Every time the Crunch gained ground, the Pirates stole the momentum.
Portland answered Syracuse goals within a minute in both the first and second period, as the Pirates topped the Crunch, 5-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"They did a good job of striking right after we scored, and that's unacceptable," said Syracuse captain Mike Angelidis. "We can't let that happen, not twice."
Like many times before, Yanni Gourde turned on the jets.
The Syracuse Crunch forward accepted the relay pass from Vlad Namesntikov in stride at the blue line, stormed in alone on Utica goalie Pat Nagle, and netted the eventual game-winning power play goal in a 4-1 victory Saturday.
Gourde, riding a six game point streak, is using his speed to his advantage to be one of the Crunch's top scoring threats this season.
“(Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis) makes a great play to pass it up to him to give him a breakaway, but no defenseman is going to catch him there because of his speed,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “He just needs to continue to use that. When he is successful, that’s what he does.”
Kristers Gudlevskis bounced back.
The Crunch goalie, one night after being pulled in a 7-6 loss to Albany, registered 38 saves and an assist on the game-winning power play goal to lift Syracuse over the Utica Comets, 4-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"It's a new game, that's history and move on," Gudlevskis said of the game Friday. "Most important was to bounce back from yesterday."
Gudlevskis gets his groove back.
One night removed from allowing 7 goals, Kristers Gudlevskis allowed just 1 goal on 39 shots to lead the Crunch to the win. Streakiness, thy name is Kristers Gudlevskis.
SYR Richard, (8) (Deschamps, Koekkoek), 6:24
UTI Shinkaruk, (7) (Blain, Huskins), 14:01 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (21) (Namestnikov, Gudlevskis), 7:45 (PP)
SYR Richard, (9) (Blujus, Ashton), 8:27
SYR Marchessault, (16) (Koekkoek, Namestnikov), 17:49 (EN)
Don't look now, but first rounder Slater Koekkoek is starting to pick up some steam with 6 helpers in his last 5 games, including back-to-back 2 helper nights. He's also +6 over that span.
Syracuse sits 1 point behind Hershey now for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Syracuse tied the score three times and briefly led in the second period, but Albany's special teams play proved to be too much.
The Devils went 4-for-5 with the man-advantage and added a shorthanded marker in the third, as Albany powered past the Syracuse Crunch, 7-6, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
While Crunch head coach Rob Zettler saw some things he liked, the overall game was frustrating.
"We have work to do," Zettler said of the Crunch, who sit in first place in the Northeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference. "We're not where we want to be in a lot of ways, but the bottom line is we continue to work hard and continue to compete. We just have to clean up some of the mess in front of our net and some of the discipline."