Lock Monsters Defeat Crunch 4-3
Lock Monsters Burn Syracuse
by Alex Pufhal
The Lowell Lock Monsters followed up one of their more exciting games of the year so far when they shutout the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks 3-0 on Wednesday night. On Friday, they topped that. The Lock Monsters took at 3-0 lead on a pair of Warren Luhning goals and one by Zdeno Chara. Then as typical of most of their games, they let the Crunch back into the game. Robert Dome, Robb Gordon and Darren Sinclair all scored to tie the game for Syracuse.
It looked like both teams were willing to settle for a tie when Syracuse suffered a brief defensive lapse and the Lock Monsters took advantage of it. Lock Monsters Captain Dane Jackson, a former Syracuse skater redirected a Dimitri Nabokov shot with just 27 seconds to go in the game giving the Lock Monsters their second consecutive win. 4-3.
The Lock Monsters managed just 13 shots on goal against Crunch goaltender Tim Keyes but it was enough to win. Goaltender Marcel Cousineau continued his stellar play, stopping 18 in the win.
Lock Monsters forward Buddy Wallace, a defensive specialist out of Clarkson had two assists on the night. Warren Luhing has scored points in 5 of his first 6 games (2-4-6) and Sean Haggerty had his 5-game point scoring streak snapped. Robert Dome had a 2-point night for Syracuse. (1-1-2)
The Lock Monsters next play host to I-95 rival Providence Bruins on Saturday night, the P-Bruins defeated Portland 3-1. The Crunch travel north up I-95 to Portland to take on the Pirates.
The Lock Monsters are then off until Friday night when they take on Springfield in a home-and-home series.
Nabokov lifts Lock Monsters
By MIKE ZHE, Telegraph Sports Correspondent
LOWELL, Mass They squeezed off shots with the economy of a gunfighter who knows he has to mow down a posse of outlaws with only a handful of bullets.
But thanks to an NHL-style move in the games waning seconds, the Lowell Lock Monsters were able to get out of Dodge City alive Friday night.
Dane Jacksons redirection of a Dmitri Nabokov shot with 27.5 seconds left in regulation salvaged a 4-3 win for Lowell over the Syracuse Crunch, who had charismatically rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to make the crowd of 2,109 at Tsongas Arena sweat it out all the way to the end.
On a night when the Lock Monsters managed just 13 shots on goal, their final one provided the kill.
"We werent happy with the 13 shots," Lowell coach Frank Anzalone said. "But by the same token, they got less than normal too. They just did a good job through the neutral zone, we really couldnt get any line rushes."
Just when fans were getting warm to the prospect of the first overtime game in Lock Monsters history, Nabokov brought the house down. He wheeled out from the left boards, skirted his way across the ice and fired a low shot from the right face-off circle that nudged Jacksons stick and slid past Crunch goalie Tim Keyes.
"I just saw Nabokov beat the guy a little bit and make a nice play going to the net," Jackson said. "I was kind of tangled up with their D-man. I just worked to the net with my stick on the ice."
"A great play, a tremendous play," Anzalone said of Nabokovs effort. "Thats an NHL-type play you saw."
Syracuse had dominated the third period after watching Lowell take command of the game in the first two.
The key swing came late in the second, when Monsters goalie Marcel Cousineau (18 saves) made a pair of quality stops in rapid succession, then watched his teammates light the lamp twice in a 20-second span to bump their lead to 3-0.
Warren Luhning managed his second of the night at the 15:47 mark, one-timing a puck that slithered out from a jam behind the net. After the ensuing face-off, defenseman Zdeno Chara crossed the blue line with a defender on his back and with one arm dribbled a shot that squeezed between Keyes (nine saves) and the near post.
Robert Dome got the Crunch on the board with 32 seconds left in the period, after Pavel Skebek had crossed him a pass and given him most of the net to work with. But at that time, it seemed a mere footnote.
It didnt in the third, after Robb Gordon and Darren Sinclair both beat Cousineau in the first 5:50, squaring matters at 3-3 with plenty of time to play. Suddenly, the two points were looking iffy and even one point no guarantee.
"It would have been a big disappointment either way," said Jackson, the Lock Monsters captain who suited up for eight games with the New York Islanders a year ago and has also seen NHL time with Buffalo and Vancouver. "Thats not very good hockey to let a team come back from that. But youve got to give them credit."
The Lock Monsters didnt exactly come bursting out of the locker room in this one: They took three penalties in the games first 10 minutes and managed a grand total of two shots on goal during the first period, but took a 1-0 lead on what could arguably be called their prettiest goal of the year.
With a Syracuse power play expiring, Buddy Wallace led a 2-on-1 break down the left side and made a pinpoint lead pass to Luhning, who collected it, deked forehand and flipped a backhand over Crunch goalie Keyes for his first goal of the year.
That was the first shot they took all night. But at that time, nobody could have known how significant the last one would be.
"We had about eight guys that were having an off night," Anzalone said. "I was proud of the way they mucked their way through it. And Nabokov just gave us the talent at the end."
Crunch comeback falls short
An eight-game road trip that hasn't been good to Syracuse ends tonight in Portland.
Dimitri Nabakov's goal off a shot from the right circle with 27 seconds to play gave the Lowell Loch Monsters a 4-3 win over Syracuse on Friday night, ruining a comeback from a three-goal deficit by the Crunch before 2,109 at the Paul Tsongas Arena.
Warren Luhning had two goals for Lowell, as the Loch Monsters improved to 4-2 in their first year of operation. The Crunch is now 2-5-1 overall and 2-4-1 on an eight-game road trip that ends tonight in Portland.
Through the first 10 minutes of the game the teams combined for only one shot on goal, but that single shot was a score by Luhning which gave Lowell a 1-0 lead with 9 minutes, 45 seconds gone. Luhning scored off a feed from Buddy Wallace on a two-on-one break. Luhning beat Tim Keyes with a backhander, the first goal Keyes has given up this year.
The Lock Monsters finished the period with only two shots, while the Crunch failed to score on a five-on-three advantage during the period.
Lowell did not get its third shot on goal until midway through the second period, but again what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality.
Luhning scored his second goal on a wrist shot from the left face-off circle at 15:47. Less than a minute later, Zdeno Chara moved around defenseman Michal Rozsival and beat Keyes for a 3-0 Lowell lead at 16:17.
The Crunch got on the board when Robert Dome beat Lowell goaltender Marcel Cousineau with a snap shot from the right circle at 19:28.
Robb Gordon managed to push the puck past Cousineau off a feed from Larry Courville just 1:55 into the third period to bring the Crunch within 3-2.
The comeback was completed with a power-play goal by Darren Sinclair, his first of the year, at 5:50.
Although the Crunch controlled play throughout the rest of the third period, they could not beat Cousineau again, setting up the heroics by Nabakov.
Syracuse 0 1 2--3
Lowell 1 2 1--4
FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Lowell, Luhning 1 (Wallace), 5:45.
Penalties: Orszagh, Low (Obstr tripping), 3:41; Jackson, Low (slashing), 8:05; Malkoc, Low (cross checking), 9:27; Sonnenberg, Syr (slashing), 15:50; Obrien, Syr (elbowing), 17:56.
SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 2, Lowell, Luhning 2 (Webb, Wallace), 15:47. 3, Lowell, Z Chara 1 (Nabakov), 16:17. 4, Syracuse, Dome 2 (Skrbek,Kolkunov), 19:28. Penalties: Chebaturkin, Low (slashing), 4:06; Allan, Syr(holding), 9:49; Courville, Syr (Diving), 13:08; Jackson, Low (hooking), 13:08.
THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 5, Syracuse, Gordon 2 (Courville, Schaefer), 1:55. 6, Syracuse, Sinclair 1 (power play) (Dome, Morozov), 5:50. 7, Lowell, Jackson 2 (Nabakov, C Charron), 19:33. Penalties: Courville, Syr
(Obstr hooking), 2:20; Luhning, Low (cross checking), 4:21; Z Chara, Low (high sticking), 11:01.
Shots on goal:
Syracuse 5 8 8--21
Lowell 2 5 6--13
Power-play Conversions: Syr - 1 of 6, Low - 0 of 4. Goalies: Syracuse, Keyes (13 shots, 9 saves; record: 0-1-0). Lowell, Cousineau (21, 18; record: 4-1-0). A: 2,109. Referee: Peel. Linesmen: Earle, Costello