Lindback Registers Shutout, Crunch Beat Penguins 4-0

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The first tests for Anders Lindback came just moments after the puck dropped.

The Tampa Bay Lightning netminder, sent to Syracuse for a weekend conditioning assignment, made a few crucial saves in the opening minutes. Once he had time to settle in, Lindback stopped a steady stream of shots in his first game since Jan. 30.

"I got a couple of good shots early on, and they came pretty hard," Lindback said. "Then it was continuous the whole game, it was an even pace, which is what you prefer."

Lindback registered a 30-save shutout in his Crunch debut, as Syracuse won its third-straight by topping the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 4-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"He's huge. He takes up a lot of the net," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler of the 6-6 Swede, who is expected to make another start Sunday. "Just him going down in the butterfly takes up a lot of net. They've got to make a great shot to beat him."

"The guys in front of me did a great job too," Lindback said. "I saw the first puck and not a lot of rebounds came at me. It makes it a whole lot easier."

Nine Crunch players registered a point, with Richard Panik, Tanner Richard and Matt Taormina each collecting a pair.

Richard opened the scoring a little more than two minutes into the game, when he beat Penguins goalie Jeff Deslauriers with a shot from the slot.

"I didn't really have to do much," Richard said. "All I had to do was tuck it in. (Panik) made the whole play happen."

Matt Taormina scored the first of his two goals in the final minute of the first. For Zettler, it was more about the plays led to Syracuse's first two goals.

"Dana Tyrell, on the backcheck, made the first goal happen," Zettler said. "Then Richard Panik took a big hit to make the second goal happen from Taormina. Then it's 2-0 and the other team is on its heels. Those plays were huge."

Taormina tallied another goal five minuted into the second, and Drew Olson rounded out the scoring a little more than a minute later. Tyrell, Mike Angelidis, Evan Rankin and Max Parent each recorded an assist.

"We got a little bit sloppy in the second period," Zettler said. "We got a little bit cute and played a lot of D zone time. Then we started, again, grinding it out in the O zone and keeping our cycle game alive. When we're doing that, I think we're pretty effective."

The Crunch last won three-straight in early November, and haven't won four-straight since October.

With a slump that lasted nearly a month behind them, Syracuse (21-23-4-5) looks to keep rolling when it begins a home-and-home set with Adirondack Saturday.

"You're not gripping your stick as tight as when we lost 11 out of 12 or whatever it was," Richard said. "When you're going in on a three-game winning streak, it's easier to get the ball rolling."

Pictured: Crunch goalie Anders Lindback makes a save against the Penguins at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.