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Two shutout wins bolt Crunch to top of league standings

by Turner Batten / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Syracuse Crunch were dominant this weekend in two shutout wins against the Adirondack Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Friday night the Crunch traveled to Adirondack where they claimed a 3-0 victory behind a stellar 21-save shutout performance from Riku Helenius.

After a scoreless first period, Alex Killorn kicked off the scoring early in the second stanza and Richard Panik added a shorthanded goal to give the Crunch a two-goal lead heading into the third frame.

Radko Gudas got in on the scoring mix as well with a third period goal to solidify the shutout win for the Crunch.

Saturday night the Crunch returned home to take on the Penguins and it was much of the same story from Friday night as Dustin Tokarski stymied the Penguins with a 29-save shutout.

Brett Connolly scored the lone first period goal before Killorn notched his second tally of the weekend in the middle stanza on the power play.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie gave the Crunch a 3-0 lead early in the third and Tyler Johnson scored his team-best 16th goal of the season late in the third, giving Syracuse their second shutout victory in as many days.

Tokarski in net as the Crunch topped the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-1 at the Bell Center. (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Evenko)

With the two wins this weekend, the Crunch now own the best record, 17-6-1-2, in the AHL and hold a two-point lead in the Eastern Conference atop the Springfield Falcons. Syracuse increased their East Division lead to seven points over the Binghamton Senators as well.

With a goal and an assist in two games this past weekend, Johnson is now tied for fourth for scoring in the AHL with 27 points and is second for goals with 16.

Dmitry Korobov leads the AHL in plus/minus rating with a mark of plus-18, but is closely followed by his Crunch teammates, Ondrej Palat (plus-17) and Radko Gudas (plus-15) in second and third, respectively.

After going 12-for-12 on the penalty kill this weekend, the Crunch now own the fifth-best penalty kill in the league at 86.6 percent.

The Crunch will play host to both Adirondack and W-B/Scranton again this weekend in a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday night as they look to improve on their three-game winning streak before the Christmas break rolls around.

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