The Syracuse Crunch were back in action with two games this past weekend, winning one game and losing the other. The Crunch have continued to hover around the .500 mark for wins as their current record now sits at 4-4-1 through the first nine games of the season.
On Halloween the team travelled west to Rochester to face off against the Americans. The Americans scored early in the first frame and did not look back, adding two more unanswered goals for a 3-0 win. The Crunch were generating offense but could not capitalize as they threw 38 shots on net with Jonathan Marchessault leading the team with five attempts. Andrei Vasilevskiy made his fourth start for the Crunch, making 22-of-25 stops and recording a .880 save percentage.
The Crunch returned to Syracuse to kick off a new month of hockey with a game on Saturday, defeating the Binghamton Senators 6-3. Syracuse got the offense it was looking for as six different players scored. In Cedric Paquette’s first game back, he tallied a goal and an assist and went plus-3 on the night. Syracuse also received goals from Marchessault, Slater Koekkoek, Cody Kunyk, Joel Vermin and Dalton Smith. Jake Dotchin also chipped in two assists from the blue line. Kristers Gudlevskis was back between the pipes, stopping 25-of-28 Senator attempts, good for a .892 save percentage.
Through the first nine games of the season, a dynamic duo seems to be emerging. The combination of center Cedric Paquette and winger Jonathan Marchessault have been leading the team in scoring. Paquette paces the team with four goals in five games, and Marchessault leads with five assists through eight games. Syracuse head coach Rob Zettler said there is a strong likelihood of the duo continuing to skate alongside each other when both players are with the Crunch.
“They both give a lot of effort,” Zettler said. “They are tenacious on the puck. They complement each other well…both are skilled guys who can make plays.”
Together, they have a combined seven goals and 15 points. Opposing teams will have to start watching for them up front as they combined for two goals and three points once they were reunited on Saturday.
Keep your ‘Chin up!
Rookie defender Jake Dotchin had a big night offensively Saturday as he chipped in two assists for his first professional multi-point night. Since joining the Crunch in September, the Cambridge, Ontario, native has recorded three assists and 21 PIM, including his first fight at the American Hockey League level.
Zettler noticed the shift over the past few weeks: “He’s starting to understand the speed of the game. He is a very coachable kid…it’s a lot of fun having him here.”
Dotchin was acquired by the Lightning via the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, where he was selected in the sixth round (161st overall). Before coming to the Crunch, Dotchin recorded 11 goals, 36 points, and 121 PIM in his final year of junior with the Barrie Colts. As he continues to learn and grow in Syracuse, you can expect to see more of Dotchin on the score sheet.
Syracuse heads back on the road this week with a back-to-back against the Norfolk Admirals (4-5-0) on Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8. The team will head home for a quick turnaround as the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins roll in to town for a tilt on Sunday night