Wilcox Earns First Pro Shutout, Crunch Beat Americans

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Wilcox gave credit to the players in front of him.

The second-year Crunch goalie registered 25 saves against the Americans for his first professional shutout, as Syracuse beat Rochester, 4-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Give credit to the guys. They battled the whole game,” Wilcox said. “The first two periods it was an easy game. … When there’s three or four minutes left, you got guys like Tanner (Richard) and (Mike) Halmo taking slap shots to the ankles. That shows what type of team we are.
“There’s a bunch of guys selling out for me, and I told them I appreciated it and it means a lot to me.”

The Crunch kept the Americans’ scoring chances to a minimum over the first 40 minutes. Wilcox, a University of Minnesota product, turned aside eight shots in the first period and six in the next.
Rochester came out with more jump in the third — mustering 11 shots — but Wilcox had the answer every time.

“It’s one of those things where once the period is over, you regroup in the lockerroom. It almost resets,” Wilcox said. “I think we all expected them to come out hard, which they did. They got a few more shots — double the shots in the third period — and the guys did a good job with smart shifts and not giving them power plays.”

“He was solid, especially in the third period,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said of Wilcox. “He had two big stops in the first two periods, but in the third period he was tested. He’s just like he has been for us, solid and very composed.”

As the final period ticked away, the players in front of Wilcox worked to preserve the shutout by blocking shots.

“Guys are selling out and trying to block as many shots as they can, but that should happen the entire game,” Syracuse defenseman Matt Taormina said. “It’s something that’s implimented in our game, and we’re going to go for the shutout if we can.”

Taormina finished with three assists, while Erik Condra added one goal and two assists. Adam Erne scored twice, Jeremy Morin netted one goal, and Jake Dotchin, Yanni Gourde and Tanner Richard each had one helper.

Morin opened the scoring with a one-timer from the top of the circles during a power play 4:17 into the contest, and Condra scored off a rebound 5:32 into the second. Adam Erne registered his first goal of the night midway through the second and added an empty-netter with 5:21 remaining.

“I like what our guys are doing,” Groulx said. “Coming back from a road trip it was a long day Thursday and Friday, I thought we played very well tonight. We were ready to play.
“Our power play gave us the momentum, our goalie was outstanding and I really like our team effort defensively.”

Syracuse (12-5-0-2) travels to Hershey Sunday. The Crunch lost the last meeting 5-1 on Nov. 18.

“You can’t let a team do that to us twice in a row,” Taormina said. “It’s going to be a tough game. We’re going to have to take it shift by shift … but we’re ready for it.”

Pictured: Crunch goalie Adam Wilcox makes a save against the Americans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

For more pictures from the game, visit the BoltProspects Facebook page.

To listen to postgame interviews, go to this SoundCloud page.