Syracuse Crunch

Desjardins, Crunch Blank Penguins, 1-0


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was all about the letter D for the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night.

The defense held the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to nine shots in the first forty minutes, Philip-Michael Devos scored the lone goal and Cedrick Desjardins pitched a 20-save shutout, leading the Crunch to a 1-0 victory at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

Syracuse has registered a point in its last five games, and paces the American Hockey League with 84 points.

"Every night there's someone different that's the hero," Desjardins said. "Tonight, everyone stepped in."

AHL Game Night: 3-20-13 Penguins at Crunch

Still riding in first place.

WBS-0
SYR-1

Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 20 shots he faced for the shutout victory. With Anders Lindback possibly being hurt tonight in Toronto, we'll see if Cedrick hops a plane back to join the Lightning.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Devos, (5) (Gauthier, Taormina), 2:01

Third Period
NO SCORING

Philip-Michael Devos, Desjardins, and J.P. Cote were the game's three stars.

Syracuse expands their Eastern Conference lead to 3 points over the Providence Bruins with Providence holding 1 game in hand. They'll also move 1 point ahead of the Texas Stars for the best record in the league, as well. They draw Hamilton next on Friday with 13 games remaining in the regular season. It's going to be a nail biter for Syracuse as they chase the conference crown.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Connolly, Crunch Rout Devils, 6-2


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With five of its top 10 scorers out of the lineup, the Syracuse Crunch still made due.

Brett Connolly registered a pair of goals and assists and 12 Crunch players showed up on the scoresheet -- including four with multiple points -- as Syracuse routed the Albany Devils, 6-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday night.

"It's one of those nights, everything was going well and we got a little lucky," Connolly said.

The league-leading Crunch, who had AHL points leader Tyler Johnson called up earlier in the week, have registered a point in four straight games.

AHL Game Night: 3-16-13 Devils at Crunch

Jon Cooper? Still Jedi.

ALB-2
SYR-6

Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (25) (Namestnikov, Devos), 6:08
SYR Cote, (2) (Angelidis, Nightingale), 6:38
SYR Panik, (22) (Connolly, Sexton), 10:38 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Brown, (9) (Angelidis, Mikkelson), 7:22
SYR Devos, (4) (Connolly, Namestnikov), 9:11
SYR Connolly, (26) (Barberio, Oberg), 9:57 (PP)

Third Period
ALB Kelly, (2) (Wohlberg), 8:00
ALB Whitney, (22) (Zalewski, Anderson), 12:38

Brett Connolly, Vladislav Namestnikov, and J.P Cote were the game's three stars.

With Tyler Johnson up in Tampa, Connolly becomes the Crunch's hope for hardware and plaudits. He currently sits in 3rd in the league in scoring, 4 points back of Grand Rapids' Gustav Nyquist. His 26 goals are also now tied for 5th is the AHL.

Vladdy Namestnikov continuing to play well continues to bode very well for the future.

As good a coaching job as Jon Cooper did last season, if he wins the Eastern Conference and even manages to post the best record in the AHL this season, it'll be an even more amazing job. It's hard to believe that with half of his team's core torturing the Carolina Hurricanes in Tampa, Cooper's team still managed to fly out to a 6-0 lead in Albany. He's a special coach. I can't say anything more and still do it justice.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-15-13 Admirals at Crunch

Shootout in Syracuse.

NOR-4
SYR-3 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins was back with the Crunch tonight and stopped 34 of 37 before allowing 1 of 4 to convert in the shootout session to take the SO Loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Namestnikov, (4) (Devos, Barberio), 1:43
NOR Wilson, (6) (Brittain, Guenin), 5:55
NOR Wagner, (5) , 11:14

Third Period
NOR Brittain, (10) (Clark, Lindholm), 6:23
SYR Nightingale, (2) (Angelidis, Namestnikov), 7:19
SYR Angelidis, (10) (Taormina, Barberio), 19:40

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
NOR- Brittain
SYR- NONE

Mike Angelidis and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's first and second stars.

I guess tonight was the first time you could honestly say this Syracuse roster was nearly unrecognizable compared to the team the organization has iced much of the last 2 years. No more Conacher or Johnson or Palat. No more Gudas on the backline. Tokarski traded.

All that said, it's a hopeful sign the team was competitive tonight and that one of the next wave, Vlad Namestnikov, stepped up in an expanded role. That's the way it's going to have to be the rest of the way with the Lightning floundering and so many of the veteran prospects getting their chance in Tampa Bay.

The Crunch face Albany tomorrow. Syracuse holds a 3 point edge in the Eastern Conference with the Crunch holding a 2 point edge of Binghamton and a 3 point edge on Springfield and Providence.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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