SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Dmitry Korobov’s shorthanded goal midway through the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Syracuse Crunch edged the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 3-2, at Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter to tie the Eastern Conference Final at one game apiece.
Looking to even up the series, Syracuse owned the first period of play, outshooting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 15-1. The Crunch did not break through until there were 64 seconds left in the period as, while skating on the power play, Dan Sexton gathered a loose puck in front of Brad Thiessen and flipped it inside the left post.
The Crunch went up, 2-0, at 7:07 of the second frame when Thiessen came over to make an acrobatic stop on the near post on a back door one-timer from Matt Toarmina. The puck popped over the goaltender’s shoulder and took a fortuitous bounce across the goal line.
Just over a minute later, the Penguins got on the board during a 5-on-4 advantage on just their second shot of the game. A faceoff win by Trevor Smith came back to the point for defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who quickly slid the puck to Joey Mormina for a seeing-eye wrister that found its way past Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton soon hopped on the power play once again looking to tie the game, but it was Syracuse retaking its two-goal edge as Korobov sneaked a puck over the blocker of Thiessen with a snap shot from the near circle.
During 4-on-4 play in the third period, Riley Holzapfel pulled the Penguins with one with 5:58 remaining in regulation, digging a puck out of a tangle of bodies in front the Syracuse crease and depositing his fourth goal of the postseason into the open net.
A last-gasp effort by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the extra attacker would be unable to notch the equalizer. Thiessen saw his five-game winning streak come to an end as he made 34 saves on 37 shots.
Desjardins made 16 stops for the Crunch to go to 8-1 in the playoffs.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will host Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday, May 29 and Friday, May 31. Tickets for the Eastern Conference Finals are available starting at just $15, and can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, through TicketMaster.com, or by calling the Penguins at 208-7367.