Crunch Shut Out by Penguins, 2-0

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored twice in the first period, and held on to hand the Syracuse Crunch their second straight shutout loss, 2-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

Syracuse had trouble creating sustained pressure, and was held to four shots in the first period and 16 overall.

"For whatever reason -- it's hard to explain -- we came out flat tonight," said Syracuse forward Jon DiSalvatore. "You've got to be ready to battle, you've got to be ready for the pressure."

"We're not getting enough shots, we're not going to the net," added Crunch forward Vlad Namestnikov. "We're just not playing the way we should."

The Crunch registered 36 penalty minutes on 11 infractions, and the Penguins went 1-for-8 with the man-advantage. Syracuse went 0-for-1 on the power play.

But for Crunch coach Rob Zettler, penalties weren't the main issue. His team had problems making sharp passes and matching the Penguins' compete level.

"It was losing a lot of battles in our end, losing a lot of 50-50 pucks," Zettler said.

Spencer Machacek capitalized on a loose puck to the side of the Crunch net to put the Penguins on the board less than eight minutes into the first period. Adam Payerl's power play goal 10 minutes later provided Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with some insurance.

While Penguins goalie Peter Mannino turned away 16 shots for the shutout, the Crunch's Kristers Gudlevskis finished with 26 saves.

"(There was) a little miscommunication on the first goal," Zettler said. "I'm not sure what happened there between (Gudlevskis) and our defense. After that, I thought he was fine."

Syracuse (24-28-4-6) hosts Albany Saturday. The Devils' Scott Wedgewood went on to win the league player of the week award after recording 13 saves to shut the Crunch out, 3-0, in their meeting last Sunday.

"We want revenge," Namestnikov said. "We're going to rest tonight and be prepared for tomorrow."

Pictured: Crunch forward Vlad Namestnikov makes a pass against the Penguins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.