The Crunch capped their three-in-three weekend with wins Saturday vs. Rochester, 5-2, and Sunday in Utica, 3-2. The Crunch remain first in the North at 25-15-4-5.
Cory Conacher extended his scoring streak to nine games with an assist Sunday in Utica. He had four points (1g, 3a) in three games last week. The nine-game streak (4g, 10a) equals the longest of his career which spans six seasons and 475 games in the NHL, AHL and Switzerland. He last had a nine-game streak Nov. 5-25, 2011.
Conacher leads Syracuse in points (42) and assists (32). He's one shy of Matt Taormina's team-leading total of 20 power-play points. Conacher has 26 points over his last 19 games (6g, 20a), the largest point total in the AHL in that span (since Dec. 31). Six of his 10 multi-point games have occurred in those 19 games, plus his first game-winning goal (Feb. 4) and shootout game-winning goal (Jan. 28).
Adam Erne returned to the Syracuse lineup Saturday after missing the previous 16 Crunch games while in the NHL and recovering from injury. He collected two goals and one assist Saturday, including his first game-winning goal of the season, his fifth multi-point game and third multi-goal game.
Erne followed with another goal Sunday, his 11th of the year, marking the first time this season he potted goals in consecutive games. Sunday was Erne's 100th career Crunch game; he has 55 career points (26g, 29a).
Kristers Gudlevskis earned both Syracuse wins in Week 18, improving to 9-7-6 on the season while lowering his goals-against average to 2.67, tied with Adam Wilcox (16-8-3). Gudlevskis, in his fourth AHL season, had not won consecutive appearances all season until playing on consecutive days Saturday (25 saves on 27 shots) and Sunday (a season high 39 saves on 41 shots and No. 1 star).
Last year Gudlevskis followed a win with another win six times, finishing 16-12-8 in 41 appearances. Two years ago, in the 2014-15 campaign, he followed a win with another win 16 times, finishing 25-14-4 in 46 games.
Gudlevskis is 68-44-22 in 146 career AHL games, all with Syracuse. He's 10 wins shy of tying Karl Goehring for most regular season victories in Crunch history. Goehring was 78-71-15 in 178 games (2001-05, 2007-08).
Yanni Gourde had at least one point in all three Week 18 games (2g, 2a). Gourde leads the Crunch with 18 goals, tied for 10th in the AHL. Gourde scored his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal Sunday; he's tied for the lead in shorthanded points (5). Gourde has appeared in 47 of 49 games this season, most on the team.
Other players of note from Week 18 include Matt Taormina (2a), Matthew Peca (2a), Jeremy Morin (1g, 1a, including his first career penalty shot goal), Slater Koekkoek (2a) and Joel Vermin (2g). Matthew Brodeur was plus-3 in Week 18 and leads the Crunch at plus-13. Cam Darcy scored his second goal of the season Saturday, his first since Oct. 29.
Upcoming: Albany, St. John's
The first-place Crunch visit the second-place Devils Wednesday, the fifth of eight matchups in the season series. Syracuse won the first two (at the War Memorial), but Albany took the last two (at Times Union Center). The Devils (28-21-1-1) suffered a 6-2 setback Sunday in Toronto after starting the weekend with two wins. Syracuse and Albany are No. 1 and No. 2 in PIM average.
John Quenneville leads Albany with 33 points, tied for seventh among AHL rookies. His 23 assists lead the team and rank fifth among rookies. Two of his 10 goals have come against the Crunch. Ben Sexton leads Albany in goals (17), and game-winning goals (4). He's the only Devil with more than two points vs. Syracuse (1g, 2a).
Ken Appleby (14-10-0) has the AHL's 10th best goals-against average (2.42), third among rookies. He's 2-1 against the Crunch, but is 1-3-0 with 17 goals allowed in four games since beating Syracuse Feb. 2, 3-2.
Yanni Gourde has six points (3g, 3a) against the Devils Adam Wilcox and Kristers Gudlevskis each have a win over the Devils with five goals allowed.
The IceCaps host the Crunch Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., the final regular season games for Syracuse in Newfoundland with the club's pending relocation to Laval, Quebec, next season.
St. John's, fourth in the North Division at 23-21-6-1, followed a 2-4-2 homestand with a 3-3-0 road trip. Returning for a six-game homestand Tuesday, the IceCaps lost to Binghamton 3-2 in overtime.
Chris Terry leads the team in scoring at 42 points (17, 25a), despite missing 18 of the team's 51 games. Charles Hudon is second on the team at 29 points (16g, 13a) in 30 games. Max Friberg has four points vs. Syracuse.
Charlie Lindgren (16-13-4) is third in the AHL in minutes and losses. He's backed up by Yann Danis (7-5-3).
Cory Conacher has seven points (2g, 5a) against St. John's to lead the series. Adam Wilcox earned both wins, while Kristers Gudlevskis took both overtime defeats.