Syracuse Crunch

Reworked Power Play Leads Crunch Past IceCaps


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch’s power play adjustments paid off.

The Crunch scored three times with the man-advantage against the IceCaps, as Syracuse topped St. John’s, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

For Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, the key was putting Matt Taormina and Cory Conacher together to form a clear cut top power play unit.

“Tonight was a five-player effort, but we decided to put Taormina and Conacher together on the power play,” Groulx said. “They hadn’t played together in quite a bit, because we were trying many different things. I thought the two of them were very good on the power play — like (Matthew) Peca, like (Tye) McGinn, like (Erik) Condra.”

AHL Game Night: 3-5-17 Crunch at Senators

Another inauspicious McKenna outing.

SYR-4
BNG-6

Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:59 BNG Bailey (17), (Carlisle, Flanagan)
10:59 BNG Mike Blunden (13), (Varone, Bailey)(PP)
11:47 SYR Walcott (4), (Peca)

Second Period
6:43 BNG Akeson (11), (Varone, Perron)
14:54 SYR Peca (8), (Conacher, Thomas)
19:07 BNG Bailey (18), (Akeson, Paul)(PP)

Third Period
16:23 BNG Akeson (12), (Varone, Harpur)(EN)
18:04 SYR Kurtz (1), (Halmo, Ikonen)
18:18 SYR Halmo (15), (Condra, Taormina)
19:35 BNG Akeson (13), (Varone, Sieloff)(EN)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Deduct the garbage time foolishness at the end of the contest and it's a 4-2 game, which looks less bad but is still not entirely inspiring.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Third Period Surge Lifts Crunch Over Senators


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Syracuse had an emphatic answer to Binghamton’s game-tying goal early in the third period.

The Crunch surged to score three goals in a span of 2:06 and continued to push the Senators to the final horn, as Syracuse beat Binghamton, 4-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“We got scored on — a missed assignment — but we bounced back right away,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we played a strong game tonight. We didn’t give them much. Kristers (Gudlevskis) was very solid when needed. Our (penalty kill) was strong. I thought tonight we were a structured team and we worked hard, and it showed.”

AHL Game Night: 3-4-17 Senators at Crunch

Crunch redeem themselves with late whipping of Bingo.

BNG-1
SYR-4

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the victory. Strong performance for Kristers on a night the Crunch needed it after getting collectively shelled the previous game.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
6:24 SYR Gourde (21), (McGinn, Conacher)

Third Period
1:52 BNG Bailey (16), (Sieloff, Rumble)
2:27 SYR Walcott (3), (Condra, Koekkoek)
2:53 SYR Gourde (22), (Conacher)
4:33 SYR Brodeur (3), (Condra, Walcott)

Yanni Gourde, Gudlevskis, and Daniel Walcott were the game's three stars.

Syracuse bested Binghamton 40-29 on the shot clock and by an even worse proportion on the scoreboard.

The Crunch pull 2 points ahead of Albany in the North Division with 2 games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

McGinn Scores in Return, But Crunch Overwhelmed by Bears


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tye McGinn made an impact in his return, but it wasn’t enough.

The veteran forward notched his second of the season to even the score in the first period but the Bears overwhelmed the Crunch the rest of the way, as Syracuse lost to Hershey, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“I thought we had a horrible first period,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “When you start the game, you give the puck away like we did, our slot was open, we didn’t get involved in our zone, we were turning instead of being involved, against a team like Hershey, they make you pay cash. I don’t think we were good enough. That’s it.”

AHL Game Night: 3-3-17 Bears at Crunch

Inauspicious debut with the Crunch for McKenna.

HER-5
SYR-1

Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 9 shots for the loss before giving way to Kristers Gudlevskis, who allowed 1 goal on 9 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
1:37 HER Gilbert (1), (Barber, Boyd)
3:27 SYR McGinn (2), (Taormina, Gourde)
11:49 HER Barber (8), (O'Brien, Bourque)(PP)
13:05 HER Thomas (20), (Stephenson)(PP)

Second Period
7:54 HER Djoos (10), (Mitchell, Zajac)
13:33 HER Thomas (21), (Williams)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Tye McGinn was the game's third star, scoring Syracuse's lone goal after returning from an injury suffered in mid-October. Other than that, it was a dismal night.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Masin's Progression Earns Him More Ice Time With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dominik Masin has made significant strides during his rookie season in Syracuse.

Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx believes Masin is one of the most improved players on the team, and has increased the defenseman’s responsibilities throughout the season.

Masin is continuing to earn more ice time in all situations as he develops with the Crunch.

“The improvement he’s made this year is huge,” Groulx said. “He’s made big steps forward. … At first when he came in, we would use him five minutes a game. Now he’s playing 18, 19, 20 minutes a game. He’s playing power play. He’s playing (on the penalty kill). That shows you how much he has improved.”

Bolts Re-Acquire G Mike McKenna

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Mike McKenna from the Florida Panthers in exchange for goaltender Adam Wilcox, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

McKenna, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, has played in 26 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds this season, recording a 9-10-7 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage with one shutout. He has appeared in 415 career AHL games with Springfield, the Portland Pirates, Peoria Rivermen, Binghamton Senators, Albany Devils, Lowell Devils, Norfolk Admirals, Milwaukee Admirals and Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. McKenna has amassed a 201-158-18 record, a 2.70 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage with 26 shutouts.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, McKenna has played in 22 career NHL games with the Lightning, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes. He made his NHL debut with Tampa Bay on February 3, 2009 at the New York Islanders in a relief effort.

McKenna, 33, was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round, 172nd overall, of the 2002 NHL Draft.

Lightning Trade Boyle to Leafs for Pick and Byron Froese

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Byron Froese (FRAYZ) and a 2017 conditional second round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brian Boyle, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The conditional pick in 2017 will be the highest second-round choice between the Maple Leafs’ own or previously acquired selections from either San Jose or Ottawa. The Lightning will assign Froese to the Syracuse Crunch. Also, Yzerman announced that forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond will be assigned to the Toronto Marlies.

Froese, 25, has appeared in two games with the Maple Leafs this season, posting two shots on goal. The 6-foot, 205-pound forward has skated in 58 career NHL games, all with Toronto over the past two seasons, collecting two goals and five points. He made his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens on October 24, 2015. Froese scored his first career NHL goal on December 19 against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Winkler, Manitoba native has also played in 48 games with the Marlies this season, posting 24 goals and 39 points to go along with 18 penalty minutes. Froese paces the Marlies for both goals and points. He’s appeared in 195 career AHL games, registering 49 goals and 101 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes.

Froese was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fourth round, 119th overall, at the 2009 NHL Draft.

Condra Nets Hat Trick, Crunch Top Americans


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It took 584 games, but Erik Condra accomplished a feat he narrowly missed eight times before.

The veteran forward recorded his first professional hat trick and the Crunch were able to hang on, as Syracuse topped the Rochester Americans, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“It was a little surreal,” Condra said with a smile about his third goal. “I had to think about it for a second to make sure I had the hat trick. I was pretty excited about it. A great play by (Yanni) Gourde in the middle there. He’s a great player who made another great play. I just hammered it home.”

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