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Crunch Time: Kristers Gudlevskis shines for the Crunch with 47-save effort

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Fri., Nov. 13 - Crunch vs. Binghamton - W, 4-3 OT

Sat., Nov. 14 - Crunch vs. Utica - W, 2-1

THIS WEEK

Wed. Nov. 18 - Crunch vs. Portland - 7 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 20 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 21 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

• With two wins in Week 6, Syracuse has won three straight for a 7-4-0-1 record (.625), third in the North Division.

Kristers Gudlevskis (3-1-0, 2.26) and Adam Wilcox (2-2-1, 2.74) combined for 80 saves on 84 shots in two Week 6 wins.

Joel Vermin led the Crunch in Week 6 with five points (2g, 3a), upping his season total to a team-best 10 points (3g, 7a).

WEEK IN REVIEW

Game 11: Vermin's three points help spur Crunch comeback win

Syracuse erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and defeated the Binghamton Senators, 4-3, in overtime Friday at the War Memorial Arena. Jeff Tambellini provided the game-winner, his second with Syracuse.

Joel Vermin (1g, 2a), Matthew Peca (1g, 1a) and Luke Witkowski (2a) all posted multi-point games, while Tye McGinn notched his first Crunch goal in the third period. Yanni Gourde registered a point for the fourth consecutive game with the primary assist on the overtime winner. Syracuse goaltender Adam Wilcox earned his first career assist and his second victory in as many starts, stopping 33 of 36 Binghamton shots.

Game 12: Gudlevskis' 47 saves pave Syracuse path to victory

Kristers Gudlevskis turned aside 47 of 48 Utica shots in a 2-1 Crunch win over the Comets Saturday at the War Memorial. Joel Vermin recorded his second multi-point effort (1g, 1a) in as many games while Matthew Peca provided his first career game-winning goal. An assist for Anthony DeAngelo gives him five power-play assists on the year. DeAngelo and Vermin are tied for the team scoring lead at 10 points and power-play points at five points.

The Crunch-Comets 10-game season series is now even, 1-1. Joey Mormina and Nikita Nesterov also recorded assists in the game. The Crunch power-play was 1-for-5, maintaining a 20.0% man-up mark at the War Memorial. A 4-for-4 penalty kill boosts the team's season efficiency to 80.4%.

Historic goaltending

The 47 saves made by Kristers Gudlevskis Saturday vs. Utica are the most by a Syracuse goaltender in the Crunch-Lightning era and the most for any Crunch goalie since Nov. 23, 2011, when Iiro Tarkki stopped 49 of 54 W-B/Scranton shots in a 7-5 Syracuse win. The Crunch record for saves in a game belongs to Sergei Tkachenko who stopped 58 of 63 Binghamton shots Feb. 10, 1996.

Gudlevskis' 47-stop effort sets a new single-game high for the AHL this year. The previous high was 45 by Calvin Pickard for San Antonio against Texas Nov. 7. Last season the most saves in an AHL game was 52, accomplished three times, by Toronto's Chris Gibson, Providence's Jeremy Smith and Texas's Jussi Rynnas.

Skin of their teeth

Eight of Syracuse's 12 games have been decided by one goal, or two thirds of its games. Only San Antonio has a greater portion of its games decided by one goal (69.2%). The Crunch have collected 11 points in one-goal games (5-2-0-1), trailing only Bridgeport (12) and San Diego (13).

Last season the Crunch won 23 of their 40 one-goal games (23-7-10-0). Only Utica (24) and Hartford (26) had more. Syracuse started last year with eight one-goal games in its first 13 contests.

WEEK AHEAD

Game 13: Wed., Nov. 18 - Crunch vs. Portland - 7 p.m.

Syracuse caps its six-game homestand Wednesday when Portland makes its lone regular season trip to the War Memorial. The Pirates, who will host the Crunch in March, switched their NHL affiliation to the Florida Panthers this season after four years with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.

The Pirates have won three straight to reach .500 (6-6-0-0), fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Head coach Tom Rowe, who played 357 NHL games and coached for 10 seasons with the Hurricanes organization, took over the Panthers' AHL team last year (San Antonio) and captured a division title with 45 wins.

Rob Schremp, a Central New York native and former Syracuse Jr. Crunch forward, leads the Pirates with 10 points (6g, 4a). The former first-round pick of the Oilers has played in Europe the last four years after five pro seasons in North America, including 114 NHL games with Edmonton, the NY Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers.

Veteran netminder Mike McKenna, whose Pirates career spans multiple affiliations, is 5-4-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average this year. The 32-year-old St. Louis native has played 340 AHL games (164-134-20), including 102 with Portland (56-35-7). Fifteen of his 22 career NHL games came with Tampa Bay in 2008-09 (4-8-1).

Games 14 & 15: Fri. and Sat., Nov. 20 and 21 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

As many as three former Crunch players could face Syracuse this weekend in St. John's. Defenseman Mark Barberio, forward Eric Neilson and goaltender Dustin Tokarski have all played for Montreal's AHL affiliate this season. Canadiens prospects had been in Hamilton, Ontario, since 1996. The former IceCaps franchise (2011-15)was moved by its parent club, the Winnipeg Jets, to its original home, Winnipeg, restoring the Manitoba Moose (2001-11). This year's IceCaps are one spot behind the Crunch in the North Division at 8-5-2-1 (.594).

Seven IceCaps have more points than Syracuse's leading scorers. Veteran Bud Holloway leads the team with 19 points (5g, 14a), third in the AHL. Michael McCarron is the AHL's top rookie with 17 points (8g, 9a) and Mark Barberio ranks third among AHL defensemen with 12 points (1g, 11a). With Dustin Tokarski (2-2-2, 3.45) in the NHL, rookie Zachary Fucale (6-2-0, 3.56). has seen more time than original IceCap Eddie Pasquale (0-1-1, 3.00).

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