November 5, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Syracuse Crunch
LAVAL, QUEBEC - After back-and-forth scoring, Mathieu Joseph netted the equalizer in the third period to force overtime, but the Syracuse Crunch were unable to secure victory and fell to the Laval Rocket, 6-5, in a four-round shootout tonight at Place Bell.
Ben Thomas opened scoring and went on to put up his first multi-goal and three-point game, while Joseph also recorded his first three-point performance by netting his first two professional goals. Despite standout efforts, the Crunch dropped their second straight contest in a shootout and move to 3-5-1-2 on the season.
Goaltender Michael Leighton stopped 20-of-25 shots and 2-of-4 shootout attempts between the pipes for the Crunch. Zachary Fucale earned the win turning aside 32-of-37 and 3-of-4 shootout attempts. Syracuse converted on two of their eight power play opportunities, while Laval was successful on 3-of-7.
The Crunch struck first while on the power play at the 7:27 mark of the opening period. Thomas tipped Alexander Volkov's shot through traffic from the left wing. Anthony Cirelli recorded the secondary helper.
The Rocket evened the score five minutes later during a 5-on-3 advantage. Matt Taormina faked a shot in the slot before sending a one-timer feed for Byron Froese to power home from the left circle.
With 2:31 remaining in the first, Syracuse reclaimed the lead with Joseph's first professional goal. Tye McGinn carried the puck through the neutral zone and passed off to Cirelli at the blue line. The rookie center skated the puck deep before throwing back a centering feed for Joseph to tip in.
The Crunch built a two-goal lead with another power-play tally 4:53 into the middle stanza. Thomas sent the puck to Cirelli at the top of the zone before skating down the left wing. He netted the return feed for his second of the game. Joseph earned a point on the play.
Laval went on a run beginning at the 6:24 mark and potted three consecutive goals to take over the lead. Stefan Leblanc passed along the blue line for Eric Gelinas to score with a slap shot from the right point. Peter Holland earned an assist. Halfway through the frame, Taormina scored on the power play to tie the game. Daniel Audette won the faceoff in the right circle and sent the puck out for the defenseman to light the lamp from between the circles. Just 16 seconds later, Jeremy Gregoire backhanded a feed across the crease for Jakub Jerabek to chip in. Niki Petti posted the secondary assist on the go-ahead goal.
Halfway through the third period, the Crunch knotted the game, 4-4. Dominik Masin sent a long drive from the boards that snuck through traffic and under the crossbar. McGinn and Cory Conacher tallied the assists.
The Rocket went back on top at the 11:24 mark when Audette scored from the slot with the help of Taormina and Froese on the power play, but as soon as the puck dropped at center ice, Joseph gained control and sped down to score on the breakaway and force overtime.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout. Conacher scored five-hole in the second round before Holland went top shelf in the third round to keep Laval alive. Froese then netted the game-winner in the fourth round to lift the Rocket over the Crunch.
Syracuse and Laval will rematch at Place Bell tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Ticket packages for the 2017-18 season 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 or by logging on to Ticketmaster . For the latest Crunch news, visit www.syracusecrunch.com or follow the club on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/syracusecrunch ), Twitter ( @SyracuseCrunch ) and Instagram ( @syracusecrunch ) using #SyrCrunch.
Crunchables: The Crunch have five power-play goals in the last three games...Ben Thomas recorded his first professional three-point game and multi-goal game tonight...Mathieu Joseph scored his first professional goal and put up his first mulit-point game tonight.