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Courtesy: Scott Thomas

CRUNCH 5, SOUND TIGERS 2

Courtesy: SoundTigers.com
          Release: 03/11/2016
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Bracken Kearns and James Wright both scored for Bridgeport, but the Sound Tigers dropped a 5-2 decision to the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena.

The start of the game was delayed nearly half an hour due to a pane of broken glass, but the Crunch were unfazed. Luke Witkowski started the scoring, banking a shot off the back of Jesse Graham and in with 6:45 remaining in the first period. Witkowski’s second of the season came unassisted and was his first goal of 2016.

Just 34 seconds later, the Crunch got another. This time, it was Jeff Tambellini, catching a pass from Joel Vermin and beating Christopher Gibson while streaking down the right wing to put Syracuse up 2-0. It looked as if the quick strikes would have the Crunch up a pair going into the intermission, but the Sound Tigers had other ideas.

On a broken play in the offensive zone, Mike Halmo got the puck to the front of the net. There was Kearns, who just put a backhander towards the cage. The puck snuck through Syracuse goalie Adam Wilcox and got the Sound Tigers on the board with just 17.8 left to go in the first period. Kearns’ 22nd of the season tied his career high in goals set back in 2011-12 as a member of the San Antonio Rampage.

The Crunch got the only goal of the second period, as another wacky bounce in front of the net ended up beating Gibson. This time Jonathan Drouin took a shot that caught Gibson in the helmet. The puck bounced off Witkowski and into the net, giving Witkowski his second of the game and Syracuse a 3-1 lead.

Neither team could find the back of the net until less than six minutes remained in the game, with Yanni Gourde putting home his ninth of the season. Tanner Richard made the play, dishing a pass to Gourde who just had to tap the puck past Gibson for the 4-1 lead.

Bridgeport got one back with 1:43 remaining, when Alan Quine found Wright with a pass and Wright beat Wilcox to make it 4-2. However, it was too little, too late, as Syracuse scored with the Bridgeport net empty to close the game at 5-2.

Both teams went 0-for-2 on the man advantage, snapping a five-game power play goal streak for the Sound Tigers. Gibson made 27 stops in defeat.

The Sound Tigers continue their road trip with a game in Wilkes-Barre tomorrow night against the Penguins. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.

Forward Lines:

Verhaeghe – Kearns – Halmo

Wright – Quine – Fritz

Vaive – Holmstrom – Florek

Johnston – Jones – Gomes

Defensive Pairings:

Czuczman – Carkner

Finn – Lafranchise

Cullity – Graham

Goalies:

Christopher Gibson

Stephon Williams

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