The Syracuse Crunch reclaimed first in the North Division with a 3-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack tonight at the War Memorial Arena.
The Crunch put up three unanswered goals before the Wolf Pack responded with a late comeback effort. The victory advances the team to 39-17-4-2 on the season while sweeping the home-and-home season series against Hartford.
Netminder Eddie Pasquale made it four consecutive wins stopping 24-of-26 between the pipes for the Crunch. Brandon Halverson turned aside 21-of-24 in net for the Wolf Pack. Syracuse was unable to convert on three power play opportunities and went 6-for-7 on the penalty kill.
The Crunch were first on the board just 1:07 into the game. Gabriel Dumont grabbed the puck from Cory Conacher along the left-wing boards and dropped it back for Alexander Volkov to net from the circle.
Syracuse doubled their lead with 33 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Taylor Raddysh skated into the zone and stickhandled through traffic before sending a cross-slot pass for Andy Andreoff to redirect in. Ross Colton tallied the secondary helper.
Just 1:56 into the third period, the Crunch made it 3-0. Boris Katchouk deked around a defender, carried the puck below the goal line and centered it for Stephens to pick up and sneak in short side. Brady Brassart earned a point on the play.
The Wolf Pack finally got on the board with a power-play marker 11:51 into the final frame. Gabriel Fontaine tipped John Gilmour’s point shot down low. Matt Beleskey assisted on the goal.
Hartford pulled within one with 1:07 remaining in the game when Vinni Lettieri one-timed a rocket from the left circle with the help of Gilmour and Ryan Gropp, but Syracuse fended off the late surge to take the win.
The Crunch host the Binghamton Devils tomorrow at 7 p.m.