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Richard Registers Two Assists, Crunch Top Bears, 3-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Mike Angelidis accepted his teammates' congratulations and then leaned in for a conversation with one of his team's rookies.

The Syracuse Crunch captain, having opened the scoring 9:30 into the first period, wanted to let Tanner Richard know his work on the goal -- battling through a check and making the pass -- wasn't going unnoticed.

"I said 'That's a great second effort, that's all you,'" Angelidis said. "When you see a young guy pulling out a second effort like that, you just try to get him going and give him confidence."

Richard finished with a pair of assists for his first multi-point pro game, as the Crunch topped the Hershey Bears, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"I thought he was moving his feet a little bit more," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "That's the biggest thing for Tanner, when he's stationary he's not effective. When he's moving his feet, he can be really effective."

With Zettler dressing 11 forwards, Richard and Eric Neilson made up the Crunch's partial fourth line. Neilson registered an assist on Angelidis' goal and dropped the mitts with Patrick Wellar in the second period.

"It's great to have these guys chipping in all the time," Angelidis said. "They deserve to get rewarded. They go out there and do a hard job. (Neilson) has an amazing fight and he chipped in on a goal. It's those things that go a long way in helping a team bond and get better together."

"It brings a lot of energy enthusiasm to the bench," Zettler said of the fourth line contributions. "Those guys work so hard, as Neilson does, and when they get rewarded like that, the guys are really happy for them."

After Angelidis put the Crunch ahead midway through the first, Chay Genoway tied the game for the Bears late in the frame.

Syracuse's Vladislav Namestnikov converted on a pass from Dmitry Korobov for a shorthanded tally less than three minutes into the second, and Jon DiSalvatore chipped in a goal nine minutes later. Luke Witkowski and Evan Rankin each had one assist.

Michael Latta brought Hershey to within one with a goal 5:32 into the third and the Bears poured on the pressure late, but never found the equalizer.

Crunch goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, who had a pair of shutouts last week and accepted the award for AHL Player of the Week before the game, finished with 20 saves.

"He made an unbelievable save with whatever it was, 20 or 25 seconds left in the game to put it home for us," Zettler said. "He continues to play well."

Syracuse (17-14-2-4) has earned points in six straight games, and looks to keep the momentum going when it hosts Binghamton Saturday.

While it may seem like Richard's game is turning a corner, he believes its the whole team.

"I think we're getting bounces," he said, "But I think it's us forcing luck on our side by playing the right way."

Pictured: Crunch captain Mike Angelidis, left, leans in to talk with Tanner Richard after his first period goal against the Bears at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.