Syracuse Crunch

Syracuse to host 2016 AHL All-Star Classic

By Jeremy Houghtaling

David Andrews planted the seed before the last American Hockey League All-Star Classic in January.

The AHL president was in the office of Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon and made his case: The league would be playing its 80th season in 2015-16. Syracuse is one of the league's charter members. Would the Crunch want to host the 2016 all-star game?

"Over a period of a few weeks or a month or two, we chatted about it and tried to arrive at a formula for hosting it," Andrews said.

With many of the details ironed out, the AHL officially announced the Crunch would host the AHL skills competition on Jan. 31 with the All-Star Classic on Feb. 1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

Crunch Swept By Penguins in First Round

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Down to the final buzzer, the Syracuse Crunch couldn't find a way out of their slump.

The Crunch tied the score late in the first period but the Penguins finished with three power play goals and goalie Matt Murray shut the door with 33 saves, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Syracuse, 5-2, in Game 3 the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

The Crunch lost 12 of their final 13 games and was swept 3-0 in the series.

"I thought we had a great run up until the last three weeks of the season," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "I didn't see a lot of ups and downs. I saw a pretty consistent hockey team that won a lot of games and worked extremely hard and played really well."

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-29-15 Penguins at Crunch

Too little, too late.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Three


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wins the Series 3-0

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the loss. He finishes the playoffs with the ugly 0-3 mark and an .833 save percentage after seeing his regular season save percentage slip to .900 at the finish line. He's a prospect at a crossroads.

First Period
WBS Wilson, (1) (Sheary, Ebbett), 7:53 (PP)
SYR Gourde, (1) (Witkowski, Peca), 16:53

Second Period
WBS Sheary, (1) (Kostopoulos, Pouliot), 2:39

Third Period
WBS Sheary, (2) (Wilson, Dumoulin), 1:59 (PP)
WBS Pouliot, (1) (Kapanen, Chorney), 4:30 (PP)
SYR Richard, (1) (Koekkoek, Gourde), 5:36
WBS Ebbett, (1) (Uher), 18:42 (EN)

Yanni Gourde was the game's second star.

This team accomplished a lot of good things this season, particularly when you look at the development of their young defensemen. It's a shame they just ran out of gas at the end of the season, because they showed amazing resiliency and the ability to really fight above their weight class all season long. There are some reinforcements coming in the way of some top Lightning prospects like Erne and DeAngelo next season, but it'll be critical for the team to find the right mix of veterans and semi-veterans to form the heart of the team next year.

We'll see which prospects go up top to join Tampa Bay as Black Aces. For the ones that do, it'll be a great opportunity to see what the big time is like up close.

Box score from

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-25-25 Crunch at Penguins

One of the worst nights in Lightning organization history.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game Two


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Leads the Series 2-0

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss. He played ok, from all indications, but the Crunch really need a goaltender to win a game for them right now.

First Period
WBS Megna, (1) (Ebbett, Sheary), 2:32 (PP)
WBS Rowney, (2) (Archibald, Harrington), 16:32 (PP)
WBS Kostopoulos, (1) , 19:59 (PP)

Second Period

Third Period
WBS Kapanen, (3) (Sheary, Ebbett), 16:10

Zettler went with some wholesale lineup changes, but unfortunately that didn't lead to any offensive production. The good news, I suppose, is that the shot totals were nearly even at 29-27 in favor of the Pens. With that said, the Crunch continue to look like a team without much life, and Game Three may only offer an opportunity for players who will need to be key contributors in Syracuse next season, like Matthew Peca to get a little more seasoning.

Box score from

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-24-15 Crunch at Penguins

Can't stop the bleeding.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game One

SYR- 1
WBS- 5

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Leads the Series 1-0

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 20 shots for the loss before giving way to Adam Wilcox, who allowed 1 goal on 15 shots the rest of the way. Coach Zettler is tasked with the impossible task of choosing between a streaky goaltender who appears to have gone completely cold and a rookie ATO who has never won a professional game for Game Two. Flip a coin.

First Period
WBS Uher, (1) (Kuhnhackl, Rowney), 16:52

Second Period
WBS Kapanen, (1) (Megna), 6:03
WBS Rowney, (1) (Goers, Uher), 6:34
WBS Kapanen, (2) (Goers, Megna), 7:43
SYR Peca, (1) (Angelidis, Vermin), 14:00

Third Period
WBS Syvret, (1) (Rowney, Sheary), 12:32

Syracuse entered the playoffs having won just 1 of their last 10 down the stretch, and they got dominated tonight. It's not just that they didn't get the goaltending, but they also got outshot 35-23 as well, which gives you an idea of run of play. There's a small silver lining with Matthew Peca getting his first pro playoff goal, but it's super, super small. The Pens pinned a -4 on Syracuse's offensive bell cow, Jonathan Marchessault, and if Marchessault's line can't win their shifts, then Syracuse likely has no prayer.

Honestly, I've got no helpful suggestions or tweaks that I can suggest at this juncture. I kept waiting for this team to gel with all the roster changes and ATO additions down the stretch, and it simply hasn't happened.

Game Two is tomorrow night.

Box score from

Crunch Goalie Wilcox Adjusting to Pro Game

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Wilcox understands there’s still a lot to learn.

After finishing his junior season at the University of Minnesota, Wilcox played a pair of games between the pipes for the Syracuse Crunch. The 22-year-old goalie, signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning to an entry level contract earlier this month, has begun to make the adjustments necessary to be successful at the professional level.

“We’re looking at two things for the rest of the year, and the first is traffic and screened shots,” Wilcox said of what he was working on with Crunch goaltending and video coach David Alexander. “There are a lot bigger bodies in this league and it goes a lot faster and the shots get off quicker. That’s probably one of the biggest adjustments. Number two is just continuing to have good rebound control so you don’t have so many broken plays and scramble plays.”

AHL Game Night: 4-18-15 Sound Tigers at Crunch

Crunch complete their limp into the playoffs.


Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals in 18 shots for the loss. Ugly stat line.

First Period
SYR Peca, (1) (Ikonen, Vermin), 5:11
BRI Jeffrey, (25) (Quine), 6:57

Second Period

Third Period
BRI Mouillierat, (24) (Pulock, Quine), 9:53 (PP)
BRI Markison, (1) (Sundstrom), 15:19
SYR Blujus, (4) (Dotchin, Marchessault), 19:38 (PP)
BRI Mayfield, (1) , 19:56 (EN)

Matthew Peca, who scored his first professional goal, was the game's first star.

Syracuse outshot Bridgeport 33-19 in the contest, but couldn't turn the tide on the scoreboard. The club finished the regular season 1-7-2 in their last 10 games. Ouch. The team will be the 5th seed in the East and start on the road against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the opening round. It's hard to feel confident, though, given the team's marked swoon over the past 10 games.

Box score from

Crunch Look Forward After Loss to Sound Tigers

By Jeremy Houghtaling

After the final horn, the Syracuse Crunch focused on putting their recent struggles behind them.

Matthew Peca scored his first professional goal but the Crunch failed to convert on multiple 5-on-3 opportunities and let the lead slip away, as Syracuse fell to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-2, in the regular season finale at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Syracuse, No. 5 in the Eastern Conference, has lost five straight and nine out of its last 10 heading into the first round playoff series with the No. 4 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

"We've had a tough couple weeks to say the least," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "It's not the finish that we wanted, but this team worked really hard to get to where we are, which is in the playoffs."

Crunch Let Lead Slip Away in Loss to Flames

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite having a two goal lead early in the third period, the Syracuse Crunch couldn't hold on.

The Flames scored twice in the final 14 minutes of regulation and Ken Agostino netted the game-winner 39 seconds into overtime, as Adirondack beat Syracuse, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"We lack the discipline to play a tighter game late in the third period," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "They wanted to open up and we seemed like we wanted to go right along with that ride and open it up a little bit. Instead of clamping down and making smart plays throughout he neutral zone, we failed to do that."

AHL Game Night: 4-17-15 Flames at Crunch

Snake bitten and still struggling.

SYR-4 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 5 goals on 34 shots for the OT loss. After getting his save percentage up as high as .906, Gudlevskis' recent struggles have dropped him back down to the goaltending Mendoza line of .900.

First Period
SYR Vermin, (12) (Peca, Koekkoek), 4:39
ADK Poirier, (18) , Reinhart, 19:16

Second Period
SYR Point, (2) (Marchessault, Kunyk), 0:47
SYR Gourde, (29) (Point, Ikonen), 4:52
ADK Yonkman, (2) (Tousignant, Harris), 16:24

Third Period
SYR Marchessault, (24) (Dotchin, Peca), 3:29
ADK Wolf, (20) (Kulak), 13:43
ADK Elson, (17) , 16:31

ADK Agostino, (14) (Kulak, Arnold), 0:39

Jonathan Marchessault and Brayden Point were the game's first and third stars. Throw in that Matthew Peca had his first multi-point night as a pro, and you had a hat trick of important Lightning forward prospects producing. Therein lies the silver lining of tonight's loss: the offense is starting to come around, finally. That doesn't take all the sting out of coughing up a pair of 2 goal leads, but it's something.

Syracuse sits 2 points behind Hartford for the division lead, which will yield the East #3 seed in the playoffs.

Box score from

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