Crunch Win Seventh Straight By Blanking the Whale, 4-0


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Not even 24 hours after notching his first shutout in a Syracuse Crunch sweater, Cedrick Desjardins was back at it.

The netminder kept his streak going, stopping all 29 shots and leading the Crunch to a 4-0 win over the Connecticut Whale at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday afternoon.

"You never expect that," Desjardins said of his back-to-back whitewashes. "Those were two big games for us and teams we don't see a lot. We need to step up against those teams."

Syracuse, perched atop the Eastern Conference with 72 points in 53 games, has won a season-high seven straight. Everything that seemed to go wrong for the Crunch in the slide before their latest streak has turned.

"I think we're getting the lucky bounces that we weren't getting during that slide," said Syracuse forward Tyler Johnson. "There were games during that slide I thought we deserved to win, and we didn't get the puck in the net. There's times here when we're not playing great and it's going our way. It's just how hockey is."

Lucky bounces or not, the Crunch asserted their dominance early against the Whale.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie opened the scoring midway through the first, finishing off a pass from Vladislav Namestnikov.

Johnson gave Syracuse a two-goal lead before the first intermission with his first power play marker, then tallied another in the closing minutes of the second period.

"That's all thanks to my teammates," Johnson said. "(Ondrej) Palat just found me on the back door, and same with (Mark) Barberio. It's not too much hard work for me to get those goals."

JT Wyman rounded out the Crunch scoring with a goal midway through the third. Palat finished with three assists, while Barberio had two. Brett Connolly chipped in one.

Palat has registered multiple points in four of his last five games.

While the forwards put up the points, Desjardins stonewalled Connecticut. He made the simple saves as well as the acrobatic ones, including a highlight reel-worthy stop on a Whale forward alone in front in the second period.

Desjardins credited the win to hard work and some good bounces.

"We work hard, and we find a way to win," he said. "When you win your battles all game, the odds are pretty high you're going to win your game."

Whale goaltender Cameron Talbot finished with 34 saves.

Syracuse (33-14-2-4) travels to Rochester Tuesday. For Johnson, it's good that the team gets back on the ice so soon, especially against a team it has struggled with this season.

"We're on a roll right now," he said. "We just have to keep doing what we're doing."

Pictured: Crunch players celebrate a goal by Tyler Johnson against the Whale at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday.