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Crunch Time: Wrapping up the week for the Lightning's AHL affiliate

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last week was one filled with action and excitement for the Syracuse Crunch. The team went 2-1-0 winning games against the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Utica Comets. The Crunch have improved their record to a respectable 10-5-3 for 23 points on the season. They are currently in fourth place in the Eastern conference, a mere two points back from the Manchester Monarchs for first.

The Crunch kicked off their week with a tilt against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The game did not lack any pop, as the two teams combined for nine goals with six coming in the first frame alone, as the Crunch won 5-4. Captain Mike Angelidis opened the scoring just 0:16 seconds into the contest. The Crunch would roll along, scoring three more goals before the 17:00 mark of the first frame, with two markers from the red-hot Yanni Gourde along with another from Angelidis. These goals would chase former Crunch goaltender Cedrick Desjardins from the Wolf Pack net. Andrei Vasilevskiy was back in net for Syracuse, stopping 16 of 20 Hartford attempts.

Syracuse continued their road-trip with a stop in Adirondack to face the Flames. The Flames would get the better of the Crunch in this one, with a 4-1 win. The loss ended the Crunch’s four game winning streak. Syracuse had also not been beaten in regulation time since the Halloween Spooktacular against the Rochester Americans. Luke Witkowski notched the lone goal for Syracuse, with his first tally of the year, showing his hands can have a softer touch to them as well. Kristers Gudlevskis put in an admirable performance, spurning 30 of 34 Flames attacks, but it was not enough to extinguish their offense.

One for the books

Saturday night was a special one for the Crunch, as the team downed the Utica Comets, 2-1, in the inaugural Toyota Carrier Dome Classic. Not only did they win the game, but they also set an attendance record for an indoor game with 30,715 spectators. The record was previously held by the Tampa Bay Lightning when they hosted 28,183 fans at the Thunderdome (now Tropicana Field) for a 1996 playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Crunch were able to skate away with the victory thanks to some solid work in net by Andrei “the giant” Vasilevskiy. The Comets were able to strike first, but the Crunch bounced back mid-way through the first, with a tally from Joel Vermin. They came out of the locker room with a bang to start the second period, as Gourde ripped home his eighth of the year just 0:49 seconds into the frame. Vasilevskiy would face 21 shots in the final 40 minutes, and stopped them all. He turned aside 26 of 27 shots on the night, good for a .962 and the game’s first star.

Showing some love

As many fans and teams have done this year, the Crunch showed their support for Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive tackle Devon Still and his daughter Leah. The Crunch took to the ice for their pre-game warmups wearing Still’s number 75 Bengals jersey, which they would later auction off in support of Ronald McDonald House. Still thanked the Crunch in a video message for their support. It was a touching gesture by the organization, and one that shows how the whole sporting community can truly come together to rally behind one of their own.

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