After giving up two goals, the Syracuse Crunch rallied back for a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Monsters in the season opener tonight at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The night was full of firsts as Shawn Element recorded his first professional points in his first professional game, Max Cajkovic potted his first AHL goal, Sean Day tallied his first career shorthanded goal and Gage Goncalves netted his first professional marker.
Max Lagace stopped 8-of-10 shots in net for the Crunch before Hugo Alnefelt took over in the second period. He went on to turn aside 14-of-16. Daniil Tarasov stopped 16-of-21 between the pipes for the Monsters. Syracuse went 1-for-3 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill.
The Monsters opened scoring 5:53 into the game when Tim Berni fired a wrister from the left circle. Less than two minutes later, Cleveland doubled their lead during 5-on-3 play. Jake Christiansen was in the right circle to rip home a one-timer off a feed from Tyler Angle. The Crunch responded with a power-play goal of their own at 17:18. Element centered the puck for Jimmy Huntington to pick up and score from the slot. Just 1:27 later, Charles Hudon evened the score after redirecting Ryan Jones’s left point shot.
Syracuse took the lead 2:55 into the middle stanza. Cajkovic skated in on a 2-on-1 and chipped in the feed from Element backdoor. At 6:57, Cleveland knotted the score. Adam Helewka got the puck during a battle along the goal line and found the back of the net.
The Crunch proceeded to rattle off three consecutive goals to build up a 6-3 lead. With 3:51 remaining in the second period, Day came in on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Tarasov just under his right pad. Almost four minutes in the third period, Goncalves scored after Cajkovic backhanded the rebound to him streaming down the right wing. Dumont then hit the empty net at 16:36.
The Monsters stole one more back at 16:44 when Justin Scott cut towards the net and scored on the backhand, but the Crunch stifled the late effort took their first win of the season.
The Crunch rematch the Monsters tomorrow at 7 p.m.