SYRACUSE, N.Y. - After scoring just two regulation goals in their last four games, the Syracuse Crunch offence sprung for five goals and Dan LaCosta made 43 saves in a 5-1 win over the Toronto Marlies on Friday.
After a week of practice, the Crunch went up 2-0 after 20 minutes of hard-hitting action.
Syracuse's Mike York got everything started with a great individual effort 6:19 into the opening frame. After a Marlies defender had trouble handling the puck in front of his own net, the puck slid out to the slot where York picked it up.
York's unassisted snipe over the shoulder of Toronto starter Justin Pogge put the Crunch up 1-0.
The Crunch (14-6-0-1) had a golden opportunity with a one minute 37 second 5-on-3 advantage when Toronto's Kris Newbury and Jaime Sifers took back-to-back penalties at the 9:55 and 10:17 marks, respectively, but could not convert.
But, the Crunch's persistent effort paid off when they cashed in on their fourth power play of the first period with Toronto's Kyle Rogers in the box for interference.
York fed Clay Wilson at the point, who let go a shot that was deflected in front by Craig MacDonald and past Pogge to make it a 2-0 Syracuse advantage.
The tide turned on Syracuse in the second period, but the home team was still able to keep its 2-0 lead in tact after 40 minutes of hockey, despite being outshot by an 18-4 margin.
The Crunch grabbed a 3-0 lead just 1:46 into the third period when Dan Smith's blast from the point found its way through a screen and past Pogge.
Toronto (8-8-0-2) answered back just four minutes later when Staffan Kronwall's shot was deflected, changed speeds and floated by LaCosta to cut the Crunch's lead to 3-1.
Syracuse regained its three-goal lead at the 11:42 mark of the frame. Adam Pineault stole the puck from Pogge on an aggressive forecheck and fed Derek MacKenzie all alone in front, who buried it into the empty net for a 4-1 Crunch lead.
The Crunch tacked on one more score when MacDonald stuffed home a rebound of an Aaron Rome point shot with just 2:13 remaining.
LaCosta withstood another 16 bids from Toronto in the third and was named the game's first star. Pogge made 27 saves in the loss.