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Catch Up with the Crunch: Syracuse Ramps Up for 2016 AHL All-Star Game

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Mon., Jan. 18 - Crunch at Rochester - W, 2-1

Wed., Jan. 20 - Crunch at Toronto - OTL, 5-4

Sat., Jan. 23 - Crunch at Binghamton - W, 3-2

THIS WEEK

Wed., Jan. 27 - Crunch at Rochester - 7:05 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 29 - Crunch vs. Hershey - 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 30 - Crunch at Hershey - 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

• Syracuse hosts the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Classic Jan. 31-Feb. 1 featuring a new round-robin tournament format.

• Prior to the All-Star Classic, the Crunch host Hershey Friday, the team's fourth home game in a 17-game span.

• The Crunch collected five of six points in Week 16 (2-0-1-0) for a 19-15-7-1 record (.548), seventh in the conferenc.

Syracuse hosts Toyota AHL All-Star Classic Sunday and Monday

Sunday, Jan. 31:

• 12–8 p.m. - I LOVE NEW YORK Fan Fest at the Oncenter. Free and open to the public.

• 4:30 p.m. - C&S Companies VIP Party featuring Five for Fighting, Rob Bartlett and Moody McCarthy.

• 8–10 p.m. - 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Skills Competition at the War Memorial Arena.

Monday, Feb. 1:

• 12–7 p.m. - I LOVE NEW YORK Fan Fest at the Oncenter. Free and open to the public.

• 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. - Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony at Crouse Hinds Theater.

• 7–10 p.m. - 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Challenge at the War Memorial Arena.

WEEK IN REVIEW
Game 40: Gudlevskis provides All-Star performance in victory at Rochester

Kristers Gudlevskis earned a win, collected his third career assist and was the No. 1 star in a 2-1 Syracuse win in Rochester Jan. 18. The All-Star goaltender stopped 28 of 29 shots while Adam Erne and David Broll solved Amerks netminder Nathan Lieuwen who stopped 28 of 30. Henri Ikonen notched an assist on Broll's game winner. Ikonen has six points (2g, 4a) and both of Broll's goals have been game winners. Gudlevskis' previous assists were Feb. 28, 2015, in a win vs. Utica, and March 9, 2014, in a win vs. Binghamton.

Despite three fights in the game, the Crunch had zero power plays for the first time this year. The Amerks were scoreless on their pair of man-up chances. The Crunch outshot their opponent for the first time since Dec. 19, a shutout loss vs. WBS. Syracuse is 5-5-2-0 in the 12 games it's outshot its opponent and 12-10-5-1 when outshot.

Game 41: Marlies sting Crunch in overtime

Despite a 4-2 lead in the third period, the Crunch fell to the Marlies in overtime Wednesday, 5-4, at Ricoh Coliseum. The Crunch lost for the third time when leading after two periods (13-1-2-0) as five goals were totaled in the third frame.

Crunch multi-point performers included Mike Blunden (1g, 1a), Tanner Richard (1g, 1a) and Yanni Gourde (2a), a trio playing together for the first time. Anthony DeAngelo scored his fourth goal, his first since Oct. 30, and Cam Darcy potted his third, his first since Dec. 18. Single assists were recorded by Adam Erne, Matt Taormina, Philippe Paradis, andLuke Witkowski. Each team had one power play, but only Syracuse converted. The Crunch are 1-2-3-0 vs. Toronto.

Kristers Gudlevskis suffered the overtime loss with 39 saves on 44 shots. Antoine Bibeau won for the eighth time in nine games with 33 saves on 37 shots. Marc Arcobello scored twice, added an assist and was a game-high plus-4. Brandon Leipsic potted the overtime winner and assisted on Toronto's first goal of the third.

Game 42: Third-period comeback fuels Crunch in Binghamton

The Crunch scored a game's first goal for the 20th time, but needed to overcome a 2-1 deficit Saturday in Binghamton. Slater Koekkoek and Matt Taormina scored the tying and winning goals, both set up by Anthony DeAngelo, for a 3-2 Crunch victory. The win was Syracuse's second when trailing after two periods (2-11-3-0).

Adam Wilcox earned the win, his fifth of the season and third in as many starts, with 21 saves on 23 Senators shots, including 14 stops in the third period. Chris Driedger stopped 20 of 23, but allowed two goals on four shots in the third frame. Koekkoek had a season-high five shots, the most of any Syracuse player.

Tye McGinn opened the scoring for Syracuse with his 15th goal, assisted by Matthew Peca and Taormina, and assisted on Koekkoek's goal in the third. McGinn and Taormina are both one point behind Jeff Tambellini for the Crunch scoring lead. They both have five multi-point games. Tanner Richard leads the team with seven.

WEEK AHEAD
Game 43: Mon., Jan. 27, at Rochester, 7:05 p.m.

Since the Crunch beat the Amerks Jan. 18 at Blue Cross Arena, Rochester visited Grand Rapids and defeated the Griffins twice, 5-3 Friday and 2-0 Saturday. The Griffins' 14 consecutive home wins this year is a league best.

With a 20-19-2-1 record (.512), Rochester is sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Amerks 2.43 goals per game rank 28th in the AHL. They've allowed 28 more goals than they've scored.

Jason Akeson leads the team in scoring at 25 points (7g, 18a) including two goals and an assist vs. Syracuse. All-Star Cal O'Reilly, who has four assists against the Crunch and 23 points overall (4g, 19a), is scoreless in his last five AHL games. His last three games have been in a Buffalo uniform; he remains on the Sabres roster with brother Ryan.

Rochester's goals-against average ranks 24th in the AHL at 3.10. Goalies Nathan Lieuwen (11-7-1, 2.66) and Andrey Makarov (6-7-2, 3.09) both have wins vs. Syracuse. Rookie Linus Ullmark is 1-1 this month with seven goals allowed.

Game 44: Fri., Jan. 29, vs. Hershey, 7 p.m. & Game 45: Sat., Jan. 30, at Hershey,7 p.m.

The Crunch and Bears play a home-and-home series this weekend, starting at the War Memorial Friday and concluding at Giant Center Saturday, the last two games before the AHL's All-Star break.

The Bears are third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference at 22-13-2-6 (.605). They have points six consecutive games (4-0-1-1) after a shootout loss to Lehigh Valley Monday, 6-5. Hershey's eight shootouts lead the AHL (2-6). The Bears visit the Albany Devils Wednesday. Syracuse is 3-0-1-0 in the six-game season series.

Chris Bourque is tied for the AHL scoring lead at 42 points (along with Toronto's T.J. Brennan) with 10 goals in the last 10 games and points in 18 of his last 20 games (14g, 13a). Paul Carey is next on the team at 29 points (13g, 16a). NHL veteran Scott Gomez has joined the Bears and has posted five points (1g, 4a) in his first four career AHL games.

Dan Ellis (13-6-3, 2.59) and Justin Peters (9-6-5, 2.99) have 23 and 24 appearances, respectively. Ellis earned his third shutout Jan. 22 at Binghamton. Peters allowed five goals in Monday's shootout loss.

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