Syracuse Crunch open season with OT thriller

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Utica Comets, 4-3, in overtime in the season opener tonight at the Adirondack Bank Center.

Ilya Usau, Lucas Edmonds and Cole Koepke scored goals for the Crunch during regulation before Felix Robert potted the game-winner late in the overtime frame.

Crunch goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov recorded the win turning aside 31-of-34 shots. Erik Kallgren stopped 20-of-24 between the pipes for the Comets. The Syracuse power play converted on 2-of-5 opportunities, while the penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4.

The Crunch were first on the board with a power-play goal just 2:20 into the game. Jack Thompson set Usau up with a lead pass for the second-year forward to send in with a wrister from the left circle.

Five minutes later, Utica knotted the score when Max Willman wrapped around the back of the net and beat Kochetkov. Syracuse regained the lead with another power-play goal late in the opening frame. Kallgren made the save on Usau’s shot, but the rebound kicked out into the slot for Edmonds to grab, turn, and shovel into the net.

After a scoreless second period, the Crunch opened up a two-goal lead 9:44 into the final stanza. Koepke forced a turnover in the right corner, skated into the slot and sent in his first of the season. 

 The Comets responded just 22 seconds later to turn it back into a one-goal game when Ryan Schmelzer sent in a rebound chance during a scramble in front of the net. Cal Foote then sent home a one-timer from the left point with just 40 seconds remaining in the period to send the game into overtime.

With just 15 seconds remaining in the overtime frame, Gage Goncalves won a battle along the boards and sent a feed out for Robert to one-time past Kallgren for the victory.

The Crunch return home to host the Bridgeport Islanders for the 2023 Home Opener tomorrow night.

Crunchables: Ilya Usau had a multi-point game tonight. He had just one multi-point game last season.

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