Crunch rally for overtime victory, take 3-1 series lead


Joakim Lindstrom scored at 9:44 of overtime to propel Syracuse to a 5-4 comeback win over Toronto on Wednesday at the Onondaga County War Memorial in Game 4 of the North Division finals.

The Crunch picked up their fifth overtime victory of the playoffs – one shy of an AHL record – and now hold a 3-1 lead in the series, with Game 5 set for Friday in Toronto.

The Marlies used a three-goal second period to take a 4-2 advantage into the final 20 minutes of play. John Mitchell, Kris Newbury, and Jaime Sifers tallied goals in the period for Toronto.

But the Crunch fought back to a draw in the third stanza. Derek MacKenzie scored at the 12:18 mark to make it a 4-3 game, and rookie Derick Brassard – who earned the primary assist on MacKenzie’s goal – netted the equalizer on the power play with 1:38 left in regulation.

That set the stage for Lindstrom’s second overtime game-winner of the playoffs, which was assisted by Zenon Konopka and Marc Methot.

Konopka finished with four points on the night (1-3-4), as he tallied the Crunch’s initial goal of the night in the first period.

Tom Sestito also scored for Syracuse, and goaltender Karl Goehring secured the victory with 39 saves on 43 shots.

The Crunch moved to 5-1 in overtime this postseason, including all four of their opening-round victories against Manitoba. The league record for most overtime wins in a single playoff season is six, held by Saint John (1996) and Milwaukee (2004).

Ryan Stone tallied a game-high four points (2-2-4) as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton doubled up Philadelphia by an 8-4 count at the Wachovia Center in Game 4 of the East Division finals.

Tim Brent added a three-point effort (2-1-3) for the Penguins, who grabbed a 3-1 lead in the series and can close out the Phantoms at home on Friday.

Nathan Smith, Connor James, Mark Ardelan, and Dustin Jeffrey posted a goal and an assist apiece in the winning effort, while Ben Lovejoy, Alex Goligoski, and Chris Minard each chipped in a pair of helpers.

Jeffrey’s goal was the first of his professional career, while Goligoski extended his scoring streak to eight games (3-11-14) with the two assists.

The Penguins broke a 2-1 contest open with five goals in the second period and finished 3-for-10 on the power play for the game.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender John Curry made 32 saves on 36 shots in the winning effort.

Darroll Powe, Jared Ross, Boyd Kane, and Pete Zingoni netted goals for the Phantoms, who have dropped three straight games after winning the series-opener on the road.

Rockford took a 3-0 lead into the third period and held on for a 3-2 triumph over visiting Chicago at the MetroCentre in Game 4 of the West Division finals.

The home team has won all four games so far in this series, which is now tied at 2-2. Game 5 is slated for Friday at Chicago’s Allstate Arena.

Martin St. Pierre gave the IceHogs a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 16:27 of the first period, scoring for the first time since Apr. 16, Rockford’s first game of the division semifinal round against Houston.

Rockford extended its advantage to 3-0 on a pair of second-period goals by Troy Brouwer, his second and third tallies of postseason play. St. Pierre assisted on both markers to finish with three points on the night.

The division-champion Wolves didn’t go quietly, as Brian Fahey scored on the power play at 10:26 of the third period and Jesse Schultz followed at 13:38.

But Rockford held on for the victory, as goaltender Corey Crawford finished with 31 saves on 33 shots.

The IceHogs have now won six of seven games against Chicago at the MetroCentre dating back to the regular season, and they are 3-1 overall at home during this postseason.