Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Comeback Spoiled By Falcons in Overtime


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Trailing 4-2 heading into the final period, the Syracuse Crunch started to play desperate hockey.

The Crunch, who dropped eight out of the nine contests coming into the game, needed a rally. Syracuse outshot Springfield 19-2 in the third period and scored three times to force overtime.

But a shot tipped in front of goalie Allen York spoiled the Syracuse comeback, as the Falcons topped the Crunch, 6-5, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

AHL Game Night: 2-8-14 Falcons at Crunch

No one can call the Syracuse Crunch quitters.

SPR-6
SYR-5 (OT)

ECHL loaner Allen York allowed 6 goals on 23 shots for the OT Loss. I'll let you all speculate on whether Desjardins or Gudlevskis would have performed better under the circumstances.

First Period
SPR Prout, (1) (St. Denis, Miller), 3:19
SYR Paradis, (1) (Rankin, Cote), 5:45
SPR Skille, (6) (Jacques, Chaput), 9:18 (PP)

Second Period
SPR Jacques, (7) (Prout, Bass), 8:50
SPR Aleardi, (6) (Thompson, Chaput), 12:55
SYR Tyrell, (6) (Richard, Korobov), 15:36 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Rankin, (11) (Richard, Sustr), 8:19 (PP)
SPR Miller, (1) (Marchessault), 14:35
SYR Angelidis, (8) (Tyrell, Connolly), 15:46
SYR Mormina, (3) (Richard), 17:28

Overtime
SPR Prout, (2) (Marchessault, Bass), 3:52

Dana Tyrell and Evan Rankin were the game's second and third stars.

Springfield is the top team in the Northeast Division. Syracuse is last in the East Division. Syracuse came into this game with an ECHL loaner goaltender. They came into this game without Namestnikov on top of all the other players they lost due to recalls. They fell behind 4-1 more than halfway through the Second Period. Would've been easy to make an excuse and quit. They battled back and got it to 4-2 headed into the Third Period. Then Springfield cuts the comeback off making it 5-3 with less than 6 minutes to go. "Nice try, better luck next time, boys?" No. They found a way to tie it up with 2 goals late and Panik hit a post in OT before they finally surrendered the OT winner.

Springfield is the top team in the Northeast Division. Syracuse is last in the East Division. The Crunch outshot them 41-23. No one can accuse the Syracuse Crunch of being quitters.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-7-14 Crunch at Falcons

Overmatched Crunch make a game of it.

SYR-2
SPR-4

Allen York, back in the crease with Kristers Gudlevskis being recalled to Tampa earlier in the day, allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
SPR Sedlak, (8) (Smith), 13:00
SPR Skille, (5) , 15:51

Second Period
SYR DiSalvatore, (5) (Mormina), 15:24

Third Period
SPR Jacques, (6) (Weber, Marchessault), 1:56
SYR DiSalvatore, (6) (Paquette, Nesterov), 7:40
SPR Chaput, (11) (Marchessault, Jacques), 14:13

Jon DiSalvatore was the game's second star.

The team was without an AHL level goaltender and its top center, arguably, with Vladislav Namestnikov also being recalled earlier in the day. It just continues to be too much of a mountain for the team to climb, unfortunately.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Rookie Paquette Climbing the Charts


By Jeremy Houghtaling

At the beginning of the season, Cedric Paquette classified himself as a third line center.

A defensively responsible forward that plays with an edge, Paquette knew where he was likely to find ice time. But with injuries and call-ups constantly shuffling the Syracuse Crunch lineup, the rookie has found a home where he didn’t expect — on a scoring line.

Paquette has seen spot duty on the top line, but has spent most of the season on the Crunch’s second unit. Forty-five games into Syracuse’s season, the 20-year-old leads the team with 14 goals and is tied for first with 30 points.

“He’s quickly found his way up the charts,” said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. “He just does a lot of really good things. Above all the things he does well, he’s a competitor. He plays hard every night, and that’s why he’s been successful.”

AHL Game Night: 2-5-14 Crunch at Americans

Syracuse snaps their winless drought.

SYR-4
RCH-1

Kristers Gudlevskis, fresh off his one day stint with the Lightning, allowed 1 goal on 22 shots for the victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Paquette, (13) (Rankin), 18:06

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (13) (DiSalvatore), 4:42
SYR Paquette, (14) (Rankin), 6:14
RCH Roy, (5) (Pysyk), 12:41
SYR Korobov, (1) , 19:28 (EN)

Cedric Paquette, Evan Rankin, and Gudlevskis were the game's three stars. It was the Crunch's first victory since January 17th against the Hershey Bears. In the meantime, they found themselves mired in a 0-6-0-1 slump that has likely torpedoed the team's playoff hopes. Even with the victory tonight, Syracuse is 12 points out of 8th in the Eastern Conference. Still, the Crunch can claim a mini points streak of two games and at least look to be getting their equilibrium back. You have to walk before you can run. Next up is Springfield on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Witkowski Learning from Increased Ice Time


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Luke Witkowski has learned many lessons in the first half of his rookie season.

The defenseman is surrounded by quality teachers, whether its a coaching staff with decades of experience in professional hockey or the many veterans that dot the Syracuse Crunch lineup.

But sometimes, the best lessons are taught through personal experience.

“These guys help him and we try to help him as much as possible, but I think sometimes you have to live through some of those mistakes,” said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. “You can tell a guy to move the puck quickly as much as you want, but sometimes he has to learn the hard way and get caught doing it.”

AHL Game Day: 2-1-14 Admirals at Crunch

Syracuse starts February with a moral victory after facing some extreme adversity.

NOR-3
SYR-2 (SO)

ECHL loaner Allan York allowed 2 goals on 31 shots before allowing 2 of 3 Norfolk shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the SO Loss. That's better goaltending, statistically, than Syracuse has been getting lately. With their preferred backup option experiencing plane trouble, the Crunch had 40-something year old John Parks backing up York for the price of 3 crisp $100 bills and one personalized, authentic, Crunch alternate jersey, which he got to keep. These extraordinary circumstances, of course, made it a remarkable moral victory that Syracuse got a point out of the game. And, luckily, with Ben Bishop feeling well enough for the Lightning, Kristers Gudlevskis has been returned to the Crunch moving forward.

First Period
SYR DiSalvatore, (4) (Tyrell, Angelidis), 10:20

Second Period
NOR Ezekiel, (1) , 9:57
NOR Eminger, (1) (Ezekiel, Laganiere), 15:39

Third Period
SYR Tyrell, (5) , 2:05 (SH)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
NOR- Grant, Etem
SYR- NONE

Dana Tyrell was the game's second star.

If the playoffs started today, Norfolk would be the 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. So, again, with an ECHL loaner and "some dude" off the street as backup, that's not an unimpressive result for the Crunch. It shows what this team is capable of pulling off when focused. Let's hope that with the disastrous month of January behind them and Gudlevskis back in the fold, Syracuse can parlay that into a good month of hockey. They face Rochester next on Wednesday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Capture Late Momentum, But Can't Complete Comeback


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In the first five minutes of the third period, the Syracuse Crunch seized the momentum.

With Cedric Paquette serving a five-minute major penalty for boarding, the Syracuse penalty killers turned tide on Norfolk and scored the game-tying goal with less than 18 minutes remaining in regulation.

The Crunch searched for the go-ahead goal throughout the third period and overtime, but couldn't complete the comeback, falling to the Admirals in a shootout, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday afternoon.

"I thought our penalty killers were outstanding tonight," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "I thought those guys were gaming it out, played hard, blocked shots and got us a game-tying goal, which is huge."

AHL Game Night: 1-31-14 Crunch at Comets

Have you heard the one about a Latvian and a French Canadian who walk into a diner on the way from Utica to Montreal?

SYR-1
UTI-3

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss. After the game, Desjardins and tandem-mate Kristers Gudlevskis were summoned to join the Lightning in Montreal for tomorrow night's came against the Canadiens with Bishop's head injury and Lindback's sprained ankle.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
UTI DeFazio, (6) (O'Reilly), 3:24
UTI Pelletier, (8) (Grenier, Archibald), 13:31

Third Period
UTI Archibald, (7) (Grenier, Pelletier), 14:46
SYR Sustr, (1) (Angelidis, Panik), 18:55

I suppose the good news is that at least Andrej Sustr was able to get on the board. Sadly, though, the Crunch will be going into tomorrow night with a loaned ECHL goaltender between the pipes, in all likelihood. They've reportedly suspended Riku Helenius tonight for breach of contract. So, things don't appear to be on the way to getting a whole lot better for the Crunch. Perhaps there's a silver lining that there's no recall for Valtteri Filppula's spot as of this posting. It's not exactly something worth throwing a parade over, but Crunch fans have to take what they can get these days.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Sustr Focuses on Big Picture After Reassignment to Syracuse


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite being sent to Syracuse for more ice time, Andrej Sustr hasn't seen much game action.

The 6-8 defenseman, hurt on his second shift since being reassigned by the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this month, practiced with the Crunch Tuesday. After missing five games, he is nearing a return to the lineup.

“It’s been pretty good,” Sustr said of working his way back into game shape Tuesday. “I’m aiming for this weekend.”

With Syracuse on a five-game losing streak, the addition of Sustr is a major shot in the arm to a struggling Crunch defense that has surrendered 23 goals in the past five games.

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