Panik attack gives Crunch OT win

Game 1 (OT)

( — The Portland Pirates took an early 2-0 lead, but the Syracuse Crunch came roaring back, tying the game in the third period and getting the game-winning goal from Richard Panik in overtime to defeat the Pirates, 4-3, on Saturday night.

Syracuse takes a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, with Game 2 set for Sunday in Syracuse.

After a scoreless first half of the first period, Darian Dziurzynski opened the scoring for Portland, beating Syracuse starter Cedrick Desjardins on a wrap-around after a feed from Ethan Werek with 9:07 left in the first.

Portland then used one of their four power plays in the first period to extend their lead. David Rundblad found the back of the net for the Pirates’ second goal, assisted by Brandon Gormley and Jordan Martinook at 17:16 of the first.

Syracuse would close the gap during the second period. After a Maxim Goncharov holding penalty, AHL MVP Tyler Johnson got the Crunch on the board with 13:23 left in the middle frame. The Pirates reinstated their two-goal lead as Chris Brown slipped the puck through Desjardins’ legs exactly two minutes later.

However, the Pirates went down two men after penalties to Evan Brophey and Brandon McMillan, and the Crunch responded as Mark Barberio scored at 13:32 of the second.

Syracuse got the equalizer in the third as Dan Sexton put the puck past Pirates netminder Chad Johnson with 12:06 left in regulation.

In the overtime frame, a major for elbowing to Pirates defenseman Boris Valabik gave Syracuse a lengthy power play, and Panik broke through at 6:36 to give the Crunch the win and the series lead.