The Syracuse Crunch pushed the pace early and racked up the goals.
The Crunch scored three times in the first seven minutes and held on against the Comets, as Syracuse defeated Utica, 3-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial in the preseason opener Saturday.
“We were skating hard and playing with pace,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “The second effort was there and we had great habits. That was the difference in the first period overall.”
“That’s the way our team wants to play this year,” Erne said. “We want to be ready from the start. It’s not slow hockey. … It’s moving the puck fast, playing forward and playing with speed. I think if everybody’s on the same page, it’s going to be tough to stop.”
Daniel Walcott is returning to his old number and his regular position.
The second-year pro will wear No. 85, a number he wore as the captain of Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL, and go back to full-time duty as a defenseman for the Syracuse Crunch this season.
While splitting time at forward and defense was a learning experience and kept him in the lineup, Walcott believes he is ready to shine on the Crunch blue line.
"I think I performed well up in Tampa and I got my confidence at D, and I just want to keep building on it," Walcott said. "A fresh number, a new start and a steady position."
One season after being traded twice, Jeremy Morin is looking to settle in.
The forward has called five cities and four organizations his home over the past six seasons in the AHL and the NHL, but now his winding path has taken him closer to where he grew up.
Morin, who is from Auburn, NY, participated in the first practice of the 2016-17 season as a member of the Syracuse Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Tuesday.
"It's definitely been kind of a whirlwind, but I'm looking to make a home in this organization and get off to a good start," Morin said. "I think I'll have a good opportunity here. The coaching staff and the organization has been great."
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Yanni Gourde to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Gourde, 24, appeared in two games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 regular season, posting an assist and two penalty minutes. Gourde made his NHL debut with the Bolts last season on December 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and posted an assist, his first career NHL point. The 5-foot-9, 167-pound forward also played in 65 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, recording 14 goals and 44 points to go along with 42 penalty minutes. He ranked fourth on Syracuse for points and assists and was tied for fourth on the club for goals.
The Saint-Narcisse, Quebec native has skated in two career NHL games, all with the Lightning last season, posting an assist. Gourde has also played in 242 career AHL games over five seasons with the Crunch and Worcester Sharks, collecting 58 goals and 150 points. During the 2014-15 season, Gourde led the Crunch for goals with 29 and ranked second for points with 57.
Gourde went undrafted and originally agreed to terms with the Lightning on March 9, 2014.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mike Halmo to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Halmo, 25, played in 74 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League last season, collecting 22 goals and 41 points to go along with 117 penalty minutes. He ranked second on the Sound Tigers for goals and was third for points. Halmo set career highs last season for games played, goals and points. The Waterloo, Ontario native has skated in 214 career AHL games, all with Bridgeport over the past five seasons, posting 56 goals and 112 points.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound forward has appeared in 20 career NHL games, all with the New York Islanders during the 2013-14 season, posting one goal and 32 penalty minutes. Halmo made his NHL debut on February 27, 2014 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and netted his first career NHL goal on April 1, 2014 against the Florida Panthers (Scott Clemmensen).
Halmo went undrafted and originally signed as a free agent with the Islanders on March 10, 2012.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Gudlevskis, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, played in 41 games with the Syracuse Crunch last season, posting a 16-12-8 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He led all Crunch goaltenders (min. 13 games) in games played, wins, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts. Gudlevskis won a season-high five consecutive games from March 19 through March 26.
The Aizkraukle, Latvia native has played in two career NHL regular season games, notching a 2.00 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage with a 1-0-1 record. Gudlevskis has also participated in two Stanley Cup Playoff games, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage. He has skated in 121 career AHL games, all with Syracuse, and posted a 59-37-12 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
Gudlevskis was drafted by the Lightning in the fifth round, 124th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played in two games for Latvia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, including a 55-save performance against Team Canada in a 2-1 quarterfinal loss.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Gabriel Dumont to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Dumont, 5-foot-10, 181 pounds, appeared in 71 games with the St. John’s IceCaps last season, notching 19 goals and 49 points. He ranked tied for second on the team for goals and was third for points.
A native of Ville Degelis, Quebec, Dumont has played in 18 career NHL games, all with the Montreal Canadiens, recording a goal and three points. He has skated in 389 career AHL games with the IceCaps and the Hamilton Bulldogs, registering 92 goals and 203 points. The former IceCaps captain also participated in the 2012-13 AHL All-Star Classic.
Dumont was drafted by Montreal in the fifth round, 139th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Jeremy Morin to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Morin, 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, played in 59 AHL games last season with the Rockford IceHogs, Toronto Marlies and San Jose Barracuda. He registered 16 goals and 42 points. Morin also skated in four Calder Cup Playoff games with San Jose.
A native of Auburn, New York, Morin has appeared in 82 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, registering 10 goals and 22 points. He has also played in 267 career AHL contests and amassed 97 goals and 200 points.
Morin was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the second round, 45th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Letourneau-Leblond, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, played in 52 games with the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League last season, notching a goal and six points. His 131 penalty minutes led the team. Letourneau-Leblond also played in three Calder Cup Playoff games.
The Levis, Quebec native has played in 41 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins, recording three assists and 101 penalty minutes. Letourneau-Leblond has also played in five Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has skated in 448 career AHL games with the Devils, Albany River Rats, Lowell Devils, Abbotsford Heat, Norfolk Admirals and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He has recorded 26 goals, 65 points and 1,692 penalty minutes. Letourneau-Leblond has played in 14 career Calder Cup Playoff games.
Letourneau-Leblond was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the seventh round, 216th overall, of the 2004 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Bournival, 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, played in 20 games with the St. John’s IceCaps last season after suffering an injury. He recorded a goal and eight points while in St. John’s.
A native of Shawinigan, Quebec, Bournival has spent his entire professional career in the Montreal Canadiens organization. He has skated in 89 career NHL games with Montreal, notching 10 goals and 19 points. Bournival registered career highs of 60 games played, seven goals and 14 points in 2013-14. He also appeared in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games that season. Bournival has played in 104 career AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs and St. John’s, netting 16 goals and recording 50 points.
Bournival was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round, 71st overall, of the 2010 NHL Draft.