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Catch Up with the Crunch: Syracuse takes home two big wins

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Wed., Oct. 28 - Crunch at Toronto - W, 3-1

Fri., Oct. 30 - Crunch vs. Hershey - W, 4-1

THIS WEEK

Fri., Nov. 6 - Crunch vs. Albany - 7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 7 - Crunch vs. Lehigh Valley - 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

- Syracuse won both of its Week 4 games, improving to 4-3-0-1, a .563 points percentage, third in the division.

- With his Lightning debut Sunday, Tye McGinn is the 35th player to appear for both Syracuse and Tampa Bay since 2012.

- The Crunch continue a season-long, six-game homestand Friday vs. Albany and Saturday vs. Lehigh Valley.

WEEK IN REVIEW
Game 7: Vasilevskiy sparkles in season debut

The Crunch snapped a four-game winless streak Wednesday in Toronto with a 3-1 win.Andrei Vasilevskiy, on a conditioning assignment, made his season debut with 29 saves.Joel Vermin, Anthony DeAngelo and Matt Taormina provided the Crunch offense with a goal in each period after Richard Clune potted a power-play marker for the Marlies early in the first. A season-low 12 combined penalty minutes were served and the Crunch were 0-for-2 on the power play. Tye McGinn, Luke Witkowski, Mike Angelidis, Henri Ikonen,Jonathan Marchessault and Jeff Tambellini earned assists.

Not including Kevin Poulin, who's yet to see game action with the Crunch, Syracuse has used four goaltenders in its first eight games (Gudlevskis, Wilcox, York, Vasilevskiy). Last season the Crunch didn't use a fourth goalie until Game 72, April 11, when Adam Wilcoxmade his pro debut.

Game 8: Taormina's 3-point game bolsters Crunch

The Crunch erased a 1-0 deficit with two goals in the second and two in the third to defeat Hershey, 4-1, Friday at the War Memorial Arena. Anthony DeAngelo had two points (1g, 1a), extending his goal streak to three games (a team season high). He has consecutive game-winning goals and is the only defenseman in the league with more than one. DeAngelo is tied with Jeff Tambellini for the Syracuse scoring lead at seven points. Tambellini scored his third goal of the year Friday.

Matt Taormina, the game's first star, posted a three-point performance for the fifth time in his 316-game AHL career. He last collected three points in one game while playing for Springfield March 9, 2014 (3a). His last three-point Crunch game was May 2, 2013, assisting on each goal in a series-clinching overtime victory at Portland.

Andrei Vasilevskiy improved to 5-0 in his career against Hershey, stopping 27 of 28 shots. He was recalled from his conditioning assignment by Tampa Bay Sunday.

Syracuse's special teams on the rise

A 2-for-4 power play Friday vs. Hershey boosted the Crunch's season percentage from 6.3% (30th) to 10.5% (28th). All four of Syracuse's power-play scores have been at home, 4-for-20 in three games, with the 20.0% mark ranking 14th in the league. Three players are tied with two power-play points: Mike Blunden (1g, 1a), Anthony DeAngelo (2a) andYanni Gourde (2a).

Stopping each of Hershey's four power plays Friday at the War Memorial notched the season efficiency up two points to 81.0%, 19th in the league. The team's penalty kill has surrendered one goal at home in 15 times shorthanded for a 93.3% mark, fourth in the league.

McGinn 35th player to play for Lightning and Crunch

Forward Tye McGinn, in his first season with the Lightning organization, made his Tampa Bay debut Sunday in Carolina after skating in each of Syracuse's first eight contests. McGinn, 25, is the 35th player to see game action with both the Lightning and Crunch since the clubs affiliated before the 2012-13 season.

Other players to play for both teams this season are Slater Koekkoek, Kristers Gudlevskis,Jonathan Marchessault and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Current Crunch players who've appeared in at least one game for Tampa Bay in their careers (4) include Mike Angelidis, Mike Blunden, Matt Taormina and Luke Witkowski.

Crunch alumni on Tampa Bay's current roster (12) are J.T. Brown, Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, McGinn, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Nesterov, Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette, Andrej Sustr and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

WEEK AHEAD
Game 9: Fri., Nov. 6 - Crunch vs. Albany - 7 p.m.

Syracuse and Albany meet Friday in Syracuse, the first of six matchups this season as North Division foes. The Devils missed the 2015 postseason by two points despite 10 wins in their last 13 games. This year's club has a .556 points percentage in nine games (4-3-2-0), fourth in the division and eighth in the conference.

Mike Sislo leads Albany with nine points (6g, 3a), followed by rookie Matt Lorito (2g, 6a) and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani (8a). Last year's top scorer Joe Whitney is now with Bridgeport.

Yann Danis, New Jersey's backup goalie in 2009-10, has four wins in seven starts for the A-Devils with a 2.12 goals-against average. Rookie Doug Carr, a UMass-Lowell alumnus, has allowed six goals in two starts, both losses.

Game 10: Sat., Nov. 7 - Crunch vs. Lehigh Valley - 7 p.m.

The second of four matchups between the Crunch and Phantoms is Saturday at the War Memorial. Syracuse captured a 4-3 win in Allentown Oct. 10. The Phantoms' .444 points percentage (4-5-0-0) is sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the conference. They've won two of three, including a 5-4 shootout Sunday at Hershey.

Nick Cousins paces Lehigh Valley scorers with nine points (3g, 6a), while Petr Straka has the most goals (6g, 2a), including five goals in the last four road games. Anthony Stolarz has a 3-2-0 record in five games with a 1.82 goals-against average. Jason LaBarbera is 1-3-0 with a 4.46 in the AHL while also backing up for the Flyers.

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