Crunch Take Game Two, Even Series 1-1

Sunday, May 26, 2013
Tonight in Game Two, the Syracuse Crunch jumped on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins from the start, outshooting the Pens 15-1 in the first period and really taking it to them in a 3-2 game. The series is tied at 1-1 as the series shifts to Wilkes-Barre for Games Three and Four.

"For whatever reason, we had too many guys that didn't come ready to play tonight," team captain Joey Mormina said postgame. "When you're chasing a team like Syracuse for the whole game, you put yourself in a bad position."

Despite being heavily outshot, the Penguins twice brought the game back within one goal, including Riley Holzapfel's rebound goal with 5:58 to play. The sense I got from the locker room tonight is that it was too little, too late.

"We had a good push in the third period," Holzapfel said, "but we couldn't get it done and we just have to regroup and be ready Wednesday night."

The real turning point in the game came when the Penguins had a chance to tie it at two midway through the hockey game. The Crunch score shorthanded to make it a 3-1 game. A Penguins goal there to tie it instead obviously changes the dynamic of the game.

Scary play in the third period as Tyler Johnson and Chad Kolarik collided in the Penguins offensive zone. Both players left the ice in obvious pain. Kolarik later returned, but Johnson stayed in the locker room the rest of the third period.

There's two days off between tonight's game and Wednesday's Game Three and the first impression I'm getting from the Crunch media is that Johnson will be ready to go in Game Three.

The Penguins are scheduled to be off tomorrow and resume practice Tuesday. Check back tomorrow though, as I plan to put something up anyway, either by way of another player profile feature or just a deeper look into this series.

Full recap after the jump.

The Crunch came out firing in the first period, really controlling play for the majority of the 20 minutes. On a power play late in the period, Brett Connolly let a shot go from the slot and Dan Sexton found the rebound. Sexton tapped home the puck and gave the Crunch a 1-0 lead with 1:04 left in the period.

The Penguins were held to just one shot in the first period, which seemed a lot like the third period of Game Six against Providence. The Pens playing in their own zone, blocking shots and being out-possessed chasing the puck.

Things opened up a little in the second period for the Penguins, but the Crunch extended the lead 7:07 into the middle frame on sort of a busted play. Ondrej Palat went after Brian Gibbons at center ice and Reid McNeill stepped in, challenging Palat to drop his gloves. Palat declined, skated into the Penguins defensive zone and got in front of a Matt Taormina shot that found its way past Thiessen.

Palat took a hooking minor on the shift after the Crunch goal and it didn't take long for the Penguins to capitalize. Trevor Smith won a face-off, Chad Kolarik nudged it back to Brian Dumoulin who passes it across to Joey Mormina for a one-timer that beat Desjardins and found the back of the net.

The Penguins, despite being heavily outshot, were back to within a goal and had a chance to tie things up midway through the 2nd period on a power play, but it was the Crunch who pounced on the puck and scored shorthanded, increasing the lead back to two at 3-1. Dmitry Korobov picked a corner from the point with a snipe show wrist shot, popping the water bottle and extending the Crunch lead.

Riley Holzapfel dug a puck out of a scrum with less than six minutes to go and beat Desjardins to bring the Penguins within one at 3-2, but were unable to find a tying goal in the last minute with their goaltender pulled.


Brad Thiessen vs. Cedric Desjardins in net. No lineup changes for the Penguins tonight in Game Two.





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