Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Top Devils For Ninth-Straight Win

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The streak continues.

The Syracuse Crunch netted a pair of power play goals in a 3-2 victory over the Albany River Rats in the final game before the holiday break at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. The nine-game win streak is the longest the franchise has had in its three years affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Syracuse leads the Northeast Division and is second overall in the Eastern Conference. While the Crunch would like to keep the momentum rolling, they are welcoming a short rest.

"They deserve it," Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler said of the break. "These guys played very hard. You could see it out there. It was a chippy, kind of nasty game, but I think our players played hard and they deserve the five days."

AHL Game Night: 12-19-14 Crunch at Wolf Pack

The yak is still on the loose.


Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 24 shots he faced for the victory and his first shutout of the campaign. He's won his last 4 starts allowing just 3 total goals in the last 3 of those starts, while running his season save percentage back up to .906 in the process. Now things get very interesting in Syracuse, once Vasilevskiy returns, because this is what we expected coming into the year. These are two of the best prospect netminders around, and they'll be in a knock-down, drag-out for starts all season long. The competition is going to push both guys to play better than they ever thought possible. It's going to be great to see unfold.

First Period

Second Period
SYR Richard, (5) (Koekkoek), 2:12
SYR Namestnikov, (3) (Nesterov, Marchessault)

Third Period

Gudlevskis and Tanner Richard were the game's first and second stars. As of this posting, Richard's +18 mark is second best in the AHL behind the +21 of Manchester's Nick Shore. I should also point out that, on top of the game winning helper he had tonight, Nikita Nesterov hasn't had a minus game in a full month, when he had a -1 outing on 11/19 against Hartford. He's been +9 since that game, taking him up to +9 for the year. He was -2 last year and the 13 points he has in 28 games this season is 3 off the 16 he posted as a rookie in 54 games last season. So, like Richard, here's a player who had some holes in his game who seems to be rounding the corner a bit. Nice to see. Slater Koekkoek, oh by the way, has helpers in 3 of the last 4 games.

Tomorrow, Syracuse draws Albany at home.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 12-17-14 Crunch at Americans

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.

First Period
SYR Paradis, (7) (Mormina, Gourde), 1:19
RCH Ellis, (7) (McCabe, Pysyk), 18:20 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Gourde, (12) (Richard, Koekkoek), 5:24
RCH Ruhwedel, (6) (Irwin), 11:28 (PP)

Third Period
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

Angelidis Leading Syracuse's Charge Back to Postseason

By Jeremy Houghtaling

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.

Prospect of the Week: 12-15-14

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.

AHL Game Night: 12-13-14 Crunch at Comets

Gudlevskis responds.

UTI-1 (OT)

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.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period
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

Crunch Down Bears for Fifth-Straight Win

By Jeremy Houghtaling

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."

AHL Game Night: 12-12-14 Bears at Crunch

Vasilevskiy's rampage continues.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory. He finally saw his shutout streak snapped, but his performance tonight raised his season save percentage to .918 and lowered his GAA to 2.34. He's allowed 1 or fewer goals in each of his last 4 starts and won 7 of his last 8 starts. He has the potential to elevate Syracuse from a playoff contender to a championship contender.

First Period
HER Galiev, (8) (Carrick, Kennedy), 15:48 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Angelidis, (9) (Ikonen, Blunden), 4:13

Third Period
SYR Vermin, (7) (Blujus, Koekkoek), 15:03 (PP)
SYR Smith, (7) (Namestnikov, Marchessault), 16:19
SYR Ikonen, (2) , 19:25 (EN)

Joel Vermin, Vasilevskiy, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 12-10-14 Crunch at Falcons

Vasilevskiy rising.


Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 26 shots he faced for his second straight shutout. He's now 7-3-3 with 2 SO, a 2.44 GAA, and a .914 sv%. He's given up a whopping 1 goal in his last 3 starts, and with Gudlevskis struggling Andrei now appears to clearly be the #1 goaltender in Syracuse.

First Period
SYR Nesterov, (3) (Angelidis, Namestnikov), 18:01

Second Period

Third Period
SYR Blunden, (3) , 19:13 (EN)

Vasilevskiy, Nikita Nesterov, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars. Since being sent down to Syracuse, Namestnikov has averaged 2 points a game with 2 goals and 6 points in 3 games.

Box score from

Namestnikov Making Most of Return to Crunch

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Vlad Namestnikov took less than one minute to show up on the scoresheet in his return to Syracuse.

The center, assigned to the Crunch last week to get more ice time after initially making the Tampa Bay Lightning out of training camp, scored a power play goal 59 seconds into his first game back and finished with two goals and three assists in a pair of weekend wins for the Crunch.

Namestnikov understands the reasons for being sent back to the American Hockey League, and is continuing to work on improving his game to return to the Lightning.

“I’m trying to stay positive,” Namestnikov said. “If I keep working and keep improving, I think good things will happen.”

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