SYRACUSE, NY — Brett Connolly scored twice as the Syracuse Crunch held on for a 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears tonight at the Giant Center.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and improve the Crunch to 13-12-1-3 overall and 8-6-1-1 on the road. With the win, the Crunch move ahead of the Bears and are now fourth in the East Division with 30 points. Syracuse holds a 1-0-0-1 record against the Bears this season.
Kristers Gudlevskis made 24 saves for his sixth win of the season while Bears goaltender David Leggio allowed three goals on 24 shots in defeat. The Crunch were unable to convert on five power-play chances but the penalty kill unit was successful on all four Hershey man-advantage opportunities.
Hershey opened the scoring with a goal from Peter LeBlanc. LeBlanc scored after a scramble in front of the net pulled Gudlevskis out of position. Casey Wellman and Dane Byers assisted on the goal. The Bear’s lead was short-lived as Connolly retaliated with his fourth goal of the season just 17 seconds later. Leggio was drawn out of position by a wrap-around attempt from Cedric Paquette who slid the puck cross-crease to Connolly.
Syracuse took the lead with 11:45 to play in the second period. Geoff Walker scored as an extra attacker after an extended delayed penalty drawn by Nikita Nesterov. Tanner Richard played the puck along the goal line from the right side, where Walker jammed it past Leggio for his third goal of the season.
The Crunch took a 3-1 lead on Connolly’s second goal of the game. Connolly’s snap shot from the top of the left circle beat Leggio with 4:53 to play in the second period. Jon DiSalvatore and Paquette were credited with the helpers. Hershey cut the Crunch lead to 3-2 with 6:51 to go in the final frame when Tyson Strachan beat Gudlevskis five hole. Despite a 12-3 shot advantage in the third period the Bears were unable to find the equalizer.