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Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Rookie Thomas Shows 'Solid Progression'


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Ben Thomas soaked in what he could in last year’s eight-game stint in Syracuse.

The defenseman joined the Crunch after the conclusion of his junior season last spring, and recorded his first pro goal and three assists. More importantly, Thomas learned what to expect and gained confidence knowing he could play at the AHL level.

Thomas is continuing to show progress during his rookie season as he adjusts to pro hockey.

“I think it was good for me last year to step in at the end, get some experience and show myself that I can play at this level,” Thomas said. “That gave me confidence coming into this year, and I was able to get off to a pretty good start. Those games last year really helped me.”

Crunch's Dumont Continues Push to Make NHL


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Gabriel Dumont’s goals have remained the same since he was a rookie six years ago.

A veteran who has competed in more than 400 AHL games in the Montreal organization, Dumont signed with Tampa Bay last summer with the belief that he could earn a call-up to the Lightning.

Dumont has registered 10 points in 17 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season, as he continues to push for another opportunity in the NHL.

“You always want to work on everything,” Dumont said. “You ask any player. Everybody wants to get better, get faster, get stronger, shoot the puck better. I think the goal is — no matter hold old you are — is to keep improving every day. As long as you’re improving, you won’t fall off the radar.”

Crunch Defeat IceCaps in Physical Affair


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The tempers boiled over before the opening faceoff and never fully cooled down.

The Crunch's Jeremy Morin and the IceCaps’ Bobby Farnham needed to be separated before the puck dropped and Syracuse captain Luke Witkowski had a run-in with Farnham moments later. The next 60 minutes featured 12 goals, a pair of fights and 96 penalty minutes, but Syracuse emerged with a 7-5 win over St. John’s at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I’m very proud of our captain, our team and the way we responded today,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we took charge of this game right off the bat. They came back — we maybe let our foot off the gas a little bit — but you have to give credit to the other team. They showed character. … For me, we were challenged physically lately, and I’m very proud of our captain and our team with the way we stood up for ourselves.”

AHL Game Night: 12-31-16 IceCaps at Crunch

Goals n' goals n' goals!

STJ-5
SYR-7

Adam Wilcox allowed 5 goals on 16 shots for the win. A stat line that usually gets you lifted gets the W. Gotta love goal support.

First Period
7:29 SYR Taormina (9), (Comrie, Conacher)(PP)
8:24 SYR Halmo (9), (Comrie, Darcy)
9:34 SYR Conacher (5), (Condra, Taormina)(PP)
10:16 SYR Morin (5), (Witkowski, Dumont)
13:24 STJ Eisenschmid (5), (Racine)(SH)
13:45 STJ de la Rose (2), (Friberg, Hanley)(PP)
17:27 STJ MacMillan (2), (Gregoire, Lernout)

Second Period
2:34 SYR Condra (6), (Conacher, Taormina)(PP)
11:45 SYR Morin (6), (Thomas, Halmo)
12:43 STJ Audette (6), (Veilleux)

Third Period
9:56 STJ de la Rose (3), (Audette, Friberg)(PP)
19:46 SYR Conacher (6), (Condra)(EN)

Jeremy Morin, Cory Conacher, and Matt Taormina were the game's three stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch's Defense Falters in Shootout Loss to Senators


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believed his team played good enough to win, but the defensive lapses proved to be too much.

The Crunch and Senators each let a one-goal lead slip away, but Binghamton emerged with a win in the shootout to down Syracuse, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“I thought we did some good things, obviously, but I think our defensemen have got to be better,” Groulx said. “(Goalie Adam Wilcox) was good tonight. He kept us in the game. We gave them two or three breakaways. I think our defense can be better. Other than that, I think the effort was good.”

AHL Game Night: 12-30-16 Senators at Crunch

Bingo's goaltender thieves a win.

BNG-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 22 shots before conceding to 1 of 2 in the penalty shot session for the Shootout loss.

First Period
6:25 BNG Rodewald (9), (Varone, Kostka)(PP)
16:06 SYR Dumont (5), (unassisted)

Second Period
5:54 SYR Comrie (3), (Taormina, Erne)(PP)
19:23 BNG Robinson (6), (Perron, Paul)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
BNG- Varone
SYR- NONE

Adam Erne was the game's second star.

Syracuse outshot Binghamton 39-22 in the game, but Senators netminder Chris Driedger turned aside 37 shots to pilfer the result.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Special Teams, Gourde's OT Goal Lift Crunch Over Bears


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It took overtime, but the Syracuse Crunch emerged with a win in a special teams battle.

The Crunch struggled to produce on the power play, but netted two shorthanded markers 26 seconds apart in the first period. Yanni Gourde provided the game-winner in the extra session, as Syracuse topped the Hershey Bears, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

“It was a good effort and a good hockey game tonight,” said Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, who clinched the North Division coaching job in the AHL’s All-Star Classic. “I thought it was a very entertaining game, not only for us — both teams — but for our fans. I thought we executed well tonight, and made some good plays offensively and defensively. We’re playing up to our identity. We played fast and didn’t give them much. Our goalie was solid. It was a nice win.”

AHL Game Night: 12-28-16 Bears at Crunch

Wall-cox rises up.

HER-2
SYR-3 (OT)

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 19 shots for the win. That's still not a warm and fuzzy stat line in terms of save percentage, but Wilcox has needed a performance like this since getting the #1 job in full with Gudlevskis being recalled. He made a lot of key situational saves tonight to make a victory possible.

First Period
16:17 SYR Brodeur (1), (Condra, Conacher)(SH)
16:43 SYR Gourde (9), (unassisted)(SH)
18:47 HER Mitchell (4), (Lewington, Stephenson)

Second Period
1:20 HER Thomas (14), (Djoos, Bourque)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
3:01 SYR Gourde (10), (Witkowski, Taormina)

Yanni Gourde and Erik Condra were the game's first and second stars. Luke Witkowski was hosed given that feathery soft give-and-go he worked to make Gourde's game winner happen.

Syracuse, at least in terms of overall balance of play, seemed to be in a more dominant position tonight with the return of a lot of key regulars like Conacher, Condra, and Richard from Tampa Bay now that they've had some time to get re-acclimated. The win moves Syracuse out to a 2 point lead in the North Division, and just as importantly this was a quality victory against a good Hershey team from the other side of the conference where the teams seem a little stronger, on paper, so far this year.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-26-16 Crunch at Americans

Crunch grinched on the day after Christmas.

SYR-1
RCH-5

Adam Wilcox allowed 5 goals on 26 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:56 SYR Masin (1), (Peca, Taormina)
8:51 RCH Bailey (11), (Schneider, O'Reilly)(PP)
9:18 RCH Rodrigues (5), (Muzito-Bagenda, Bennett)
12:59 RCH Catenacci (4), (O'Reilly, Geiger)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
10:57 RCH Bailey (12), (Kennedy)
15:52 RCH Schneider (11), (Kennedy)

Dominik Masin scored his first pro goal in the match. Other than that, it was a clunker.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Erne Registers Four Points, But Crunch Fall to Wolf Pack


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne had a hand in every Syracuse goal, but the Crunch came up short.

The Syracuse forward netted a pair of goals and assists for his first four-point night as a pro, but the depleted Crunch fell to the Hartford Wolf Pack, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

Three of the Crunch’s six leading scorers are on recall to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“Obviously, we want to win hockey games regardless of the lineup,” Erne said. “I don’t think that’s really an excuse for us. I think we need to find a way to win these games.”

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