BINGHAMTON, NY – The Syracuse Crunch surrendered five power-play goals, including the overtime game-winner, as they fell 6-5 to the Binghamton Senators tonight at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
Brett Connolly and Joey Mormina each scored twice but the Crunch were unable to overcome the Senators power-play which went five-for-seven. Connolly scored the Crunch’s lone power-play marker on four chances and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 14 of 17 shots he faced in relief of Cedrick Desjardins. Senators netminder Andrew Hammond recorded 26 saves on 31 shots faced.
The Crunch picked up an important standings point but will remain fifth in the East Division with 33 points and an overall record of 14-14-2-3. The Crunch are 1-4-2-0 against the East Division leading Binghamton Senators this season.
The Senators opened the scoring 3:34 into the first frame with a goal from Stephane Da Costa. Desjardins initially made a pad save but the Crunch were unable to clear the zone and Da Costa scored giving Binghamton an early 1-0 lead.
The Crunch retaliated at the 5:40 mark with Connolly’s first goal of the game. Connolly extended his point streak to seven games by jamming a Vladislav Namestnikov wrap-around attempt past Hammond. Drew Olson earned his first assist of the season on the play. Syracuse took a 2-1 lead less than a minute later with a goal from Geoff Walker. Mike Angelidis played the puck from behind the goal line to Walker at the right circle, who one-timed it past Hammond.
The Crunch carried their momentum into the second period, scoring just 26 seconds into the frame despite being shorthanded due to a Luke Witkowski interference penalty. Joey Mormina scored on a rebound created by back and forth passing between Evan Rankin and Cedric Paquette.
Binghamton then scored four unanswered power-play goals to give them a 5-3 lead less than two minutes into the third period. The first came from Jim O’Brien on the same Witkowski interference penalty just 47 seconds after Mormina’s goal. Shane Prince scored from the right circle 3:23 into the second period, chasing Desjardins from the game. Desjardins had allowed three goals on 15 shots.
The Senators struck twice while the Crunch were shorthanded due to a five-minute boarding major given to Paquette at the 18:45 mark of the second period. Paquette was also assessed a game misconduct. Cole Schneider found Chris Wideman with a cross-crease pass to put the Senators up 4-3 just 1:16 into the third period. Da Costa split two Crunch defenseman and walked in alone on Gudlevskis to score his second goal of the game and give Binghamton a 5-3 lead.
The Crunch power play converted 8:06 into the third period with Connolly’s second goal of the night. Connolly carried the puck the length of the ice, through the Senators defense and beat Hammond unassisted to cut the Binghamton lead to 5-4. Mormina forced overtime with three minutes to play by scoring on a long, lofty shot from the blue line. Connolly and DiSlavatore were credited with assists.
The Senators began the overtime session with 1:52 of power-play time thanks to a Rankin goaltender interference penalty assessed with eight seconds remaining in regulation. Wideman scored his second goal of the game 1:26 into the overtime period to secure two points for the Senators.
CRUNCHABLES: Brett Connolly has back-to-back three point games…During his seven game scoring streak Connolly has 13 points (6g, 7a)…The Crunch have scored a power-play goal in their last four games…Nine Crunch players registered at least a point tonight…Five power-play goals allowed is a season high…The Crunch entered tonight’s contest with the league’s second best road penalty kill at 90%