Crunch even series with IceCaps

( — Brandon McMillan‘s third-period goal gave the Syracuse Crunch a 4-3 win over the St. John’s IceCaps and tied the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series, 1-1, tonight at the War Memorial Arena.

The IceCaps jumped out to an early lead when their first shot on goal made it past Crunch netminder Iiro Tarkki just 41 seconds into the first period. The goal was center Aaron Gagnon‘s second of the series and first of two tonight.

The Crunch tied the game at the 11:03 mark of the first period when Mark Bell lunged for a loose puck and was able to slip it past IceCaps goalie Eddie Pasquale. The goal was Bell’s second goal in as many nights.

Mat Clark gave the Crunch a 2-1 lead just 41 seconds into the middle frame. Clark’s shot from the point bounced off multiple players in front of the net before trickling over the goal line. Two minutes later John Mitchell threw the puck on net and it was deflected past Pasquale for a 3-1 Crunch lead.

The Crunch went into the second intermission with a one goal lead due to a goal from St. John’s Patrice Cormier, 4:18 into the middle frame. The Crunch had a 26-14 shot advantage after two periods.

Gagnon tied the game with his second goal of the night 46 seconds into the final frame. St. John’s began the period on the power play after Nate Guenin was called for interference at the 20:00 mark of the second period. Gagnon scored off the rebound of a Jason DeSantis shot.

McMillan scored the game winning goal on the power play, while former Crunch defenseman Brett Festerling was serving a two minute tripping penalty. Kyle Palmieri tossed the puck on net and McMillan knocked the puck past Pasquale for his first goal of the series.

Crunchables: Mark Bell has three goals in his past five games … Dan Sexton has seven points in six games against St. John’s this season … Nick Schaus made his Crunch playoff debut tonight … John Mitchell and Mat Clark recorded their first professional playoff goal in tonight’s win.