Syracuse Crunch

Gourde Finds Home in Lightning Organization

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Yanni Gourde took the ice Tuesday as determined as ever.

The 5-9 left-winger signed a new deal -- an American Hockey League contract with the Syracuse Crunch for the rest of this season and a two-way deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the next two years -- last weekend. But Gourde, who spent time with three teams over the past two years, isn’t completely satisfied with his new found stability.

"It's awesome to feel that type of security right now," Gourde said. "But hockey is day-by-day. Every practice is important, and every time I step on the ice I need to improve myself to get better."

Crunch Score Three Times in Third to Down Senators, 4-3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

With the score tied late in the third period, Vlad Namestnikov shook his defender and posted up in the slot.

When the pass arrived on his tape, the Syracuse Crunch forward wasted no time shooting it past Binghamton Senators netminder Andrew Hammond. The goal with 2:42 remaining capped a three-goal third period, as the Crunch topped the Senators, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday afternoon.

"We had a good cycle and (Brett Connolly) passed it to (Jonathan Marchessault) behind the net," Namestnikov said. "He spun off his defenseman and found me in front of the net."

AHL Game Day: 3-9-14 Senators at Crunch

The pieces start to fit together?


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory. He gave his team a chance, holding them to within 2 of the Sens going into the final frame before the offense ramped up and delivered him some precious goal support.

First Period
BNG Prince, (17) , 3:15 (PP)
BNG Puempel, (22) (Da Costa), 14:35 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Paquette, (16) (Namestnikov, Gudlevskis), 8:18 (PP)
BNG Da Costa, (14) (Puempel, Stone), 12:40

Third Period
SYR Paradis, (3) (Sergeev, Angelidis), 7:42 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (14) (Labrie, Angelidis), 12:59
SYR Namestnikov, (17) (Marchessault, Connolly), 17:18

Vladislav Namestnikov, Brett Connolly, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars. Today also marked the first point for new acquisition Jonathan Marchessault and the team also announced the signing of 22 year old left wing Yanni Gourde, who was a point a game player for Worchester in 25 games this season before being cut loose by the Sharks. Gourde and Marchessault, like Conacher and Johnson before them, fit the mold of undersized, skilled, and inexpensive prospects the Lightning have had huge success cultivating. Both should figure prominently into the rebuilding of the Crunch next season.

Box score from

Americans Power Past Crunch, 5-3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler was happy with the effort, but not the result.

The Crunch allowed a pair of power play goals and empty-netters, as they fell to the Rochester Americans, 5-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"I thought our guys played well tonight," Zettler said. "I thought they competed hard, I thought they played well and I thought they deserved a better fate."

Syracuse's Vlad Namestnikov opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal a little more than five minutes into the second, but the Crunch didn't stay ahead long.

AHL Game Night: 3-8-14 Americans at Crunch

Syracuse falls short in a tight one.


Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 18 shots for the loss. This was one of the rare games where you had an opponent getting 2 EN goals sandwiched around a 6th attacker goal. Putting that tidbit aside, 3 goals on 18 shots is an ugly stat line for a goaltender.

First Period

Second Period
SYR Namestnikov, (16) (Connolly), 5:13 (SH)
RCH Larsson, (13) (Varone, MacKenzie), 9:59
RCH Adam, (25) , 10:57 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Paquette, (15) (DiSalvatore, Henry), 1:55
RCH Larsson, (14) (Tardif, Varone), 5:12 (PP)
RCH Varone, (13) , 18:34 (EN)
SYR Rankin, (12) (Paquette, Connolly), 19:36 (PP)
RCH Zigomanis, (11) , 19:42 (EN)

Cedric Paquette had the 7th multi-point night of his rookie campaign as the Dump Truck is closing in on a haul of about 20 goals. That'd be a nice number to get to in his maiden voyage in professional hockey.

Box score from

Crunch Fall Behind Early, Lose to Americans 4-1

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler will look at the tape, but he already knows what it will show.

The Crunch allowed three first period goals and struggled to get sustained pressure, as they fell to the Americans, 4-1, at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester Friday.

"All of our chances came from getting it deep and then going from there," Zettler said. "We have some good size and we have some guys that can grind it out down low, but we weren't committed to doing that."

AHL Game Night: 3-7-14 Crunch at Americans

Thin Crunch defense ad rusty goaltending exposed.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss. After the game, Head Coach Rob Zettler said Gudlevsis might've wanted a couple of those goals back. That's perhaps unsurprising considering tonight was Kristers' first game action in a couple of weeks since standing on his head against Canada in the Olympics. Rust and readjustment were perhaps to be expected.

First Period
RCH Larsson, (12) (Catenacci, Armia), 11:29
RCH Tardif, (18) (Varone, Ruhwedel), 14:41 (PP)
RCH Schaller, (4) (Pysyk, Lieuwen), 17:51

Second Period
RCH Armia, (6) (Gillies, Ruhwedel), 14:05

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (10) (Namestnikov, Nesterov), 8:56

With injuries and the recent trade of Matt Taormina leaving the Crunch thin on the backline, they had to press some of their more fringe prospects into service. The result was Rochester swiftly racing out to a 4-0 lead. Follow the minuses and you'll see exactly who Rochester was picking on. Couple a green D with shaky goaltending, and that's the end result.

Box score from

Sergeev Thrives With Increased Ice Time

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Artem Sergeev saw his opportunity and responded.

With three significant injuries to the Crunch blueline, Sergeev has thrived with increased ice time. The 20-year-old rookie defenseman has averaged close to 20 minutes a night and played in all situations, as Syracuse has gone 4-2 to snap out of a recent slide.

For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, Sergeev has elevated his play in the last few weeks.

"I've really liked his physical play," Zettler said. "He's been smart. He uses his body well. He's a big, thick guy and he's strong. He's starting to understand how he can best use it to his advantage, and he's done that lately."

Marchessault Adds Offense to Crunch Now, Later

The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired forwards Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Dalton Smith from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Dana Tyrell and defenseman Matt Taormina Wednesday, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Audy-Marchessault, 5-8, 184 pounds, has played in 56 games with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League this season, recording 14 goals and 41 points. He leads the Falcons in games played, points and power play goals with seven. He ranks second for goals. Audy-Marchessault has been selected as an AHL All-Star the past two seasons. He has played in two career NHL games with Columbus, both during the 2012-13 season.

A native of Cap-Rouge, Quebec, Audy-Marchessault played four seasons in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts from 2007-11 and was undrafted.

Smith, 6-2, 214 pounds, has played in 50 games with Springfield this season, recording four goals and nine points. He leads the Falcons with 99 penalty minutes and also led the them in 2012-13 with 128.

Gudlevskis Returns to Syracuse With Renewed Focus

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Even after one of the biggest performances of his young career, Kristers Gudlevskis tempered any excitement with perspective.

The Syracuse Crunch goalie made 55 saves, as Latvia nearly stunned Canada in the quarterfinals of the winter Olympics in Sochi late last month. The Herculean effort earned Gudlevskis praise worldwide.

But in his first practice back with the Crunch Tuesday, Gudlevskis was back to focusing on the task at hand.

"It was only one game," Gudlevskis said. "So I need to show everybody I'm really consistent every game all season long. I think only then I'm going to prove myself."

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