This season’s crop of Syracuse Crunch rookies showed progress through adversity.
With injuries and call-ups thinning Syracuse’s depth, Crunch newcomers were asked to log important minutes, but coach Rob Zettler believes the experience they gained through the ups and downs will be good in the long run.
“There’s some good progress with our young guys,” Zettler said. “A lot of them ended up playing a lot more minutes than we anticipated because of call-ups and injuries, but at the end of the day, individually, it’s probably a good thing for them.”
Here’s a breakdown of the Crunch’s rookie class heading into the final week of the season:
Cedric Paquette: Although he wasn’t there to accept the plaques himself, on Saturday Paquette won the Crunch’s awards for Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player (shared with Vladdy Namestnikov).
Crunch drop back below .500.
ATO Charles Lavigne allowed 4 goals on 20 shots for the loss.
ALB Boucher, (20) (Scarlett, Pesonen), 12:08 (PP)
ALB Boucher, (21) (Pesonen, Timmins), 15:24
ALB McKelvie, (9) (Zajac, Pesonen), 16:09
ALB Scarlett, (6) (Whitney, Boucher), 18:12 (PP)
Syracuse is 1 game under .500 with 3 left to play in the regular season. Their last game is next Saturday at Hamilton, at which point you'd assume a few more Crunch players will join the Lightning for depth purposes during their playoff run.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
In a game marred by many physical altercations, the Syracuse Crunch offense had a breakout performance.
The Crunch took a three-goal lead in the first period, and continued to cruise through multiple incidents, as they topped the Toronto Marlies, 6-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"We played a good game," said Syracuse forward Brett Connolly, who finished with four points. "I think they embarrassed themselves."
Back to .500.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory.
SYR Angelidis, (12) (Ikonen, Connolly), 1:00 (PP)
SYR Paradis, (6) (DiSalvatore, Angelidis), 12:33
SYR Gourde, (6) (DiSalvatore, Connolly), 18:38 (PP)
TOR Carrick, (11) (Ross), 3:29
SYR Marchessault, (20) (Cote, Erne), 10:25
SYR Marchessault, (21) (Connolly, Cote), 12:38 (SH)
TOR Brennan, (23) (Ross, Carrick), 19:18
TOR McKegg, (18) (Marshall, Kozun), 4:09
SYR Connolly, (20) (Namestnikov, Ikonen), 17:17
Jonathan Marchessault, Brett Connolly, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars. New Crunch forward Henri Ikonen managed his first two AHL points on helpers to bookend the scoring for Syracuse. The 4 point night for Connolly points to him potentially providing some depth options to Tampa Bay in the playoffs as well. As I said after last night's win, this team is figuring out some of its chemistry for next season, and guys like Gourde and Marchessault finding their grooves bodes well for a bounce back next year. The team is back to .500 with 4 games left in the regular season, and if they can finish with a winning record that will be a major accomplishment considering this franchise supplied 9 prospects who became full time NHLers in Tampa Bay this season.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.
During regulation, it was all about the dueling power plays.
Both Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored a pair of power play goals in the first two periods, but the Penguins pushed past the Crunch in a shootout, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
Although it's late for a playoff push, Syracuse has points in seven of its last eight games.
"I've been pretty happy with our game overall," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We're finding a little more offense lately. We're getting some more pucks to the net, and we've got some more finishers on our team now too, which is a good thing."