.
The back-to-back-to-back set this weekend seemed to have taken a toll on the Crunch’s legs as they were unable to muster anything in the final frame.
The Senators scored two third period goals as Stephane Da Costa completed the hat trick, giving the Senators a 5-2 victory in a pivotal division match-up.
Having played two fewer games than the Crunch, the Senators are only two points back of Syracuse in the East Division standings.
The Crunch power-play was a bit of a concern this weekend as they only converted on one of their 13 power-play opportunities.
Syracuse, who has racked up a league-leading 516 penalty minutes, found themselves in the penalty box a good bit this weekend. Their opponents had 22 power-play opportunities, but the kill was decent as only three of the opponents’ power-plays were cashed-in on.
Richard Panik’s AHL-best 12-game scoring streak was snapped Sunday, as he was held scoreless against Binghamton for the first time this season.
Even with two losses this weekend, the Crunch are still atop the Eastern Conference with 28 points, but in a tie with the Springfield Falcons. The Crunch, 13-5-1-1, own the tie breaker at this point because they have one more win than Springfield.
The Crunch kickoff another back-to-back-to-back weekend set Friday night at home against the Hamilton Bulldogs before they travel to Adirondack on Saturday night to take on the Phantoms. The Crunch wrap-up the weekend when they travel to Bridgeport for a Sunday matinee with the Sound Tigers.
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