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Crunch Time: Syracuse posts 2-1-0 record to improve to 40-19-8

by Doug Spencer / Tampa Bay Lightning
Weekend Update

The Syracuse Crunch continued their impressive play of late by posting a 2-1-0 record last week. The team improved its Northeast Division leading record to 40-19-8, which puts them tied for fifth in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Syracuse commenced its week on the road with a 6-1 thrashing of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Crunch managed to pile on six unanswered goals before the Phantoms were finally able to weasel their way on to the scoreboard midway through the third period. Jonathan Marchessault had another big night with two goals while both Ryan Martindale and Justin Courtnall chipped in with a goal and an assist each. Kristers Gudlevskis turned aside 27 of 28 shots to lead the team to victory.

The Crunch returned home Saturday night for a tilt with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, whom they defeated 4-3. Syracuse received two point nights from captain Mike Angelidis (1G-1A) and Marchessault (2A). Jake Dotchin, Joel Vermin and Martindale also tallied singles for Syracuse. Gudlevskis was solid again between the pipes, spurning 38 of 41 attempts on net.

The high-octane offense that was powering the Crunch through the week ran out of gas Sunday night as the team dropped a 2-0 decision at the hands of the Rochester Americans. Rookie forward Brayden Point made his professional debut for the Crunch after finishing another strong campaign with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League. Syracuse rang up 32 shots but was not able to beat the Amerks’ Andrey Makarov. Gudlevskis made his fourth consecutive start and performed admirably in the loss, only allowing one goal on 24 shots with the second Rochester goal being scored on an empty net.

Top Gun March-ing along

Jonathan Marchessault has been a key part of the Crunch’s offense this season as he paces the team with 21 goals and 57 points in 60 contests, good for sixth in the AHL. Marchessault racked up another four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in three games this weekend. The Québec City, Québec, native is on pace to break his career high for goals (24) and could break his career high for points (67). He has been able to provide the team with the consistent offensive power it needed. The 24 year old has been counted on to assume a leadership role on a young Syracuse squad and he has done just that. As the team looks forward to the upcoming Calder Cup playoffs, it will lean even more on Marchessault and his knack for scoring big goals when the chips are down.

The Road Ahead

The Crunch will continue their march towards the playoffs with another three games this week. The action will kick off tonight with the team’s lone game at the War Memorial Arena against the Binghamton Senators (28-31-7). Syracuse will then hit the road to face off against Northeast Divisional rival Hartford Wolf Pack (36-22-5). The Crunch are seven points ahead of the Wolf Pack for the division lead. Syracuse will finish off its weekend with a stop in Bridgeport to square off with the Sound Tigers (25-35-6). Bridgeport currently sits in the Northeast Division basement but will still put up a good fight as seen in last week’s matchup. This is the second of three meetings between the two teams within a two week span, so you can count on it to be a good one.

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