Syracuse Crunch withstood a furious third period attack and survived clinging to a 3-2 win over the visiting Binghamton Senators. A surprised start from rookie goaltender Matt O'Connor (4-15-2-0, 3.70 GAA, 0.877 SV%) as he was shaky in the opening 20 minutes, before he settled down after giving up three goals on nine shots. But by then the damage was already done as Binghamton (21-30-3-0) couldn't get any closer despite outplaying the Crunch after the first period was completed.
Syracuse (21-22-9-2) opened up the scoring just a little over a minute in as forward Matthew Peca swayed the puck by O'Connor after taking a backhand pass from Tye McGinn for his fifth of the season. But Danny Hobbs would get revenge shortly after, as his wrist shot from the left circle went under Syracuse netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy's glove that made it a 1-1 game.
The Crunch would then regain the lead with one that O'Connor should've had, as defenseman Slater Koekkoek's one-timer ripped into the mesh after a sloppy turnover from Chris Carlisle. Minutes later, Syracuse rookie defenseman Anthony DeAngelo's rink-wide pass over to Mike Angelidis was on the mark as he directed a shot that caromed off the post for a 3-1 lead, as O'Connor had two Crunch players on either side of him causing a distraction.
Just a sloppy, opening first period of play for Binghamton, but things would get slightly better as the game wore on.
In the middle frame Sens had their chances but too many passes and not enough pucks to the net that cost the team on many occasions. Finally, they got it right as defenseman Michael Kostka forced a shot from the blueline that caught the stick of Buddy Robinson down low and past Vasilevskiy. That goal would be Robinson's 13th, two shy of his career high of 15 two seasons ago.
With momentum and determination leading the way, Binghamton came close on capitalizing in the final 20 minutes, as several pucks inched their way close to the goal line but sent wide. Eric O'Dell, Matt Puempel and Cole Schneider stood out on the offensive side with significant opportunities, but the Crunch would survive for only their second win in their last 12 outings.
POST GAME NOTES
- Conor Allen went back playing defense while Mike Sdao sat out.made a return ahead of schedule tonight after missing the last 12 games due to a hip injury and didn't look out of place, finishing with a game high 8 shots. He was inserted on the second line kicking Buddy Robinson down to the third line. His return to the forward line-up also meant
- O'Connor with his third straight start while Chris Driedger was in the midst of getting hot winning his last three games. After losing 3-1 in Toronto on Wednesday, I fully expected Driedger to get the nod. Perhaps Ottawa wants him to get some games in, but he didn't look ready in tonight's loss. He finished with 21 saves.
- Binghamton had some fight in them after a slow start, but couldn't finish the deed on hand. One thing that was noticeably absent was the power play as terrible as it was finishing 0 for 4 with little pressure and organization. On the other hand, the team was whistled for just one penalty.
The two rivals go right back at it with a bounce back tilt on Sunday in Bingo. Then the club is off until next weekend with two home games on Friday (Hershey) and Saturday (Lehigh Valley).