Syracuse Crunch

Prospect of the Week: November 4, 2013

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

The Prospect of the Week for November 4, 2013 is … Nikita Kucherov, W (Syracuse Crunch, AHL, USA).

Anyone surprised?

Someone should tell Syracuse Crunch rookie Nikita Kucherov it’s not supposed to be this easy. Players aren’t supposed to average two points-per-game in their first 10 professional games, but after Kucherov averaged three points-per-game last week in three games, that’s exactly what he’s doing with 20 points (11 goals) in 10 games.

AHL Game Night: 11-2-13 Crunch at Senators

Crunch's streak is snapped.

SYR-2
BNG-4

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 37 shots for the loss.

First Period
BNG Hoffman, (5) (Ceci, Pageau), 7:31
SYR Rankin, (3) (Paquette, Sergeev), 9:42 (PP)

Second Period
BNG Prince, (2) (Pageau, Ceci), 14:23
BNG Puempel, (3) (Pageau, Robinson), 19:50

Third Period
BNG Schneider, (4) (Pageau, Hoffman), 5:48
SYR Kucherov, (11) (Korobov, Namestnikov), 12:22

Syracuse gets Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Kucherov, Crunch Rally Past Americans in Shootout, 5-4


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Led by Nikita Kucherov's second-straight four-point night, the Syracuse Crunch rallied past the Rochester Americans in the shootout, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

Kucherov, the American Hockey League's rookie of the month, registered a pair of goals and assists, as well as a shootout goal in the Crunch's fifth-straight win. The Russian leads the league with 10 goals.

"It's great, it felt good," Kucherov said of the award. "I just need to keep working."

"He just makes a lot of plays that other guys don't," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "He sees the ice so well."

AHL Game Night: 11-1-13 Americans at Crunch

The 'ovs spur an amazing Crunch comeback.

RCH-4
SYR-5 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 33 shots in regulation and OT before stopping 4 of 5 in the penalty shot session for the win.

First Period
RCH Adam, (8) (McNabb, Sulzer), 3:25 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (9) (Brown, Korobov), 3:58
RCH Tardif, (2) (Varone, McNabb), 9:13 (PP)
RCH McNabb, (2) (Varone, Bagnall), 14:21

Second Period
RCH Sundher, (2) (Tardif, McNabb), 6:53
SYR Kucherov, (10) (Korobov, Namestnikov), 7:52

Third Period
SYR Nesterov, (1) (Namestnikov, Kucherov), 12:38 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (5) (Kucherov, Nesterov), 17:23 (PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
RCH- Jacobs
SYR- Kucherov, Paquette

Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's first and second stars. As of this moment, Kucherov is 1 back of the AHL lead in points and up by 2 for the league lead in goals. Namestnikov had quietly snuck into a tie for 3rd in the AHL in scoring and, along with Kucherov, is tied with many others for 7th in the league in helpers. Nikita Nesterov also chipped in 1 goal and 1 assist and now has 1 goal and 6 points in his first 9 pro games in North America.

It took a while for the team to adjust to having J.P. Cote and Brett Connolly not in the lineup, but they continue to have an unstoppable power play and a top line that always gives them a puncher's chance in any situation. They'll head to Binghamton to play the Senators tomorrow night having now climbed to 5th in the Eastern Conference with their 5 game winning streak. Think what'll happen if they ever find consistency in the back and/or something resembling second line scoring.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Kucherov Named AHL Rookie of the Month for October

(AHL Communications)

Nikita Kucherov of the Syracuse Crunch was named the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for October today.

Kucherov began his professional career with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points in eight games, ranking second in the entire AHL in scoring.

His first four career points all came in the Crunch’s home opener against Rochester on Oct. 12 and included a hat trick in a 5-1 victory. He had a goal and an assist each in both ends of a home-and-home series with Binghamton Oct. 18-19, and he netted Syracuse’s only regulation goal in a 2-1 shootout win at Utica on Oct. 25. Kucherov wrapped up the month with another four-point performance, registering two goals and two assists in a 4-1 victory at Albany on Oct. 30.

A second-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2011, Kucherov played junior hockey last season in the QMJHL, totaling 29 goals and 34 assists for 63 points in just 33 games between Quebec and Rouyn-Noranda. The native of Maykop, Russia, represented his country in the World Junior Championships, winning a silver medal in 2012 and bronze in 2013.

In recognition of his achievement, Kucherov will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Crunch home game.

For video highlights of Kucherov's first month as a pro, click here.

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