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Home cooking keeps Syracuse Crunch in first place

The Lightning's AHL affiliate remains atop the North Division for the eighth consecutive week.

by Press Release / Syracuse Crunch

The Crunch (20-10-2-5) earned five of eight potential points in Week 14 (2-1-1-0), including a 4-1 win against league-leading W-B/Scranton Monday. Syracuse remains first in the North Division for the eighth consecutive week. The team's .635 points percentage is fourth in the Eastern Conference, eighth in the league. 

After improving its home record to 14-3-1-2, (2-1-0 on a three-game homestand), Syracuse visits Albany Wednesday before hosting Binghamton Friday and Utica Saturday. The Crunch are 6-7-1-3 on the road.

Top Performers

Daniel Walcott, appearing in his 100th AHL game, recorded the game-winning goal on the power play Monday vs. W-B/Scranton. The fourth goal of his career was his first game-winner and first on the power play. He also assisted on Yanni Gourde's game-opening score. The two-point effort is the second multi-point performance of Walcott's career, and first since Feb. 10, 2016, when he had two assists at St. John's.

The defenseman playing forward had five shots on goal Monday, equaling a season high. He was selected the game's No. 1 star. For the season, Walcott has appeared in all 37 games, scoring two goals and 10 points. Last year as a rookie, he notched two goals and 11 points in 62 games.

All-Star Matt Taormina added five points (2g, 3a) in the last four games, improving to 37 points (12g, 25a), most on the Crunch and tie for third in the AHL. He recorded his ninth multi-point game (fourth 3-point game) Friday.

Tanner Richard has points in the last three games (1g, 4a) after a nine-game drought. His three-point (1g, 2a) game Friday was his third three-point game of the season.

Yanni Gourde scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in Week 14, tying Matt Taormina and Mike Halmo for the Crunch lead. The All-Star has 28 points.

Cory Conacher's scoring streak was stopped at six games Monday. He has two goals and eight assists since Dec. 31.

Adam Wilcox (14-5-2) appeared in two Week 14 games for Syracuse after being reassigned by Tampa Bay. The Crunch won both games he started, Friday vs. Toronto and Monday vs. W-B/Scranton, but an eye injury forced him out of Friday's contest after two periods. 

After a no-decision with three goals allowed on 17 shots Friday, Wilcox made 31 saves on 32 shots in Monday's win, the most he's had since a career-high 48 Dec. 7. Wilcox is 15th in the league and fourth in the Eastern Conference for goals-against average, 2.53.

Transactions

Jake Dotchin was recalled by Tampa Bay Tuesday, the 16th player to get the call-up from Syracuse this season. Dotchin, a third-year defenseman, did not play in Tuesday's Lightning overtime loss in Anaheim. He's appeared in 155 professional games, all with the Crunch, scoring 10 goals and 43 points. He is plus-10 with three goals and 12 points in 33 games this season.

Joel Vermin  was recalled by Tampa Bay for the second time this season Sunday. He had two assists in his last four Crunch games, and has 13 points in 23 games this year.

Matthew Peca and Erik Condra swapped roster spots in Week 14, with Condra being recalled by the Bolts for the seventh time this year. Peca, who played nine games with Tampa Bay, scored for the Crunch Monday. Peca has 18 points (6g, 12a) with Syracuse. Condra has 23 (7g, 16a).

Three forwards have signed tryout deals with Syracuse: David PacanOlivier Labelle and Brandon Alderson

Pacan, who made his Crunch debut Friday, had two assists Monday, his second AHL multi-point game in 23 career contests. He has 235 points in 287 ECHL games. 

Olivier Labelle played his first Crunch game in nearly 10 years Monday. He played 74 games for Syracuse as a rookie in 2006-07, and has totaled 606 pro appearances in the AHL, ECHL, France and Austria. He played junior hockey for Ben Groulx in Hull/Gatineau 2002-2005. 

Alderson, who's played most of his 233 pro games with the Lehigh Valley/Adirondack Phantoms, is 6-foot-4, the tallest forward on the Crunch roster.

Upcoming: Albany, Binghamton, Utica

Wednesday's opponent, Albany, has more wins than Syracuse, but remains second in the North with a .590 points percentage. They're 6-2-1-0 in the last nine games, but 0-2 against the Crunch. The Devils' 2.62 goals-against average is fifth in the AHL. John Quenneville leads the team at 27 points (10g, 17a), sixth among AHL rookies. Ken Appleby (10-5-0) has the AHL's second-best goals-against average, 1.87.

Binghamton is fifth in the division, but is 6-2 in its last eight games. Phil Varone has a team-best 24 points.

The Comets, who are 3-1-0-1 versus Syracuse, have won four straight and six of seven. Alexandre Grenier leads Utica in points, 27, and points versus Syracuse, seven.Guentzel leads the AHL in goals, 19, and is second in points, 38.

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