For Rob Zettler, it all comes down to being in the right position.
With the offensive lines lacking their normal scoring punch, the Syracuse Crunch coach knows the margin for error is slim. But his defense has keyed in on limiting the opposition’s offensive opportunities, and Syracuse grinded out wins last weekend by holding St. John’s to a pair of goals Friday and shutting out Adirondack Saturday.
"We really limited both teams' chances because we were in good position," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We didn't have the high-end skill we've had in the past, but we made up for it in position and hard work."
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for November 25 – December 1, 2013 is … Cedric Paquette, C, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).
Rookie pro Cedric Paquette played superhero last week, rescuing the injured, falling Syracuse Crunch by swooping in at the last moment to lead the club to two needed wins.
The Crunch entered last weekend banged up, short on players due to injuries in Tampa, and on a season-long 5-game losing streak.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Victoriaville Tigres 1 @ Halifax Mooseheads 4
C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 2-1-3, +2, 0 PIM, 7 SOG, 1 Hit, 15/25 FO, *First Star*
Season totals: 22 GP, 17-33-50, +19, 22 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM
One game after his 14-game point streak ended, Drouin had two goals – one shorthanded – and an assist to lead the Mooseheads to a win over the Tigres.
Ontario Hockey League
Sarnia Sting 5 @ North Bay Battalion 3
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 17 GP, 1-6-7, -14, 18 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
Blujus (pictured) had one assist in his last 10 games before getting two on Thursday night. He was left off Team USA’s selection camp roster after being an invitee this past summer. North Bay had 44 shots on Thursday, including 19 in the third period.
Saginaw Spirit 2 @ Windsor Spitfires 5
D Slater Koekkoek, WSR: 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 28 GP, 6-17-23, +29, 10 PIM
2012-13 totals: 40 GP, 6-23-29, -24, 28 PIM
Slater Koekkoek took over the OHL plus/minus lead as Windsor won their first game after making two big trades this week, one of which was rumored to include Koekkoek. The 2012 10th overall pick was reported to be on the move to Guelph, but Windsor quickly denied it and a trade was later finalized with another defenseman instead. If Windsor keeps winning, Koekkoek will likely stay with the Spits, but they are in re-build mode and collecting assets for next year. Koekkoek, whom the Lightning already signed, will be in pro hockey next year (likely the AHL), and Windsor GM Warren Rychel – who traded his son to Guelph this week – will likely deal Koekkoek for additional assets. Erie and London are the most likely destinations for Koekkoek, though some reports said he had a no trade clause he could utilize. Koekkoek is eligible to join AHL Syracuse when his junior season is over. London is the 2014 Memorial Cup host, so if he’s a Knight he’ll be playing late into May.
Magnitogork 5 vs. Khanty-Mansisysk 4 (OT)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, OT Win, 25/28, 3.11 GAA, .893 sv%
Season totals: 31 GP, 17-8-5, 4 SO, 2.11 GAA, .931 sv%
Nikita Gusev, Khanty-Mansisysk, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 25 GP, 2-2-4, -6, 8 PIM
Ex-Preds draft pick Denis Platonov had 2 goals to help lead Metallurg to a 5-4 win over Yugra. Nikita Gusev was -1 in 7:13 in the match.
Ufa 3 vs. Omsk 2
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 9-6-3, 1 SO, 2.27 GAA, .923 sv%
Dimtry Makarov had 2 goals to lead Ufa to a 3-2 victory over Omsk. Andrey Vasilevskiy sat backup for the match.
Overcome. Survive. Advance.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 34 shots for the victory, which is amazing with just 5 d-men (one being Taormina) with Hedman and Aulie going down to injury.
16:45 TB St Louis (11), (Palat, Matt Carle)
6:11 OTT Wiercioch (1), (Turris)(PP)
13:19 TB St Louis (12), (Palat, Johnson)
10:56 TB Filppula (10), (unassisted)
It was a huge victory with Gudas out and Hedman and Aulie going down to injury during the game. Heck, it was a huge victory anyway. I've said for the past couple of games TJ and Palat needed a finisher on their line. Cooper gave them the future HOF'er tonight, and results were immediate.
Mark Barberio was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 21:35. My God, it's come to this. Barberio is playing 20+ minutes.
Tyler Johnson was +2 with a helper, 2 shots, and he was 37% on draws.
Alex Killorn was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:54. He also only took 2 draws so the centerman experiment may be coming to a close.
Palat had 2 helpers and was +2 with 2 shots, 9 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 18:07. Nicely done.
J.T. Brown had 3 hits in 14:04.
Matt Taormina was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 16:07. Not bad considering the spot he was thrown into.
Nikita Kucherov was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 13:57.
Andrej Sustr was +2 with 2 penalty minutes in 20:51.