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Crunch Fall in OT, Miss Chance to Clinch Playoff Spot

By Jeremy Houghtaling

With a chance to clinch a playoff berth, the Syracuse Crunch came up just short.

Albany lost in Manchester and Syracuse battled back from a pair of deficits, but the Crunch couldn't convert on five power play opportunities -- including one in overtime -- as they fell to the Binghamton Senators, 3-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday.

"There were significant opportunities both ways," said Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler. "At the end of the day, we couldn't get one on the power play. We had a chance 4-on-3 in overtime and we couldn't get it past him. We definitely had our chances to win it, we just couldn't. I was happy with the effort and I was happy with the chances, we just couldn't finish it off."

AHL Game Night: 4-1-15 Senators at Crunch

Crunch lose a tight one with reinforcements on the way.

SYR-2 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the OT loss. He made several key stops to allow the Crunch to secure 1 point in the contest.

First Period
BNG Prince, (24) (Camper), 4:05
SYR Angelidis, (20) (Courtnall, Vermin), 12:32
BNG Camper, (14) (Schneider, A. Grant), 17:53 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Martindale, (13) (Marchessault), 1:23

Third Period

BNG Wideman, (17) (Dzingel), 3:06

Gudlevskis was the game's third star.

Syracuse has already lost Namestnikov and three regular defensemen to recall because of various injuries up top in Tampa Bay. They've gotten a little help with the signing of Brayden Point to an ATO and bringing the likes of Jared Nightingale back into the fold for a spell. They're about to get even more reinforcements, though, with today's signing of forward Matthew Peca and the word that goaltender Adam Wilcox is also likely to sign with the Lightning and may be assigned to Syracuse, as well. If they can get Koekkoek and Witkowski, at least, back from Tampa Bay and the likes of Tanner Richard back from injury, this could take a decent Syracuse roster to the level of a reasonable title contender in the playoffs. If one or two other active junior players can also join in the fun, all the better.

Box score from

Extraliga Playoff Game Day: 4-1-15

Semifinal Round
(4)Sparta Praha 4 vs. (1)Trinec 1
Trinec Leads the Series 2-1
Jaroslav Janus, Sparta Praha, DNP
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 5.71 GAA, .846 sv%
Regular season totals (CZE): 5 GP, 2-3-0, 0 SO, 4.56 GAA, .849 sv%
Regular season totals (KHL): 25 GP, 6-12-5, 2 SO, 3.01 GAA, .891 sv%

26 year old Slovenian Robert Sabolic and ex-Av Jaroslav Hlinka each had 2 goals to help Sparta Praha defeat Trinec 4-1 in Game Three of their Semifinal series. Starter Filip Novotny made 23 saves for the win while Jaroslav Janus sat backup for Sparta. Game Four is Thursday.

Peca Officially in the Fold

(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Matthew Peca to a two-year, two-way contract for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Additionally, Peca has signed an AHL amateur try out contract to play the remainder of the 2014-15 season with the Syracuse Crunch.

Peca, 21, skated in 39 games this season with Quinnipiac University, recording seven goals and 36 points to go along with 27 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the Bobcats and third in the ECAC with 29 assists. Peca also ranked second on the Bobcats for points and served as captain of the team during his senior year.

The 5-foot-8, 155-pound forward played in 157 career NCAA games, all with the Bobcats over four seasons, registering 42 goals and 143 points to go along with 91 penalty minutes. Peca led the Bobcats for assists in three of his four seasons with the team. He set a school record with a six-point effort during his junior season on February 28, 2014.

Peca was originally selected by the Lightning in the seventh round, 201st overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

BP Commentary: Finally. From the fight over Peca’s junior hockey rights (among four teams) on through his senior year at Quinnipiac, we’ve been following Peca’s impressive career. Sometimes stats tell the story on a player, but Peca doesn’t fall into this category. Like Ryan Callahan, Peca is a leader on and off the ice and does so many little things to help a team win – often sacrificing body parts and personal stats – that his coaches likely have Matt Peca custom Fatheads on their man cave walls.

He put up good numbers, but the team played a defense-first system reliant on the transition game. Peca also played in a checking role when required. As a 4-line forward, he was able to do whatever was asked.

Prospect of the Week: 4-1-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for April 1, 2015 is … Cameron Darcy, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL – Canada).

The QMJHL’s second season started last week and Cameron Darcy began with a bang.

The Lightning’s seventh round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft had a hat trick and five points in Game 2 of Sherbrooke’s first round series against Charlottetown. The Phoenix had lost the first game by a large margin and were sitting on the cliff of falling down 2-0 in the series at home. Darcy was named the game’s first star.

The Boston native followed up his Game 2 performance with two more goals in Game 3, a loss by the Phoenix on Prince Edward Island. His two goals gave him five goals and seven points in two games, and our Bolt Prospect of the Week award.

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