With a shootout deciding their fate for the fourth consecutive game, the San Antonio Rampage fell to the Syracuse Crunch on Friday by a 5-4 score at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter in Syracuse, New York.
The Rampage (19-19-3-5), who earned a point in the West Division standings as a result of being tied after the end of regulation, held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 at different points on Friday, but were unable to fend of a Crunch team that had not defeated San Antonio since January 27, 2007.
Ironically, both San Antonio and Syracuse entered Friday’s contest following 4-3 shootout victories over the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Wednesday and Sunday, respectively.
Well-rested after a day off on Thursday, the Rampage opened the scoring on right wing Chad Kolarik’s 13th goal of the season at the 6:55 mark of the first. Gaining possession of the puck in the left corner of the Crunch zone, forward Kevin Porter sent a pass to center Joel Perrault in the slot. Perrault then fired a shot off Syracuse netminder Kevin Lalande’s stick with Kolarik waiting on the right post to tap in the rebound.
Two minutes and 56 seconds later, Kolarik worked a give-and-go with Perrault in the right side of Syracuse zone before firing a shot off the inside of the right post to increase the Rampage lead to 2-0. San Antonio left wing Stefan Meyer was also credited with an assist on Kolarik’s second goal of the contest.
Syracuse decreased the deficit to one goal on defenseman Mike Ratchuk’s first marker of the season at the 11:08 mark of the first. After receiving pass from forward Dan Fritsche at the bottom of the right faceoff circle, Syracuse center Derek MacKenzie connected with a pinching Ratchuk, in the high slot, on a one-timer low that beat Rampage goaltender Josh Tordjman low to his blocker side.
The Rampage increased their lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal by center Kevin Porter at the 9:16 mark of the second stanza. Taking advantage of a 4-on-3 situation resulting from penalties, San Antonio worked the puck around the Crunch’s triangle defensive formation before Porter fired a centering pass from the right faceoff dot toward the crease that bounced off MacKenzie’s stick and into the Syracuse goal. Rampage defensemen Sean Sullivan and David Schlemko earned assists on Porter’s 11th goal of the season.
Syracuse pulled to within a goal, with 53 seconds remaining in the second, when right wing Maxim Mayorov capitalized on a rebound near the right post following a flurry of shots by left wing Kevin Harvey and center Trevor Frischmon.
Picking up where they left off, the Crunch tied the game at the 4:43 mark of the third on a power-play goal by Fritsche. Seconds after Crunch center Jared Aulin rang a shot off the left post, Fritsche beat Tordjman on a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle to tie the game at three goals apiece.
Exactly 40 seconds later in the final frame, former San Antonio defenseman Dylan Reese provided Syracuse with their first lead of the night by firing a shot from the right point, through traffic, and beating Tordjman under his glove to give the Crunch a 4-3 lead.
However, the Rampage refused to give in and tied the game at the 12:08 mark of the third on a shorthanded goal by San Antonio captain Jeff Hoggan. Center Gavin Morgan and Schlemko were credited with assists on the Rampage’s third shorthanded goal in their last three games.
Neither team scored in the time remaining in the third, thus marking the fourth consecutive game that San Antonio found themselves tied at the end of regulation.
The overtime period featured quality scoring chances for both clubs, but neither team managed a goal, sending the Rampage to their fourth shootout in their last four games.
In the shootout, the first shooter, Syracuse defenseman Brendan Bell, beat Tordjman high to upper right corner of the net. In the remainder of the showdown, Tordjman denied the next four Crunch shooters, but none of San Antonio’s five shooters were able to beat Lalande.
Lalande made 29 saves on 33 Rampage shots for the victory, while Tordjman turned away 30 of 34 Syracuse shots in the shootout loss.
The Rampage return to action tomorrow night, when they travel to downtown Cleveland, Ohio to take on the Lake Erie Monsters in a 6:30 p.m. (CST) matchup at Quicken Loans Arena.
# # sarampage.com # #