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Crunch win two of three, Help coach Jon Cooper earn 100th career victory

by Turner Batten / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Syracuse Crunch competed in three games this past week and skated away with a 2-1-0 record, including back-to-back victories against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Their only loss of the week came at the hands of the Rochester Americans Saturday evening as they fell short, 5-2.

The Crunch started the week with a 3-0 victory Wednesday night against the Hamilton Bulldogs in a game that marked Crunch head coach Jon Cooper’s 100th AHL win.

The Crunch’s depth proved to be the difference maker in this tilt, as they received production from role players like Dmitri Korobov and JT Wyman, as well as a 23-save shutout from Riku Helenius.

Along with Korobov and Wyman, Richard Panik rounded out the scoring for the Crunch with an empty net goal, sealing the Bulldogs fate and helping Cooper reach his career milestone.

The Crunch went 0-for-3 on the power play but stayed perfect on the penalty kill, denying all four Bulldogs chances.

Syracuse and Hamilton tangled again just two nights later and for the second consecutive game, the Crunch came away victorious, handing the Bulldogs a 4-1 loss. The game was played at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, which is the home of the NHL’s Montreal Canadians and was viewed by the 10th largest audience in AHL history, at 18,582.

Tied for fifth in AHL scoring, Crunch forward Tyler Johnson continued what he has been doing all year, leading the Crunch with two goals. Johnson recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season as he sits first on the team in goals with eight.

Philip-Michael Devos and Mike Angelidis recorded the other tallies for the Crunch, as Angelidis buried the game-winning goal at the 19:08 mark of the second period.

For the second consecutive game Syracuse failed to record a power-play goal, going 0-for-4 on the night. The Crunch however, did stave off the Bulldogs on both of their power-play chances.

Crunch goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced, earning the victory.

2011-12 Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award-recipient Jon Cooper captured his 100th AHL regular-season coaching victory (his 165th career game) with Wednesday's 3-0 win in Hamilton.

The game was marred by an unfortunate incident midway through the first period as Bulldogs forward Blake Geoffrion with hit hard, leaving him with a fractured skull. After spending the night in the ICU, Geoffrion had successful surgery and is expected to make a full recovery from the incident.

Coming off two consecutive wins against the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Crunch hosted the Rochester Americans Saturday evening at the War Memorial Arena.

Trying to stretch their winning streak to four, the Crunch couldn’t generate any offense and watched the Americans break a 2-2 tie midway through the third period and score three unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 victory.

Richard Panik and Cory Conacher were the goal scorers for the Crunch, while Americans forward Marcus Foligno collected a goal and two assists in his team’s victory.

The Crunch recorded their first power-play goal since October 28, as they went 1-for-5 with the man advantage. The Crunch also went their third straight game without giving up a goal on the power play, killing off all three Americans opportunities.

Crunch goaltender Riku Helenius turned aside 19 of 24 shots in a losing effort.

The Crunch sit first in their division and second in the Eastern Conference with a 7-2-2 record and 16 points.

Syracuse forward Cory Conacher leads the Crunch and sits tied for fourth in league scoring with seven goals and 13 points through 11 games. Tyler Johnson has also been hot for the Crunch, as he leads the team in goals with eight and is tied for fifth in league scoring with 12 points through 11 games.

The Crunch will look to remain atop the Eastern Conference when they host the Hershey Bears this Friday, November 16. The blue and white will then host Adirondack Friday followed by another matchup against the Bears Saturday.

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