Syracuse Crunch

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.

Lightning Organization Confident in Rookie Pro Paquette

By Jeremy Houghtaling

When Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler first made the decision to put Cedric Paquette in the lineup, he relied on what he had heard from scouts.

The Tampa Bay Lightning organization, which drafted Paquette in the fourth round in 2012, knew what they could expect from the gritty 6-1 forward fresh out of junior hockey, and knew he would able to jump right into the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Finals.

AHL Game Night: 10-30-13 Crunch at Devils

Tonight's win is brought to you by the letter V.

SYR-4
ALB-1

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Kucherov, (7) (Namestnikov, Taormina), 13:51 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (8) , 15:00 (PP)

Second Period
ALB Boucher, (3) (Timmins, Whitney), 9:23

Third Period
SYR Brown, (2) (Kucherov, Namestnikov), 6:44
SYR Brown, (3) (Kucherov, Namestnikov), 10:14

Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Brown were the game's first and second stars. Kucherov now leads the AHL in PP goals. Vladislav Namestnikov had assists in triplicate.

As great as the top line has played, there is reason for concern. The team was outshot 25-19 in tonight's game and reigning AHL Second Team All-Star Brett Connolly has just 1 helper in 6 games this year. So, the second line has yet to get loose this year.

The Crunch get Rochester next on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Superstitious Gudlevskis Making Most of Opportunities

By Jeremy Houghtaling

A few days after registering a shutout in his American Hockey League debut, Kristers Gudlevskis returned to the ice with a different look.

The mask emblazoned with blue stripes and the outline of a lightning bolt that he wore in his first three wins of the season was nowhere in sight as Gudlevskis dawned a more comfortable plain white helmet for Syracuse Crunch practice Tuesday.

Like his mask, Gudlevskis is back to a blank slate. His 22-save shutout over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers is history, and it's time to move forward.

Defenseman Taormina a Valuable Asset for Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It’s tough for Matt Taormina to sit out.

The Syracuse Crunch defenseman, who battled an injury throughout the team’s run to the Calder Cup Finals last season, was not pleased that he had to be scratched from the lineup earlier this month.

"I probably could have waited another week or so (to return), because that's what the doctors had said," Taormina said. "But after the first game, and being around the guys in practice and stuff like that, I felt that I could get back at it earlier than they thought."

Seeing Taormina sit out was equally as difficult for Crunch coach Rob Zettler. Taormina has become an integral part of the blue line for Syracuse since his arrival last season, and the 27-year-old veteran's calm, patient demeanor comes in handy in all situations.

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