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Syracuse Crunch

AHL Game Night: 3-31-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch lose a key divisional point in the Shootout.

TOR-3
SYR-2 (SO)

Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 33 shots before conceding to 1 of 2 in the penalty shot session for the loss in the Shootout. McKenna is finally settling into Syracuse nicely, as he's now starting to regularly put in quality starts.

First Period
7:41 TOR Griffith (9), (O'Reilly, Rychel)(PP)
16:21 TOR Leipsic (14), (Moore)

Second Period
12:16 SYR Thomas (3), (Condra, Masin)
15:20 SYR Racine (1), (unassisted)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- Griffith
SYR- NONE

Mike McKenna and Ben Thomas were the game's first and second stars. Thomas continues a very respectable rookie season where he's compiled 19 points in 64 games. It's not a staggering stat line, but for a guy who came into the club with some middling numbers (and that's being kind) out of junior, he's really set himself nicely as one to watch the next couple of seasons.

Toronto pulls 1 point ahead of Syracuse in the North Division by virtue of the extra point in the penalty shot session.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-29-17 Crunch at Senators

Roller coaster goes back up.

SYR-6
BNG-1

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the win, making that 2 quality starts in his last 3 outings, by my count. Getting better.

First Period
7:06 BNG Akeson (19), (White, Nehring)(PP)

Second Period
1:02 SYR Peca (11), (Taormina, Thomas)
2:22 SYR Kurtz (4), (Taormina)
15:31 SYR Bournival (7), (unassisted)

Third Period
0:31 SYR Condra (13), (Brodeur, Koekkoek)
10:07 SYR Lynch (4), (Brodeur, Koekkoek)
19:17 SYR Hajek (1), (Richard)

Matt Taormina, Slater Koekkoek, and Mathieu Broduer were the game's three stars, as the Crunch D showed out tonight. That included Libor Hajek notching his first pro goal, as well.

Syracuse moves back into a tie with the Toronto Marlies at 79 points atop the North Division, with Toronto holding a 4 game lead in ROW for the tiebreaker.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Conacher Taking On Leadership Role With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Cory Conacher is doing everything he normally does.

The Syracuse Crunch forward is averaging roughly a point per game. He is dependable in all situations. And despite being listed at 5-8, he's constantly in players' faces and drawing the ire of the competition.

But five years removed from winning the AHL's Rookie of the Year award, Conacher is looking to become more of a leader as he wears the alternate captain's A with the Crunch.

"I've been working hard on and off the ice," Conacher said. "I try to show by example rather than talk as much. That's the way I lead. I work hard on the ice and I work hard off the ice, so that's hopefully getting to the young guys."

AHL Game Night: 3-25-17 Comets at Crunch

Crunch make good on the previous night's defeat.

UTI-1
SYR-5

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. I think that might be his first quality start in a Crunch uniform.

First Period
10:27 UTI Zalewski (5), (Billins, Pelletier)
11:56 SYR Conacher (15), (Bournival, Peca)

Second Period
12:30 SYR Ikonen (4), (Comrie, Thomas)(PP)

Third Period
4:57 SYR Kurtz (3), (Peca, Condra)
8:44 SYR Froese (27), (Taormina, Conacher)(PP)
13:26 SYR Conacher (16), (McGinn)

Cory Conacher, Matthew Peca, and Henri Ikonen were the game's three stars. A rare Henri Ikonen sighting.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Score Five Unanswered Goals in Win Over Utica


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch answered quickly and kept plugging away.

The Crunch netted the equalizer 89 seconds after the Comets opened the scoring and went on to score five unanswered goals, as Syracuse routed rival Utica, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“We thought we had a solid effort from the first to last minute,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “It was unfortunate that they took the lead, but we were able to answer back quickly. That gave us confidence for the rest of the game.”

Hajek Makes Pro Debut in Crunch's Loss to Penguins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Libor Hajek hopped over the boards for the first shift roughly 1:20 into the game.

The 19-year-old defenseman described the feeling simply. “Just nervous. That’s it.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2016 second round draft pick made his pro debut with the Crunch, but Syracuse was outmatched by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“Libor was good. I like the way he skated,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Tough night for him. It’s tough to start your career in a game like this. Overall, I thought he did some good things.”

AHL Game Night: 3-24-17 Penguins at Crunch

Crunch crushed by class of the conference.

WBS-5
SYR-1

Kristers Gudlevskis surrendered 3 goals on 7 shots for the loss before being pulled for Mike McKenna who allowed 2 on 25 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
5:22 WBS Di Pauli (2), (Dea, Pouliot)
10:54 WBS Porter (11), (Aston-Reese, Goers)
14:16 WBS Aston-Reese (2), (Porter)
15:19 SYR Bournival (6), (Conacher)(SH)

Second Period
1:09 WBS Goers (4), (unassisted)

Third Period
1:34 WBS Simon (13), (Haggerty, Prow)

Michael Bournival was the game's third star.

Tonight showed just how far Syracuse is from being a serious contender in the Eastern Conference with a slim number of regular season games to get well. Getting some players back from Tampa Bay would be helpful, but there's still way too much inconsistency from the players who stay behind in Syracuse.

Syracuse is tied atop the North Division at 75 points with Toronto and hold a game in hand on the Marlies. Nobody seems to really want to win this division. The Crunch keep teetering at the top of the table playing around .500 hockey recently, but nobody seems to want to seize the opportunity to overtake them.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

KHL Game Day: 3-23-17

KHL Western Conference Finals
(2)St. Petersburg 5 vs. (4)Yaroslavl 4 (OT)
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 4-6-10, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM

SKA overcame a 2 goal Third Period deficit with a comeback that included a tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to post a 5-4 Game One OT triumph over Yaroslavl in the KHL Western Conference Finals. Nikita Gusev scored the first goal of the comeback of the power play and then setup the game winner in Overtime. He played 18:51 in the match. Linemate Vadim Shipachyov had assists in triplicate for SKA in the win.

Crunch's McGinn Comes Back Strong After Missing Four Months


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tye McGinn knew he couldn’t sit around and sulk.

The Syracuse Crunch winger missed 53 games over the course of four-plus months as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery, but hardly took the time off. Instead, he put in the work to come back stronger than before.

McGinn and the Crunch have seen immediate dividends, as the veteran forward has points in eight of his last nine games since returning.

“I dedicated a lot of the four months of rehab to working hard,” McGinn said. “I wanted to be in top shape when I came back, and I did a lot of work with the trainers and felt really good coming back. I think our team is playing really well right now, and I’m just kind of working with everyone. The puck is just going in right now.”

Bolts Ink Hajek to Entry Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Libor Hajek (LEE-bohr, HIGH-ak) to a three-year, two-way entry level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Hajek, 19, skated in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League this season, recording four goals and 26 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound defenseman ranked second on the Blades for penalty minutes. Hajek also ranked second among all Saskatoon defensemen for assists (22) and points.

The Smrcek, Czech Republic native has appeared in 134 career WHL games, all with Saskatoon over the past two seasons, posting seven goals and 52 points to go along with 157 penalty minutes. He led all Saskatoon rookies for points and assists with 23 during the 2015-16 season. Hajek was selected second overall at the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Hajek was originally drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.

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