Syracuse Crunch

Wilcox Debuts, Crunch Comeback Falls Short Against Falcons


By Jeremy Houghtaling

One night after a come-from-behind win, the Syracuse Crunch just didn't have the same third period magic.

The Crunch, who scored three unanswered goals to top the Sound Tigers in overtime Friday, controlled play throughout most of the first period but went into the intermission trailing by one. Springfield turned the tables in the second and Syracuse's comeback fell short, as the Crunch lost to the Falcons, 3-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"I thought we started the game really well," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "I thought we were skating and generating a lot of chances in the first. In the second, they flipped it on us, and they had most of the momentum and were creating chances. In the third, we held play in their end but weren't generating any chances. For whatever reason there were opportunities but they didn't turn into good scoring chances for us."

AHL Game Night: 3-11-15 Falcons at Crunch

Division title in peril.

SPR-3
SYR-1

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the loss in his professional debut.

First Period
SYR Blujus, (3) (Martindale, Gourde), 11:21 (PP)
SPR Tynan, (12) (Pinkston, Vogelhuber), 14:05
SPR Anderson, (7) (Milano, St. Denis), 18:01

Second Period
SPR Tynan, (13) (Collins, Milano), 12:05 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Dylan Blujus was the game's third star.

It wasn't surprising the team struggled to score with Jonathan Marchessault on emergency recall to Tampa with Jonathan Drouin under the weather. Losing Marchessault essentially guts the Crunch of the engine that makes their offense go. The good news is Drouin and a slew of other injured Lightning players will be back when the playoffs start next week, so I would expect Marchessault and Witkowski, at a minimum, to be back with the Crunch for the rest of their run this year.

Syracuse's lead in the division slipped to 2 points over Hartford with the loss.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Marchessault, Crunch Rally Past Sound Tigers


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jonathan Marchessault netted a goal in the first minute and provided the offensive spark late.

The forward had a hand in every goal and the Crunch scored three unanswered goals after the second intermission, as Syracuse rallied past the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3, in overtime at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"I thought he was the best player on the ice, in fact it wasn't even close in my mind," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler of Marchessault, who finished with a goal and three assists. "He competed, he was really good offensively, he competed defensively, and he was the difference for us."

AHL Game Night: 4-10-15 Sound Tigers at Crunch

Comeback Crunch snap the streak.

BRI-3
SYR-4 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the OT victory.

First Period
SYR Marchessault, (23) , 0:57
BRI Quine, (21) (Pulock, Jeffrey), 11:54 (PP)

Second Period
BRI Langkow, (8) (Jeffrey, Quine), 14:12
BRI Gillies, (5) (Ness, Sundstrom), 17:31

Third Period
SYR Kunyk, (10) (Marchessault, Martindale), 0:26
SYR Point, (1) (Marchessault, Martindale), 3:43 (PP)

Overtime
SYR Martindale, (16) (Marchessault, Blujus), 3:17 (PP)

Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Martindale, and Slater Koekkoek were the game's three stars.

Brayden Point scored his first pro goal in the contest to tie the game early in the Third Period.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Peca Looks to Step Up for Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In his second professional game, Matthew Peca had some big shoes to fill.

With Crunch captain Mike Angelidis scratched due to an upper body injury, Peca slotted into Syracuse’s third line between Joel Vermin and Justin Courtnall. The center, looking to make an adjustment to the pro game during his tryout with the Crunch, excelled in his increased ice time and registered his first pro point on an assist to briefly tie the game against Bridgeport Saturday.

Peca is looking to become a regular contributor for the Crunch, whose depth is being tested with so many players banged up late in the season.

“He’s got good speed, he is highly competitive, and seems to be a high character guy,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “We’ll get to know more as we move along here, but if Saturday night is any indication, there were no issues with him fitting in or adjusting. He was good.”

AHL Game Night: 4-4-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Comeback bid comes close to paying off.

SYR-2
BRI-3

Allen York allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the loss. Again, paging Adam Wilcox?

First Period
BRI Mouillierat, (21) (Halmo, Collberg), 17:49

Second Period
BRI Pulock, (16) (Quine, Ness), 3:47 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Marchessault, (22) (Kunyk, Dotchin), 3:50
SYR Lynch, (2) (Peca, Dodero), 7:34
BRI Sundstrom, (7) (Pulock, Quine), 14:50 (PP)

One thing about the Crunch this year, when changes to the roster have come it's taken a few games for them to adjust. Once they do, though, it's lights out. So, I expect Syracuse to settle in here, soon, and especially when they get Koekkoek and Witkowski back from Tampa Bay. They could be frightening when that happens, especially if they get more good goaltending from Gudlevskis and possibly Wilcox.

Matthew Peca got his first pro point on a fantastic setup on what was, at the time, the tying goal at 2-2 for the Crunch.

Syracuse remains 4 points up on Hartford in the division with both teams having 6 games left on the regular season slate.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-3-15 Crunch at Wolf Pack

Epic Third Period collapse.

SYR-4
HFD-6

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 29 shots before giving way to Allen York who allowed 1 on 2 shots for the back door loss. Looooots of goaltender speculation on the Twitter box tonight. Paging Adam Wilcox.

First Period
SYR Vermin, (11) , 6:56
SYR Gourde, (27) (Mormina, Cote), 7:47

Second Period
HFD Haggerty, (14) , 6:50
SYR Martindale, (14) (Marchessault, Nightingale), 18:47

Third Period
HFD Hrivik, (10) (Haggerty, Kristo), 3:55 (PP)
SYR Martindale, (15) (Gourde), 4:14 (SH)
HFD Vaive, (13) (Bodie, Lindberg), 8:00 (PP)
HFD Bourque, (27) (Crabb, Allen), 9:54
HFD Hrivik, (11) (Hughes, R. Bourque), 15:44
HFD Mueller, (13) , 19:32 (EN/PP)

Ryan Martindale was the game's second star.

Matthew Peca was scoreless in his pro debut in the game.

Syracuse clinched a playoff spot despite the loss, due to Albany's shootout win over Springield.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Fall in OT, Miss Chance to Clinch Playoff Spot


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With a chance to clinch a playoff berth, the Syracuse Crunch came up just short.

Albany lost in Manchester and Syracuse battled back from a pair of deficits, but the Crunch couldn't convert on five power play opportunities -- including one in overtime -- as they fell to the Binghamton Senators, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

"There were significant opportunities both ways," said Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler. "At the end of the day, we couldn't get one on the power play. We had a chance 4-on-3 in overtime and we couldn't get it past him. We definitely had our chances to win it, we just couldn't. I was happy with the effort and I was happy with the chances, we just couldn't finish it off."

AHL Game Night: 4-1-15 Senators at Crunch

Crunch lose a tight one with reinforcements on the way.

BNG-3
SYR-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the OT loss. He made several key stops to allow the Crunch to secure 1 point in the contest.

First Period
BNG Prince, (24) (Camper), 4:05
SYR Angelidis, (20) (Courtnall, Vermin), 12:32
BNG Camper, (14) (Schneider, A. Grant), 17:53 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Martindale, (13) (Marchessault), 1:23

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
BNG Wideman, (17) (Dzingel), 3:06

Gudlevskis was the game's third star.

Syracuse has already lost Namestnikov and three regular defensemen to recall because of various injuries up top in Tampa Bay. They've gotten a little help with the signing of Brayden Point to an ATO and bringing the likes of Jared Nightingale back into the fold for a spell. They're about to get even more reinforcements, though, with today's signing of forward Matthew Peca and the word that goaltender Adam Wilcox is also likely to sign with the Lightning and may be assigned to Syracuse, as well. If they can get Koekkoek and Witkowski, at least, back from Tampa Bay and the likes of Tanner Richard back from injury, this could take a decent Syracuse roster to the level of a reasonable title contender in the playoffs. If one or two other active junior players can also join in the fun, all the better.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Point Looks to Contribute While Learning With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Brayden Point is in a position to chip in immediately.

After averaging more than a point with Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League over the past three-plus seasons, Point has a chance to step in and contribute offensively with the Syracuse Crunch. The center, who is getting a taste of the pro game in his stint with Syracuse, was flanked by Crunch leading goalscorer Yanni Gourde and former Tampa Bay Lightning first round pick Carter Ashton during his American Hockey League debut against Rochester Saturday.

“Obviously the coaching staff has given me a good opportunity to play with some real talented players that have had success at this level,” Point said. “It’s definitely an opportunity for me, and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

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