Story by Matt Tidcombe
The Belleville Senators’ comeback fell short Friday night in Syracuse losing 5-4 to the Crunch.
Belleville had goals from Adam Tambellini (2), Andrew Sturtz and Drake Batheron while Filip Gustavsson made eight saves before Jake Paterson stopped three stops in his first Sens appearance. Alexander Volkov (2), Dennis Yan, Carter Verhaeghe and Andy Andreoff scored for the Crunch while Connor Ingram made 28 saves.
Tied at 2-2 heading into the third, the Crunch exploded for three goals to take a commanding lead over Belleville. It took them just 48 seconds to strike through Volkov as he turned and fired a wrister past Gustavsson that took a very slight deflection off a Sens player.
It was 4-2 at 4:38 through Andreoff as he fired a one-timer for his fourth of the season before Volkov extended the lead with 8:47 left to chase Gustavsson from the game.
The Sens came roaring back to life as they scored twice in 14 seconds to cut it to 5-4. Tambellini scored his second of the night at 3:22 on a one-timer on the power play before Batherson grabbed his fifth of the year on a gorgeous backhander after taking Rudolfs Balcers’ feed.
Chances were few and far between in a tame third period with Chase Balisy coming close in the opening 30 seconds of the period on a hard drive to the net while Balcers’ one-timer from the corner in the final minute being Belleville’s final opportunity of the evening.
A wild first period saw the teams score twice each in a back-and-forth period. Yan notched the opening goal of the night at 7:42 on the power play as after the Sens failed to clear the zone, Boris Katchouk fired a cross-ice pass to Yan who beat Gustavsson for his second of the season.
The Senators were even 75 seconds later as Sturtz, returning after missing the previous nine games, wacked in a loose puck in the crease after Ingram couldn’t corral Boston Leier’s initial shot.
The Crunch had the lead again though at 15:56 as Verhaeghe took an Alex Barre-Boulet pass and beat Gustavsson with a wrister but Belleville responded once again as on the power play Adam Tambellini wired a wrister pass Ingram to tie the game at 2-2 and score the 50th goal of his AHL career.
Senators head coach Troy Mann said he saw some positive signs from his team despite the loss.
The Sens converted two times on the power play out of eight opportunities while the Crunch went 3-for-7. Belleville drops to 0-5 in Syracuse dating back to last season.
The Sens are back in action Saturday against Syracuse before returning home on Nov. 9 to face Toronto.