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Syracuse Crunch

Wilcox, Penalty Kill Lift Crunch Over Phantoms


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite having to weather the storm from the Phantoms for long stretches in the second and third periods, the Crunch emerged with the win.

Goalie Adam Wilcox made 48 saves, the penalty kill was flawless and Matt Taormina’s goal late in the third lifted Syracuse to a 4-2 win over Lehigh Valley at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

“I think we have to give credit tonight to our goalie, obviously. He was our best player out there,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Our PK was phenomenal too. I think (Erik) Condra, (Yanni) Gourde, (Michael) Bournival, (Cory) Conacher, (Matthew) Peca, (Adam) Erne with our group defensemen and our best PKer, which is our goalie, were very good. (The Phantoms) have a good power play, and they did an outstanding job at killing penalties.”

AHL Game Night: 12-7-16 Phantoms at Crunch

A goaltender rises...

LV-2
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 50 (not a typo) shots for the victory. Wilcox is now 9-3-0 on the season with 1 shutout, a 2.13 GAA, and a .924 sv%. His 9 wins now matches his total number of victories from all of his rookie pro campaign. Tonight was his statement of intent to take over the starting job in Syracuse permanently. I don't think, ultimately, he's going to lose in his bid.

First Period
11:57 LV Bardreau (3), (Knight)
12:29 SYR Peca (5), (Condra, Erne)
12:50 SYR Dotchin (2), (Gourde, Halmo)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
10:40 LV Bardreau (4), (Knight, O'Neill)
17:25 SYR Taormina (7), (Erne, Condra)
19:39 SYR Gourde (6), (Condra)(EN)(SH)

Wilcox and Matt Taormina were the game's first and second stars.

When the Lightning organization's farm team last won a championship with the Norfolk Admirals, they did so with a team that was fortunate enough to have two high-quality AHL starting goaltenders in Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus. Coming into this season, with a Syracuse roster stocked to the gills with veteran firepower, it's always seemed the limiting factor would be goaltending where it wasn't clear the Crunch even had one high-quality AHL starter. Now that we're well past the quarter post of the season, though, it's becoming clear one of the two netminders in Syracuse's tandem has risen up and clearly separated himself from the other. Adam Wilcox doesn't have all the physical gifts that Kristers Gudlevskis does, but goaltending is only partially about pure athleticism. Like boxing, goaltending is also a sweet science of understanding angles, body positioning, reading your opponents, and the ebb and flow of the game. Gudlevskis has struggled to find his calm place in the sweet science of the goaltending game. Adam Wilcox is finding his comfort zone inside the maelstrom around his crease and he's made his move. The numbers don't lie. Wilcox is now 7th in the AHL in GAA and 8th in save percentage.

Syracuse moves 1 point up on Albany for first in the North Division with 2 games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-4-16 Crunch at Bears

Goaltending betrays Syracuse.

SYR-2
HER-4

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 12 shots for the loss, and there were questionable goals in those 3.

First Period
15:02 HER Mitchell (2), (unassisted)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:23 HER Sanford (1), (Walker, Djoos)
3:38 SYR Conacher (4), (Taormina, Richard)(PP)
5:08 SYR Gourde (5), (Peca, Gudlevskis)(PP)
18:31 HER Ness (3), (Boyd, Lewington)
19:37 HER Sill (3), (Malone)(EN)

It's a hard pill to swallow losing when you outshoot an opponent 37-13. Goaltending remains the limiting factor that has to be questioned when you look at how far this Syracuse team can go. They have most everything else.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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.”

AHL Game Night: 12-3-16 Americans at Crunch

Syracuse puts on a clinic.

RCH-0
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox stopped all 25 shots he faced for the win and his first professional shutout.

First Period
4:17 SYR Morin (3), (Taormina, Richard)(PP)

Second Period
5:32 SYR Condra (4), (Dotchin, Taormina)
10:02 SYR Erne (4), (Taormina, Condra)

Third Period
14:39 SYR Erne (5), (Gourde, Condra)(EN)

Wilcox, Matt Taormina, and Erik Condra were the game's three stars.

Adam Erne snapped a 7 game goal drought with a pair of markers tonight, as well.

A coach's dream is when his team builds a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes, puts it on lockdown in the Third Period, and then adds an EN goal just to rub salt in the wound. That's how you draw it up.

With the win, at this moment, Syracuse finally has overtaken Albany for first place in the North Division and sits 4 points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Bridgeport for tops in the Eastern Conference, with games in hand on each of those teams (2 in Bridgeport's case).

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-30-16 Crunch at IceCaps

Crunch should've saved some goals for Wednesday.

SYR-2
STJ-3 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 30 shots before allowing 2 of 2 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the SO loss.

First Period
3:34 SYR Letourneau-Leblond (1), (Ikonen, Hart)

Second Period
16:22 STJ Scherbak (9), (Andrighetto, Eisenschmid)
19:59 STJ Eisenschmid (4), (Scherbak, Andrighetto)

Third Period
5:09 SYR Comrie (1), (Morin, Walcott)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- NONE
STJ- Audette, Andrighetto

Adam Comrie was the game's third star.

Syracuse finishes their swing through St. John's with 8 goals in 2 games. They just needed one more today, but were a little roster-strapped due to the callups of Vermin and Bournival to Tampa Bay's roster. Still, Syracuse moves within 1 point of Albany for first place in the division with 1 game in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-29-16 Crunch and IceCaps

Crunch veterans run wild.

SYR-6
STJ-2

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the win while swimming a lazy backstroke in the deep, deep waters of sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
0:43 SYR Taormina (5), (Gourde, Halmo)
6:40 SYR Morin (2), (Richard)
9:20 STJ Brouillette (1), (Hanley, de la Rose)(PP)
15:48 SYR Morin (3), (Vermin, Richard)

Second Period
2:44 SYR Taormina (6), (Conacher)(PP)
19:50 STJ Friberg (4), (Hanley, de la Rose)(PP)

Third Period
11:55 SYR Vermin (6), (Conacher, Taormina)(PP)
15:51 SYR Halmo (6), (unassisted)

Matt Taormina, Jeremy Morin, and Joel Vermin were the game's three stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-26-16 Crunch at Senators

Successful weekend for shorthanded Crunch.

SYR-4
BNG-2

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the victory.

First Period
19:50 SYR Halmo (4), (Darcy, Bournival)

Second Period
8:29 SYR Taormina (4), (Erne, Richard)(PP)
8:44 SYR Halmo (5), (Bournival, Comrie)
19:58 BNG Flanagan (1), (Varone)(SH)

Third Period
1:42 BNG Robinson (3), (Bailey, Varone)
17:44 SYR Vermin (5), (Taormina, Gourde)

Mike Halmo and Michael Bournival were the game's first and second stars.

No Cory Conacher, no problem. Syracuse continues to be on the prowl for the top spot in their division with games in hand to burn to get there.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Blujus Nets Game-Winner, Crunch Rally Past Marlies in OT


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The power play allowed Syracuse to climb back in the game and the Crunch completed the comeback in overtime.

The Crunch rallied from a three-goal deficit in the second period and Dylan Blujus drove to the net to pot a rebound 1:59 into the extra session, as the Crunch topped the Toronto Marlies, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“I was honestly just going through the middle and the rebound came right to my stick,” Blujus said of his overtime goal. “I was a little surprised and I had an open net from there.”

AHL Game Night: 11-25-16 Marlies at Crunch

Crunch overcome turkey coma to clip Marlies in OT.

TOR-4
SYR-5 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 30 shots for the OT win.

First Period
3:41 TOR Kapanen (9), (Greening, Holl)
12:46 TOR Froese (9), (Leipsic)

Second Period
1:01 TOR Greening (3), (Clune)(SH)
2:10 SYR Morin (1), (Taormina, Comrie)(PP)
5:07 SYR Vermin (4), (Darcy, Peca)(PP)
5:42 SYR Bournival (5), (Masin)
15:00 TOR Rychel (3), (Leipsic, Valiev)(PP)
15:23 SYR Taormina (3), (Bournival, Letourneau-Leblond)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
1:59 SYR Blujus (1), (Walcott, Gourde)

Dylan Blujus and Gudlevskis were the game's first and third stars.

The Crunch having an early Thanksgiving hangover and falling behind 3-0 early at home was predictable but unacceptable. That was the theme of the night throughout the Lightning organization, by the way: the home Thanksgiving hangover. Fortunately, Syracuse showed a lot of resiliency in roaring back to life in the Second Period before Blujus eventually scored the winning goal in his return from injury. It's kind of a shame that Blujus got nicked up when he did given the injuries the Lightning have up top, because looking at his timetable he should be close to earning his first cup of coffee with the Lightning.

Syracuse pulls to within 3 points of the division lead with 2 games in hand on Albany. If they can go on a little run, first place seems there for the taking.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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