Syracuse Crunch

Nesterov Takes Next Step Toward NHL Dream


By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Nikita Nesterov, this season is his first away from home.

The Syracuse Crunch defensemen, who spent the last four seasons in his hometown of Chelyabinsk with the junior MHL team or with Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League, is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings. While his homeland is halfway around the world, the ultimate goal -- to play in the National Hockey League -- is one step away.

"It was pretty tough, I won two medals with my KHL team, third and second place in the past two years, but I wanted to learn something new," Nesterov said through a translator.

AHL Game Night: 11-30-13 Crunch at Phantoms

Dump Truck delivers (again).

SYR-1
ADK-0

Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 28 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Goaltending will be extra important if Syracuse is going to ride out this stretch at less than full strength, and Desjardins gave them that goaltending tonight.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Paquette, (6) (Gauthier, Connolly), 12:00 (PP)

Desjardins and Cedric Paquette were the game's first and second stars. Paquette (Dump Truck!) had the game winning goal for the second straight game. Coming out of quite the scoring slumber, Brett Connolly also had an assist for the second straight game. That's a welcome sign from last year's 2nd Team AHL All-Star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-29-13 IceCaps at Crunch

Dump Truck delivers.

STJ-2
SYR-4

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Kaunisto, (1) (Langelier-Parent, Neilson), 18:10

Second Period
SYR Walker, (2) (Paquette, Korobov), 12:10 (PP)
STJ Jaffray, (7) (Gordon, Redmond), 13:52 (PP)
STJ Lipon, (4) (Lowry), 14:15

Third Period
SYR Paquette, (5) (Devos, Gauthier), 15:36
SYR Gauthier, (3) (Connolly), 19:05 (EN)

Cedric Paquette (Dump Truck!) and Ray Kaunisto were the game's first and third stars.

I don't know what it is about the IceCaps, but the Lightning organization could stick cardboard cutouts in jerseys and still beat them. SyraNo has just had their number - big time - and tonight was a win Syracuse really needed to right the ship even though, when you look up and down the roster, it's very hard to find familiar names.

Syracuse faces Adirondack tomorrow as they attempt to put a little unlikely streak together here.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Snap Skid By Beating IceCaps, 4-2


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Cedric Paquette scored with less than five minutes remaining in regulation to lift Syracuse past the St. John's IceCaps, 4-2, snapping the Crunch's five-game losing streak at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"I told them 'We are what we are, you game it out and play the right way and let the chips fall, and the result will take care of itself,'" said Crunch coach Rob Zettler.

AHL Game Night: 11-27-13 Crunch at Senators

Depleted Crunch continue to struggle.

SYR-1
BNG-5

Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 37 shots for the loss. The Crunch could really use one of their goaltenders standing on their head to get through this rough patch. Didn't quite happen tonight. Helenius did, at least, turn aside a Binghamton penalty shot early in the First Period.

First Period
BNG Sdao, (2) , 10:26

Second Period
BNG Petersson, (6) (O'Brien, Prince), 6:45
SYR Walker, (1) (Korobov, Cote), 10:35 (PP)
BNG Prince, (5) , 19:02

Third Period
BNG Schneider, (6) (Dziurzynski, Robinson), 11:31
BNG Petersson, (7) (O'Brien, Prince), 15:14

To add injury to insult, Nikita Nesterov took a slapshot to the face in an ugly scene, and may miss some more time because of it.

At this point, I have to openly wonder if Julien BriseBois is going to pull the trigger to get a veteran player or two into Syracuse to try to stabilize things. The team did add familiar face P.M. Devos on a PTO, but it may take a weightier move to staunch the bleeding.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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