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Crunch start quick, shoot down Stars

Syracuse grabbed a 1-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game, and the Crunch went on to post a 3-1 win over Texas on Monday afternoon at the Cedar Park Center in the finale of their three-game swing through the Lone Star State.

Combined with their 4-1 triumph in San Antonio on Saturday, the Crunch have now secured back-to-back road victories for the first time since Jan. 1 and 2, when they beat Rochester and Albany.

Syracuse forward John Mitchell set the tone with an unassisted tally in the game’s opening minute, and Matt Kennedy quickly made it 2-0 when he beat Stars goaltender Tyler Beskorowany on a penalty shot attempt at 3:43.

It marked the Crunch’s first penalty shot attempt since Feb. 22, 2009, when Nikita Filatov was denied by Hamilton’s Marc Denis.

Brian McGrattan tacked on a second-period goal for his second marker in three games since joining the Crunch, and defenseman Brad Lukowich netted the Stars’ lone goal on the power play later in the second frame.

Crunch goaltender Ray Emery earned the victory with 27 saves in net, while Stars rookie Richard Bachman stopped all 13 shots he faced after taking over for Beskorowany following McGrattan’s goal.

Texas will begin a five-game road trip with a rematch against the Crunch on Friday night in Syracuse.