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Crunch open road trip with two wins

The Crunch start strong on their five-game road trip

by Lukas Favale / TampaBayLightning.com

LAST WEEK

Wed., Dec. 12 - Crunch at Toronto - W, 8-1

Fri., Dec. 14 - Crunch at Laval - W, 3-2 (SO)

Sat., Dec. 15 - Crunch at Laval - L, 4-0

THIS WEEK

Wed., Dec. 19 - Crunch at Springfield - 7:05 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 21 - Crunch at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 22 - Crunch vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton - 7 p.m.

Crunch open road trip with two wins
The Crunch began a season-long five-game road trip with four of a possible six points in three games in Week 11. 
Syracuse (15-7-2-0) opened the week Wednesday in Toronto with an 8-1 win over the Marlies. It was the most lopsided win for the Crunch since Game 5 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, a 7-0 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Crunch's trip shifted to Laval for a weekend set Friday and Saturday. Syracuse collected a 3-2 shootout win over the Rocket Friday night to extend their road points streak to eight games (6-0-2-0), but that run was ended with a 4-0 loss Saturday afternoon. It was the first time this season the Crunch were held off the scoreboard; Syracuse was blanked one time (Feb. 17) in the 2017-18 season. 

The Crunch play their final three games before the holiday break in Week 12. They visit Springfield and Lehigh Valley before hosting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to close the week.

Top Performers 
Rookie Otto Somppi made his regular season AHL debut for the Crunch Wednesday in Toronto and scored his first AHL goal. The 20-year-old missed the first two months of the season with an injury suffered in the Crunch's first preseason game against Rochester. The Finnish forward then logged an assist plus the shootout game-winning goal Saturday in Laval, giving him two points (1g, 1a) in three games last week.
Tampa Bay's seventh round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft (number 206 overall) became the sixth Crunch player to score his first career AHL goal this season. He joins Alex Barré-Boulet, Taylor Raddysh, Ross Colton, Boris Katchouk and Oleg Sosunov.
Somppi appeared in three playoff games for the Crunch last spring, but did not record a point. He made his regular season debut with the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears, logging two points (1g, 1a) in two games two weeks ago in his first action since his preseason injury.   
***
Goaltender Eddie Pasquale returned to the Crunch Dec. 11 after spending nearly a month with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 28-year-old collected two wins in two starts last week, allowing three goals on 52 total shots-good for a .942 save percentage. It was his first action of any kind since winning his NHL debut for the Lightning Dec. 4 at Detroit. He is 7-2-2 with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in 11 Crunch games this season. Since Nov. 3, Pasquale is 6-0-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
In two seasons with the Crunch, Pasquale is 17-3-5 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in 26 games. Now officially in the Crunch record book (having reach 25 games as a goaltender), Pasquale's goal-against average is the best in franchise history and his save percentage is third.
***
Dennis Yan potted a pair of goals in Week 11, raising his total to seven in 22 games this season. He scored the Crunch's third goal in their 8-1 win over Toronto Wednesday night. It came with 6.6 seconds left in the first period and only 20 seconds after the Marlies had pulled within one. He then netted the first goal in Friday's 3-2 shootout win over Laval.
The second-year-pro has eight points (7g, 1a) this season after finishing with 23 points (13g, 10a) in 43 games during an injury-shortened rookie campaign.

Upcoming: Springfield, Lehigh Valley, W-B/Scranton

The Crunch take on three Atlantic Division teams in Week 12. They are 3-2-0-0 in five games against the Atlantic this season.

Wednesday, the Crunch make their final appearance in Springfield to face the Thunderbirds. It is the second of four head-to-head meetings this season. Connor Ingram made 27 saves in a 3-0 Crunch win in the first match Nov. 24, which was the final win of their season-long seven-game winning streak.

Friday, the Crunch visit PPL Center to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time this season. The Phantoms lost both their top goalie Carter Hart and head coach Scott Gordon to the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this week. The teams split two games last year.

Saturday, the Crunch are back home to host the W-B/Scranton Penguins for the only time this season. The Crunch held a 3-1-0-0 record against the Penguins last season.

Week 11 Results

Wednesday, December 12 | Game 22 at Toronto | W, 8-1

Syracuse 3 3 2 - 8 Shots: 5-12-13-30  PP: 1/2

Toronto 1 0 0 - 1 Shots: 8-8-13-29  PP: 1/3

1st Period-Andreoff 12 (Gaunce, Masin), 4:46. Barré-Boulet 10 (Valleau, Pasquale), 10:25. Yan 6 (Verhaeghe), 19:53. 2nd Period-Somppi 1 (Bourke, Raddysh), 7:00. Colton 2 (Yan), 8:43. Gaunce 5 (Verhaeghe, Katchouk), 18:26. 3rd Period-Andreoff 13 (Barré-Boulet, Conacher), 9:08 (PP). Barré-Boulet 11 (Unassisted), 11:39. . . . Pasquale 6-2-2 (29 shots-28 saves). A-2,261 

Friday, December 14 | Game 23 at Laval | W, 3-2 (SO)

Syracuse 1 1 0 0 1 - 3 Shots: 7-10-5-5-1-28  PP: 0/3

Laval 0 2 0 0 0 - 2 Shots: 8-6-5-4-0-23

  PP: 1/7

1st Period-Yan 7 (Valleau, Somppi), 2:26. 2nd Period-Volkov 7 (Conacher, Andreoff), 6:41. 3rd Period-Yan 5 (Stephens, Archambault), 3:04. Shootout-Laval 1 (Shinkaruk NG, Audette G, Grenier NG, Evans NG, Belzile NG, Froese NG) Syracuse 2 (Volkov G, Raddysh NG, Barré-Boulet NG, Conacher NG, Verhaeghe NG, Somppi G). . . . Pasquale 7-2-2 (23 shots-21 saves). A-5,037

Saturday, December 15 | Game 24 at Laval | L, 4-0

Syracuse 0 0 0 - 0 Shots: 5-2-5-12  PP: 0/4

Laval 2 0 2 - 4 Shots: 8-11-8-27

PP: 0/3

Goalies-Syracuse, Ingram 8-5-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Laval, Marcoux 1-0-0 (12 shots-12 saves). A-5,130

Category

Average/Total

AHL Rank (Prev)

Power Play

29.5% (33-for-112)

1st (1st)

Penalty Kill

83.3% (100-for-120)

8th (10th)

Goals For

3.83 GFA (92)

3rd (2nd)

Goals Against

2.67 GAA (64)

3rd (4th)

Shots For

27.29 SF/G (655)

28th (26th)

Shots Against

29.42 SA/G (706)

14th (16th)

Penalty Minutes

15.13 PIM/G (363)

8th (4th)

 

Category

 

Leader

Points

30

Conacher

Goals

13

Andreoff

Assists

19

Conacher, Verhaeghe

PIM

38

Labrie

Plus/Minus

+10

Gaunce

Wins

8

Ingram

GAA

2.49

Ingram

Save %

0.916

Ingram

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