Joel Vermin has put last year behind him.
The Crunch forward, who finished with a disappointing 18 points in 49 games with Bern of the Swiss A-League, has found a role on one of Syracuse's top lines and registered six points in his first nine games this season.
"Last year was last year," Vermin said. "I don't really think about that too much. It was a learning process for me."
For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, a leader doesn't have to be the loudest one on the ice.
Case in point: Crunch assistant captain and frequent Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette.
A player known for his high compete level, Paquette has registered seven points in five games with the Crunch and has developed into a quality depth player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who recalled the second-year pro on Tuesday.
"I like what he brings to the table on the ice," Zettler said of the 21-year-old forward. "His work ethic in practice, his work ethic in a game -- it doesn't change. That's what I like about him, and that's why he has an A on his sweater. You don't always have to be a loud or a vocal guy to be a leader."
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory. Goal support: Kristers has it, tonight.
SYR Marchessault, (3) (Dotchin, Paquette), 1:38
SYR Koekkoek, (1) (Blujus, Richard), 9:05 (PP)
BNG Pageau, (3) (Wideman, Robinson), 10:23
BNG Puempel, (2) (Dzingel), 12:26
SYR Kunyk, (2) (Paradis, Gourde), 3:06
SYR Vermin, (3) , 4:39
BNG Wideman, (7) (Mullen), 6:48 (PP)
SYR Smith, (2) (Dotchin), 12:13
SYR Paquette, (4) (Vermin), 17:05
Joel Vermin and Cedric Paquette were the game's first and second stars. Defenseman Slater Koekkoek scored his first AHL goal in the contest, as well. And, there was #blujuspalooza happening on that goal, too.
They really faced down a hot goaltender last night, which happens, and were unfortunate to get shut out, but the scoreboard wasn't indicative of the team's play. They were doing a lot of the right things to snap their offensive funk, and the floodgates finally came open for them tonight. Hopefully they stay open now even if Paquette has to go back to the Lightning with Alex Killorn getting hurt again up top.
Syracuse gets Norfolk on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
For head coach Rob Zettler, it came down to a couple mental errors early.
The Crunch allowed a shorthanded goal on their first man-advantage and the Americans tallied a power play goal later in the first period, as Syracuse dropped its third-straight game to Rochester, 3-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"Special teams were the difference," Zettler said. "They scored on the power play, we gave up one on our power play. The rest of the game I thought we were all over them."
Makarov bests old tandem-mate.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 25 shots, dropping the decision to Andrey Makarov, who stopped all 38 he faced at the other end.
RCH Armia, (4) (Leduc, Makarov), 2:58 (SH)
RCH Leduc, (1) (Pysyk, Grigorenko), 19:02 (PP)
RCH Varone, (4) (Adam, Samuels-Thomas), 7:42
It's rough to get shutout, but I'd say there were silver linings. They settled down after a rough First Period and outshot Rochester 25-11 the rest of the way. That's solid. They just couldn't crack Makarov, who can be impenetrable when he's on his game. Rochester is pretty loaded with high draft picks, too, so it's not like they were playing the sisters of the poor. They just really need to get some continuity and some bounces to go their way, and I think they'll be fine.
Box score from TheAHL.com.