One night after playing 65 scoreless minutes, Syracuse took less than 60 seconds to find the back of the net against Providence Saturday.
With Friday's scoreless contest decided by a shootout, Syracuse knew the rematch would be another close game.
Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 22 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, but allowed 3 of 4 to convert in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss. That's rough.
SYR- Rankin, Connolly
PRO- Khokhlachev, Knight, Griffith
Gudlevskis was the game's second star.
With tonight's result the Crunch pulled within 3 points of 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They'll face Providence again tomorrow night.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Connolly remains on fire.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.
SYR Namestnikov, (11) (Connolly, DiSalvatore), 13:17 (PP)
SYR DiSalvatore, (1) (Connolly, Mormina), 13:47 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (9) (Nesterov, DiSalvatore), 8:04
SYR Paquette, (10) (Richard, Witkowski), 8:59
WBS Samuelsson, (1) (Manderson, Mikkelson), 17:39
WBS Samuelsson, (2) (Kuhnhackl, Carman), 15:11
Jon DiSalvatore and Brett Connolly were the game's first and second stars. Connolly, if you're keeping track at home, just posted his 3rd consecutive 3-point night. He now has 9 goals and 23 points in 24 games. A lot of disappointment has been expressed by Lightning fans based on Connolly's ineffective callup earlier this season, but here's a set of fun facts to consider: 1.) Last season Connolly was a 2nd Team AHL All-Star scoring at a pace of .887 points per game. 2.) This season, despite fears Connolly's development has stagnated, Connolly is now scoring at a .958 points per game clip. My point is this: folks giving up on Connolly might be wise to wait until the next time he gets a cup of coffee with Tampa Bay before drawing any final conclusions, because he's still getting better.
With the victory, Syracuse climbs back to within 4 points of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They face Providence on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
For Brett Connolly, the first one was the hardest.
The Syracuse Crunch forward, who posted 74 points in 89 games last season, went 10 games before registering his first American Hockey League goal this year. Still, he knew it was only a matter of time before the goals would start flowing.
Connolly finally broke through with a power play goal against Norfolk Dec. 6, turning months of frustration into relief.
"I knew it would come around," Connolly said. "At the start of the year, things weren't going in for me, but I think, in terms of my stats, I'm right back to where I was in the first 22 games last year. Usually it works itself out."
Despite receiving word that he was selected to represent his country at the Olympics, Kristers Gudlevskis is focusing on the task at hand.
The netminder was included on the Latvia men's national hockey team's preliminary roster for the games in Sochi next month, but after finishing practice with the Syracuse Crunch Tuesday, Gudlevskis reiterated what's important to him now.
"I don't concentrate on (the) tournament yet," the 21-year-old said. "I concentrate on the Crunch and do everything possible to win some games, get some points. When I need to go to the Olympics, then I start concentrating on the Olympics."