Crunch Drop Season Opener in Wilkes-Barre
Crunch Drop Season Opener in Wilkes-Barre
Wilkes-Barre, PA (October 3, 2009) – The Syracuse Crunch fell to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight, 4-2, in front of 7,147 fans at Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
After the glitz and glamour of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s opening night festivities faded and the game got underway, the Crunch came out and took it to the Baby Pens in the early going, controlling much of the play and keeping the puck in their offensive zone for a good amount of time.
The Crunch controlling the early play was due to the fact that they earned the first three power plays of the game. Syracuse , however, could not convert and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender John Curry stopped all seven shots the Crunch threw at him in the first.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped out to a 1-0 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Defenseman Chris Lee collected the puck at the left point and sent a wrister towards the net. Battling David Liffiton in front, Wyatt Smith was able to get a stick on it and redirected the disk past a screened Kevin Lalande.
After feeling each other out in the first frame, the Crunch and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened things up in the second, combining for four goals.
Keven Veilleux put the Penguins up 2-0 just two minutes into the period, burying a goal-mouth feed at the top of the crease from Zach Sill.
The Crunch scored their first goal of the season to cut their deficit in half just under five minutes later on the power play. Newly named captain Derek MacKenzie got the puck to rookie defenseman Brent Regner at the point. Regner floated a wrist shot towards the cage that was nicely redirected by Pascal Pelletier past Curry to make it 2-1.
The Baby Pens took the lead back at the 12:57 mark with a man-advantage goal of their own when Smith tallied his second of the game by tapping in a cross-ice feed on the left side of the crease from Chris Connor.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s second two-goal lead of the game did not last long, as Alexandre Picard roofed the puck over Curry after a goal mouth scramble just 18 seconds later. Pelletier and Regner picked up the assists on the tally.
Both teams had late power play opportunities in the period, but could not convert. Shots favored Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by a 23-21 margin after two.
The score remained 3-2 until late in the third period when Connor iced the game for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when he came in and held the puck, drawing Lalande down to the ice. Connor’s shot from behind the goal line deflected off Lalande’s outstretched pad and into the back of the net to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the 4-2 lead.
The Crunch pulled Lalande for the extra attacker with about a minute to go, but could not capitalize.
Syracuse travels to Binghamton Friday night before opening its home schedule vs. on Saturday, October 10 vs. Adirondack at the War Memorial at Oncenter.
1. Wyatt Smith (2g, 1a)
2. Chris Connor (1g, 2a)
3. Pascal Pelletier (1g, 1a)
CRUNCHABLES: Chris Higgins, Brock McBride and Brent Regner all appeared in their first professional games and first games as a member of the Crunch tonight…Jared Aulin, David Liffiton and Dylan Reese all skated in their first games as a member of the Crunch tonight…Regner picked up his first professional point and registered his first multi-point game as a professional with a two-assist effort…Alexandre Picard’s goal gives him 21 goals in his last 23 regular season games dating back to last season…Center Derek MacKenzie was named the 11th captain in Crunch history prior to tonight’s game.
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