SYRACUSE, N.Y. – (WSYR-TV) – Gemel Smith netted a hat trick as the Syracuse Crunch topped the Providence Bruins, 4-1, tonight at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
After giving up the first goal, Smith and Peter Abbandonato potted back-to-back goals less than a minute apart before Smith hit two empty nets. The win advances the Crunch to 14-9-2-0 on the season and 1-0-0-0 in the home-and-home series with the Bruins.
Goaltender Martin Spencer stopped 26-of-27 shots in net for the Crunch, while Dan Vladar turned aside 20-of-22 between the pipes for the Bruins. Syracuse converted on 1-of-4 power play opportunities and went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Bruins opened scoring 2:33 into the middle stanza. Joona Koppanen set up Trent Frederic for a back-door goal from the left circle. Ryan Fitzgerald recorded the secondary helper.
The Crunch responded with a power-play goal at the 11:31 mark and proceeded to take the lead with another goal just 58 seconds later. Cal Foote started the rush behind the Crunch goal. He skated through the neutral zone and split the defense before passing over for Smith to snipe a shot from the left circle.
Less than a minute later, Danick Martel passed ahead for Peter Abbandonato and Daniel Walcott to come in on a 2-on-1. After getting a cross-slot feed, Walcott backhanded a shot from the right circle that trickled past Vladar for Abbandonato to push across the goal line.
With 1:15 remaining in the game, Smith hit an empty net with the help of Martel and Alex Barre-Boulet. Less than a minute later, he completed the hat trick with another empty-netter off assists from Taylor Raddysh and Cory Conacher.
The Crunch travel to face the Charlotte Checkers on Friday at 7 p.m.
Crunchables: Gemel Smith recorded his second professional hat trick tonight. His last was March 8, 2017 against Grand Rapids…The last Crunch hat trick was Jan. 26 by Carter Verhaeghe against Rochester.