In a back and forth contest that saw three lead changes and two ties, the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Utica Comets 7-3, after pulling away in the third period to tie the Galaxy Cup series at 4-4.
T.J. Hensick (0-2-2) and Jon Landry (0-2-2) had multi point games for the Comets, while Joseph LaBate (1-0-1), Carter Bancks (1-0-1), and Alex Friesen (1-0-1) had the Utica goals.
The Comets kicked off the game’s scoring when they took advantage of a power play opportunity 9:02 into the first period. Jon Landry sent a pass to Hensick, who was camped on the right side of the ice. Hensick fired a wrist shot that zipped over the right shoulder of Gudlevskis after be redirected by Joseph LaBate.
The second period saw an uptick in action as things got physical, and the team’s combined for five goals in an 8:39 stretch.
Bancks extended the Utica lead to 2-0, 5:11 into the second period. Hensick threw a pass across the crease to Bancks, who was stationed on the goal line. Bancks squeezed a shot through the legs of Gudlevskis for his 14th goal of the season.
The Comets appeared to have all the momentum, and a power play, after Luke Witkowski viciously jumped an unsuspecting Jon Landry and found himself in the sin bin for 12 minutes. However, appearances can be deceiving and the game’s momentum took a giant swing in the visitor’s favor.
While short-handed, the Crunch cut the Comets lead to 2-1. After an offensive miscue on the power play, Matthew Peca sent a pass to Joel Vermin who got free on a breakaway and fired a shot past Joe Cannata.
Syracuse tied it just two minutes later on a goal when Cameron Darcy stole the puck from Joe Cannata behind the net and deposited it into the vacated net.
Just 58 seconds later, the Crunch took their first lead of the night. Syracuse worked the puck around in the Comets zone before Vermin rifled a shot that beat the stick of Cannata.
Three minutes after that the Comets stormed right back and knotted the game 3-3. On the power play, Grenier one-timed a shot on net that was turned aside by Gudlevskis, but Friesen was there to clean it up off the rebound to tie the game at three.
Syracuse dominated the third period to the tune of 16-5 in shots, and 4-0 in goals. Adam Erne got the visiting team going after he streaked down the slot and redirected Daniel Walcott’s centering feed past Cannata.
1:38 later Henri Ikonen extended the Crunch lead to 5-3 when he finished off a Tanner Richard pass as Cannata was pushed to the back of the net. Jeff Tambellini added two more to the Crunch’s tally, one being an empty net goal, to cap off the game’s scoring.
Utica finished with 28 shots on goal, and the Crunch had 31 shots. Cannata had 24 saves for Utica, and Gudlevskis saved 25 shots for Syracuse.
With the loss, Utica fell to 35-24-7-4, while the crunch improve to 31-27-10-3.
The Comets return to The AUD for a tilt against the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night. Puck drop is slated for 7pm.