UTICA, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch opened scoring early in the first period and never gave up the lead on their way to a 3-2 victory over the Utica Comets tonight at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Adam Erne netted his third goal in two nights to open scoring for the Crunch in the first period before Yanni Gourde tallied his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the season to make it 2-0. After giving one up to Utica, Joel Vermin scored the eventual game-winner to earn the Crunch four out of a possible six points in their third three-in-three of the season. The win also advances Syracuse to 25-15-4-5 and 4-3-1-0 in the 12-game Galaxy Cup series.
Kristers Gudlevskis earned his second consecutive victory with 39 saves for the Crunch. Thatcher Demko turned aside 14-of-17 between the pipes for the Comets. Syracuse was unable to convert on three power play opportunities, while Utica went 1-for-5 on the man-advantage.
The Crunch were first to score 6:54 into the first period. Mathieu Brodeur fired from the blue line before Erne backhanded the rebound from down low. Slater Koekkoek earned the secondary assist.
Gourde doubled the lead early in the middle frame with a shorthanded marker. He received a pass from Cory Conacher and beat Demko with a wrist shot from the right circle. The goal was his 18th of the season.
The Comets scored on a deflection and cut the lead in half on the power play at the 10:12 mark of the second period. Cody Kunyk’s shot from the left circle was tipped in the blue paint by Borna Rendulic.
Three minutes later, the Crunch regained a two-goal lead. Matthew Peca passed over for Vermin to cut across the slot and flip over Demko’s outstretched leg.
Halfway through the final frame, Andrey Pedan snuck a puck in short side from a sharp angle to pull Utica within one for a second time, but the team was unable to overthrow the Crunch and suffered their fourth lost to Syracuse this season.
The Crunch are back in action when they travel to face the Albany Devils at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Syracuse Crunch single game and ticket packages for the 2016-17 season are on sale now and can be purchased either in person at the Crunch office located in the War Memorial Arena at 800 S. State St. in Syracuse or by calling the office at 315-473-4444. For the latest Crunch news, visit www.syracusecrunch.com or follow the club on Facebook (www.facebook.com/syracusecrunch), Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@syracusecrunch) using #SyrCrunch, #WeAreOne and #BLUnited.
Crunchables: Adam Erne appeared in his 100th Crunch game tonight…Cory Conacher has tied a career-high nine-game points streak (4g, 10a). He has 26 points in the last 19 games.