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2012 Syracuse Crunch Home Opener

Posted on October 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM

By: Brian (@OrangeFeed)

The Crunch season opener was ushered in on a cold and wetSaturday night at the On Center War Memorial. Regardless of the mildlyinclement weather, fans came out by the thousands to get their first look atthe new Crunch (formally the Norfolk Admirals). What they got was a real treatfor all ages and fan bases. Al is out and Crunch Man is back, complete withcape and a codpiece that would make Christopher Atkins blush. The excitementfor this new era was palpable in the arena as evidenced by the roars of approvaland enough cell phone lighting to play the game by in the event of a poweroutage.

During the first period, the new Syracuse Crunch proved tohave a bit of shakiness to them as they worked off the nerves of playing infront of such a loud and packed house. It was a sold out event of over 6,000 inattendance and the noise frequently elevated above 100 decibels. Eventually, theboys in white and blue were able to settle in and push the puck across theneutral zone for extended periods of time. The hard forecheck by captainAngelidis offered a steal and a quick shorthanded goal at about the 11 minutemark.

Intensity picked up in the second period as play got chippy,mounting penalties for both teams. About five minutes in the relatively diminutiveperiod, Johnson was able to sneak one past Holtby to take the 2-0 lead.

Hershey would fight back, scoring a shorthanded goal after aparticularly sloppy clearing attempt and another about seven minutes later.Conacher responded with another goal for Syracuse with about two minutes leftin the second, giving the Crunch a 3-2 lead going into the third and final period.

From here, any and all pleasantries were dispensed of andthe hits got more reckless and the five-minute majors mounted. Connolly wasable to capitalize on a five-on-three opportunity about 20 seconds into thefresh power play bringing the score to 4-2 in favor of the Crunch. With acomfortable lead, the Crunch played a lot of defense as the penalties forcedkill after kill. Hershey was finally able to capitalize on a brieffive-on-three chance of their own to end the scoring at 4-3.

Many things impressed me about this year’s edition of theCrunch. They are overall much better skaters and puck handlers than last year’sunit. Their penalty killing unit stopped six of seven attempts by the Bears. Theirforecheck looks good being so early in the season, but their defense needs alot of work to stop giving up long rebounds and making silly clears across themiddle of the defensive third. Another early area of concern is the Crunch man-upunit, which went had a dismal outing, scoring on a mere one of their eightattempts, and only scoring on the five-on-three situation.

The Crunch return to the War Memorial for another Saturdaynight tilt versus league rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, on October27th at 7:30pm Eastern. Word on the street is that these teams had agreat deal of tension last year and that the changing of the banner is unlikelyto quiet the feud.


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