Syracuse Crunch

AHL Game Night: 1-8-14 Crunch at Penguins

Connolly remains on fire.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Namestnikov, (11) (Connolly, DiSalvatore), 13:17 (PP)
SYR DiSalvatore, (1) (Connolly, Mormina), 13:47 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Connolly, (9) (Nesterov, DiSalvatore), 8:04
SYR Paquette, (10) (Richard, Witkowski), 8:59
WBS Samuelsson, (1) (Manderson, Mikkelson), 17:39

Third Period
WBS Samuelsson, (2) (Kuhnhackl, Carman), 15:11

Jon DiSalvatore and Brett Connolly were the game's first and second stars. Connolly, if you're keeping track at home, just posted his 3rd consecutive 3-point night. He now has 9 goals and 23 points in 24 games. A lot of disappointment has been expressed by Lightning fans based on Connolly's ineffective callup earlier this season, but here's a set of fun facts to consider: 1.) Last season Connolly was a 2nd Team AHL All-Star scoring at a pace of .887 points per game. 2.) This season, despite fears Connolly's development has stagnated, Connolly is now scoring at a .958 points per game clip. My point is this: folks giving up on Connolly might be wise to wait until the next time he gets a cup of coffee with Tampa Bay before drawing any final conclusions, because he's still getting better.

With the victory, Syracuse climbs back to within 4 points of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They face Providence on Friday.

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Connolly Finds Confidence with Crunch

By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Brett Connolly, the first one was the hardest.

The Syracuse Crunch forward, who posted 74 points in 89 games last season, went 10 games before registering his first American Hockey League goal this year. Still, he knew it was only a matter of time before the goals would start flowing.

Connolly finally broke through with a power play goal against Norfolk Dec. 6, turning months of frustration into relief.

"I knew it would come around," Connolly said. "At the start of the year, things weren't going in for me, but I think, in terms of my stats, I'm right back to where I was in the first 22 games last year. Usually it works itself out."

Gudlevskis Puts Olympic Excitement on Hold

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite receiving word that he was selected to represent his country at the Olympics, Kristers Gudlevskis is focusing on the task at hand.

The netminder was included on the Latvia men's national hockey team's preliminary roster for the games in Sochi next month, but after finishing practice with the Syracuse Crunch Tuesday, Gudlevskis reiterated what's important to him now.

"I don't concentrate on (the) tournament yet," the 21-year-old said. "I concentrate on the Crunch and do everything possible to win some games, get some points. When I need to go to the Olympics, then I start concentrating on the Olympics."

AHL Game Night: 1-4-14 Crunch at Senators

Connolly helps Crunch steal a point.

BNG-6 (OT)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 15 shots before being lifted early in the Second Period. Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 17 shots the rest of the way for the OT loss.

First Period
BNG Da Costa, (11) (Schneider, Hoffman), 3:34
SYR Connolly, (7) (Namestnikov, Olson), 5:40
SYR Walker, (4) (Angelidis), 6:03

Second Period
SYR Mormina, (1) (Rankin, Paquette), 0:26 (SH)
BNG O'Brien, (5) (Hoffman, Hammond), 1:13 (PP)
BNG Prince, (6) (Hoffman, Wideman), 3:23 (PP)

Third Period
BNG Wideman, (4) (Schneider, Puempel), 1:16 (PP)
BNG Da Costa, (12) (New, Schneider), 1:50 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (8) , 8:06 (PP)
SYR Mormina, (2) (Connolly, DiSalvatore), 17:01

BNG Wideman, (5) (Hoffman, Prince), 1:26 (PP)

Brett Connolly's game has been simmering nicely the past several weeks in Syracuse, but in his last two games he's gotten white hot. Tonight's 2 goals and 3 points marked the second straight 3 point game for the former first rounder and it included a wonderful individual effort tonight to score a goal to get within 1 and the primary assist on the tying goal. In the last 15 games Connolly has 8 goals and 19 points, and he's starting to close in on a point a game for the season at 20 points in 23 games. After failing to gain traction in his first Tampa Bay cup of coffee this season, Connolly may be making a case for another audition soon.

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AHL Game Night: 1-3-14 Crunch at Marlies

Syracuse starts to look like Syracuse again.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 35 shots for the victory.

First Period
TOR Ashton, (10) , 14:24 (SH)

Second Period
TOR Crescenzi, (1) (Bodie, Holzer), 5:03
SYR Namestnikov, (9) (Connolly, Olson), 6:00
SYR Tyrell, (4) (Labrie, Mormina), 19:55

Third Period
SYR Paquette, (9) (Tyrell), 3:06
SYR Connolly, (6) , 5:43
SYR Labrie, (1) (Paquette, Korobov), 6:39
TOR Duco, (1) (Bodie), 6:49
SYR Namestnikov, (10) (Taormina, Connolly), 9:46 (PP)

Vladislav Namestnikov and Brett Connolly were the game's first and second stars. Just what the doctor ordered. Namestnikov, playing in his second game back from the broken hand, was joined in the lineup by Pierre-Cedric Labrie to go along with previous reinforcement like Tyrell and DiSalvatore and tonight it finally started to click for the beleaguered Crunch. Now, perhaps, the road back to the playoffs can begin.

Syracuse's win squares their record at 14-14-1-3, 5 points back of Adirondack for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Crunch head to Binghamton tomorrow night trying to put together a streak.

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AHL Game Day: 12-31-13 Crunch at Penguins

Crunch crumble against the Penguins.


Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Thompson, (3) (Samuelsson, Hartzell), 1:11
SYR Taormina, (3) (Connolly, DiSalvatore), 8:53 (PP)
SYR Angelidis, (4) (Paquette), 13:03

Second Period
WBS Drazenovic, (5) (Samuelsson, Zolnierczyk), 8:56
WBS Kostopoulos, (12) (Mikkelson, Uher), 10:40 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Zlobin, (1) (Kuhnhackl), 12:20
WBS Sylvester, (2) (Zolnierczyk), 18:31 (EN)

Syracuse is a disgusting 2-6-0-2 in their last 10 games and have fallen to .500 for the season at 13-13-1-3.

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Crunch Comeback Falls Short Against Admirals

By Jeremy Houghtaling

It came down to a couple bad breaks, but the Syracuse Crunch weren't making any excuses.

The Norfolk Admirals opened the scoring on a shorthanded tally 5:26 into the game, when a shot went off the face of Crunch defenseman Matt Taormina and sprung Admirals forward Emerson Etem on a breakaway. It was one of a many bounces that didn't go in Syracuse's favor.

The Crunch battled throughout the latter part of the game -- cutting the Admirals lead to one early in the third period -- but ultimately fell, 6-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. Still, the Syracuse players acknowledged it wasn't luck, it was how they played.

"You can say unlucky break all you want, but at the end of the day, they shouldn't have had those two shorties at the beginning of the game," said Crunch forward Evan Rankin.

AHL Game Night: 12-28-13 Admirals at Crunch

Crunch comeback falls flat.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 12 shots for the loss before being lifted for Cedrick Desjardins who allowed 2 on 18 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
NOR Etem, (6) (Steckel), 5:26 (SH)
NOR Friberg, (9) (Blacker, Kurtz), 6:32 (SH)

Second Period
NOR Rakell, (8) (Etem), 0:42
NOR Wagner, (5) (Warg, Cramarossa), 4:11
SYR Angelidis, (3) (Rankin, Connolly), 10:30 (PP)
SYR Rankin, (10) (Tyrell, Mormina), 17:59

Third Period
SYR Olson, (2) (Langelier-Parent), 2:17
NOR Etem, (7) , 9:28
NOR Sauve, (5) (Wagner, Whitney), 18:50 (PP)

Evan Rankin was the game's second star.

With Cote and Korobov in Tampa, Syracuse hung Gudlevskis out to dry defensively. They battled back to down 4-3 in the Third before ultimately collapsing in the final frame.

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AHL Game Night: 12-27-13 Crunch at Bears

Brett Connolly rising up.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory. 10 games into his AHL career he is a very respectable 6-3-1 with 2 shutouts, a 2.38 GAA, and a .916 sv%.

First Period
HER LeBlanc, (7) (Wellman, Byers), 11:40
SYR Connolly, (4) (Paquette), 11:57

Second Period
SYR Walker, (3) (Richard, Nesterov), 8:15
SYR Connolly, (5) (DiSalvatore, Paquette), 15:07

Third Period
HER Strachan, (2) (Wellman, Taffe), 13:09

Connolly and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars. Connolly continues to string together his best statistical output of the season working with Cedric Paquette.

Note that defenseman Dmitry Korobov was recalled to Tampa before the game.

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AHL Game Night: 12-21-13 Crunch at Penguins

One good period doesn't pay the bills.


Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 21 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Torquato, (1) (Goers, D'Agostino), 9:15 (PP)

Second Period

Third Period
WBS Mikkelson, (3) (Goers, Zlobin), 1:58 (PP)
SYR Rankin, (9) (Richard, Connolly), 18:17

Syracuse's 13 shots in the Third Period matched their shot total from the previous two periods combined. It's kind of self explanatory from there. The defensive effort was solid, only allowing 21 shots, but you've got to translate that into shots and chances at the other end.

Your silver lining comes from Brett Connolly, who has points in 8 of his last 10 games and 3 goals and 6 assists in that span. Bear in mind he's not exactly playing with the same supporting cast he had last season, so this is a promising development.

Syracuse gets Hershey on Friday.

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