Syracuse Crunch

Crunch Seizes Momentum in Second Period to Top Marlies


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch seized the momentum late in the second period.

The Crunch tied the score with 20 seconds left in the middle period, added the go-ahead goal 1:10 into the third and held on for a 5-4 win against the Toronto Marlies at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“I’m very happy with the way we bounced back,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “That game reminded me of the first game here. The momentum was shifting left and right. They have a good team, and we had to grind it out.”

AHL Game Night: 1-11-17 Crunch at Comets

Crunch lose a goaltending duel.

SYR-1
UTI-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the OT loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:34 UTI Grenier (12), (Valk, Archibald)

Third Period
7:04 SYR Halmo (12), (Taormina, Conacher)(PP)

Overtime
3:11 UTI Archibald (10), (Grenier, Demko)

Gudlevskis was the game's third star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Veteran Defenseman Taormina's Play Hits Full Potential With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In three years, Matt Taormina has gone from struggling to find an AHL deal to being a league-leading defenseman

After a trade sent him from Syracuse to Springfield the season prior, Taormina was humbled as he searched for a home in the AHL and settled on a contract with Worcester in late September 2014. Now the 30-year-old is back with the Crunch, leads all AHL blueliners with 32 points and was selected to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic for a fourth time.

Taormina is embracing his role as a veteran leader as he continues to push for a spot in the NHL.

“If you have some down years, it will hurt you a little bit,” Taormina said. “I wasn’t at my full potential back then, and now I think I’ve really figured it out. I’ve stayed calm and steady, and I feel a lot more comfortable and confident than I have since early on in my career.”

Crunch Downed By IceCaps in Overtime


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch had their chances in the third period, but couldn’t find the go-ahead goal.

The Crunch poured on the pressure and outshot the IceCaps 17-6 in the third, but St. John’s capitalized on a turnover to top Syracuse, 2-1, in overtime at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Very disappointing outcome, obviously,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “We had so many chances, especially in the third period where we were flying, skating, and playing with urgency. We made one mistake and the puck is in the net.

“This weekend was about that. Strong effort, strong game — we didn’t give much tonight — but the other team was very opportunistic and in both games we faced two solid goalies. It is what it is.”

AHL Game Night: 1-7-16 IceCaps at Crunch

Organization's week of frustration rolls on unabated.

STJ-2
SYR-1 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 19 shots for the OT loss.

First Period
18:33 STJ Camara (1), (Brouillette)

Second Period
13:46 SYR Halmo (11), (Conacher, Vermin)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
1:24 STJ Audette (7), (Matteau, Brouillette)

Mike Halmo and Dominik Masin were the game's second and third stars.

Syracuse does move 1 point clear of Albany in the North Division by virtue of the Devils' loss to Lehigh Valley. Still, the team has been a very pedestrian 3-3-1-3 over their last 10 games and can (and honestly likely will) do better.

Box score and extended statistics from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-6-17 Crunch at Americans

My kingdom for some goaltending.

SYR-3
RCH-4 (SO)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 18 shots before conceding to 1 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the Shootout loss. Maybe it's not fair to expect more from Gudlevskis after spending a couple of weeks making sure the end of the Lightning bench was anchored down, but it's painful to consider that the organization has been bereft of quality goaltending over the past couple of weeks.

First Period
8:06 RCH Bonis (5), (Karabacek)
13:27 RCH Muzito-Bagenda (4), (Karabacek)
17:00 SYR Taormina (10), (Comrie, Conacher)(PP)

Second Period
1:08 RCH Baptiste (16), (Rodrigues, Schneider)(PP)

Third Period
2:23 SYR Halmo (10), (unassisted)
10:05 SYR Condra (7), (Taormina)(SH)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- NONE
RCH- O'Reilly

Matt Taormina was the game's second star.

Syracuse outshot Rochester by a whopping 39-19 in the contest, but as you all know hockey is a far more frustrating sport when you have to work so much harder than your opponent in order to score a goal due to uneven goaltending. It's a shame, too, because with consistent goaltending Syracuse would almost certainly be a legit championship contender in the AHL.

On the good side, Syracuse runs up to 41 points in the standings to tie Albany for first in the North Division, with the Crunch holding three games in hand on the Devils.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Rookie Thomas Shows 'Solid Progression'


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Ben Thomas soaked in what he could in last year’s eight-game stint in Syracuse.

The defenseman joined the Crunch after the conclusion of his junior season last spring, and recorded his first pro goal and three assists. More importantly, Thomas learned what to expect and gained confidence knowing he could play at the AHL level.

Thomas is continuing to show progress during his rookie season as he adjusts to pro hockey.

“I think it was good for me last year to step in at the end, get some experience and show myself that I can play at this level,” Thomas said. “That gave me confidence coming into this year, and I was able to get off to a pretty good start. Those games last year really helped me.”

Crunch's Dumont Continues Push to Make NHL


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Gabriel Dumont’s goals have remained the same since he was a rookie six years ago.

A veteran who has competed in more than 400 AHL games in the Montreal organization, Dumont signed with Tampa Bay last summer with the belief that he could earn a call-up to the Lightning.

Dumont has registered 10 points in 17 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season, as he continues to push for another opportunity in the NHL.

“You always want to work on everything,” Dumont said. “You ask any player. Everybody wants to get better, get faster, get stronger, shoot the puck better. I think the goal is — no matter hold old you are — is to keep improving every day. As long as you’re improving, you won’t fall off the radar.”

Crunch Defeat IceCaps in Physical Affair


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The tempers boiled over before the opening faceoff and never fully cooled down.

The Crunch's Jeremy Morin and the IceCaps’ Bobby Farnham needed to be separated before the puck dropped and Syracuse captain Luke Witkowski had a run-in with Farnham moments later. The next 60 minutes featured 12 goals, a pair of fights and 96 penalty minutes, but Syracuse emerged with a 7-5 win over St. John’s at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“I’m very proud of our captain, our team and the way we responded today,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we took charge of this game right off the bat. They came back — we maybe let our foot off the gas a little bit — but you have to give credit to the other team. They showed character. … For me, we were challenged physically lately, and I’m very proud of our captain and our team with the way we stood up for ourselves.”

AHL Game Night: 12-31-16 IceCaps at Crunch

Goals n' goals n' goals!

STJ-5
SYR-7

Adam Wilcox allowed 5 goals on 16 shots for the win. A stat line that usually gets you lifted gets the W. Gotta love goal support.

First Period
7:29 SYR Taormina (9), (Comrie, Conacher)(PP)
8:24 SYR Halmo (9), (Comrie, Darcy)
9:34 SYR Conacher (5), (Condra, Taormina)(PP)
10:16 SYR Morin (5), (Witkowski, Dumont)
13:24 STJ Eisenschmid (5), (Racine)(SH)
13:45 STJ de la Rose (2), (Friberg, Hanley)(PP)
17:27 STJ MacMillan (2), (Gregoire, Lernout)

Second Period
2:34 SYR Condra (6), (Conacher, Taormina)(PP)
11:45 SYR Morin (6), (Thomas, Halmo)
12:43 STJ Audette (6), (Veilleux)

Third Period
9:56 STJ de la Rose (3), (Audette, Friberg)(PP)
19:46 SYR Conacher (6), (Condra)(EN)

Jeremy Morin, Cory Conacher, and Matt Taormina were the game's three stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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