Syracuse Crunch

Dotchin Fights to Improve with Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Six games into his rookie season, Jake Dotchin is all about being a student.

Crunch coach Rob Zettler noticed the defenseman's focus on improvement, comparing the rookie to a sponge.

"First off, a great work ethic and a fun kid to be around," Zettler said of the 20-year-old. "He tries to absorb all of it. He's a bit of a sponge that way."

Dotchin recorded his first pro point and fight last weekend, recording an assist in Syracuse’s loss to Portland Saturday and having a short-but-spirited bout with Matheiu Gagnon in a 5-1 loss to Springfield Saturday.

"There are a lot of firsts for everybody -- the fights, the points," Zettler said. "Just feeling the speed, feeling how quick this league is and how good it is, they still have a long way to go. They have taken some strides, but they're still learning."

Well-traveled Marchessault Refocuses After NHL Appearance


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jonathan Marchessault tallied up the time.

A three hour flight to Minnesota, two hours back to Boston, and another hour and a half drive to Springfield. The three-day excursion was a little more straining on his body than the usual call-up, but the Syracuse Crunch forward was happy to make his Tampa Bay Lightning debut, even if it was just one game.

"It was a helluva ride, but I think it was good for me," Marchessault said. "It was a positive to get called up."

AHL Game Day: 10-26-14 Crunch at Falcons

Weekend ends with a clunker.

SYR-1
SPR-5

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss. Despite the setback, he still sports a respectable .912 save percentage for the season.

First Period
SPR Madaisky, (1) (Gibbons), 0:19
SPR Collins, (1) (Gibbons, Craig), 4:00 (PP)
SPR Rychel, (2) (Sedlak, Collins), 8:32

Second Period
SPR Tynan, (1) (Labrie, Anderson), 13:32

Third Period
SYR Vermin, (2) (Blunden, Marchessault), 2:32
SPR Monardo, (5) , 7:19

Playing 3 games in less than 72 hours is hard enough. Doing so with your entire roster in flux the whole time makes it nearly impossible to have anything resembling continuity or consistency. It's a reality of minor league hockey when you have a rash of injuries up top, and that's what bit Syracuse this weekend. Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault, for their parts, did assist on Syracuse's lone goal, fresh off the plane from Minnesota.

Syracuse heads home to face Binghamton on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-25-14 Crunch at Pirates

Depleted Crunch nearly steal a point.

SYR-1
POR-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the loss. It was an admirable effort under the circumstances, and he gave his club a chance.

First Period
POR Rieder, (1) (Martinook), 7:23 (SH)

Second Period
POR Rieder, (2) (Bolduc), 6:53 (SH)

Third Period
SYR Kunyk, (1) (Samson, Dotchin), 8:38

Congrats to Jake Dotchin on his first pro point.

Syracuse closes the weekend at Springfield tomorrow afternoon.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-24-14 Crunch at Sharks

No Drouin? No Paquette? No problem.

SYR-3
WOR-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the OT victory.

First Period
WOR Abeltshauser, (1) (Hamilton, Trupp), 7:54 (PP)
SYR Smith, (1) (Samson), 8:27

Second Period
SYR Angelidis, (1) (Paradis), 9:54

Third Period
WOR Haley, (4) (Emanuelsson, Carpenter), 18:49

Overtime
SYR Nesterov, (1) (Marchessault), 5:08 (PP)

Nikita Nesterov and Dalton Smith were the game's first and second stars.

With J.T. Brown and Brett Connolly getting hurt in tonight's Lightning game at Winnipeg, we'll see if a forward like Marchessault or Blunden gets the call for tomorrow's game at Minnesota. The Crunch, for their part, face Portland tomorrow.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Counting on Kunyk for Offense


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Realizing it was his last chance, Cody Kunyk made a case for a contract.

Looking to continue his career past the collegiate level, Kunyk registered more than a point per game in his senior season at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Kunyk earned a deal in March, but now the 24-year-old is the oldest rookie on the Syracuse Crunch roster and is out to prove himself again.

"My last year was definitely my best year," Kunyk said. "Being an older guy, I had to play with a chip on my shoulder. I knew that there wasn't going to be a tomorrow. I had to make my own path. I gave it everything I had every game, and I was fortunate enough to sign a contract."

"I think it adds a little more grit to my game," he added. "I feel like I have a little bit more to prove since I'm an older guy."

Crunch Rookie Koekkoek Eyes NHL


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Slater Koekkoek is confident about his path to the National Hockey League.

Despite a shoulder injury prematurely ending his final junior season, Koekkoek led the Windsor Spitfires' blueline in goals, assists, and points last season. But the Tampa Bay Lightning 2012 first-rounder is focused on rounding out his defensive game as he begins his professional career with the Syracuse Crunch.

"There's always pressure being a first round pick. It's a label and people are going to talk about it," Koekkoek said. "But everybody has their own road to the NHL. There's a lot of guys in the NHL that went after me, and there's some guys still not in the NHL that went before me. There's no timetable. I'll develop as fast as I can, and hopefully get called up whenever they need me."

Crunch Surge Past Senators, 4-2


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The first surge gave the Syracuse Crunch a short-lived lead, but the second sealed the win.

Syracuse scored 25 seconds apart in the second period and 70 seconds apart in the third, as the Crunch beat the Binghamton Senators, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"When we got on the ice after the goal, we just said 'Hey, we need a good one,'" said Crunch forward Joel Vermin, who finished with a goal and an assist. "It's crucial. Right after a goal, you need a good shift."

AHL Game Night: 10-18-14 Senators at Crunch

Crunch's stars help pull out big victory over Bingo.

BNG-2
SYR-4

Kristers Gudlevskis had an excellent night allowing just 2 goals on 45 shots for the victory. Both defenses were porous, but Gudlevskis outdueled his counterpart at the opposite end of the rink.

First Period
BNG Schneider, (1) (Prince, Wideman), 3:58

Second Period
SYR Marchessault, (2) (Paquette, Drouin), 5:19
SYR Vermin, (1) (Blunden), 5:44
BNG Puempel, (1) (Johnson, Schneider), 8:51 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Blunden, (2) (Vermin, Kunyk), 13:20
SYR Corrente, (1) (Paquette, Drouin), 14:30

Mike Blunden, Jonathan Drouin, and Gudlevskis were the game's three stars. Drouin had 2 helpers and a game high 7 shots on goal. The current plan appears to be for Drouin to remain with the Crunch through next weekend before he rejoins the Lightning.

Syracuse travels to Worcester to play the Sharks next Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-17-14 Falcons at Crunch

Legends were born tonight in Syracuse, New York.

SPR-2
SYR-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for his first professional victory in North America.

First Period
SYR Marchessault, (1) (Cote, Blujus), 8:44
SPR Tyrell, (1) (Madaisky, Sedlak), 15:45

Second Period
SPR Monardo, (1) (Sifers, Madaisky), 3:53
SYR Paquette, (3) (Marchessault, Kunyk), 18:51

Third Period
SYR Drouin, (1) , 7:18

Some dude named Drouin, Jonathan Marchessault, and Cedric Paquette completed a Quebecois sweep of the three stars selections tonight.

I envy the folks who were in the arena tonight. Not only did they get to witness the first North American pro win by Vasilevskiy, but the first pro point by one of the truly great young players in the game. A future immortal. A young man who needs no introduction. 50 years ago when they recount this night to their grandchildren, and they will, they'll speak his name with the hushed reverence it deserves...

Dylan Blujus

But, seriously. We love Blujus here at Bolt Prospects, and we love Vasilevskiy, but all that was overshadowed by the professional debut of Jonathan Drouin, who lived up to his billing. He was +3. He was dangerous all night in helping to tilt the ice in Syracuse's favor. And, of course, he scored the game winner on a partial break that began with a quick little defensive play in his own end and was completed with a top shelf, cookie jar breaking shot.

Syracuse gets Binghamton tomorrow night as the Jonny (Jouer au) Hockey road show continues on its short run in the AHL.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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