Syracuse Crunch

AHL Game Night: 3-27-15 Sound Tigers at Crunch

Peaking at the right time?

BRI-3
SYR-4

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 41 shots for the victory. Bridgeport made a big push in the Third Period, outshooting Syracuse 19-7 and getting a couple of goals, but Gudlevskis was ultimately able to get Syracuse over the finish line to secure the win.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (19) (Ashton, Gourde), 2:41 (PP)
BRI Quine, (19) (Mayfield, Pelech), 15:36

Second Period
SYR Martindale, (12) (Kunyk, Marchessault), 3:06
SYR Dotchin, (6) (Mormina, Marchessault), 14:31 (PP)

Third Period
BRI Jeffrey, (22) (Ness), 5:21
SYR Vermin, (10) (Courtnall, Angelidis), 9:48
BRI McMillan, (3) (Sundstrom, Vaughan), 17:26

Joel Vermin, Jake Dotchin, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars.

The game got a little nasty in the Second Period, with matching ejections that led to Carter Ashton's early departure from the game for being involved in a secondary altercation.

Note that none of the Crunch's recent ATO signees, including highly touted Brayden Point, made their debuts tonight. More additions could be on the way with goaltender Adam Wilcox and Minnesota already knocked out of the NCAA Tournament tonight and Matthew Peca's Quinnipiac Bobcats down 3-0 early in the Second Period at the time of this posting. Both highly touted prospects could possibly make an immediate contribution at the AHL level.

Syracuse leapfrogs over Hershey into the second seed with the win. They're 4 points behind Manchester for the top spot in the conference (and the league) with the Monarchs holding a game in hand. The Crunch have 10 games left in the regular season, which is a nice time to go on a tear like the current, ongoing 4 game winning streak.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-25-15 Crunch at Phantoms

Phantoms never had a ghost of a chance.

SYR-6
LV-1

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He's won 5 straight starts and put together 4 straight quality starts in the process. His save percentage has steadily risen to .904 and he's building up confidence necessary for a solid playoff run.

First Period
SYR Mormina, (4) (Kunyk), 11:46 (SH)

Second Period
SYR Marchessault, (20) , 8:45
SYR Koekkoek, (5) (Martindale, Gourde), 10:56

Third Period
SYR Marchessault, (21) , 2:19 (SH)
SYR Courtnall, (7) (Vermin), 4:47
SYR Martindale, (11) (Courtnall, Dotchin), 8:12
LV Jones, (7) (Comrie, Gordon), 9:22 (PP)

Jonathan Marchessault, Justin Courtnall, and Gudlevskis were the game's three stars. Marchessault is currently tied for 6th in the league in scoring. Courtnall's got 5 points and a +5 rating in 7 games since joining the Crunch. At this rate, maybe the Lightning should've signed him the first run through the organization?

It's been a long road, but Syracuse has closed back within 1 point of Hershey for the 2nd seed in the conference. For the longest time, they looked to be locked into the 3 seed, but they're playing themselves into a spot to challenge for better position.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch's Richard Provides Physicality, Playmaking Ability


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tanner Richard is at his best when he is playing his game and taking his opponents off theirs.

The Crunch center has registered a point in nine out of his last 13 games to cement himself among Syracuse’s top scorers. But Crunch Head Coach Rob Zettler believes a big part of Richard’s success comes down to being tough to play against.

“He’s getting back to being a bit of a pain in the butt out there, which is when he’s good,” Zettler said. “He just seems more engaged physically, and more engaged in moving his feet down low and on the cycle plays offensively.”

AHL Game Night: 3-22-15 Crunch at Falcons

Blujuspalooza continues.

SYR-4
SPR-1

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 14 shots for the victory. Not a typo. Light work for the Yak today.

First Period
SYR Courtnall, (6) (Blujus, Vermin), 10:25
SPR Adam, (14) (Chaput, Hoeffel), 16:52

Second Period
SYR Marchessault, (19) (Blujus, Richard), 3:04 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (26) (Ashton, Koekkoek), 19:40 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (18) (Mormina), 14:03

Jonathan Marchessault and Dylan Blujus were the game's first and second stars. Blujus with back-to-back multi-point games for the first time in his pro career.

Justin Courtnall continues to look like another Julien BriseBois trash to treasure conversion.

Things get interesting in the next couple of weeks for Syracuse as the amateur ranks yield some ATO opportunities for the Lightning organization. Specifically, Brayden Point could be a prime addition on an ATO for the Crunch, and an early exit from the NCAA tournament could put Matthew Peca in a Crunch jersey very soon, too. Both would be nice additions to a Crunch team in need of more speed and skill, especially up the middle.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-21-15 Comets at Crunch

Comets streak past Crunch in the Third.

UTI-4
SYR-2

Allen York allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Richard, (12) (Dotchin, Blujus), 5:41 (PP)
UTI Baertschi, (11) (Blain, Friesen), 6:54

Third Period
UTI Conacher, (6) (Andersson, Friesen), 2:00
UTI Shinkaruk, (9) (O'Reilly, Corrado), 4:01
SYR Marchessault, (18) (Richard, Blujus), 15:27 (PP)
UTI Baertschi, (12) (Friesen, Grenier), 19:15 (EN)

Tanner Richard was the game's third star. Dylan Blujus had his 3rd multi-point game of the season, ushering in a brief period of #Blujuspalooza.

Syracuse may have lost the war tonight, but at least the AHL's abbreviation for them isn't an acronym for Urinary Tract Infections. Escalate the rivalry with Grade A scalding rhetoric. It's always good for the soul.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Falter in Third, Fall to Comets


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Trailing by one late in the third period, the Syracuse Crunch threw everything it could on net.

The shots either hit a body in front, Utica goalie Joe Cannata deflected the puck wide, or the shots just missed the mark, as the Crunch couldn't find the equalizer in a 4-2 loss to the Comets at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"I was shocked it didn't go in," said Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler. "(Mike Angelidis) had a chance to bury one, (Ryan) Martindale had it all alone in front. I haven't seen the replay, so I don't know if he just missed the net or it was blocked. I thought for sure we were going to tie it there and make something out of nothing, but we weren't able to."

Koekkoek Nets Game-Winner, Crunch Top Penguins in OT


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With time winding down in overtime, Slater Koekkoek made a bold prediction.

The Syracuse Crunch defenseman was next to hit the ice during the three-on-three portion of the extra session, but took a moment to tell fellow rookie Dylan Blujus that he would end the game.

Koekkoek's words proved to be prophetic, as his game-winner 4:52 into overtime lifted the Crunch to a 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. Syracuse has won four straight.

"Blujus and I were sitting on the bench, and (assistant coach Trent) Cull had just said I was the next D out," Koekkoek said. "I looked over at Blue and I said 'Don't worry Blue, I got this one.'"

AHL Game Night: 3-20-15 Penguins at Crunch

Syracuse goes Koekkoek in Overtime.

WBS-1
SYR-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 points for the victory. That's just 1 goal allowed in the last couple of games.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Gourde, (25) (Dotchin, Courtnall), 8:17

Third Period
WBS Kostopoulos, (14) (Pouliot), 11:22

Overtime
SYR Koekkoek, (4) (Marchessault), 4:52

Slater Koekkoek and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars. If you look at the last 11 games, Slater has 1 goal and 9 points in that span, with a +6 rating. He's definitely turned a corner in his development in the past few weeks, as he's now sprinkling in the offensive contributions with his reasonably steady defensive play.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Prospect of the Week: 3-18-15


By Jeremy Houghtaling

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 18, 2015 is … Slater Koekkoek, D, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

Slater Koekkoek made a key adjustment, and now the points are starting to flow.

A mobile defenseman used to rushing the puck himself in junior hockey, the Syracuse Crunch rookie has learned to make a quick pass and then follow the play to look for offensive opportunities. Koekkoek’s transition has begun to pay dividends, as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2012 first-rounder recorded eight points and is a plus-6 in his last 10 games.

AHL Game Day: 3-15-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Weekend sweep (roller coaster goes up)!

SYR- 2
BRI-0

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. He had 5 last season. He also got his save percentage back to .900 with the victory, just a shade below his .901 of a year ago.

First Period
SYR Gourde, (24) (Koekkoek, Kunyk), 9:31 (PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Courtnall, (5) (Smith, Blujus), 16:25

Yanni Gourde, Gudlevskis, and once (and future?) Bolt Prospect Justin Courtnall were the game's three stars. Yes, quiet acquisition Justin Courtnall, the ex-Lightning pick and son-of-a-Geoff. He's back in our lives. Reunited, and it feels so good.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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