Syracuse Crunch

Prospect of the Week: 1-21-15


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 January 21, 2015 is … Kristers Gudlevskis, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

For Kristers Gudlevskis, every time he straps on the pads is a little bit different.

There has been no better example than the last two weeks. The Syracuse Crunch goalie allowed a pair of goals on nine shots and was pulled after the first period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton January 10, but rebounded by making 47 saves on 49 shots in more than 97 minutes of ice time in a pair of appearances last weekend.

AHL Game Day: 1-18-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Should've saved some goals from last night.

SYR-1
BRI-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. Quality start, though, nonetheless.

First Period
BRI Mouillierat, (13) (Conacher, Quine), 14:30 (PP)

Second Period
BRI Ness, (6) (McDonald, Conacher), 13:20 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Smith, (9) (Corrente, Richard), 14:52

Vasilevskiy was the game's third star.

Syracuse ends the weekend 3 points back of Springfield in the division with 1 game in hand on the Falcons.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-17-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Crunch rebound quickly to crush Sound Tigers.

SYR-6
BRI-2

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory. One silver lining of the spanking the Crunch took against the Senators was that Gudlevskis got some quality PT in garbage time, and he carried that momentum over to tonight.

First Period
SYR Mormina, (2) (Marchessault, Angelidis), 8:47 (PP)
SYR Koekkoek, (3) (Marchessault), 8:58

Second Period
SYR Blunden, (11) (Blujus), 5:29
BRI Courtnall, (3) (Langkow, Pelech), 12:25
SYR Richard, (6) (Blujus, Blunden), 15:56
SYR Namestnikov, (8) , 17:24 (SH)

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (13) (Blunden, Marchessault), 6:56
BRI Persson, (5) (Stretch, Lashoff), 14:41 (PP)

Mike Blunden, Jonathan Marchessault, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars.

The other silver lining of the debacle against Bingo is the Crunch had time to collect themselves and get some continuity going with the skeleton lineup in the final 40 minutes of the game, and that also carried over into tonight's game.

Ex-Lightning 7th rounder Justin Courtnall had a goal against the organization that drafted him. Wow, that was a name from the past I wasn't sure I'd ever hear again.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-16-15 Crunch at Senators

Shorthanded Syracuse crushed by Bingo.

SYR-0
BNG-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 19 shots for the loss before giving way to Kristers Gudlevskis, who stopped all 21 he faced the rest of the way. Syracuse's defense, losing Witkowski and Nesterov to the big club, was... poor tonight.

First Period
BNG Kramer, (2) (Wideman), 5:20
BNG Puempel, (10) (Wideman, New), 12:19
BNG Robinson, (4) (Dzingel), 13:55
BNG Prince, (12) (Camper, Johnson), 19:27 (PP)

Second Period
BNG McCormick, (6) (Dzingel), 2:53

Third Period
NO SCORING

This thing was shaping up to be a train wreck all week, as the Crunch scrambled to find warm bodies to put in the lineup. And, in the end, it didn't disappoint. The team was outshot 40-18 and the Sens jumped all over them in the First Period. Such is life in the AHL sometimes.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Rookie Defenseman Blujus Making Progress in Syracuse


By Jeremy Houghtaling

While Dylan Blujus broke through for his first goal last week, his real strides have come in his own zone.

With an increase in ice time due to injuries and call-ups, the defenseman has started to find his groove with the Syracuse Crunch. Head coach Rob Zettler has seen steady progress in Blujus' game since he made his professional debut nearly three months ago.

"I would say over the last month, (Blujus) has been a much better defenseman, meaning he's going back for pucks more confidently and he's not as prone to get rid of pucks as quickly," Zettler said of the Buffalo native. "The beginning of the year, he'd get back and rim it around the boards and it would [cause] a cluster in our end for a little while because of it. He's just being a little bit more patient with the puck and smarter with the puck."

Vasilevskiy, Crunch Rally Past Penguins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Less than an hour after receiving his award for AHL Goalie of the Month, Andrei Vasilevskiy was making his first relief appearance for the Syracuse Crunch.

Trailing by one heading into the second period, Syracuse turned to the Russian netminder to close the door. The Crunch took the lead in the second, held the Penguins to four shots on goal in the third, and Vasilevskiy finished with 10 saves in Syracuse's 4-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"He came out in the second period and made two or three unreal saves to start the period," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "Then we slowly felt good about our game again and slowly took over."

AHL Game Night: 1-10-15 Penguins at Crunch

Crunch outlast Penguins... barely.

WBS-3
SYR-4

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 9 shots. They were soft enough that he was lifted at the First Intermission for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots the rest of the way to eventually collect the come-from-behind win.

First Period
SYR Paradis, (8) (Mormina, Corrente), 4:16
WBS Megna, (10) (Kostopoulos, Harrington), 14:31
WBS Megna, (11) (Boak), 18:38

Second Period
SYR Marchessault, (10) (Namestnikov), 3:29
SYR Blunden, (10) (Witkowski, Marchessault), 14:21

Third Period
SYR Ikonen, (4) (Vermin, Angelidis), 14:16
WBS Rowney, (2) (Dumoulin, Kostopoulos), 19:52 (PP)

Mike Blunden, Jonathan Marchessault, and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars.

The night also saw the return of Philippe Paradis from injury. Paradis has been a key missing cog from the Gourde line that has sputtered in his absence. Henri Ikonen also potted a goal for the second game in a row.

At this moment, Syracuse's 51 points has them 1 point off the pace for both the division and the conference lead.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-9-15 Crunch at Wolf Pack

Blujus, Vasilevskiy can't hold off the Pack.

SYR-2
HFD-3 (OT)

Anrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 38 shots for the OT loss. He almost helped Syracuse overcome what ended up being a 38-26 shot deficit.

First Period
HFD C. Bourque, (15) (Kostka, Lindberg), 12:00 (PP)

Second Period
HFD O'Donnell, (2) (Nehring, Spinell), 2:58
SYR Ikonen, (3) (Vermin, Angelidis), 3:56

Third Period
SYR Blujus, (1) (Namestnikov), 3:58 (PP)

Overtime
HFD McIlrath, (1) (Hrivik, Kristo), 2:34

Congratulations to Dylan Blujus, who scored his first pro goal on the PP to tie the game at 2-2 and eventually force OT. Blujuspalooza!

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Witkowski Focusing on Play Instead of Promotion


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Luke Witkowski isn't sitting idly by waiting for the phone to ring.

The Syracuse defenseman, one of the last players cut from Tampa Bay Lightning training camp who earned a short call-up in October but didn't play, isn't worried about when he will have the opportunity to make his NHL debut. Even with the Lightning's blueline being banged up, Witkowski is focused on his game and doing what he can to help the Crunch.

"I'm not really worried about that right now," Witkowski said of the possibility of a promotion.

Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler has seen progress in Witkowski's second professional season.

AHL Game Night: 1-3-15 Crunch at Senators

Crunch rally to avoid meltdown.

SYR-5
BNG-4 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the OT win.

First Period
SYR Kunyk, (5) (Neilson, Mormina), 2:40
SYR Blunden, (7) , 15:40 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Blunden, (8) (Marchessault, Mormina), 1:49 (PP)
BNG McCormick, (5) (Mills), 5:49 (SH)

Third Period
BNG Schneider, (12) (Puempel), 4:14
BNG Puempel, (8) (Mills, A. Grant), 9:25 (PP)
BNG Camper, (4) , 16:45
SYR Blunden, (9) (Namestnikov), 18:50

Overtime
SYR Marchessault, (9) , 6:48

Mike Blunden (with the hat trick) and Jonathan Marchessault (with the OT winner) were the game's first and second stars.

Syracuse coughs up the 3 goal lead, falls behind late in the Third Period, and still manages to squeak out the victory in Overtime. Thank goodness.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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