Sometimes, you look at a game on paper, and it should be a blowout in one direction. Well, somebody forgot to tell that to the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night. Gutted by call-ups, the Crunch rolled into Allentown with a roster pieced together with ECHL veterans, while skating just 10 Forwards and six Defensemen.
Kevin Lynch tallied a goal and two assists, Mike McKenna made 44 saves and former Phantom Tye McGinn (pictured) notched the winner in overtime as the Crunch came from behind to edge Lehigh Valley 5-4 at the PPL Center on Wednesday night.
Syracuse nearly got on the board just 25 seconds into the opening frame when another former Phantom, Adam Comrie, was stoned by Alex Lyon from the top of the slot. Reece Willcox was stopped by Mckenna on a two on one minutes later, and then Syracuse got on the board. After taking a hit in the corner, Joel Vermin popped a puck to Lynch. Lynch then found Slater Koekkoek wide open at the top of the left circle, and he beat Lyon inside the left post for his second of the season.
The goal seemed to energize Syracuse, who carried play for the rest of the period. Jonathan Racine hit the right post with just under six minutes left, and then less than a minute later, McGinn would hit the crossbar. The latter play was given a lengthy review that showed it did not go in.
The Phantoms started the second period on a power play after John Kurtz took a tripping call late in the first, but they were unable to capitalize on it. It was actually Kurtz who would wind up gapping the lead to two just moments later. Lyon made a save on a Ben Thomas shot from just inside the blue line. Lyon couldn’t corral the rebound, and Kurtz found the puck laying in the crease while falling over the top of Lyon.
From that point on in the second, it was all Lehigh Valley, who would end up with an incredible 21 shots in the frame to a meager four for Syracuse. Radel Fazleev got his sixth of the season a few minutes after the Kurtz goal, taking a pretty tap pass from Nicolas Aube-Kubel and beating McKenna off the left post from the top of the slot.
Danick Martel would tie the game at 12:15 on the power play. With Racine off for holding, McDonald made a spinning backhand pass from behind the net to the second year pro in the slot, and he buried it. Mark Zengerle got the secondary assist.
Exactly one minute later, Andy Miele gave the Phantoms the lead, finishing off a diagonal cross-zone feed from Chris Conner on the power play. T.J. Brennan’s secondary assist on the goal gave him the points lead among AHL Defensemen.
McKenna stopped Lehigh Valley’s Cole Bardreau on a breakaway 25 seconds into the third, and both teams were off and running. The Crunch tied the game 26 seconds after a power play ended when Kevin Lynch finished off a behind-the-net pass from Mike McNamee at the far post.
Lehigh Valley appeared to seal the victory with just over two minutes left when Martel struck for his second of the game and 18th of the season, deflecting a Mark Alt shot through McKenna.
The Problem for Lehigh Valley was that the Crunch weren’t having any of it.
Matt Taormina put a shot through a screen and Lyon’s five-hole exactly one minute later to send the game to overtime. Lynch got the lone assist, and the goal set up McGinn’s heroics in the extra session.
Just after Conner was stopped up on a two on one, McGinn took a shot from the right wing, beating Lyon just inside the far post, securing the extra point for the visitors.
Notes: Despite the loss. Lehigh Valley closed to within three points of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who they face in a home and home Friday and Saturday.
3) SYR-Mike McKenna (44 Saves)
2) LV-Danick Martel (2 Goals)
1) SYR-Kevin Lynch (Goal, 2 Assists)