Crunch Allow Two Shorthanded Goals in Loss to Senators

By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, it was a little bit of everything going wrong.

The Crunch struggled to finish on their offensive chances — including a pair of breakaways in the first period — and allowed two shorthanded goals from the Senators, as Syracuse fell to Binghamton, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“I thought it was one of those nights. Nothing worked for us tonight,” Groulx said. “Our centermen got killed in the faceoff circle. Our power play didn’t do the job. Our defensemen tonight struggled to move the puck. We didn’t have much speed.”

Jeremy Morin led the Crunch offense with a goal and an assist. Yanni Gourde also scored, while Tanner Richard, Daniel Walcott and Cory Conacher each had one assist. Kristers Gudlevskis recorded 19 saves.

The Crunch finished with a 36-23 advantage in shots on goal, but Senators netminder Matt O’Connor finished with 34 saves for the win.

“Their goalie played pretty well,” Syracuse alternate captain Matt Taormina said. “We should have had a few more goals. We had a lot of good opportunities, but he saw a lot of them too. When there was a rebound, we weren’t really there to put it in the net.”

Although the Crunch’s lineup has been hit hard by injuries and callups — the team iced four players currently signed to professional tryouts and have a defenseman playing as a forward — Groulx said that was not an excuse.

“For us, we don’t look at our situation like that,” Groulx said. “We look at the players we have, and we expect them to get the job done.”

The Senators’ Alex Krushelnyski opened the scoring 2:40 into the contest when he won a one-on-one battle and slid the puck past Gudlevskis on his backhand.

“I think we didn’t execute off the bat,” Morin said. “They got that first goal, we fell behind and we weren’t winning our battles. We were chasing the puck all night.”

Morin netted the equalizer less than six minutes later. The Crunch forward rocketed a shot to the high gloves side shortly after a faceoff.

Phil Varone put Binghamton back in front with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway with 2:25 left in the second period, and added another 10:31 into the third.

“We can’t afford to have something like that happen, especially one and we gave up two of them,” Taormina said. “It’s unacceptable on the power play.”

Gourde scored on a deflection when the Crunch pulled Gudlevskis for an extra attacker with 2:53 remaining, but Max McCormick’s empty-netter in the final minute sealed the win for the Senators.

Syracuse (20-11-3-5) looks to bounce back when it hosts Utica Saturday. The Crunch hope to do a better job finishing to get two points against a division rival.

“We need to do a better job — I need to do a better job — of burying our chances,” Morin said. “We know that. It’s just a matter of getting it done. We just have to keep shooting, keep working and try to get two points tomorrow.”

Pictured: Crunch forward Jeremy Morin rushes the puck up the ice against the Senators at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

For more pictures from the game, visit the BoltProspects Facebook page.

To listen to postgame interviews, go to this SoundCloud page.