Two first period goals by Portland had a packed War Memorial holding its breath, but the Syracuse Crunch came back roaring in the second and third periods, defeating the Pirates 4-3 in overtime.
Darian Dziurzynski and David Rundblad scored in the first period, giving Portland a 2-0 lead going into the second session. But, six minutes into the second period, AHL MVP Tyler Johnson got a rebound in front of the net and deflected the puck off the post to give Syracuse its first goal of the night.
Portland added another goal to make it 3-1 late in the second period. That's when the Crunch turned it on. Mark Barberio scored right in front of the net during a Syracuse 5-3 advantage, putting the team down one going into the third period.
In the third period, Andrej Sustr threw one at the net from deep, only to have Dan Sexton deflect the puck in the net to tie the game, which would go into overtime.
Syracuse once again were on a powerplay in overtime, when Richard Panik found himself with the puck right in front of the net, put on a nifty move in front of Portland goalie Chad Johnson, and scored, giving Syracuse the Game 1 victory.
Syracuse and Portland will play Game 2 in the War Memorial on Sunday night. The puck drops at 7:30.