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Filatov Helps Propel Crunch Past Toronto

March 29, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Syracuse Crunch News Release

Toronto, ON (March 29, 2009) - Nikita Filatov tallied twice on the power play in regulation and scored in the shootout to help the Crunch to a huge 4-3 win over Toronto in front of 5,925 fans at Ricoh Coliseum tonight.

With the shootout win, the Crunch move into a tie for the North Division's final playoff spot. Syracuse and Toronto are now tied in points (82), but the Crunch have the edge in wins with 38, compared to Toronto's 36. Each team has five games remaining in its regular season schedule.

After scoring two minutes into the game last night, the Crunch wanted to get on the board quickly again and Filatov helped Syracuse do just that.

A Joe Ryan high-sticking infraction set up the goal, as it put the Crunch on the power play 30 seconds into the game.

Dan Spang's point shot was knocked down in front of the cage where Craig MacDonald got to the puck and fed Filatov who was planted over on the left side of the cage.

Filatov made no mistake and picked the top corner on Munro to give the Crunch the early 1-0 lead.

The Crunch lead was short-lived, however, as Toronto leading-scorer Tim Stapleton answered less than a minute later.

Stapleton got a step on the Crunch defense, skated into the offensive zone and wired a shot over the right shoulder of Kevin Lalande to tie the game at 1-1.

Toronto struck again and took a 2-1 lead before the game was three and a half minutes old when Jeremy Williams' slapper from the left point found its way through a screen just six seconds into the Marlies' first power play opportunity of the game.

To cap off a wild first six minutes and 16 seconds of the game, Filatov notched his second of the game and third in two contests, again with the man-advantage.

Derek MacKenzie swatted at a rebound of a Mike York point shot that bounced right over to Filatov, again camped out on the left side of the net. Filatov buried it past Munro to tie the game at 2-2.

The match finally settled down after that and stayed knotted at 2-2 until Toronto captain Ben Ondrus was hauled down on a breakaway by Nick Holden and awarded a penalty shot at the 3:28 mark of the second stanza.

Ondrus skated in slowly, took his time and beat Lalande with a wrister to the glove side to give Toronto back the lead at 3-2.

Syracuse once again tied it, tallying their third power play marker of the game three minutes after Ondrus' goal.

Grant Clitsome hit Mike Blunden up the ice with a pass, springing him in on a breakaway.

Blunden's initial shot was stopped by the left pad of Munro, but the Toronto native followed up the bid and stuffed his own rebound into the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3.

Shots favored the Marlies 21-19 after the first 40 minutes.

After a scoreless third period and overtime, the game headed to a shootout.

Through the first four rounds of the tiebreaker, the Crunch held a 2-1 advantage on goals from Filatov and Maksim Mayorov. MacKenzie was denied by Munro in the fifth round, setting up a chance to win the game if Lalande stopped veteran Bates Battaglia on Toronto's fifth round chance.

Battaglia faked to his forehand but Lalande stayed with him and made the save, securing the win for Syracuse.

CRUNCHABLES: Tonight was the Crunch's 39th road game of the year...Syracuse plays four of its remaining five games at the War Memorial at Oncenter...Mike Blunden has five points (3g, 2a), over his last two games...The Crunch tied a season-high with three power play goals tonight...The Crunch finished their eight games in ten days stretch with a 5-3-0-0 record.

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