UTICA, N.Y. (SYRACUSE CRUNCH) –
After the Syracuse Crunch built a two-goal lead, the Utica Comets rallied back to take the win, 4-3, in a shootout tonight at the Adirondack Bank Center.
The Crunch finish the 2018-19 regular season with a 47-21-4-4 record and North Division title.
Atte Tolvanen made 39 saves in net for the Crunch and stopped 1-of-3 shootout attempts. Marek Mazanec earned the win blocking 15-of-18 shots and 2-of-3 shootout attempts. Syracuse went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Utica was 2-for-8.
The Crunch jumped out to a quick lead with a power-play goal just 3:49 into the game. Mitchell Stephens gloved down the cross-zone feed from Carter Verhaeghe for Alex Volkov to sweep in.
Syracuse doubled their lead 4:09 into the middle stanza when Otto Somppi beat Mazanec on the breakaway. The Comets then stole one back at the 7:50 mark with a power-play goal of their own. Brendan Woods cleaned up a rebound in front of the net with the help of Lukas Jasek and Jesse Graham.
The Crunch went back up by two late in the second period. Volkov cut across the slot and left the puck for Nolan Valleau to jam in.
Utica cut the lead to one with 2:26 remaining in the middle stanza. Tolvanen made the save on Vincent Arseneau’s one-timer, but left the rebound out for Arseneau to chip in. Assists went to Woods and Jasek.
The Comets came back to force overtime with another power-play goal just 32 seconds into the third period when Zack MacEwen jammed in a second-chance opportunity. Tanner Kero and Graham earned the helpers.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout. Nick Bligh and Jasek both scored in the second round before Kole Lind potted the game-winner in the third.
The Crunch will face the Cleveland Monsters in the first round of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. The best-of-five North Division Semifinals series begins in Syracuse on Friday at 7 p.m.