Syracuse Crunch

Korobov Climbing Organizational Ladder

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dmitry Korobov got the call he had been waiting for -- from teammate Vlad Namestnikov.

Korobov, the hard-hitting Belarusian on the Syracuse Crunch blueline, was having phone troubles, so the message from Crunch coach Rob Zettler about Korobov's first National Hockey League call-up arrived through Namestnikov.

"I was a little shocked, happy, and nervous at the same time," Korobov said through Namestnikov, who helped translate. "Mostly happy."

After playing one game with the Tampa Bay Lightning, being sent back to the Crunch, and making the round trip again, Korobov got a taste of what he came to North America for. Now he’s working to earn more of those calls -- no matter who they’re from -- and eventually a permanent role in the NHL.

Crunch Look to Limit Opposition Opportunities

By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Rob Zettler, it all comes down to being in the right position.

With the offensive lines lacking their normal scoring punch, the Syracuse Crunch coach knows the margin for error is slim. But his defense has keyed in on limiting the opposition’s offensive opportunities, and Syracuse grinded out wins last weekend by holding St. John’s to a pair of goals Friday and shutting out Adirondack Saturday.

"We really limited both teams' chances because we were in good position," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We didn't have the high-end skill we've had in the past, but we made up for it in position and hard work."

Prospect of the Week: December 3, 2013

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

The Prospect of the Week for November 25 – December 1, 2013 is … Cedric Paquette, C, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).

Rookie pro Cedric Paquette played superhero last week, rescuing the injured, falling Syracuse Crunch by swooping in at the last moment to lead the club to two needed wins.

The Crunch entered last weekend banged up, short on players due to injuries in Tampa, and on a season-long 5-game losing streak.

Nesterov Takes Next Step Toward NHL Dream

By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Nikita Nesterov, this season is his first away from home.

The Syracuse Crunch defensemen, who spent the last four seasons in his hometown of Chelyabinsk with the junior MHL team or with Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League, is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings. While his homeland is halfway around the world, the ultimate goal -- to play in the National Hockey League -- is one step away.

"It was pretty tough, I won two medals with my KHL team, third and second place in the past two years, but I wanted to learn something new," Nesterov said through a translator.

AHL Game Night: 11-30-13 Crunch at Phantoms

Dump Truck delivers (again).


Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 28 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Goaltending will be extra important if Syracuse is going to ride out this stretch at less than full strength, and Desjardins gave them that goaltending tonight.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period
SYR Paquette, (6) (Gauthier, Connolly), 12:00 (PP)

Desjardins and Cedric Paquette were the game's first and second stars. Paquette (Dump Truck!) had the game winning goal for the second straight game. Coming out of quite the scoring slumber, Brett Connolly also had an assist for the second straight game. That's a welcome sign from last year's 2nd Team AHL All-Star.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 11-29-13 IceCaps at Crunch

Dump Truck delivers.


Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Kaunisto, (1) (Langelier-Parent, Neilson), 18:10

Second Period
SYR Walker, (2) (Paquette, Korobov), 12:10 (PP)
STJ Jaffray, (7) (Gordon, Redmond), 13:52 (PP)
STJ Lipon, (4) (Lowry), 14:15

Third Period
SYR Paquette, (5) (Devos, Gauthier), 15:36
SYR Gauthier, (3) (Connolly), 19:05 (EN)

Cedric Paquette (Dump Truck!) and Ray Kaunisto were the game's first and third stars.

I don't know what it is about the IceCaps, but the Lightning organization could stick cardboard cutouts in jerseys and still beat them. SyraNo has just had their number - big time - and tonight was a win Syracuse really needed to right the ship even though, when you look up and down the roster, it's very hard to find familiar names.

Syracuse faces Adirondack tomorrow as they attempt to put a little unlikely streak together here.

Box score from

Crunch Snap Skid By Beating IceCaps, 4-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Cedric Paquette scored with less than five minutes remaining in regulation to lift Syracuse past the St. John's IceCaps, 4-2, snapping the Crunch's five-game losing streak at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"I told them 'We are what we are, you game it out and play the right way and let the chips fall, and the result will take care of itself,'" said Crunch coach Rob Zettler.

AHL Game Night: 11-27-13 Crunch at Senators

Depleted Crunch continue to struggle.


Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 37 shots for the loss. The Crunch could really use one of their goaltenders standing on their head to get through this rough patch. Didn't quite happen tonight. Helenius did, at least, turn aside a Binghamton penalty shot early in the First Period.

First Period
BNG Sdao, (2) , 10:26

Second Period
BNG Petersson, (6) (O'Brien, Prince), 6:45
SYR Walker, (1) (Korobov, Cote), 10:35 (PP)
BNG Prince, (5) , 19:02

Third Period
BNG Schneider, (6) (Dziurzynski, Robinson), 11:31
BNG Petersson, (7) (O'Brien, Prince), 15:14

To add injury to insult, Nikita Nesterov took a slapshot to the face in an ugly scene, and may miss some more time because of it.

At this point, I have to openly wonder if Julien BriseBois is going to pull the trigger to get a veteran player or two into Syracuse to try to stabilize things. The team did add familiar face P.M. Devos on a PTO, but it may take a weightier move to staunch the bleeding.

Box score from

With Most Productive Line Out, Crunch Forwards Look to Step Up

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch’s lines went through a major makeover this week.

With JT Brown and Nikita Kucherov called up to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vladislav Namestnikov out with a broken hand, the Crunch’s most productive line won’t be available for the foreseeable future. While the trio amassed 55 points over Syracuse’s first 17 games, the remaining 11 healthy forwards at practice Tuesday combined for 22.

Dana Tyrell, set to take over a spot on one of the Crunch's top lines, has also been recalled by the Lightning.

With so much firepower out of the lineup, Syracuse is looking for ways to create more offense.

"We've just got to converge on the front of the net and bang away," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "Obviously, with those guys out, our skill level drops but our work ethic doesn't."

AHL Game Night: 11-23-13 Bulldogs at Crunch

I hate all teams named "Bulldogs".


Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the loss.

First Period

Second Period
HAM Thomas, (1) (St. Pierre, Beaulieu), 1:29 (PP)
HAM Pateryn, (4) (Schiestel, Leblanc), 7:18 (PP)

Third Period
HAM Beaulieu, (2) (St. Pierre, Thomas), 6:47 (PP)

Nikita Nesterov was the game's third star.

Evidently hell hath no fury like Dusting Tokarski scorned. Tic stopped 43 shots in the blanking of his former teammates.

Syracuse gets Binghamton on Wednesday. They've now dropped to 7th in the Eastern Conference.

Box score from

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