Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Top Comets in Shootout, Earn All Six Points on Homestand


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tanner Richard moved left and right as he slowly approached the net, and then quickly flicked a backhander that beat Michael Garteig’s glove.

The goal — followed by a save by Kristers Gudlevskis at the other end — sealed a 4-3 shootout win for the Syracuse Crunch over the Utica Comets at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. The Crunch captured all six points on the three-game homestand, including two wins against divisional opponents.

“It’s a very good week for us, obviously,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Tonight we battled hard. It was our fifth game in eight days with some previous travel in St. John’s, so we had to battle hard last night and battle hard again against a very competitive Utica team. My hat’s off to our players.”

AHL Game Night: 12-10-16 Comets at Crunch

Crunch clip their rivals.

UTI-3
SYR-4 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 34 shots before stopping 2 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win.

First Period
7:45 UTI Pelletier (1), (Kunyk, Subban)(PP)
13:20 SYR Ikonen (1), (Bournival, Gourde)

Second Period
5:03 UTI Virtanen (4), (Billins, Robak)(PP)
7:01 SYR Thomas (1), (Richard, Hart)

Third Period
0:12 SYR Taormina (8), (Dotchin, Peca)(SH)
15:21 UTI Cassels (3), (Kunyk, Grenier)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
UTI- Valk
SYR- Conacher, Richard

Tanner Richard, Henri Ikonen, and Michael Bournival were the game's three stars.

Syracuse, for the moment, moves 6 points clear of second place atop the North Division. They're starting to make up some ground on Lehigh Valley for tops in the conference if they can stay on track.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Rally Past Devils in Third Period


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch found a way to rally late.

After erasing a pair of one-goal deficits, the Crunch pulled ahead late in the third period on a goal by Yanni Gourde, as Syracuse topped the Albany Devils, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“It shows we’ve got some confidence and we’ve got some confidence in this room,” Crunch assistant captain Erik Condra said. “No matter if we’re up a couple or down a couple, we’re going to work the same way. The puck was bouncing a lot out there, especially in the second … in the third we settled it down and played a more simple game. We know what we’ve got in the room. We’ve been rolling a little bit, and when you’re rolling like that you don’t want it to stop.”

AHL Game Night: 12-9-16 Devils at Crunch

Crunch top Devils in key 4 point game atop the division standings.

ALB-2
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the victory.

First Period
8:08 ALB Quenneville (8), (Mandat)
14:07 SYR Richard (7), (Condra, Dotchin)

Second Period
11:04 ALB Coleman (6), (Pietila)

Third Period
5:42 SYR Erne (6), (Peca, Thomas)(PP)
14:36 SYR Gourde (7), (Dotchin, Condra)
18:42 SYR Condra (5), (Gourde, Dotchin)(EN)

Yanni Gourde, Adam Erne, and Jake Dotchin were the game's three stars. Dotchin with assists in triplicate is making waves at right side defense with Witkowski shuttling back and forth to the big club and Blujus out injured.

Syracuse pulls 3 points clear atop the North Division.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Wilcox, Penalty Kill Lift Crunch Over Phantoms


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite having to weather the storm from the Phantoms for long stretches in the second and third periods, the Crunch emerged with the win.

Goalie Adam Wilcox made 48 saves, the penalty kill was flawless and Matt Taormina’s goal late in the third lifted Syracuse to a 4-2 win over Lehigh Valley at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

“I think we have to give credit tonight to our goalie, obviously. He was our best player out there,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Our PK was phenomenal too. I think (Erik) Condra, (Yanni) Gourde, (Michael) Bournival, (Cory) Conacher, (Matthew) Peca, (Adam) Erne with our group defensemen and our best PKer, which is our goalie, were very good. (The Phantoms) have a good power play, and they did an outstanding job at killing penalties.”

AHL Game Night: 12-7-16 Phantoms at Crunch

A goaltender rises...

LV-2
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 50 (not a typo) shots for the victory. Wilcox is now 9-3-0 on the season with 1 shutout, a 2.13 GAA, and a .924 sv%. His 9 wins now matches his total number of victories from all of his rookie pro campaign. Tonight was his statement of intent to take over the starting job in Syracuse permanently. I don't think, ultimately, he's going to lose in his bid.

First Period
11:57 LV Bardreau (3), (Knight)
12:29 SYR Peca (5), (Condra, Erne)
12:50 SYR Dotchin (2), (Gourde, Halmo)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
10:40 LV Bardreau (4), (Knight, O'Neill)
17:25 SYR Taormina (7), (Erne, Condra)
19:39 SYR Gourde (6), (Condra)(EN)(SH)

Wilcox and Matt Taormina were the game's first and second stars.

When the Lightning organization's farm team last won a championship with the Norfolk Admirals, they did so with a team that was fortunate enough to have two high-quality AHL starting goaltenders in Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus. Coming into this season, with a Syracuse roster stocked to the gills with veteran firepower, it's always seemed the limiting factor would be goaltending where it wasn't clear the Crunch even had one high-quality AHL starter. Now that we're well past the quarter post of the season, though, it's becoming clear one of the two netminders in Syracuse's tandem has risen up and clearly separated himself from the other. Adam Wilcox doesn't have all the physical gifts that Kristers Gudlevskis does, but goaltending is only partially about pure athleticism. Like boxing, goaltending is also a sweet science of understanding angles, body positioning, reading your opponents, and the ebb and flow of the game. Gudlevskis has struggled to find his calm place in the sweet science of the goaltending game. Adam Wilcox is finding his comfort zone inside the maelstrom around his crease and he's made his move. The numbers don't lie. Wilcox is now 7th in the AHL in GAA and 8th in save percentage.

Syracuse moves 1 point up on Albany for first in the North Division with 2 games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-4-16 Crunch at Bears

Goaltending betrays Syracuse.

SYR-2
HER-4

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 12 shots for the loss, and there were questionable goals in those 3.

First Period
15:02 HER Mitchell (2), (unassisted)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:23 HER Sanford (1), (Walker, Djoos)
3:38 SYR Conacher (4), (Taormina, Richard)(PP)
5:08 SYR Gourde (5), (Peca, Gudlevskis)(PP)
18:31 HER Ness (3), (Boyd, Lewington)
19:37 HER Sill (3), (Malone)(EN)

It's a hard pill to swallow losing when you outshoot an opponent 37-13. Goaltending remains the limiting factor that has to be questioned when you look at how far this Syracuse team can go. They have most everything else.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Wilcox Earns First Pro Shutout, Crunch Beat Americans


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Wilcox gave credit to the players in front of him.

The second-year Crunch goalie registered 25 saves against the Americans for his first professional shutout, as Syracuse beat Rochester, 4-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Give credit to the guys. They battled the whole game,” Wilcox said. “The first two periods it was an easy game. … When there’s three or four minutes left, you got guys like Tanner (Richard) and (Mike) Halmo taking slap shots to the ankles. That shows what type of team we are.
“There’s a bunch of guys selling out for me, and I told them I appreciated it and it means a lot to me.”

AHL Game Night: 12-3-16 Americans at Crunch

Syracuse puts on a clinic.

RCH-0
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox stopped all 25 shots he faced for the win and his first professional shutout.

First Period
4:17 SYR Morin (3), (Taormina, Richard)(PP)

Second Period
5:32 SYR Condra (4), (Dotchin, Taormina)
10:02 SYR Erne (4), (Taormina, Condra)

Third Period
14:39 SYR Erne (5), (Gourde, Condra)(EN)

Wilcox, Matt Taormina, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars.

Adam Erne snapped a 7 game goal drought with a pair of markers tonight, as well.

A coach's dream is when his team builds a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes, puts it on lockdown in the Third Period, and then adds an EN goal just to rub salt in the wound. That's how you draw it up.

With the win, at this moment, Syracuse finally has overtaken Albany for first place in the North Division and sits 4 points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Bridgeport for tops in the Eastern Conference, with games in hand on each of those teams (2 in Bridgeport's case).

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-30-16 Crunch at IceCaps

Crunch should've saved some goals for Wednesday.

SYR-2
STJ-3 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 30 shots before allowing 2 of 2 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the SO loss.

First Period
3:34 SYR Letourneau-Leblond (1), (Ikonen, Hart)

Second Period
16:22 STJ Scherbak (9), (Andrighetto, Eisenschmid)
19:59 STJ Eisenschmid (4), (Scherbak, Andrighetto)

Third Period
5:09 SYR Comrie (1), (Morin, Walcott)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- NONE
STJ- Audette, Andrighetto

Adam Comrie was the game's third star.

Syracuse finishes their swing through St. John's with 8 goals in 2 games. They just needed one more today, but were a little roster-strapped due to the callups of Vermin and Bournival to Tampa Bay's roster. Still, Syracuse moves within 1 point of Albany for first place in the division with 1 game in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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