Syracuse Crunch

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.

Peca Off to Fast Start in Second Pro Season


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Matthew Peca’s second goal looked like a replay of his first.

The center darted toward the crease and fired off a quick snap shot on a feed from behind the net to give Syracuse the lead late in the first period and added the eventual game-winner on a similar play midway through the second. Peca finished with three points on the weekend, as Syracuse swept a home-and-home series against Rochester to open the season.

Off to a fast start, Peca is looking to become more of an offensive threat in his second professional season.

“I think that’s the key in any situation,” Peca said. “You want to get the puck on and off your stick. We all work on that in practice. It’s good to see the first two go in. They were good plays — nice passes from (Cory) Conacher — and just one-touches.”

AHL Game Day: 10-16-16 Crunch at Americans

Goals! Goals! Goals!

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Adam Wilcox allowed 3 goals on 21 shots for the win, and then thanked Jobu for the sweet elixir of goal support.

First Period
5:31 RCH Rodrigues (1), (unassisted)
16:11 SYR Gourde (1), (Richard, Halmo)
19:14 SYR Peca (1), (Conacher)

Second Period
0:39 SYR Bournival (2), (Dotchin, Walcott)
10:26 SYR Peca (2), (Conacher, Erne)(PP)
13:31 RCH Strachan (1), (Bennett, Nylander)
15:14 SYR Conacher (1), (Vermin, Taormina)

Third Period
9:34 RCH Nylander (1), (O'Reilly)
16:06 SYR Vermin (2), (Condra, Richard)(PP)

Cory Conacher and Matthew Peca were the game's first and second star.

It's hard to lose when you're averaging 5 goals a game. Benoit Groulx must feel like he won the lottery after being tapped to coach this team.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-15-16 Americans at Crunch

The new AHL website is bad, and they should feel bad.

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Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. Life is good when you have low shot totals to face and sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:55 SYR Erne (1), (Blujus, Peca)(PP)
13:01 SYR McGinn (1), (Erne, Witkowski)
17:05 SYR Vermin (1), (Conacher, Dumont)
17:27 SYR Bournival, (Dumont, Dotchin)

Third Period
6:55 RCH Bailey (1), (Fedun)

Adam Erne, Gabriel Dumont, and Cory Conacher were the game's three stars.

Syracuse's depth at forward this season is obscene, on paper, and it will only get better when Ryan Callahan gets healthy and (possibly/probably) pushes young Brayden Point down to the Crunch to learn to play center as a pro. With that in mind, Syracuse's ceiling this year may be defined by if/when the Lightning resolve their goaltending situation up top, and if/when Gudlevskis moves up because of it. Syracuse is likely to have everything else, so they just need the goaltending to potentially make an epic run this year.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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