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Crunch Time: Syracuse faces tough back-to-back test in St. John's this week

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Fri., Feb. 5 - Crunch vs. Rochester - L, 5-4

Sat., Feb. 6 - Crunch vs. Springfield - L, 6-3

THIS WEEK

Tue., Feb. 9 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 10 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 13 - Crunch at Binghamton (Ottawa) - 5 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

• Winless in five (0-4-1-0), Syracuse ranks sixth in the division and 12th in the conference at 19-19-8-1 (.500).

• Three points separate the middle four teams (No. 3-6) in the North Division: UTI, 50; RCH, 49; STJ, 48; SYR, 47.

• Syracuse plays in St. John's Tuesday and Wednesday before taking on Binghamton Saturday in Ottawa.

Notes and milestones

Mike Angelidis played his 250th Crunch game Saturday and scored his first power-play goal of the season, his fifth overall. Six of his 20 goals last year were man-up scores, a career high... Dylan Blujus's next game will be his 100th as a pro, all for the Crunch...Mike Blunden's two-goal effort Saturday marked his eighth multi-point game and third multi-goal game of the season... Jake Dotchin has played 98 pro games, all with the Crunch... Henri Ikonen played his 100th Crunch game Friday vs. Rochester... Tye McGinnhas played 297 pro games, 89 in the NHL, 208 AHL games and 45 with Syracuse...Tanner Richard is one assist of tying his career high of 25 from 70 games last year. He has 107 fewer penalty minutes this season than last (28 in 43 games vs. 135 in 70 games)... Matt Taormina is one goal shy of his career high, 11, set last year with Worcester... Andrew Yogan, who rejoined the Crunch on a PTO Sunday, scored a goal on his first shot with Crunch Jan. 30. The former New York Rangers draft pick scored twice in his pro debut with the Connecticut Whale April 9, 2011.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Game 46: Amerks take another one-goal game from Crunch

The Crunch fought back from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits, but Rochester regained the advantage late in the third for a 5-4 win Friday at the War Memorial Arena. After a scoreless first in which the Crunch outshot the Amerks 18-6, the teams combined for four goals in the second and five in the third. Syracuse is 2-1-2-1 vs. Rochester.

Adam Erne twice in the third, once shorthanded and once on the power play; six of his 10 goals on the year have come on special teams. Mike Blunden and Yanni Goude posted two assists each. Tanner Richard's game-tying goal in the second pushed his point total ahead of Jeff Tambellini's for the team lead. Matt Taormina's 10th goal puts him within one of a career high.

William Carrier earned first-star honors with a goal and two assists. Justin Bailey and Tim Schaller added a goal and an assist each. Evan Rodrigues provided the final go-ahead goal with 5:11 remaining.

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 18 of 22 shots through 44:17 before Adam Wilcox relieved him. Wilcox allowed a goal on 10 shots and took the loss. Linus Ullmark earned the win with 39 saves. The Crunch's 43 shots were most since their season high of 47 Nov. 20 at St. John's. The Amerks scored on two of three power plays.

Game 47: Falcons soar over Syracuse, 6-3

Mike Blunden put Syracuse ahead 1-0 early in the first, but the Springfield Falcons scored the next five goals en route to a 6-3 win over the Crunch Saturday in Syracuse. The four-game season series is even, 1-1.

Former Oswego State Laker Eric Selleck was the game's No. 1 star with a goal and an assist. Mike Blunden's pair of goals boost his total to 13 for the year, three short of the team lead and his 27 points are four shy of Tanner Richard's team-high 31. Richard had two assists for his ninth multi-point game. Mike Angelidis added his fifth goal, his first on the power play. Yanni Gourde and Anthony DeAngelo notched assists.

Adam Wilcox stopped 28 of 33 shots in the loss, slipping to 5-7-4 and a 3.35 goals-against average. Marek Langhamer turned away 32 of 35 bids from Syracuse. Syracuse has been outscored 27-16 in its five-game skid.

WEEK AHEAD

Games 48 & 49: Tue., Feb. 9, and Wed., Feb. 10, at St. John's, 6 p.m.

The IceCaps, like the Crunch, enter Week 19 winless in five games. After a strong start to the season, St. John's has five wins in its last 19 games. At 19-18-7-3, the IceCaps are one point ahead of the Crunch heading into the two-game set. Each side earned an overtime win when Syracuse visited Newfoundland in November. Montreal's affiliate visits Syracuse Feb. 17, Feb. 27, March 19 and March 20.

Bud Holloway, the 27-year-old who spent the last four seasons in Europe, leads the team at 37 points, tied for 14th in the AHL. Charles Hudon, 21, leads the club in goals with 14; he had 57 points (19g, 38) in 75 games with Hamilton last year. NHL All-Star Classic MVP John Scott has played four games for the IceCaps since the trade from Arizona. He's currently on paternity leave. The three former Crunch players who had been with St. John's when Syracuse last visited, Mark Barberio, Eric Neilson and Dustin Tokarski, are no longer with the team.

Tokarski, who was 3-3-4 in 10 games for St. John's, was traded to Anaheim Jan. 7 leaving rookie Zachary Fucale (10-11-3, 3.26) and Eddie Pasquale (6-4-3, 2.93) as the goaltending tandem. Fucale is winless in three while Pasquale suffered the overtime loss to Utica in the IceCaps' last game.

Game 50: Sat., Feb. 13, at Binghamton (Ottawa), 5 p.m.

Syracuse plays in an NHL venue for the fourth time in the Lightning era, taking on Binghamton Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario, near Ottawa. The Crunch are 5-0-1-0 against the Senators who are last in the Eastern Conference at 17-26-3-0 (.402), 10 points behind the Crunch. Binghamton has been outscored 16-3 over its last three (0-3-0) and has two wins in nine games.

Binghamton's parent club, Ottawa, made a nine-player trade with Toronto Tuesday, impacting both sides' AHL rosters. Dion Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and prospect Cody Donaghey join the Senators while Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg (and a draft pick) are Toronto bound.

Lindberg, Binghamton's top rookie, had 22 points (5g, 17a) in 34 AHL games while Greening had 13 points in (7g, 6a) in 41 AHL games. Cole Schneider is Binghamton's top performer at 37 points (15g, 22a), tied with All-Star MVP Pat Cannone of Chicago and Bud Holloway of St. John's for 14th in the AHL.

Rookies Chris Driedger (11-11-1, 3.08) and Matt O'Connor (3-12-2, 3.92) but neither has defeated Syracuse this year. The Senators' team goals-against average ranks 29th in the AHL at 3.46.

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