Mike Angelidis battled for space with a couple players on the blue line and bolted for the front of the net.
The puck rebounded off Utica netminder Joacim Eriksson, bounced right to Angelidis’ skate, and into the back of the net. The Crunch captain’s 10th goal of the season tied the game with a little more than two minutes left in regulation, and Syracuse went on to win its sixth-straight in overtime Saturday night.
It was the ultimate example of Angelidis’ play -- a clutch play, albeit not flashy, when the Crunch needed it the most. The 29-year-old’s ability to lead by example has put Syracuse in second place in the Northeast Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Bolt Prospect of the Week for December 15, 2014 is … Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).
Who are we to argue with the American Hockey League?
The league named Lightning goaltender prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy the CCM/AHL Player of the Week on Monday before we even had a chance to vote on our Prospect of the Week. The early bird gets the proverbial worm, so we’ll just go ahead and agree with the AHL on this one.
Not that we would’ve disagreed.
The Killer G's.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the victory. That's two straight quality starts for Kristers since Vasilevskiy started to show his Latvian tandem-mate his tail lights, and he squared his save percentage away at exactly .900 with his effort tonight.
SYR Paradis, (7) (Mormina, Gourde), 1:19
RCH Ellis, (7) (McCabe, Pysyk), 18:20 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (12) (Richard, Koekkoek), 5:24
RCH Ruhwedel, (6) (Irwin), 11:28 (PP)
SYR Blunden, (4) (Angelidis, Kunyk), 2:14
Yanni Gourde and Mike Blunden were the game's first and second stars. Gourde, who along with Gudlevskis was the other Killer G in tonight's contest, is now tied for 3rd in the league in goals, as of this posting. He's just 2 back of the league leader right now and is doing his best to be the next diminutive, undrafted Lightning gem, following in the footsteps of Conacher and Johnson before him.
Here's a stat that you could've won a lot of money with before this season: Tanner Richard is tied for second in the league in +/- right now at +17. His point tonight helped him match his scoring totals from all of last season (17 points) in 38 less games, and his +/- has improved dramatically from the -9 mark he posted last year. The light has come on for the pesky Richard, who looks to fit a future role as a two-way third liner who can create as a playmaker and has a little bit of instigator's edge to him, too.
Syracuse's win moves them into a tie with Springfield for the division lead at 37 points and they currently sit at second in the Eastern Conference by virtue of this 7-game winning streak/magic carpet ride they're on. Although they don't yet have the ridiculously good defensive stats and goal differential, this is starting to take on the appearance of one of the old Jon Cooper teams: long winning streaks, plenty of goals, and also, at this moment, tied for second in the league in penalty minutes, too. Fast, talented, and rough and tough when they need to be.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the OT win, rebounding from giving up 4 or more goals in each of his previous 3 starts. Gudlevskis saw the Vasilevskiy train leaving the station, and didn't want to be left behind. Big plus for the Crunch that he stepped up tonight.
UTI DeFazio, (9) (Tommernes, Sanguinetti), 15:09
SYR Angelidis, (10) (Ikonen, Mormina), 17:49
SYR Gourde, (11) (Richard, Mormina), 6:00
Gudlevskis and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and second stars. Also, very quietly, Henri Ikonen has 1 goal and 3 points in the last 2 games. That matches his statistical output from all of November.
The Crunch's win pulls them within 2 points of division and conference leading Springfield, which lost to Norfolk tonight. Syracuse has 2 games in hand on the Falcons, and they can move into a tie with Springfield on Wednesday when they square off against Rochester.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
After allowing the first goal late in the opening frame, the Syracuse Crunch fired back.
Mike Angelidis tied the score to start the annual teddy bear toss early in the second, Syracuse netted three goals in the third period, and Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 29 saves, as the Crunch beat the Hershey Bears, 4-1, to win their fifth straight at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
For Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler, the big third period came down to the team creating traffic in front of Hershey netminder Philipp Grubauer.
"The bottom line was I thought we had a lot of chances -- especially in the first and second period -- but I thought (Grubauer) saw everything," Zettler said. "That goal, that power play goal, Joel Vermin was right in front of him, it went off of him and he didn't see it."