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Crunch Time: Crunch brings home two wins playing three games in three days

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Fri., Jan. 8 - Crunch at Albany - L, 6-4

Sat., Jan. 9 - Crunch vs. Hershey - W, 4-2

Sun., Jan. 10 - Crunch at Rochester - W, 2-1

THIS WEEK

Wed., Jan. 13 - Binghamton 4, Senators 3 - OT

Fri., Jan. 15 - Crunch vs. Utica - 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 16 - Crunch vs. W-B/Scranton - 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

• Syracuse (16-14-5-1) jumped Rochester and Utica in the standings with a 2-1-0 Week 14, fourth in the North.

Matt Taormina and Kristers Gudlevskis have been named AHL All-Stars, joining captainMike Angelidis.

• The Crunch play consecutive home games Friday and Saturday for the first time since Dec. 18 and 19.

Crowded leaderboard features Tambellini and McGinn surges

Jeff Tambellini has four goals in three games, improving to a team best 16 for the season, two behind the league lead. He has a seven-game scoring streak to start the new year with five goals and two assists in that span. He has 11 points over his last 10 games (6g, 5a) and a team-best 26 points for the year.

Tye McGinn has moved into second place on the Crunch scoring list with 22 points and second in goals, 13. He has five points in five games (2g, 3a) and 13 points in 13 games (9g, 4a) including four multi-point games.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Game 34: Devils survive Crunch comeback

The Crunch overcame deficits of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 Friday in Albany, but surrendered a 4-3 third-period lead and lost to the Devils, 6-4, at Times Union Center. Albany has victories in the first four of six meetings with Syracuse. Jonathan Drouin and Jeff Tambellini each scored twice for Syracuse.

Kristers Gudlevskis started the game for the Crunch, allowing two goals on 10 shots, but was relieved by Adam Wilcox because of illness to start the second frame. Wilcox saved 17 of 20 shots in his first action since a Dec. 20 overtime loss. The total of 10 combined goals is a Crunch season high.

Yanni Gourde and Tye McGinn had two assists each, giving the Crunch four multi-point performers. Mike Blunden, Yanni Gourde and Matt Taormina notched single assists.

Syracuse was 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill. Not once this season had a Crunch opponent received so many more man-up chances.

Game 35: Wilcox stonewalls Bears in 4-2 Crunch win

Syracuse pulled off Saturday what it could not Friday, a comeback win. The Crunch defeated Hershey, 4-2, despite trailing 1-0 and 2-1. The win was Syracuse's ninth at home this year in what was the team's first home game since Dec. 26.

Tye McGinn provided the game-winner in the third, his second game-winner and 13th marker overall. Jeff Tambellini had a goal and an assist, his fourth multi-point game.Tanner Richard had an empty-net goal and two assists, for his third-career three-point game. Mike Angelidis also scored, the captain's third goal with Syracuse this year.

Adam Wilcox, appearing in two games in as many nights, made 28 saves on 30 shots for his third win and first since Nov. 13 against Binghamton. The rookie is 3-4-4 with a 3.35 goals-against average.

Game 36: Gudlevskis sparkles in 2-1 Syracuse victory in Rochester

Kristers Gudlevskis made an assortment of dazzling saves throughout Sunday's 2-1 Crunch win in Rochester. Gudlevskis (7-6-1, 2.46) made 28 saves on 29 shots and earned the game's No. 1 star opposite Robin Lehner who surrendered goals to Jeff Tambellini and Henri Ikonen among 22 Syracuse shots.

Matthew Peca registered assists on both goals for his fourth multi-point game of the season. Peca is tied for third on the Crunch in scoring at 20 points with Matt Taormina, who also notched an assist in the game, and Anthony DeAngelo. Tambellini's goal is his team-leading 16th, including four in the last three games. Ikonen's second goal of the year is his third career game-winning goal.

WEEK AHEAD

Game 38: Fri., Jan. 15 - Crunch vs. Utica - 7 p.m.

The Comets are winless in six games (0-5-1-0) and have slipped to fifth in the North Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Utica leads the 10-game season series, 3-1. The lone Crunch win was Nov. 14 in Syracuse, 2-1.

The Comets allow the third fewest shots in the league, 26.94 per game, in front of Joe Cannata (9-8-2, 2.67) and Richard Bachman (6-6-2, 2.54) who've combined for all but three decisions in goal.

At 27 points Hunter Shinkaruk has eight more points than any of his teammates (15g, 12a), including two hat tricks earlier this year. The Comets' 13 goals vs. Syracuse have been scored by 13 different players, including Shinkaruk.

Game 39: Sat., Jan. 16 - Crunch vs. W-B/Scranton - 7 p.m.

The Crunch and Penguins meet for the fourth and final time Saturday at the War Memorial. The Atlantic Division-leading Pens took the first two matchups, but Syracuse captured a 4-2 win on New Year's Eve in Wilkes-Barre. The Penguins have won five in a row and trail only Toronto in the AHL standings at 26-8-0-1 (.757).

W-B/Scranton's offense is third best in the league at 3.40 goals per game with rookie center Dominik Simon and winger Conor Sheary leading the way at 29 points each. Scott Wilson owns the team and league lead in goals at 18.

Goalie Matt Murray (15-4-0, 1.81) has returned from a stint in the NHL to win three consecutive starts. Rookie Tristan Jarry (9-1-0, 1.56) is back from injury, earning a victory Saturday vs. Utica with 29 saves on 31 shots.

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