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The Syracuse Crunch came into Quicken Loans Arena on a roll and left with a 12-game win streak intact, beating the Lake Erie Monsters, 4-2, on Tuesday night.
A physical battle from the puck drop got only more physical as the game continued. On the night, the two teams combined for 112 penalty minutes.
The Crunch’s Derick Brassard netted the opening goal at 4:09 of the first. Dan Smith and Nate DiCasmirro were each credited with the helpers on Brassard’s 13th goal of the season.
Just moments later at the 6:22 mark, DiCasmirro potted his 11th marker of the season to give Syracuse an early 2-0 advantage. Gilbert Brule and Brassard were both given the assists on the DiCasmirro goal.
The first period ended with the Monsters in a 2-0 hole that left more work for them to climb back into the game.
Syracuse’s third goal of the night was notched by a familiar face, former Monsters captain Mark Rycroft, who was dealt earlier in the year for defenseman Darcy Campbell and forward Philippe Dupuis. Rycroft’s goal came at the 0:33 mark of the second and was assisted by Bret Motherwell and Joakim Lindstrom.
Lindstrom followed his assist with a tally of his own at the 7:53 mark of the second period on the power play, which gave the Crunch a 4-0 lead. Duvie Westcott and Zenon Konopka were given the helpers on the Lindstrom’s 24th of the year.
Lake Erie captain Wyatt Smith cut the deficit to three goals on a late second period marker from the goalmouth at 17:00 of the second set. Tom Fritsche and Mike Vernace were credited with the helpers on Smith’s 16th tally of the season.
“It (Wyatt Smith’s goal) was a big power play goal. He has scored a couple goals like that this year. He goes hard to the net in an area guys don’t like to go up to. It was a great goal and it sparked the team for the third period,” said Monsters right wing Chris Stewart.
Stewart also chipped in for the Monsters on the power play to cut the Syracuse lead to 4-2, as he wristed a biscuit past Crunch goalie Adam Munro nearly halfway into the third period at the 8:33 mark. Jeff Jillson and T.J. Hensick were each given the assist on Stewart’s team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Lake Erie backstop Tyler Weiman stopped 35 of the 39 shots that he faced. Syracuse starting netminder Dan LaCosta left the game at the 13:38 mark of the first, in way of goaltender Munro. LaCosta stopped both of the shots that he faced in his time between the pipes, while Munro turned away 25 of 27 shots.
“I think that for whatever reason in the first period we were a little bit behind. We have gotten better after we were behind, but that’s not what we want. We want to initiate. We want to get out real quick and we did not do that tonight,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.
The Monsters return to action for their final home game of the season as they face-off against the Hamilton Bulldogs this Saturday, April 12th at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night is also “Fan Appreciation Night,” when the team is giving fans a “Monster Thank You” by giving away thousands of prizes and even the jerseys off the players’ backs.
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