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      Tim Connolly's return to Syracuse spoiled by Crunch in shootout

      Tim Connolly is someone who will always be remembered by Central New York hockey fans.

      The longtime NHL standout went from his hometown of Baldwinsville to a couple of Eastern Conference finals with the Buffalo Sabres.

      Connolly was traded by the Sabres to the Toronto Maple Leafs a couple years ago and this year the Leafs sent him to their AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies.

      Certanly, Connolly would love to be back in the NHL but at least he had a small treat in his AHL stint on Wednesday night.

      The former B'ville Bee played against the Syracuse Crunch. A team he admittedly grew up watching at the War Memorial as a young Central Yorker.

      "I grew up here, I've always had great support here in Syracuse and the surroundings areas," Connolly says. "Obviously I was in Buffalo for awhile, a big Sabres town as well. I've always had a tremendous amount of support in town in Syracuse and in my hometown in Baldwinsville."

      Even though the Marlies fell to the Crunch you have to imagine parts of the trip to the Salt City were fun for Connolly.

      Here's more from the Crunch on its thrilling win over the Marlies.

      The Syracuse Crunch bested the Toronto Marlies 4-3 in a shootout tonight at the War Memorial Arena. The Crunch tied a season-high with their fifth straight win.The Crunch trailed by one goal on three different occasions before Dana Tyrell tied the game and forced overtime with his fourth goal of the season with 1:34 remaining in regulation.After a scoreless overtime, Ondrej Palat, Brett Connolly and Radko Gudas converted their shootout attempts while Crunch netminder Riku Helenius stopped three of five Marlie shooters to clinch the clubâ??s fifth consecutive win.Tonightâ??s win improves the clubâ??s overall record to 31-14-2-4 and home record to 11-8-2-2. Syracuse paces the Eastern Conference with 68 points on the season.The Marlies took their first lead of the game on a power-play goal with .4 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Joe Colborne buried a rebound from the right side to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermissionCrunch captain Mike Angelidis evened the score 2:46 into the middle stanza when he one-timed a Palat feed pass Toronto goaltender Mark Owuya.The Marlies regained their lead with Colborneâ??s second goal of the game but less than three minutes later Syracuseâ??s Palat evened the game with a power-play goal 6:51 into the second period.Toronto left wing Ryan Hamilton put the Marlies ahead 3-2 at the 6:50 mark of the final frame before Tyrell skated from behind the Marlies net and snuck the puck past Owuya.Crunchables: Brett Connolly had his nine-game point streak snapped tonightâ?|With his assist on Ondrej Palatâ??s second period goal Riku Helenius recorded his first point of the season and second career pointâ?|The Crunch improve their season shootout record to 2-4â?|In both shootout victories the game-winning goal has been scored by a defenseman.