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Panik's Overtime Game-Winner Lifts the Crunch

April 28, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Syracuse Crunch News Release

Syracuse, NY - Richard Panik's game-winning overtime goal lifted the Crunch over the Portland Pirates 4-3 tonight at the War Memorial Arena to open the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

After falling behind 3-1 the Crunch scored three unanswered goals to take a 1-0 series lead over Portland in their best-of-five first round matchup. The Crunch will host the Pirates again Sunday at 7:30 for Game 2.

Portland struck first with 10:53 gone in the first period. Darian Dziurzynski wrapped around the net and pushed the puck past Cedrick Desjardinswhile falling to put the Pirates up 1-0. Ethan Werek was credited with the lone assist.

With less than three minutes remaining in the first period, David Rundblad doubled the Pirates' lead with a shot from the right circle. Rundblad's power-play goal was assisted by Brandon Gormley and Jordan Martinook.

The American Hockey League MVP, Tyler Johnson, pulled the Crunch to within one with a power-play goal 6:37 into the second period. Panik sent the puck across the front of the crease to Johnson, who was able to slam it past Chad Johnson from the stick side of the net. Ondrej Palat picked up a helper on the play, as well.

Portland regained its two-goal lead less than two minutes later. Chris Brown slid the puck between Dejardins' legs after a pass from behind the net by Andy Miele. Phil Lane also assisted on the goal.

The Crunch again brought the game to within one goal with a five-on-three power-play goal at the 13:32 mark of the second period. Mark Barberio blasted a shot from between the circles to make the score 3-2. Palat and Johnson picked up their second points of the game on the play.

After over seven minutes of scoreless play to open the third period, the Crunch tied the game. Dan Sexton tipped an Andrej Sustr shot past the Portland netminder to bring the game to 3-3. Philip-Michael Devos also assisted on Sexton's goal.

Desjardins made four saves in the third period to hold the Pirates at three goals. After Sexton's goal the Crunch and Pirates finished the period scoreless to take the game into overtime.

Syracuse began the overtime frame with a few close calls that were ruled no goals. Panik then sealed the win for the Crunch with a power-play goal 6:36 into overtime. Boris Valabik was assessed a five minute major penalty and a ten minute game misconduct for elbowing Brett Connolly. With 1:59 left on the Valabik penalty, Panik brought the puck across the crease and beat Chad Johnson from the blocker side. Palat and Johnson found their names on the scoresheet for the third time of the game with assists on the game-winning goal.

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