Syracuse Crunch

Defense Leads Crunch Past Americans

By Jeremy Houghtaling

While the forwards got off to a hot start, the Syracuse Crunch defense proved to be the difference.

Syracuse opened the scoring 69 seconds into the game and Rochester answered with a pair of goals in the next 1:24, but three Crunch defensemen registered their second goal of the season in a 6-4 win over the Americans in the first game after the all-star break at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"Bottom line is we've been working on in practice to get our D more involved in the offense, just get them up in the rush so they're in there for shots, more people at the net and D being more active," said Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler. "They were tonight."

Crunch Rally Past Wolf Pack in Third Period

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Despite falling behind in the opening minutes of the third period, the Syracuse Crunch found a way to rally.

Mike Blunden scored shorthanded for his second goal of the night, Mike Angelidis added the go-ahead goal on the power play two minutes later, and Andrei Vasilevskiy shut the door on multiple scrambles in the final minutes, as the Crunch topped the Hartford Wolf Pack, 3-2, to take the Northeast Division lead heading into the all-star break at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"Mike Blunden was unreal tonight, (Mike) Angelidis was good tonight," said Crunch head coach Rob Zettler. "All the guys you count on night in and night out really stepped up."

AHL Game Night: 1-24-15 Wolf Pack at Crunch

Syracuse takes the division lead heading into the AHL All-Star Break.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the victory. As with last night's game, solid stat line and key saves at key moments.

First Period
SYR Blunden, (12) (Koekkoek, Corrente), 1:29
HFD Allen, (6) (Mueller, Vaive), 5:17 (PP)

Second Period

Third Period
HFD Hrivik, (5) (Bodie, Kristo), 2:31
SYR Blunden, (13) (Namestnikov), 7:47 (SH)
SYR Angelidis, (14) (Blunden, Mormina), 9:48 (PP)

Mike Blunden, Mike Angelidis, and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars.

The win allows Syracuse to move 1 point ahead of Springfield into first place in the Northeast Division, 1 point back of Manchester for the conference lead. Almost as important, it allowed the Crunch to expand their lead over the Wolf Pack to 4 points in the ultra-competitive Northeast race, as the Crunch's division might be the toughest in the league this season.

Box score from

Gourde Scores Twice, Crunch Top Phantoms

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Yanni Gourde accepted the pass, saw the empty net and looked to finish off the hat trick.

The Crunch forward, who had his father and 11 other friends and family watching, guarded the puck against the Phantoms defender but had the stick slashed in half before he could finish the backhand motion. Gourde finished with a pair of goals, as Syracuse scored three unanswered goals to top Lehigh Valley, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"I was waiting for those goals for a while," Gourde said. "I've been working hard and they didn't come. Tonight they did. It's special to always score, especially in front of your family."

AHL Game Night: 1-23-15 Phantoms at Crunch

Vasiy and Gourde spook the Phantoms.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the victory. It's a solid stat line, but the real key was making big saves at key junctures of the game, like any really good goaltender does.

First Period
SYR Kunyk, (6) (Lynch, Dodero), 7:21
LV Goumas, (2) (Delisle, Comrie), 17:00
LV Straka, (10) (Goumas, Comrie), 17:24

Second Period
SYR Gourde, (14) , 3:23
SYR Ikonen, (5) (Angelidis, Corrente), 17:45

Third Period
SYR Gourde, (15) (Richard, Vermin), 4:00

Yanni Gourde, Henri Ikonen and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars. Gourde snapped a 9 game goalless streak with his tally. Ikonen, for his part, has 3 goals in the last 6 games.

With Springfield falling to Hartford tonight, Syracuse moves back to just 1 point back in the division with 1 game in hand.

Box score from

Prospect of the Week: 1-21-15

By Jeremy Houghtaling

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for January 21, 2015 is … Kristers Gudlevskis, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

For Kristers Gudlevskis, every time he straps on the pads is a little bit different.

There has been no better example than the last two weeks. The Syracuse Crunch goalie allowed a pair of goals on nine shots and was pulled after the first period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton January 10, but rebounded by making 47 saves on 49 shots in more than 97 minutes of ice time in a pair of appearances last weekend.

AHL Game Day: 1-18-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Should've saved some goals from last night.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. Quality start, though, nonetheless.

First Period
BRI Mouillierat, (13) (Conacher, Quine), 14:30 (PP)

Second Period
BRI Ness, (6) (McDonald, Conacher), 13:20 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Smith, (9) (Corrente, Richard), 14:52

Vasilevskiy was the game's third star.

Syracuse ends the weekend 3 points back of Springfield in the division with 1 game in hand on the Falcons.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-17-15 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Crunch rebound quickly to crush Sound Tigers.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory. One silver lining of the spanking the Crunch took against the Senators was that Gudlevskis got some quality PT in garbage time, and he carried that momentum over to tonight.

First Period
SYR Mormina, (2) (Marchessault, Angelidis), 8:47 (PP)
SYR Koekkoek, (3) (Marchessault), 8:58

Second Period
SYR Blunden, (11) (Blujus), 5:29
BRI Courtnall, (3) (Langkow, Pelech), 12:25
SYR Richard, (6) (Blujus, Blunden), 15:56
SYR Namestnikov, (8) , 17:24 (SH)

Third Period
SYR Angelidis, (13) (Blunden, Marchessault), 6:56
BRI Persson, (5) (Stretch, Lashoff), 14:41 (PP)

Mike Blunden, Jonathan Marchessault, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars.

The other silver lining of the debacle against Bingo is the Crunch had time to collect themselves and get some continuity going with the skeleton lineup in the final 40 minutes of the game, and that also carried over into tonight's game.

Ex-Lightning 7th rounder Justin Courtnall had a goal against the organization that drafted him. Wow, that was a name from the past I wasn't sure I'd ever hear again.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-16-15 Crunch at Senators

Shorthanded Syracuse crushed by Bingo.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 19 shots for the loss before giving way to Kristers Gudlevskis, who stopped all 21 he faced the rest of the way. Syracuse's defense, losing Witkowski and Nesterov to the big club, was... poor tonight.

First Period
BNG Kramer, (2) (Wideman), 5:20
BNG Puempel, (10) (Wideman, New), 12:19
BNG Robinson, (4) (Dzingel), 13:55
BNG Prince, (12) (Camper, Johnson), 19:27 (PP)

Second Period
BNG McCormick, (6) (Dzingel), 2:53

Third Period

This thing was shaping up to be a train wreck all week, as the Crunch scrambled to find warm bodies to put in the lineup. And, in the end, it didn't disappoint. The team was outshot 40-18 and the Sens jumped all over them in the First Period. Such is life in the AHL sometimes.

Box score from

Rookie Defenseman Blujus Making Progress in Syracuse

By Jeremy Houghtaling

While Dylan Blujus broke through for his first goal last week, his real strides have come in his own zone.

With an increase in ice time due to injuries and call-ups, the defenseman has started to find his groove with the Syracuse Crunch. Head coach Rob Zettler has seen steady progress in Blujus' game since he made his professional debut nearly three months ago.

"I would say over the last month, (Blujus) has been a much better defenseman, meaning he's going back for pucks more confidently and he's not as prone to get rid of pucks as quickly," Zettler said of the Buffalo native. "The beginning of the year, he'd get back and rim it around the boards and it would [cause] a cluster in our end for a little while because of it. He's just being a little bit more patient with the puck and smarter with the puck."

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