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Syracuse Crunch look to move forward after dropping two of three

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Syracuse Crunch rebounded from a pair of weekend losses on Wednesday with a 5-3 victory over the Binghamton Senators to get back on the winning track.

Prior to Wednesday’s victory, the Crunch had dropped back-to-back contests just before the Christmas holiday, falling to both the Adirondack Phantoms and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in what was a rematch of the previous weekend’s slate.

On Friday, the Crunch overcame a three-goal deficit but ultimately fell to the Phantoms 4-3 in a seven-round shootout at the War Memorial Arena. Syracuse fell behind after three first-period tallies by the Phantoms before the Crunch pulled even with three unanswered goals from Richard Panik, Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson. Phantoms defenseman Danny Syvret though, scored the game-winner in the seventh round of a shootout to avenge a 3-0 shutout loss to the Crunch a week ago.

The following night, the Crunch put forth another valiant effort but still fell just short, being edged out by the Penguins by a score of 3-2. Alex Killorn extended his league-leading goal streak to six games, and Tyler Johnson added another tally but Syracuse continued to play catch-up from behind all night before suffering its second consecutive loss in as many nights.

The one bright spot of the week came Wednesday, when Syracuse rebounded with a win to improve their record to 18-7-1-3, good for an AHL-best 40 points. Powered by goals from Mark Barberio, Cory Conacher, Radko Gudas, JT Brown and Mike Angelidis, Syracuse earned a 5-3 win over Binghamton to pad its lead in the East Division to five points over the second-place Senators.

Killin’ It: Syracuse forward Alex Killorn saw a six-game goal-scoring streak, the longest in the AHL, come to an end on Wednesday in a 5-3 win over Binghamton, but nonetheless has six goals and eight points in his past seven games. Killorn’s 21 points also rank eighth among all AHL rookies, while his 102 shots on goal rank fourth overall among all AHL skaters this season.

Standing Alone: Syracuse is the only AHL team with five players posting 10 goals or more and are the only club with six players at 20 points or more.

Red Light District: Leading the AHL in goals per game with 3.62, Syracuse is the first club to reach 100 goals this season with 105 in 29 contests. The Crunch have scored at least three goals in 23 of their 29 games.

Back-To-Back: Syracuse and Springfield are the only AHL teams who have yet to suffer consecutive regulation losses. The Crunch have also not lost three consecutive games or more thus far this season.

The Week Ahead: Syracuse and Norfolk meet for the first time this season on Friday night, in an odd matchup of players who will oppose their parent club's former AHL affiliate. With the Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning swapping Norfolk and Syracuse this year, many Admirals donned Crunch jerseys last season while 16 current Syracuse players won a Calder Cup last year with Norfolk.

The Admirals began the season strong with five wins in their first six games, but have sunk to last place in the East Division. Since a six-game losing streak to finish November, Norfolk has won six of nine, including the last two.

The action then continues on Saturday when St. John's makes its first visit to Syracuse since the opening round of the 2012 Calder Cup playoffs when the IceCaps defeated the Crunch four games to one. The IceCaps were then swept by the Norfolk Admirals, with Dustin Tokarski allowing just two goals in four games and Tyler Johnson posting a goal and four assists. The IceCaps are 14-16-0-1 with 29 points, last in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference.

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