GAME SWINGS SYRACUSE’S WAY LATE
WILKES-BARRE, PA – Steve Kelly scored with five seconds left in regulation to tie the game, then netted the decisive tally in the shootout, as the Syracuse Crunch grabbed a 4-3 win Saturday night against the Penguins at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
The game saw several late swings, with the fluky goal giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the lead before Kelly’s late equalizer forced overtime.
With the score knotted at 2-2, Ben Lovejoy attempted to dump a puck in off the far glass in order to make a line change. The puck took a strange bounce off the side boards, and headed straight for the Syracuse net, which goaltender Sebastien Dahm had vacated in order to play what he thought would be a routine ring around. That tally, Lovejoy’s seventh of the season, came with less than two minutes left in regulation.
“It was one of those plays. I was trying to get off the ice, kind of fired it as hard as I could off the glass. It took a lucky bounce,” said Lovejoy. “You never really know what’s going to happen. I was just trying to get it in deep.”
The Pens looked to be en route to the win, only to see Syracuse pull Dahm for the extra attacker, and Kelly score an extra attacker goal with a shot off of Adam Berkhoel’s right pad.
That didn’t seem to affect the Pens’ approach in overtime, where they outshot the Crunch 6-4.
“Anytime you give up a goal late, it’s definitely a let down,” Lovejoy said. “I thought we rebounded well. We had a good overtime. Sometimes when they score with that little time, the score is tied but the momentum shifts. But I don’t think that happened to us.”
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead when Mark Letestu drove the Crunch net and stuffed home his eighth of the year 15 minutes into the game. But Kelly launched an odd angle shot over Berkhoel’s left should on a power play a minute and a half later to even things after one period.
Janne Pesonen continued his hot play, one-timing a shot past Dahm on the power play at 4:41 of the second period.
Andrey Plekhanov tied the game again with a shot from the slot midway through the game.
Pesonen and Jeff Taffe started off the shootout scoring for the Penguins, but Dahm stopped the next four attempts. Meanwhile, Kelly sandwiched two scores around a Derek MacKenzie tally to take the extra point.