In a game marred by many physical altercations, the Syracuse Crunch offense had a breakout performance.
The Crunch took a three-goal lead in the first period, and continued to cruise through multiple incidents, as they topped the Toronto Marlies, 6-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"We played a good game," said Syracuse forward Brett Connolly, who finished with four points. "I think they embarrassed themselves."
Back to .500.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory.
SYR Angelidis, (12) (Ikonen, Connolly), 1:00 (PP)
SYR Paradis, (6) (DiSalvatore, Angelidis), 12:33
SYR Gourde, (6) (DiSalvatore, Connolly), 18:38 (PP)
TOR Carrick, (11) (Ross), 3:29
SYR Marchessault, (20) (Cote, Erne), 10:25
SYR Marchessault, (21) (Connolly, Cote), 12:38 (SH)
TOR Brennan, (23) (Ross, Carrick), 19:18
TOR McKegg, (18) (Marshall, Kozun), 4:09
SYR Connolly, (20) (Namestnikov, Ikonen), 17:17
Jonathan Marchessault, Brett Connolly, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars. New Crunch forward Henri Ikonen managed his first two AHL points on helpers to bookend the scoring for Syracuse. The 4 point night for Connolly points to him potentially providing some depth options to Tampa Bay in the playoffs as well. As I said after last night's win, this team is figuring out some of its chemistry for next season, and guys like Gourde and Marchessault finding their grooves bodes well for a bounce back next year. The team is back to .500 with 4 games left in the regular season, and if they can finish with a winning record that will be a major accomplishment considering this franchise supplied 9 prospects who became full time NHLers in Tampa Bay this season.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Halifax Mooseheads 4 @ Gatineau Olympiques 1
Mooseheads win best-of-7 second round series, 4-1
C/W Jonathan Drouin, HAL: 1-2-3, E, 0 PIM, 1 Hit, 4 SOG, 11/30 FO
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 9-18-27, +7, 8 PIM
Season totals: 46 GP, 29-70-108, +49, 43 PIM
2011-2012 Season: 49 GP, 41-64-105, +48, 32 PIM
Halifax advanced to the league semifinals with a 4-1 win Friday night in Gatineau. Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin had three more points to maintain his three-points-per-game playoff pace. The Mooseheads gave up the first goal, but had a 3-1 lead by the end of the second period. Drouin’s goal came on the power play. He extended his multi-point game streak to 12 and his point streak to 22 games. No game stars were listed. Halifax will wait to see who they play next. Only 2-seeded Halifax and top-seeded Baie-Comeau have advanced to the semifinals.
Ontario Hockey League
Barrie Colts 1 @ North Bay Battalion 4
Battalion lead best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals, 3-2
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 12 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 4-26-30, +12, 56 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
D Jake Dotchin, BAR: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 10 GP: 3-2-5, +1, 13 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 11-25-36, +22, 121 PIM
2012-13 totals: 66 GP, 4-18-22, E, 81 PIM
The home team won again in the series, this time with North Bay holding serve at home vs Barrie, 4-1. Neither Lightning prospect registered a point in the game. The Battalion can close out the series with a road win in Barrie on Sunday. This is the only series still going in the AHL; Guelph, Erie, and Oshawa have all advanced to the conference finals.
During regulation, it was all about the dueling power plays.
Both Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored a pair of power play goals in the first two periods, but the Penguins pushed past the Crunch in a shootout, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
Although it's late for a playoff push, Syracuse has points in seven of its last eight games.
"I've been pretty happy with our game overall," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We're finding a little more offense lately. We're getting some more pucks to the net, and we've got some more finishers on our team now too, which is a good thing."
One more to go.
Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 36 of 38 for the victory in his first NHL shot. He was impressive. His quickness and athleticism are striking, and he showed a competitiveness and unwillingness to give up on plays that is also the hallmark of great netminders.
3:55 TB Palat (23), (Killorn)(PP)
13:46 CBJ Jenner (16), (Johnson, Johansen)(PP)
14:54 TB Brewer (3), (Paquette)
18:06 TB Brewer (4), (Kostka, Panik)
16:37 CBJ Savard (5), (Jenner, Comeau)
Gudlevskis, Eric Brewer, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars. It wasn't the best effort the Lightning have put forward, but Gudlevskis played well and the team capitalized on some shaky netminding by Columbus' McElhinney at the other end of the rink. It wasn't without a price, as Victor Hedman left the game early with a lower body injury and Ondrej Palat left after getting his bell rung on an open ice hit, but at this hour their absence seems more precautionary than anything else (although that's always subject to change).
The Lightning now have 99 points with 1 game to go. Win and they get home ice against Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs. Win and they break the 100 point barrier. Win, and they'll cap off one of the best regular seasons in team history.
Mike Kostka had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 20:35. He was forced into extra ice time with Hedman out of the game early, and he handled it reasonably well, even getting his 3rd point in 2 games since returning. Win if you can, survive if Mike Kostka lets you.
Cedric Paquette had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 12:46. He was also 64% on 14 draws, including several wins while the Lightning were trying to stave off Columbus with their goaltender pulled at the end of the game. Good debut by Dump Truck, and I thought the scorekeepers cheated him out of a few hits because I counted 2-3 more. The young man's got a future on the team's fourth line.