Syracuse Crunch

Koekkoek Nets Game-Winner, Crunch Top Penguins in OT

By Jeremy Houghtaling

With time winding down in overtime, Slater Koekkoek made a bold prediction.

The Syracuse Crunch defenseman was next to hit the ice during the three-on-three portion of the extra session, but took a moment to tell fellow rookie Dylan Blujus that he would end the game.

Koekkoek's words proved to be prophetic, as his game-winner 4:52 into overtime lifted the Crunch to a 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. Syracuse has won four straight.

"Blujus and I were sitting on the bench, and (assistant coach Trent) Cull had just said I was the next D out," Koekkoek said. "I looked over at Blue and I said 'Don't worry Blue, I got this one.'"

AHL Game Night: 3-20-15 Penguins at Crunch

Syracuse goes Koekkoek in Overtime.

SYR-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 points for the victory. That's just 1 goal allowed in the last couple of games.

First Period

Second Period
SYR Gourde, (25) (Dotchin, Courtnall), 8:17

Third Period
WBS Kostopoulos, (14) (Pouliot), 11:22

SYR Koekkoek, (4) (Marchessault), 4:52

Slater Koekkoek and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars. If you look at the last 11 games, Slater has 1 goal and 9 points in that span, with a +6 rating. He's definitely turned a corner in his development in the past few weeks, as he's now sprinkling in the offensive contributions with his reasonably steady defensive play.

Box score from

Prospect of the Week: 3-18-15

By Jeremy Houghtaling

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 18, 2015 is … Slater Koekkoek, D, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

Slater Koekkoek made a key adjustment, and now the points are starting to flow.

A mobile defenseman used to rushing the puck himself in junior hockey, the Syracuse Crunch rookie has learned to make a quick pass and then follow the play to look for offensive opportunities. Koekkoek’s transition has begun to pay dividends, as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2012 first-rounder recorded eight points and is a plus-6 in his last 10 games.

AHL Game Day: 3-15-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Weekend sweep (roller coaster goes up)!

SYR- 2

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. He had 5 last season. He also got his save percentage back to .900 with the victory, just a shade below his .901 of a year ago.

First Period
SYR Gourde, (24) (Koekkoek, Kunyk), 9:31 (PP)

Second Period

Third Period
SYR Courtnall, (5) (Smith, Blujus), 16:25

Yanni Gourde, Gudlevskis, and once (and future?) Bolt Prospect Justin Courtnall were the game's three stars. Yes, quiet acquisition Justin Courtnall, the ex-Lightning pick and son-of-a-Geoff. He's back in our lives. Reunited, and it feels so good.

Box score from

Crunch Score Four Times in Third to Extinguish Flames

By Jeremy Houghtaling

After struggling through the second period, the Syracuse Crunch found a way to pull out the win.

The Crunch scored two goals in the first six minutes but the Flames took the lead midway through the second. Syracuse rallied for four goals in the third to beat Adirondack, 7-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"We got our thoughts together and took a few minutes to rest up, and then we said 'They're not going to give us anything, we just have to dig down, dig deep, and find a way,'" Crunch forward Tanner Richard said of what happened during the second intermission. "We all rallied together pretty well and came out with the two points."

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

Crunch avenge their most humiliating loss of the year.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 38 shots for the win. Credit him for continuing to battle after allowing 4 goals on his first 20 shots faced.

First Period
SYR Gourde, (23) (Ashton, Cote), 4:28
SYR Martindale, (9) (Marchessault), 5:39
ADK Agostino, (6) (Reinhart), 12:27 (SH)

Second Period
ADK Setoguchi, (2) (Vause, Acolatse), 2:15
SYR Ashton, (6) (Richard), 3:35
ADK Acolatse, (5) (Kulak, Arnold), 6:41 (PP)
ADK Agostino, (7) (Setoguchi, Cundari), 11:16

Third Period
SYR Martindale, (10) (Koekkoek, Broll), 2:52
SYR Witkowski, (2) (Richard, Gourde), 11:45
SYR Richard, (11) (Gourde, Ashton), 14:15
SYR Dotchin, (5) (Martindale), 18:29 (EN)

Gudlevskis, Carter Ashton, and Ryan Martindale were the game's three stars. Yanni Gourde and Tanner Richard each had 3 point nights as well, so lots of Syracuse players got healthy on the stat sheet tonight.

The Crunch have fallen 6 points out of the conference title chase, but are still up 5 points on Springfield in the division. The real question is whether Syracuse can sustain any success if Vladislav Namestnikov stays with Tampa Bay the rest of the season. It's a tough ask, but the team did manage 7 goals tonight, obviously.

Box score from

AHL Game Day: 3-8-15 Crunch at Senators

Missing Vladdy N.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
SYR Gourde, (22) (Ashton, Kunyk), 8:18 (PP)
BNG Wideman, (15) (Robinson, McCormick), 13:02

Second Period
BNG Johnson, (4) (Camper, Prince), 15:50 (PP)

Third Period
BNG Schneider, (19) (D. Grant, Mullen), 11:30 (SH)
BNG D. Grant, (18) (Mullen, Dzingel), 15:16 (PP)
SYR Richard, (10) , 18:05 (PP)

Without Vladislav Namestnikov, the Crunch just seem to be a middle-of-the-road team at best. He and Marchessault are the straws that stir the drink for Syracuse, and they just can't seem to score with one of them out of the lineup.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 3-6-15 Pirates at Crunch

Roller coaster goes down...


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 24 shots for the loss. Just wild swings from one game to the next in Gudlevskis' and the team's play.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (17) (Dodero, Blujus), 9:45
POR Dziurzynski, (14) (Hanley, Wathier), 10:17
POR Reese, (7) (Martinook, H. Samuelsson), 16:19
POR Shinnimin, (13) (Szwarz, Hodgman), 17:55

Second Period
SYR Kunyk, (9) (Koekkoek), 15:53
POR H. Samuelsson, (11) (P. Samuelsson, Bolduc), 16:50

Third Period
POR Martinook, (13) , 19:09 (EN)

Mike Angelidis was the game's third star.

Box score from

Crunch Can't Keep Momentum, Fall to Pirates

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Every time the Crunch gained ground, the Pirates stole the momentum.

Portland answered Syracuse goals within a minute in both the first and second period, as the Pirates topped the Crunch, 5-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"They did a good job of striking right after we scored, and that's unacceptable," said Syracuse captain Mike Angelidis. "We can't let that happen, not twice."

Speedy Gourde Develops Into a Top Offensive Threat

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Like many times before, Yanni Gourde turned on the jets.

The Syracuse Crunch forward accepted the relay pass from Vlad Namesntikov in stride at the blue line, stormed in alone on Utica goalie Pat Nagle, and netted the eventual game-winning power play goal in a 4-1 victory Saturday.

Gourde, riding a six game point streak, is using his speed to his advantage to be one of the Crunch's top scoring threats this season.

“(Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis) makes a great play to pass it up to him to give him a breakaway, but no defenseman is going to catch him there because of his speed,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “He just needs to continue to use that. When he is successful, that’s what he does.”

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