Crunch Comeback Falls Short, Monsters Win 4-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Less than two minutes after the Syracuse Crunch squandered a golden opportunity, the Lake Erie Monsters made them pay.

The Crunch, unable to take the lead with a five minute power play in the third period, allowed the Monsters to score the game-winner on an ensuing man-advantage, losing its third straight, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"It's one of those games where didn't capitalize when we should have," said Crunch captain Mike Angelidis.

"The bottom line is that they scored on their power play and we didn't score on ours," Angelidis added. "The special teams lost the game for us, I guess."

For the fourth straight game, the Crunch gave up the first two goals. Paul Carey jammed home a rebound less than four minutes into the second, and Thomas Pock's shot found the back of the net five minutes later.

"We've got to work on our starts," Angelidis said. "Even if we come out with a good couple shifts, we find we're trailing a lot."

Less than 30 seconds later, Ondrej Palat scored his first of two goals on the night to bring the Crunch back to within one. The assists on his first marker went to Brett Connolly and Radko Gudas.

"Connolly chipped it to me, I went around the net and shot blocker side," Palat said.

Palat struck again with less than four minutes remaining in the second, capitalizing on a feed from Tyler Johnson with the Crunch on the penalty kill.

With the score knotted at two apiece midway through the third, Syracuse was awarded a five-minute power play when Cameron Gaunce was given a major and a game misconduct for boarding Kyle Wilson.

After the Crunch failed to capitalize, falling to 0-for-3 with the man-advantage, the Monsters' Bill Thomas scored a power play goal with three minutes remaining. Joel Chouinard iced the Lake Erie victory with an empty-netter at the buzzer.

"We had a chance to score the third goal, the winning goal, and we didn't," Palat said. "We have to get better on the PP. We have to work on that this week."

Crunch goalie Riku Helenius finished with 19 saves, while the Monsters' Calvin Pickard had 29.

A team that is certainly not used to losing streaks, Syracuse (24-10-2-3) has until next Friday against Binghamton to stew over the loss.

"It's a bad feeling for sure," Palat said.

"We've got to get back to doing everything right to win," Angelidis said.

Pictured: Crunch forward Eric Neilson drives to the front of the Monsters net at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.