Features

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Top Lightning Prospects Confident Crunch Can Stop Slide


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch's recent slide is the result of a myriad of factors.

After losing two straight games and six of their last seven, it is impossible for the Crunch to pinpoint one specific problem. With a little bit of everything to blame, the answers range from a mix of bad luck and tough opposition in net to defensive lapses and a lack of scoring.

“We just haven’t been playing the way we want to play,” said Crunch forward Tyler Johnson.

The Crunch hopes to remedy one of those problems, an absence of offense, by combining their top three point-scorers on the same line. With Tampa Bay Lightning prospects Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Brett Connolly practicing on the same unit, Syracuse hopes it becomes the team's slump-buster when Albany and Adirondack visit the Onondaga County War Memorial on Friday and Saturday.

Veteran Cote 'Invaluable' for Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jean-Philippe Cote has changed in many ways since his brief stint in the National Hockey League seven years ago.

The defenseman's experience since has helped show him how to do his job better, and he might be even a little faster. But he knows his chances of a call-up have likely passed.

"Obviously, there's that dream still, but I do know my role," Cote said. "I know, compared to maybe five years ago, I'm not the next guy on the list (of guys being called-up)."

Instead, the 30-year-old has embraced his new purpose – being a leader and mentor on and off the ice for some of the Tampa Bay Lightning's top prospects with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

Crunch Rookie Taking Advantage of Opportunities

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Danick Gauthier started the season as the odd man out.

With the Syracuse Crunch already loaded with talented forwards and further enhanced with players being sent down from Tampa Bay as a result of the NHL lockout, the rookie had trouble cracking the lineup.

Crunch coach Jon Cooper told Gauthier to expect to be sit out most nights, and the 21-year-old suited up for just 10 games in the first three months of the season.

"It was hard to be scratched almost every game, but I just kept working in practices, and I got a couple chances," Gauthier said.

"Every chance I got on the ice, I needed to make a good impression for the coaches," the Quebec-native added.

Ex-Petes Captain Koekkoek Debuts on Spitfires Blue-line

From The Windsor Star

Defenceman Slater Koekkoek wasn't about to miss a chance to make an early debut with the Windsor Spitfires.

Just hours after being dealt by the Peterborough Petes to the Spitfires Thursday for Michael Clarke and second-round picks in 2014 and 2015, the former Peterborough captain was on the ice for Windsor's 3-0 win over the Brampton Battalion at the WFCU Centre.

"I had no idea I was going to be a Spitfire, but I'm pretty thrilled," said the 18-year-old Koekkoek, who was a 10th pick overall in the first round of last year's NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was Windsor's last deal before Thursday's Ontario Hockey League trade deadline, but one that brought the club a cornerstone defenseman.

Wilcox a Huge Reason for Gophers Success

From FoxSports North

Adam Wilcox came to the University of Minnesota campus this fall for a job interview of sorts.

The freshman from South St. Paul was in a competition with junior Mike Shibrowski to become Golden Gophers' starting goaltender. For the first few weeks of the college hockey season, Minnesota coach Don Lucia played each goalie for one game a weekend to see how they handled certain situations.

But there was one game — and perhaps even one play — in October when Wilcox seized the starting job and made it his own.

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