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Catch Up with the Crunch - October 14th

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Sat., Oct. 10 - Crunch at Lehigh Valley - W, 4-3

THIS WEEK

Sat., Oct. 17 - Crunch vs. Binghamton - 7 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 18 - Crunch at Hartford - 5 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

- Syracuse plays its 22nd home opener Saturday against a new North Division foe, the Binghamton Senators.

- The Crunch began their season with a 4-3 victory at Lehigh Valley, paced by Jonathan Marchessault's two goals.

- Two players collected points in their Crunch debuts Saturday, vet Jeff Tambellini and rookie Anthony DeAngelo.

WEEK IN REVIEW
Game 1: Usual suspects lift Crunch in season opener

Jonathan Marchessault scored Syracuse's second and fourth goals in a 4-3 victory for the Crunch Saturday at Lehigh Valley. Mike Blunden and Philippe Paradis scored the other goals in what was their first appearance since knee injuries in January. Blueliner Dylan Blujus provided two assists for his fifth career multi-point performance.

Kristers Gudlevskis earned his 44th career win in his 81st career AHL game, stopping 26 of 29 shots opposite veteran Jason LaBarbera who made 22 saves for the Phantoms.

After Blunden opened the scoring nine minutes into the first—with assists to Mike Angelidis and Henri Ikonen—Aaron Palushaj scored a power-play goal to tie. Syracuse scored twice more in the first and once in the second to build a three-goal cushion.

Chris Conner scored in the second and Danick Martel pulled the Phantoms within one late in the third. Despite being outshot 12-3 in the final frame, the Crunch lead held.

New faces, young and old

Two players recorded their first points with the Crunch Saturday: veteran Jeff Tambellini and rookie Anthony DeAngelo. Their secondary assists set up goals for Philippe Paradis and Jonathan Marchessault, respectively.

Tambellini, 31, last played an AHL game Nov. 11, 2010, potting a goal and an assist for Manitoba before a promotion to Vancouver. In 177 career AHL games, the former L.A. Kings' first-rounder has 101 goals and 101 assists; he has 63 points in 242 NHL games. Between the AHL, NHL and two top European leagues—regular season and postseason—the former Michigan Wolverine has played 622 professional contests with 310 points.

DeAngelo, two weeks shy of his 20th birthday, had never played a professional game before Saturday. Tampa Bay's first-round selection in 2014 has played in the OHL since 2011, mostly with the Sarnia Sting, amassing 241 points in 236 regular season games (55g, 186a). Finishing 2015 with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, the defenseman from South Philadelphia collected 16 assists in 13 postseason games.

Tye McGinn, a former Flyers prospect, also made his Crunch debut Saturday. Drafted in 2010's fourth round, the Fergus, Ontario native played all of last year in the NHL with San Jose and Arizona totaling seven points (2g, 5a) in 51 games. The 25-year-old winger has 79 points in the AHL (46g, 33a) over 164 games.

Other newcomers poised to make their Crunch debuts are rookies Daniel Walcott, a 21-year-old defenseman from Ile Perrot, Quebec, and Brian Hart, a 21-year-old forward out of Harvard.

Milestone watch

Jonathan Marchessault's two-goal effort Saturday was his second in as many games in Allentown's PPL Center, but this one came in his 300th professional game, his 296th in the AHL and 90th with the Crunch (excluding playoffs).

Others nearing 100 games with Syracuse include Philippe Paradis (99), Mike Blunden (98), Matt Taormina (97) and Yanni Gourde (95).

WEEK AHEAD
Game 2: Sat., Oct. 17 - Crunch vs. Binghamton - 7 p.m.

The Crunch and Senators split their 2014-15 season series with nine points each (4-3-1-0), but Binghamton missed the 2015 playoffs with a 34-34-7-1 record, 11th in the Eastern Conference. Luke Richardson, in his fourth season as Binghamton head coach, has not yet won a postseason series despite a 125-82-24 regular season record.

The Sens scored the first goal and the last three in a 4-1 victory Saturday vs. Albany. Eric O'Dell potted two markers for Binghamton including the game winner. The B-Sens and A-Devils combined for 78 penalty minutes, the most of any pairing this season. Chris Driedger made 32 saves in the win.

Zack Stortini headlines the Binghamton roster additions for 2015-16. Named captain of the Senators last week, the 11th-year-pro has played in all but eight games over the last four seasons with Milwaukee, Hamilton, Norfolk and Lehigh Valley. With Shane Prince and Chris Wideman in Ottawa, Binghamton's top returner is Cole Schneider. The winger had 58 points last year (29g, 29a) including a team-best eight points vs. Syracuse (5g, 3a).

Game 3: Sun., Oct. 18 - Crunch at Hartford - 5 p.m.

No longer division opponents, the Crunch make their only visit to Hartford of the season Sunday. Syracuse suffered only one regulation loss to the Wolf Pack in eight meetings (5-1-2-0) last season, but that April 3 decision helped vault Hartford to a Northeast Division championship, edging Syracuse, 95 points to 92. The Pack defeated Providence and Hershey in their first two playoff series, but fell to the eventual Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Last season's leading scorer Chris Bourque has departed the Rangers organization for the Capitals, re-joining the Hershey Bears with whom he's won three Calder Cups. The younger Bourque, Ryan, remains with Hartford. The 24-year-old son of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque produced 32 points (12g, 20a) last year. Adam Tambellini, the younger brother of Syracuse's Jeff, is a rookie for the Wolf Pack and posted 86 points in 71 WHL games last year.

Hartford suffered a 3-1 loss to St. John's to begin its season; Chad Nehring scored the lone goal and Magnus Hellberg made 27 saves on 29 shots in defeat. Before capping a four-game home stand against the Crunch Sunday, the Wolf Pack host Providence Wednesday and Utica Saturday.

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