After allowing a pair of power play goals in the first 16 minutes, the Syracuse Crunch searched for momentum.
A big fight at the end of the first period, a penalty shot at the beginning of the second and line juggling provided sparks that were quickly snuffed out.
But after Syracuse netted two goals in the first five minutes of the third, the Crunch came alive. Syracuse scored four unanswered goals in the final frame to stun the Norfolk Admirals, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"There were times during the game, like after the (Jonathan) Marchessault goal and after the (Eric) Neilson fight, like we had the momentum, but we let it slip away," said Crunch forward Dalton Smith, who finished with a pair of goals. "That third (period), we didn't let it slip away."
Turning point of the early season?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the win. He wasn't good, and gave up a couple of questionable goals. But, the Crunch had his back in the Third Period tonight.
NOR Theodore, (2) (Wagner, Sarault), 5:47 (PP)
NOR Theodore, (3) (Winchester), 15:10 (PP)
SYR Marchessault, (5) , 6:15 (PS)
NOR Leblanc, (2) (Sarault, Kerdiles), 15:32
NOR Blacker, (1) (Steckel, O'Brien), 17:29
SYR Smith, (3) (Angelidis, Koekkoek), 3:51
SYR Gourde, (1) (Richard), 4:32
SYR Smith, (4) (Cote, Blujus), 14:38
SYR Gourde, (2) (Richard, Paradis), 15:23
Yanni Gourde, Dalton Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault were the game's three stars. Gourde gets the monkey off his back in a big way after not potting a goal all season by getting 2, including the game winner.
Being down 3 goals in the Third Period in pro hockey is supposed to be a death sentence. Teams in that position seem to lose 98-99% of the time. It's a rare and sometimes galvanizing thing if a team can come back against those odds, and a hugely demoralizing thing to the team that blows that kind of lead. So, for Syracuse to overcome those odds tonight is no small thing, and is likely to give them some momentum as a team that they can carry forward from here on out into the season. Big, big win.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out the role Tanner Richard played in the comeback, as the next wave of Lightning prospects starts to step it up.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch had a pair of leads, but let them slip away.
Syracuse went ahead with a goal early in the third period, but the Norfolk Admirals evened the score with a shorthanded goal and scored two minutes into overtime to win, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"Hockey is pretty simple," said Crunch assistant captain Jean-Philippe Cote. "At this level, if you just tip toe and try to not take a hit to make a play, the other team is going to make you suffer the consequences. That's what happened tonight."
Joel Vermin has put last year behind him.
The Crunch forward, who finished with a disappointing 18 points in 49 games with Bern of the Swiss A-League, has found a role on one of Syracuse's top lines and registered six points in his first nine games this season.
"Last year was last year," Vermin said. "I don't really think about that too much. It was a learning process for me."
For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, a leader doesn't have to be the loudest one on the ice.
Case in point: Crunch assistant captain and frequent Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette.
A player known for his high compete level, Paquette has registered seven points in five games with the Crunch and has developed into a quality depth player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who recalled the second-year pro on Tuesday.
"I like what he brings to the table on the ice," Zettler said of the 21-year-old forward. "His work ethic in practice, his work ethic in a game -- it doesn't change. That's what I like about him, and that's why he has an A on his sweater. You don't always have to be a loud or a vocal guy to be a leader."