Crunch Downed By Devils, 6-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

After putting the Syracuse Crunch on the board with a power play goal early in the second period, Brett Connolly celebrated with an unenthusiastic fist pump.

The goal brought the Crunch back to within three, but the Albany Devils continued to pour on the pressure to hand Syracuse its fourth-straight loss, 6-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"It's a moral victory that we played better tonight than we did last night," Connolly said. "But it's still not good enough."

For Connolly and captain Mike Angelidis, the Crunch's problems revolved around undisciplined play and not clearing out the front of the net. Syracuse committed 12 infractions totaling 40 minutes, and Albany went 1-for-9 with the man-advantage.

The Devils got on the board 3:28 into the first period, when Raman Hrabarenka's point shot found a hole through a crowd in front and ended up in the back of the net.

Adam Larsson had another point shot go through five minutes later, and Alexander Urbom gave Albany a three-goal lead heading into the first intermission.

"It was better than it's been, even though we were scored on more," Angelidis said. "We're taking strides in the right direction. They came out hard and got a good couple point shots with tips in."

Reid Boucher increased Albany's lead to four less than two minutes into the second period, but Connolly's power play goal cut the deficit back to three. Cedric Paquette and Vlad Namestnikov registered the assists.

Darcy Zajac scored midway through the second frame and Mike Sislo further padded the Devils' lead early in the third. Six goals tied a season-high for goals allowed for the Crunch this season.

Syracuse goalie Cedrick Desjardins finished with 22 saves.

"(Desjardins) gives up six goals, but he can't see five of them," Connolly said. "We've got to do a better job boxing guys out."

With less than four minutes remaining, Jonathan Marchessault scored a 5-on-3 goal to round out the Crunch scoring. Connolly and Jon DiSalvatore had the assists.

For Angelidis, there are ups and downs in any season. But this season there seem to be more downs.

"When you get in a rut, it's really hard to get out," said Angelidis, who has captained teams to the Calder Cup Finals the past two seasons. "We're stuck in one right now. It comes from every guy collectively, from everyone who puts the uniform on. We have to get out of this together."

With the chances of making it to the postseason dwindling, Syracuse (24-29-4-6) looks to snap out of its slump when it travels to Glens Falls to take on the Adirondack Phantoms Sunday.

"There's two ways you can go: either pack it in or give it everything you've got," Angelidis said. "This team is going to give it all they've got and play with some heart."

Pictured: Crunch forward Brett Connolly looks to make a pass against the Devils at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.