Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Fall Behind Early in Loss to Comets


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch’s sluggish start cost them.

The Crunch allowed two Comets goals in the first 3:48 and played from behind most of the game, as Syracuse fell to Utica, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“When you start the game and you’re down by two goals as quickly as tonight, it’s tough,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we battled hard to come back in that game. I just believe they were a better team than us tonight.”

Gabriel Dumont paced the Syracuse offense with two goals and one assist, while Michael Bournival scored twice. The duo, who both came over from the Montreal Canadiens organization over the summer, have clicked early in the season.

Peca Off to Fast Start in Second Pro Season


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Matthew Peca’s second goal looked like a replay of his first.

The center darted toward the crease and fired off a quick snap shot on a feed from behind the net to give Syracuse the lead late in the first period and added the eventual game-winner on a similar play midway through the second. Peca finished with three points on the weekend, as Syracuse swept a home-and-home series against Rochester to open the season.

Off to a fast start, Peca is looking to become more of an offensive threat in his second professional season.

“I think that’s the key in any situation,” Peca said. “You want to get the puck on and off your stick. We all work on that in practice. It’s good to see the first two go in. They were good plays — nice passes from (Cory) Conacher — and just one-touches.”

AHL Game Day: 10-16-16 Crunch at Americans

Goals! Goals! Goals!

SYR-6
RCH-3

Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 21 shots for the win, and then thanked Jobu for the sweet elixir of goal support.

First Period
5:31 RCH Rodrigues (1), (unassisted)
16:11 SYR Gourde (1), (Richard, Halmo)
19:14 SYR Peca (1), (Conacher)

Second Period
0:39 SYR Bournival (2), (Dotchin, Walcott)
10:26 SYR Peca (2), (Conacher, Erne)(PP)
13:31 RCH Strachan (1), (Bennett, Nylander)
15:14 SYR Conacher (1), (Vermin, Taormina)

Third Period
9:34 RCH Nylander (1), (O'Reilly)
16:06 SYR Vermin (2), (Condra, Richard)(PP)

Cory Conacher and Matthew Peca were the game's first and second star.

It's hard to lose when you're averaging 5 goals a game. Benoit Groulx must feel like he won the lottery after being tapped to coach this team.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-15-16 Americans at Crunch

The new AHL website is bad, and they should feel bad.

RCH-1
SYR-4

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. Life is good when you have low shot totals to face and sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:55 SYR Erne (1), (Blujus, Peca)(PP)
13:01 SYR McGinn (1), (Erne, Witkowski)
17:05 SYR Vermin (1), (Conacher, Dumont)
17:27 SYR Bournival, (Dumont, Dotchin)

Third Period
6:55 RCH Bailey (1), (Fedun)

Adam Erne, Gabriel Dumont, and Cory Conacher were the game's three stars.

Syracuse's depth at forward this season is obscene, on paper, and it will only get better when Ryan Callahan gets healthy and (possibly/probably) pushes young Brayden Point down to the Crunch to learn to play center as a pro. With that in mind, Syracuse's ceiling this year may be defined by if/when the Lightning resolve their goaltending situation up top, and if/when Gudlevskis moves up because of it. Syracuse is likely to have everything else, so they just need the goaltending to potentially make an epic run this year.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Defeat Americans in Season Opener


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch dominated in the second period and cruised to a win on opening night.

The Crunch scored four times and held the Americans to four shots on goal in the middle frame, as Syracuse defeated Rochester, 4-1, in the season opener at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I’m happy for them,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought they played the way they wanted to play. We had energy and we had some legs tonight. We made some plays tonight. It was a good start.”

Crunch Push the Pace Early, Beat Comets in Preseason Opener


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch pushed the pace early and racked up the goals.

The Crunch scored three times in the first seven minutes and held on against the Comets, as Syracuse defeated Utica, 3-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial in the preseason opener Saturday.

“We were skating hard and playing with pace,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “The second effort was there and we had great habits. That was the difference in the first period overall.”

Syracuse’s Adam Erne, Cameron Darcy and Gabriel Dumont each scored once, Michael Bournival recorded a pair of assists, and Dylan Blujus and Brian Hart each had one helper.

“That’s the way our team wants to play this year,” Erne said. “We want to be ready from the start. It’s not slow hockey. … It’s moving the puck fast, playing forward and playing with speed. I think if everybody’s on the same page, it’s going to be tough to stop.”

Walcott Returns to Old Number, Regular Position With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Daniel Walcott is returning to his old number and his regular position.

The second-year pro will wear No. 85, a number he wore as the captain of Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL, and go back to full-time duty as a defenseman for the Syracuse Crunch this season.

While splitting time at forward and defense was a learning experience and kept him in the lineup, Walcott believes he is ready to shine on the Crunch blue line.

"I think I performed well up in Tampa and I got my confidence at D, and I just want to keep building on it," Walcott said. "A fresh number, a new start and a steady position."

Morin's Winding Career Path Brings Him to Syracuse


By Jeremy Houghtaling

One season after being traded twice, Jeremy Morin is looking to settle in.

The forward has called five cities and four organizations his home over the past six seasons in the AHL and the NHL, but now his winding path has taken him closer to where he grew up.

Morin, who is from Auburn, NY, participated in the first practice of the 2016-17 season as a member of the Syracuse Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Tuesday.

"It's definitely been kind of a whirlwind, but I'm looking to make a home in this organization and get off to a good start," Morin said. "I think I'll have a good opportunity here. The coaching staff and the organization has been great."

Lightning Extend RFA F Yanni Gourde Another Year

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Yanni Gourde to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Gourde, 24, appeared in two games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 regular season, posting an assist and two penalty minutes. Gourde made his NHL debut with the Bolts last season on December 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and posted an assist, his first career NHL point. The 5-foot-9, 167-pound forward also played in 65 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, recording 14 goals and 44 points to go along with 42 penalty minutes. He ranked fourth on Syracuse for points and assists and was tied for fourth on the club for goals.

The Saint-Narcisse, Quebec native has skated in two career NHL games, all with the Lightning last season, posting an assist. Gourde has also played in 242 career AHL games over five seasons with the Crunch and Worcester Sharks, collecting 58 goals and 150 points. During the 2014-15 season, Gourde led the Crunch for goals with 29 and ranked second for points with 57.

Gourde went undrafted and originally agreed to terms with the Lightning on March 9, 2014.

Bolts Add More Forward Depth; Ink Mike Halmo for One Year

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mike Halmo to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Halmo, 25, played in 74 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League last season, collecting 22 goals and 41 points to go along with 117 penalty minutes. He ranked second on the Sound Tigers for goals and was third for points. Halmo set career highs last season for games played, goals and points. The Waterloo, Ontario native has skated in 214 career AHL games, all with Bridgeport over the past five seasons, posting 56 goals and 112 points.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound forward has appeared in 20 career NHL games, all with the New York Islanders during the 2013-14 season, posting one goal and 32 penalty minutes. Halmo made his NHL debut on February 27, 2014 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and netted his first career NHL goal on April 1, 2014 against the Florida Panthers (Scott Clemmensen).

Halmo went undrafted and originally signed as a free agent with the Islanders on March 10, 2012.

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