The last-minute rally provided little consolation.
The Crunch netted a pair of goals in the final 57 seconds but couldn’t overcome their struggles in the second period and on special teams, as Syracuse fell to the Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
“We had flurries late, but the damage should have been done in the first period,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “We failed to take advantage of two 5-on-3s. They got a 5-on-3 and they took advantage of it. That ended up being the difference in my mind.”
Not as close as the score indicates.
Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss. They'd have been completely run out of the building without him. As it was, he gave them only a tiny glimmer of hope with several solid stops.
HFD Graves, (1) (Bourque, Oleksuk), 3:33
SYR Marchessault, (3) (DeAngelo, Vermin), 5:58 (PP)
HFD Tambellini, (3) (Gibbons, Megna), 12:42
HFD Tambellini, (4) (Hrivik, Bodie), 18:46 (PP)
HFD Nehring, (3) (Glass, Graves), 17:14 (EN)
SYR Blujus, (1) (Peca, McGinn), 19:03
SYR Peca, (2) (Blunden, Gourde), 19:58 (PP)
Wilcox was the game's second star. The wrong Tambellini got first star.
You can't even call it a false hope goal when you get it cut to 1 goal deficit with less than a second left.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Adam Erne knows what he brings to the table every time he hits the ice.
The sturdy left winger, who has begun his rookie season on the Syracuse Crunch’s top line, is responsible for doing the dirty work down low, getting to the front of the net and creating space for his linemates.
Listed at 6-1, 210-pounds, Erne is continuing to develop as a power forward to make the next step to the NHL.
“He has a good work ethic, a big body, and he’s been good down low,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “He’s still got to work on some of the details of his game, you can find him a lot with his stick up in the air. But overall, he’s been fine. He’s working hard and getting chances on the power play and five-on-five.”
Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the loss in his season debut. So Gudlevskis starts the season the clear top dog in the crease.
Matthew Peca potted his first goal and first point of the season. He's an important piece if Syracuse is going to improve on last season's performance.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Jeff Tambellini made quite the impression in his first game at home with the Syracuse Crunch.
The veteran scored 16 seconds into the game and netted the game winner in the final minutes of regulation, as the Crunch topped the Binghamton Senators, 2-1, in the home opener at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
“That’s what I’m always trying to bring with my game in pro hockey is an elite level shot, and I got to use it twice tonight,” Tambellini said. “Great play by our winger, (Adam) Erne, on the first one, and the second one the guys battled hard and I was in the right spot. A lot goes into what created those.”
Tambellini leads the way.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win. He was good tonight, and Syracuse needed him to be. As always, the question with Gudlevskis is going to be one of consistency and whether he can keep performing at the level he has through the first couple of games.
SYR Tambellini, (1) (Erne, Blujus), 0:16
BNG Schneider, (1) , 4:58 (SH)
SYR Tambellini, (2) (DeAngelo, Blunden), 17:43
Jeff Tambellini and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The two defensemen, paired together for the Syracuse season opener in Lehigh Valley Saturday, have quickly renewed the chemistry that made them one of the team’s top defensive duos last season. Both are working at rounding out their games as they prepare to take the next, permanent step to the National Hockey League.
“They both had real good camps and Tampa was happy with both of them,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “There’s players up there that have established positions, and they have to understand that. But the other part is that they still need to work on some of the things in their game that they can get better at. They’re both very good hockey players and able to play in the NHL, but both can improve and keep getting better.”
Crunch hang on for opening night win.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the victory. He didn't have a ton of work in the first half of the game, but made a handful of key stops at key moments in the second half of the contest to preserve the win, including a big glove stop at the end of the Third Period.
Click on any of the goals listed to see a GIF of the play.
LV Martel, (1) (Conner, Cousins), 16:31
It was kind of a tale of two games tonight, with Syracuse looking dominant in the first part of the game, only allowing the Phantoms chances on the odd unforced turnover and on the man advantage. They established a 4-1 lead in the Second Period and it had the look of a laugher, but they allowed Lehigh Valley to stick around and eventually spent the bulk of the Third Period protecting the dreaded 2 goal lead. They had a handful of very good forechecking shifts in the final frame to take some of the pressure off, but in the end it was a lot closer than it should have been.
Snap decision on this iteration of the Crunch is that they're very similar to last year's edition. Not surprising. They have decent speed but didn't look terribly threatening off the rush. Their bread and butter is still going to be the cycle and manufacturing those greasy goals, punctuated by the occasional laser beam from Marchessault (who was lethal tonight from the slot). With only one PP opportunity on the night, it's too early to judge if their extra man unit will be better than the travesty they called a power play last season.
As for the key newcomers, I thought Matthew Peca played a nice, responsible two-way game. He wasn't able to flash on the rush as I'd have expected, but I'm sure that'll come. Anthony DeAngelo got a helper for his first AHL point, but didn't get a chance to flash his offensive skill much in the game. Defensively, he reminds me a bit of Paul Ranger when Ranger was a rookie pro. That is to say, he's in the right zip code positionally, and even though he's not in perfect spots he's mobile enough to close the gap quickly. If he's anything like Ranger, he'll get sharper in that aspect as time goes on. Adam Erne had one very poor tripping penalty, but also showed a lot of the qualities that make him a valued prospect. He hits to hurt and he was very good on the cycle and on the forecheck in the Third Period as Syracuse was nursing the lead.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The ultimate goal remains the same every year.
While every team in the American Hockey League chases the Calder Cup, the Tampa Bay Lighting’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, are looking to rekindle the magic that took them to the league championship series in 2013. Less than three years have passed, but the memories of 2013 seem to be shrinking in the rear view mirror.
The Crunch will take their first step toward that goal when they open the 2015-16 on the road against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday.
“It’s gone by fast, without a doubt,” said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. “The people have changed except for a couple, but it does feel like a while away. I feel like we’ve learned a lot over these last two years, and we’re continuing to grow. The goal, as always, is to make the playoffs and win the Calder Cup.”
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Tye McGinn to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
McGinn, 24, skated in 51 games in the NHL last season, splitting time between the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes, posting two goals and seven points. The Fergus, Ontario native began the 2014-15 season with the Sharks, appearing in 33 games and recorded a goal and five points. After being traded to the Coyotes, McGinn recorded one goal and two points in 18 games.