HERSHEY, Pa. – Peter Holland scored the shootout winner in the third round, helping the Syracuse Crunch skate to a 3-2 win over the HERSHEY BEARS on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
The BEARS capitalized on a double-minor high sticking penalty early in the contest when Chris Bourque snuck behind two Syracuse defenders and deflected a pass from Boyd Kane behind netminder Igor Bobkov at 5:12. The goal was Bourque’s league-leading 92nd point of the season. BEARS goaltender Daren Machesney earned the secondary assist.
Syracuse didn’t take long to tie the game, as Kyle Cumiskey kept a clearing bid alive at the left point. He then took a low wrist shot that deflected over Machesney’s shoulder off of a BEARS stick at 6:57.
Kyle Palmieri scored his 33rd goal of the season in the second period after the BEARS attempted a clearing bid through neutral ice. John Mitchell gloved the puck down and pushed it ahead to Palmieri at the BEARS blue line. Palmieri then snapped a shot over the glove of Machesney at 9:09, giving Syracuse a 2-1 lead.
But with time winding down in the middle frame and with the BEARS working a late power play, Patrick McNeill snuck in from the left point, collected a perfect cross-ice pass from Ryan Potulny and placed a shot high into the net past a diving Bobkov at 17:07, tying the game.
HERSHEY went on to outshoot Syracuse 17-5 in the third period and overtime combined, but there was no further scoring.
Palmieri was turned aside on his first chance, as was McNeill. Patrick Maroon and Kane then traded goals in the second round. Holland and Jean-Francois Jacques found the back of the net on their chances, while Bobkov stopped Potulny and Garrett Mitchell to preserve the win.
Machesney suffered the shootout loss in his first game with the BEARS since April 12, 2009. He turned aside 20 shots in regulation and overtime, while Bobkov improves to 2-0-1 in stopping 30 shots prior to going 3-for-4 in the shootout.
The point gives the BEARS a record of 38-22-4-8 (88 points), and place them five points out of the fourth place spot in the Eastern Conference.
The BEARS play their final home game of the regular season tomorrow, April 8 at 5:00 PM against the Connecticut Whale. Tickets may be purchased by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting ticketmaster.com. Tickets for the opening game of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals are also on sale through the same outlets.