Syracuse Crunch

Wilcox Hopes Offseason Work Leads to More Starts


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Wilcox has focused on calming his game down.

The Syracuse Crunch goalie concentrated on cutting down on unnecessary movements and improving his positioning throughout the summer. The work put in has quickly paid dividends for the second-year pro.

Wilcox earned back-to-back wins for the Crunch last weekend, and hopes his offseason work continues to earn him starts.

“I really worked hard at being in control, being calm and eliminating acrobatic saves and stuff like that,” Wilcox said. “When you don’t make those, you’re in better position. It was a good summer for me and it’s really leading into having a good start of the year.”

Conacher Staying Positive While Working Way Back to NHL


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Cory Conacher knew he was on the bubble.

After being one of the last players cut by the Tampa Bay Lightning during training camp, the forward has gotten off to a fast start with the Syracuse Crunch. Conacher earned his first call-up and played one game Saturday, but was returned to the Crunch Sunday.

Conacher is keeping a positive attitude as he continues to work towards another call-up.

“You don’t worry about too much. You just control what you can control,” Conacher said. “You just have to be ready for that next call. Whether it’s one game, a 10-game stint or the rest of the year, you’ve just got to be ready for whatever happens.”

AHL Game Day: 10-30-16 Crunch at Penguins

Struggling Gudlevskis roughed up in hard-scrabble Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

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Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 6 goals on 29 shots for the loss. That's not what you want to see from a guy who might be earmarked to move up and be the backup in Tampa Bay later this year.

First Period
3:52 WBS Rowney (2), (Oleksy, Goers)
14:51 WBS Porter (3), (Gaunce, Gardiner)
18:37 WBS Porter (4), (Wilson, Gill)(PP)

Second Period
13:54 WBS Kostopoulos (1), (Guentzel, Prow)

Third Period
4:56 SYR Halmo (2), (Darcy, Koekkoek)
13:50 WBS Dea (2), (McGrath)
16:18 WBS Sundqvist (2), (Dea, Prow)(PP)

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Surge Early, Hang On Against Bruins


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch surged early and held on in the third period.

The Crunch scored twice in the opening 8:44, but the the Bruins took advantage of turnovers in the third period. Syracuse was able to hang on for a 3-2 win over Providence at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

“Tonight, that game was all about momentum swings,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “I thought we had momentum for 10 or 12 minutes, and then we would turn the puck over in our zone or at the blue line and they would get the momentum for five, six, seven minutes.”

AHL Game Night: 10-29-16 Bruins at Crunch

Crunch show they can win a non-track meet game.

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Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory. It's eyebrow raising Gudlevskis didn't get the call for a second straight night.

First Period
2:14 SYR Darcy (1), (Letourneau-Leblond, Blujus)
8:44 SYR Gourde (2), (Morin, Ikonen)
11:32 PRO Szwarz (2), (Rinaldo, Simpson)

Second Period
9:25 SYR Halmo (1), (Morin, Bournival)

Third Period
2:23 PRO Blidh (2), (unassisted)

Wilcox, Yanni Gourde, and Jeremy Morin were the game's three stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-28-16 Crunch at Senators

Crunch hold off Senators rally to get back on track.

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Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the victory.

First Period
1:59 SYR Erne (2), (Morin, Dotchin)
9:27 SYR Bournival (4), (Dumont, Condra)
15:15 BNG Stortini (1), (Bailey, Kostka)(PP)

Second Period
0:39 SYR Peca (3), (Vermin, Blujus)(PP)
1:04 SYR Dumont (4), (Ikonen, Walcott)
6:11 BNG McCormick (1), (Flanagan, Robinson)

Third Period
4:03 BNG Varone (1), (Dunn, O'Connor)

Gabriel Dumont and Matthew Peca were the game's first and second stars.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Vermin Motivated By First Taste of NHL Action


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Joel Vermin’s first taste of the NHL only made him hungrier for more.

The forward earned a short stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, and was one of the team’s final cuts from training camp this fall. Sent to Syracuse, Vermin has recorded three points in four games for the Crunch.

Vermin is now working toward getting another call-up and a permanent spot with the Lightning.

“It’s a big motivation, to be honest,” Vermin said of his time with the Lightning last year. “Once I saw how it is, the NHL, it’s like a drug. You want more of it. You use that as motivation if you’re struggling or things aren’t going the way you want them to. It keeps you motivated.”

AHL Game Night: 10-22-16 Crunch at Penguins

Crunch offense shut down for the first time this season.

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Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
8:11 WBS Porter (1), (Archibald, McNeill)(SH)
10:30 WBS Porter (2), (unassisted)(SH)
10:51 SYR Conacher (2), (Thomas, Erne)(PP)

Third Period
15:45 WBS Simon (1), (Porter, Gardiner)

Needless to say, when you give up a pair of shorthanded goals as a team you probably deserve to lose. For a team this stacked to be sitting at .500 now is a little bit of a splash of cold water. We'll see how the team responds.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-21-16 Comets at Crunch

Comets strike at Syracuse's potential Achilles heel.

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Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 8 shots before being pulled for Adam Wilcox, who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots the rest of the way for the dreaded backdoor loss.

First Period
1:58 UTI Billins (1), (unassisted)(PP)
3:48 UTI Grenier (2), (Chaput)
6:29 SYR Dumont (1), (Koekkoek, Condra)
8:25 SYR Bournival (3), (Dumont)(SH)
8:57 UTI Carcone (1), (Megna, Billins)(PP)
15:37 UTI Valk (2), (Grenier, Chaput)

Second Period
2:38 SYR Dumont (2), (Witkowski)

Third Period
12:35 UTI Megna (1), (Billins)
17:10 SYR Bournival (4), (Blujus, Conacher)(PP)

Gabriel Dumont and Michael Bournival were the game's first and third stars.

Tonight was the first blemish on Syracuse's record and outlined their potential vulnerability. There's little doubt their lineup is significantly deep and talented enough to score a good 3 or 4 goals (at least) a game at the AHL level. The question, particularly when it comes to their goaltending, is whether they have the ability to keep the puck out of their own net. Kristers Gudlevskis has world class athleticism for the goaltending position, but his consistency is still dubious. Can he steadily lead a team on a deep run through the regular season and on toward a championship? Will he even get the chance with cap deals looming up top in Tampa Bay? And, either way, can Adam Wilcox prove a serious option 1A a la Jaroslav Janus during the Norfolk Admirals' championship run not too many moons ago?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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.

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