Third Period Surge Lifts Crunch Over Senators

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse had an emphatic answer to Binghamton’s game-tying goal early in the third period.

The Crunch surged to score three goals in a span of 2:06 and continued to push the Senators to the final horn, as Syracuse beat Binghamton, 4-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“We got scored on — a missed assignment — but we bounced back right away,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we played a strong game tonight. We didn’t give them much. Kristers (Gudlevskis) was very solid when needed. Our (penalty kill) was strong. I thought tonight we were a structured team and we worked hard, and it showed.”

Syracuse’s Yanni Gourde scored twice, Cory Conacher and Erik Condra each added a pair of assists and Daniel Walcott — a defenseman playing forward — notched one goal and one assist.

“We felt good all game,” Walcott said. “We were buzzing around. When they got that goal, it just put a little fire under our butt to go out and get another one. We came out flying and got three quick goals.”

The Crunch’s Mathieu Brodeur rounded out the scoring, while Tye McGinn and Slater Koekkoek each had one helper. Gudlevskis finished with 28 saves for the win.

After a scoreless first, Gourde opened the scoring 6:24 into the second period. Binghamton’s Casey Bailey slid in a rebound to even the score at 1-1 1:52 into the third, but Syracuse’s answer came quickly.

Walcott chipped in a rebound 35 seconds later.

“It was a great play by Condra dragging two guys to him,” Walcott said. “He got a nice shot on net that created a rebound. We knew this guy gave up a lot of rebounds and we tried to exploit that. It just popped out on my stick and I just put it on net.

Gourde’s laser from the right wing circle beat Senators goalie Chris Driedger high blocker, and then Brodeur’s shot from the point had eyes to build up the Crunch’s lead.

“The neutral zone forecheck was set up pretty good. Cory made them turn the puck over and gave it to me,” Gourde said of his goal. “I’m coming, looking around to see if I have Tye McGinn coming wide. I was by myself, so I dragged the puck in and shot it high blocker.”

Even with a three-goal lead, the Crunch continued to pour on the pressure throughout the contest, even when there was some rough stuff near the end.

“We bounced back right away. To me, that’s character,” Groulx said. “We never left our foot off the pedal. We kept the pedal down. I’m very happy with this win.”

Syracuse (29-18-5-5) wraps up the three-in-three weekend with a rematch against the Senators in Binghamton Sunday.

“It’s only one game, but tomorrow I think is going to be a hard-fought battle in their barn,” Groulx said. “For us, it’s a good win because they beat us three times in a row here in our building. It was tough, and tonight is good for our confidence.”

Pictured: Crunch forward Yanni Gourde looks to make a pass against the Senators at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

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

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