Crunch Top Checkers, 5-4
SYRACUSE, N.Y. --- The Syracuse Crunch topped the Charlotte Checkers in a back-and-forth affair tonight at Bojangles' Coliseum.
Alex Volkov opened scoring before the Checkers went on a three-goal run to steal the lead. Syracuse then went on a three-goal run of their own with markers from Gemel Smith, Chris Mueller and Ross Colton to take it back. After the Checkers added another to tie the game late in the third, Boris Katchouk potted the game-winner. The victory advances the Crunch to 15-10-2-0 on the season and gives the team their only win in the four-game season series against the Checkers.
Goaltender Mike Condon earned his first win in his first start for the Crunch turning aside 22-of-26 shots. Anton Forsberg stopped 25-of-30 for the Checkers. Syracuse converted on 1-of-6 power play opportunities, while Charlotte was 2-for-3.
The Crunch were first on the board 17 minutes into the game with a power-play goal. Dennis Yan's shot from the left wing was stopped, but the rebound kicked out for Volkov to chip into an open net.
The Checkers quickly responded a minute later. David Gust fired a shot intentionally wide from the right point. The puck ricocheted off the end boards and back out front for Janne Kuokkanen to send home. Jake Bean earned the secondary helper.
Kuokkanen scored his second of the night while on the power play just 27 seconds into the middle frame. After Brian Gibbons tipped Chase Priskie's right-wing shot, the rebound came to Kuokkanen in the left circle. Charlotte built a two-goal lead with another power-play goal at the 8:28 mark when Bean netted a wrister from the high slot. Assists went to Kuokkanen and Priskie.
Syracuse kicked off their three-goal run halfway through the second period when Smith was in front of the net to tip Cameron Gaunce's long left-point shot.
The Crunch added two more 1:24 apart to regain the lead early in the final frame. At 4:13, Mueller skated down the left wing, drove towards the net and jammed the puck in as he cut across the crease. Barre-Boulet and Gaunce earned the assists. Just over a minute later, Cal Foote sent a pass down to Katchouk at the goal line. He backhanded a centering feed for Colton to finish off from between the circles.
At 13:44, the Checkers tied the game again with a shorthanded tally. Gibbons stole a mishandled puck and skated into the zone before dropping it back for Steven Lorentz.
With 2:31 remaining in the game. Katchouk powered home the game-winner. Cory Conacher sped down the left wing and sent back a feed for Katchouk to one-time from the top of the left circle.
The Crunch continue their four-game road trip with a stop in Bridgeport on Wednesday.
Ticket packages and single game tickets for the 2019-20 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 online through 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 scored a power-play goal in five consecutive games...Alex Barre-Boulet and Boris Katchouk both played in their 100th AHL game tonight...Gemel Smith is on a three-game goal scoring streak with five tallies...Cory Conacher is on a six-game points streak (3g, 5a).
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