January 2, 2018 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Syracuse Crunch
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Ben Thomas scored the game-winner in the 11-round shootout to lift the Syracuse Crunch over the Utica Comets, 3-2, tonight at the War Memorial Arena.
Alexander Volkov opened scoring in the first period and netted his second of the game in the third period to force overtime. The rookie forward also netted one in the first round of the shootout, followed by Mathieu Joseph in the fourth round and Adam Erne in the eighth. The win advances the Crunch to 17-12-1-2 on the season and moves Syracuse to 2-2-0-0 in the 12-game season series against Utica.
Connor Ingram recorded the win, turning aside 15 shots and going 8-for-11 in the shootout. Thatcher Demko stopped 39-of-41 shots and turned aside 7-of-11 shooters. Syracuse was unable to convert on four power play opportunities, but stopped both of Utica's man-advantages.
The Crunch struck first at the 9:59 mark of the opening frame. Carter Verhaeghe chipped the puck ahead and chased it down the left boards. He gained control in the bottom of the circle and chipped a centering feed for Volkov to bury a one-timer from the slot. Reid McNeill tallied the secondary assist.
The Comets evened the score with 4:19 remaining in the first period. Darren Archibald Shoveled the puck out from between the circles for Michael Carcone to net all alone from the right hash marks. Guillaume Brisebois earned a helper on the play.
Utica took the lead late in the middle stanza when Marco Roy found a lane through traffic to beat Ingram five-hole from the right point with the help of Jalen Chatfield.
Volkov potted his second of the game at the 5:28 mark of the third period. Anthony Cirelli won a battle along the boards and tapped the puck out to Mathieu Joseph. He backhanded a feed to the left faceoff dot for Volkov to send home with a quick release.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout. Volkov put the Crunch on top in the first round when he went top shelf with a backhander, but Archibald evened it up in the second round. Joseph and Philip Holm kept both sides alive in the fourth round, followed by Adam Erne and Cole Cassels going back-to-back in the eighth. Thomas flipped a backhander over Demko in the 11th round and Ingram sealed the victory with a final kick-save on Utica's last shooter.
The Crunch travel to face the Binghamton Devils tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.
Single game tickets and packages are on sale now and can be purchased in person at the Crunch office located inside the War Memorial Arena at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse, by calling the office at 315-473-4444.
Crunchables: Carter Verhaeghe leads the league with an 11-game scoring streak (4g, 10a)...The last time the Crunch went 11 rounds in a shootout was Dec. 18, 2013 against the Hershey Bears...Alex Volkov has 11 points in his last eight games (4g, 7a), including two two-goal games...Syracuse limited Utica to a season-low 17 shots on goal.