Crunch win third annual Shapiro Motor Classic

Shapiro Motor Classic picture

The Syracuse Crunch continued their winning ways in the Shapiro Motor Classic, defeating the Binghamton Senators 3-1 Friday at the Campus Center Ice Arena.

Left wing Kevin Harvey netted the deciding goal for the Crunch at 10:13 of the second period to keep them unbeaten at the Campus Center Ice Arena, improving to 3-0.

"I was real happy with the team’s performance," Crunch coach Ross Yates said. "The guys played hard and we came out with a real good start. We also finished strong, so I was really happy."

Syracuse dominated the game right off the opening faceoff, but penalties cost them valuable scoring opportunities, as they committed five penalties in just the first period. But the defense was up to the challenge, shutting down the Senators’ power play unit. When scoring opportunities presented themselves for the Crunch, pucks either went wide of the net or bounced over the players’ sticks.

"I’ll blame the penalties on it being the first preseason game," Yates said. "If it continues to haunt us then we’ll have to address it. It’s the first game and the guys haven’t been in a competitive game for a while, so they have to get used to the rules again and adjust."

The Crunch found the back of the net in the second period for the game’s first goal, thanks in large part to instant replay. Center forward Chris Higgins’ shot that danced along the goal line was originally ruled no goal. After looking at the shot again, the referees ruled that the puck crossed the goal line and awarded Higgins the goal. The assist was credited to center forward Tyler Murovich.

A goal by Senators’ right wing Ryan Keller tied the game five minutes into the second period, but the Crunch struck right back with Harvey’s goal midway through the period. Harvey’s goal ended Senator’s goale Andy Chiodo’s night in goal and he was replaced by Chris Holt.

Despite fresh legs, Holt was unable to hold the Crunch offense down. At 7:44 of the third period, left wing Jon Mirasty scored on a beautiful redirection in front of the cage.

Defenseman Kevin Roeder fired a shot from the point and Mirasty tipped the puck into the back of the net for the Crunch’s third goal of the game.

Holt held his own in goal for the Senators, saving all three breakaway opportunities that the Crunch had in the third period. However, his performance off the bench was not sufficient as the Senator offense could not find a rhythm.

Crunch goalie Dan Taylor stopped 25 of 26 shots to earn the win.

"We did a lot of good things," Crunch center Trevor Frischmon said after the game. "Being the first preseason game there’s always going to be mistakes, but I thought we battled really hard and played pretty smart hockey. Overall I think it was a pretty positive night."

While the game may have been just an exhibition, it served to be much more important for Oswego State. It gave both Senators and Crunch fans an opportunity to see a game at a different venue; one that plays home to the Oswego State men’s and women’s hockey teams. A crowd of 1,612 fans (many dressed in Syracuse Crunch apparel) enjoyed an exciting game between two teams that clearly played harder than most teams would in their first game of the preseason. There were hard hits, crisp passes, and spectacular goals. Outside of the game, there were t-shirts being tossed into the stands, good food at a cheap price and the Syracuse Crunch mascot, AL (a yeti), even made the trip to the Oswego State campus. Coaches and fans were greatly impressed by the hockey arena.

"I think it’s awesome," Frischmon said. "It’s a great facility. The guys that play here are pretty lucky. For a Division III school, this is pretty awesome. The locker room and the rink are definitely nicer than some of the places we play throughout the year. It’s great and a lot of fun and it’s a great place to play."

"This is great," Yates said about the arena. "The arena is a great facility for a university. It should be a great recruiting tool for the school."

There are talks to continue the Shapiro Motor Classic next year.