Desjardins, Crunch Blank Penguins, 1-0


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was all about the letter D for the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night.

The defense held the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to nine shots in the first forty minutes, Philip-Michael Devos scored the lone goal and Cedrick Desjardins pitched a 20-save shutout, leading the Crunch to a 1-0 victory at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

Syracuse has registered a point in its last five games, and paces the American Hockey League with 84 points.

"Every night there's someone different that's the hero," Desjardins said. "Tonight, everyone stepped in."

The Crunch defense held the Penguins to four shots in the first, and five in the second.

"I have to stay focused," Desjardins said of his mindset. "There's been a few games like that. For myself, I've got to be ready because the next save is always the big save in the game."

Desjardins has five shutouts on the season, with three coming during Syracuse home games. He credited the defense in front of him, which allowed few turnovers and 20 shots on net.

"Our defense is just getting better and better throughout the season," he said.

While Desjardins stifled the Penguins, Jeff Zatkoff frustrated the Crunch. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie stopped all 12 first-period shots, and finished with 26 saves.

The lone goal came when Devos took a drop pass from Danick Gauthier and fired it past Zatkoff two minutes into the second frame. Gauthier and Matt Taormina were each credited with an assist on Devos' fifth of the year.

"I was following Danick Gauthier and the puck just appeared in front of me," Devos said. "I took a look at the net and I saw a hole on the upper side of the blocker, and put it there."

Although the Crunch and Penguins done with their regular season meetings, there is a possibility the two could meet in the postseason. With the playoff atmosphere hanging heavy, Syracuse took the opportunity to send a message.

"That's our style, we prefer to win games 2-1, not 6-5," Devos said. "It's more efficient, and that's what's going to happen in the playoffs."

Syracuse (38-13-3-5) continues the regular season with a pair of home games this weekend. Hamilton visits on Friday, with Albany following the day after.

"The playoffs are coming, so we have to make sure that we're ready and all the details are fixed," Devos said.

Pictured: Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins makes a save against the Penguins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.