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Crunch Time: Syracuse picks up wins over Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
LAST WEEK

Tue., Dec. 29 - Crunch at Hershey - W, 3-1

Thu., Dec. 31 - Crunch at W-B/Scranton - W, 4-2

Sat., Jan. 2 - Crunch at Toronto - L, 3-2

Sun., Jan. 3 - Crunch at Toronto - OTL, 3-2

THIS WEEK

Fri., Jan. 8 - Crunch at Albany - 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 9 - Crunch vs. Hershey - 7 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 10 - Crunch at Rochester - 5:05 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW

• Syracuse earned five of eight points (2-1-1-0) in Week 13 and holds ninth place in the Eastern Conference (.515).

Jonathan Drouin was assigned by Tampa Bay to Syracuse Saturday and is expected to play Friday at Albany.

• The Crunch play their fourth three-in-three in Week 14, including their first home game since Dec. 26.

Angelidis named captain for 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Classic

In recognition of outstanding leadership and service, Mike Angelidis was named an All-Star captain by league president David Andrews. The event is Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Syracuse. Angelidis, 30, has 253 points in 605 AHL games. Jeff Hoggan of Grand Rapids was also named a captain for the All-Star Classic.

WEEK IN REVIEW

Game 30: Syracuse seizes return visit to Hershey

Tye McGinn scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season to lift the Crunch over the Hershey Bears, 3-1, Dec. 29 at Giant Center. David Broll scored the game-winner, his first marker in a Syracuse uniform, while Andrei Vasilevskiy notched his fifth win in his ninth AHL game of the season with 29 saves.

Jeff Tambellini and Slater Koekkoek assisted on the first goal, Cam Darcy on the second, and Daniel Walcott and Joey Mormina on the third. The Bears were 1-of-7 on the power play while the Crunch were 0-for-4.

Game 31: Crunch snatch first win against Penguins

Adam Erne potted his third and fourth goals of the season—his first career multi-goal game—as the Crunch toppled the Atlantic Division-leading W-B/Scranton Penguins, 4-2, on New Year's Eve. Other multi-point performers were Mike Blunden (1g, 1a) and Tanner Richard (2a). Slater Koekkoek added an empty-net goal, his second goal of the year and second in three games. David Broll, Cam Darcy, Tye McGinn and Luke Witkowskicollected assists.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 30 shots including a series of stunning saves in the third period. The Crunch allowed two power-play goals for the first time since Dec. 6. The Pens hold the season series lead, 2-1.

Game 32: Marlies comeback halts Crunch

Jeff Tambellini and Tye McGinn both scored their 12th goals of the season and Kristers Gudlevskis made 32 saves, but the Marlies scored the last two goals for a 3-2 win over the Crunch Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum.

McGinn assisted on Tambellini's score 3:20 in the first, along with Matthew Peca. McGinn has 10 points in nine games (8g, 2a) with his third multi-point effort. Tambellini moved into a tie with Anthony DeAngelo for the Crunch scoring lead at 20 points. (Tambellini would take sole possession of the team scoring lead Sunday.)

DeAngelo also had his first professional fight vs. Sam Carrick in the third period. Jake Dotchin recorded an assist, his first since Nov. 25 and fourth of the year. Both sides were scoreless on the power play (0-for-9).

Game 33: Syracuse slips in Toronto after forcing OT

Matt Taormina his third multi-point game of the year, including a game-tying goal with three minutes left in the third, but Syracuse lost to Toronto in overtime Sunday, 3-2, at Ricoh Coliseum. Former Crunch winger Richard Panik notched the game winner 3:30 into the extra frame hours before getting traded to Chicago.

Adam Erne posted his third goal in three games and fifth of the year with his third power-play goal, set up by Jeff Tambellini and Matt Taormina to tie the game, 1-1, in the first. After a scoreless second frame—in which the Crunch were held to zero shots for the first time—the Marlies took the lead 1:12 into the third. Tanner Richard and Mike Blundenearned assists on Taormina's tying score at 17:27. Gudlevskis (6-6-1) made 32 saves.

WEEK AHEAD

Game 34: Fri., Jan. 8 - Crunch at Albany - 7 p.m.

The Devils square off with Syracuse for the fourth time Friday at Times Union Center. Albany has defeated Syracuse three times, outscoring the Crunch 11-4. The Devils are second in the North, third in the conference and fifth in the league at 20-8-3-0 (.694). Their 2.10 goals-against average ranks second as does their 24.90 shots against.

Yann Danis (15-5-3) is tied for the AHL lead in shutouts, four, and is second in minutes, 1401. His 2.01 goals-against average is fifth in the league, but no one in the Eastern Conference has more wins. Scott Wedgewood (4-1-0) has appeared in six games since returning from injury, posting a 1.87 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

Rookie Matt Lorito leads Albany in scoring with 25 points (7g, 18a). Mike Sislo and Reid Boucher are second with 23 points each, with 13 and 12 goals, respectively. The Devils power play is third in the AHL (23.0%).

Game 35: Sat., Jan. 9 - Crunch vs. Hershey - 7 p.m.

The Crunch have points in the first three meetings with Hershey (2-0-1), including two meetings in late December at Giant Center: a 5-4 Hershey overtime win and a 3-1 Syracuse win. The Bears (18-11-1-5) are second in the Atlantic Division, fifth in the conference and 10th in the AHL. They've won their last two games by a margin of 11-5.

Chris Bourque's 31 points (13g, 18a) lead the Bears and rank fourth in the AHL. Paul Carey (12g, 11a) and Carter Camper (5g, 16a) are second and third, while 10th is Chandler Stephenson who has three points vs. Syracuse.

Dan Ellis (10-5-3) and Justin Peters (8-5-3) have split time in the net, but all three decisions versus the Crunch belong to Ellis (1-2-0) with a 3.01 goals-against average; Peters allowed three goals in 17 minutes against Syracuse.

Games 36: Sun., Jan. 10 - Crunch at Rochester - 5:05 p.m.

Both games between the Amerks and Crunch have gone to overtime, with Rochester winning in a shootout Oct. 25, 4-3, and in overtime Nov. 25, 4-3. They've lost their last two games (0-1-1-0) and rank sixth in the North Division and 11th in the conference at 15-15-2-1 (.500). Ten of their 15 wins are at Blue Cross Arena (10-4-1-1).

Robin Lehner and Mark Pysyk are joining the Amerks this week on conditioning assignments. Both Lehner (one goal allowed in 28 minutes for Buffalo) and Pysyk (one assist in 18 Sabres games) are returning form injuries.

Rochester's 3.30 goals-against average is third from last in the AHL, allowing 109 goals. Andrey Makarov (6-7-2, 2.72) and Nathan Lieuwen (8-6-1, 3.10) have split time in goal and both allowed three goals in wins vs. Syracuse.

Amerks captain Cal O'Reilly has four assists against Syracuse. He has 19 points (3g, 16a) in 28 games, second only to Jason Akeson's 21 points (6g, 15a). Tim Schaller, who has 10 points in 18 games, was recalled by Buffalo Monday

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