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Weekly Syracuse Crunch Roundup 12.10.13

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week

Fri., Dec. 6 - Crunch vs. Norfolk - SOL, 4-3

Sat., Dec. 7 - Crunch vs. Norfolk - L, 2-1

This Week

Tue., Dec. 10 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 11 - Crunch at St. John's - 6 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 14 - Crunch vs. Rochester - 7 p.m.

Need to Know

- Four Crunch players scored their first goals of the season in Week 10: Olson, Angelidis, Connolly and Neilson.

- With one of four possible points in Week 10, the Crunch slipped to ninth in the Eastern Conference (11-8-1-2).

- Syracuse visits St. John's Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Rochester at the War Memorial Arena Saturday.

Following a stretch of eight wins in nine games (Oct. 19-Nov. 9), Syracuse (11-8-1-2) has lost seven of nine games since, including a shootout loss and regulation loss to Norfolk in Week 10. But this week the Crunch play twice in Newfoundland, a place Syracuse has felt comfortable since affiliating with Tampa Bay. The Crunch have defeated the home-town IceCaps in five of six preseason matchups and both regular season games in 2012-13.

Syracuse enters Week 11 fourth in the East Division ninth in the Eastern Conference with 24 points in 22 games (11-8-1-2) for a points percentage of .568, eighth best in the conference.


- 12/04/2013 Kristers Gudlevskis (G) Reassigned by Tampa Bay (NHL) from Florida (ECHL)

- 12/04/2013 Matt Taormina (D) Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)

First-time, long-time

The Crunch continued to get offensive production from different players in Week 10. Four Crunch players scored their first goal of the season: Drew Olson, Mike Angelidis and Brett Conolly Friday and Eric Neilson Saturday.

Rookie Drew Olson's game-opening marker Friday was his first professional goal and first point with Syracuse.The former defenseman scored three goals during his four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and had one assist in five AHL games last season on a PTO with Peoria.

Mike Angelidis's goal was the 99th of his professional career (1 NHL, 88 AHL, 10 ECHL) and his first since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Springfield May 11. The Crunch captain has 12 regular season goals with Syracuse plus two postseason goals. His career high is 20 goals set in the 2010-11 season with Norfolk.

Connolly scored his first goal in the AHL since Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals in June. He recorded one goal in 11 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this season, Nov. 2 vs. St. Louis. The 21 year old has four points (1g, 3a) in 12 Crunch games this season after recording 63 points (31g, 32a) in 71 regular season games last year.

Saturday Eric Neilson scored his first goal at the War Memorial as a member of the Crunch. Neilson's marker was his first since March 29 in Norfolk and the eighth of his AHL career (237 games).

Special teams

The Crunch special teams struggled in the two home losses against the Admirals in Week 10. In fact, Syracuse special teams have been better on the road than at the War Memorial this season.

The penalty kill, which allowed three power-play goals on nine chances against the Admirals, has allowed goals in ten of 11 home games this year. At home, the PK is just 41-for-57 (71.9%) which is last in the AHL. No team has allowed more power-play goals at home than Syracuse's 16 allowed.

The penalty kill is completely different on the road. It is 41-for-44 (93.2%) shorthanded away from the War Memorial, best in the league. The three power-play goals allowed on the road is the fewest in the AHL. The Crunch have been perfect on the PK in eight straight road games, going 32-for-32 during that stretch.

Overall, the Crunch penalty kill is 81.2%, 18th in the AHL.

The Crunch power play is also slightly better on the road by percentage. Syracuse is 9-for-48 (18.8%) on the road compared to 11-for-60 (18.3%) at home. Syracuse was 0-for-9 on the power play in the two Week 10 losses.

The week in review

Game 21: Norfolk storms back for 4-3 shootout victory in Syracuse

In a penalty filled affair, the Norfolk Admirals overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the Crunch 4-3 in a shootout Friday at the War Memorial. The teams combined for 20 penalties in the second and 106 penalty minutes for the game.

The Crunch jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Drew Olson started the scoring with a turn-around slap shot from the top of the right wing circle to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead, his first pro goal. Mike Angelidis made it 2-0 with his first of the season with just over five minutes remaining in the period. Cedric Paquette assisted on both. Brett Connolly extended the lead to 3-0 with his first of the year from Dmitry Korobov and Luke Witkowski.

The Admirals scored the next three goals of the game, including a pair on the power play, to send the game to overtime. After a scoreless OT, the Admirals beat the Crunch 2-1 in the shootout, to win the game 4-3. Cedrick Desjardins made 21 saves but took the loss, snapping the Crunch's two-game winning streak. Admirals starter John Gibson left with an injury after allowing three goals. Brad Thiessen relieved him and picked up the win.

Game 22: Neilson notches his first, but Admirals take two

Just as Syracuse swept two games in its rival's home rink last month, so did the Admirals to Syracuse over the weekend. Kristers Gudlevskis suffered his first AHL loss Saturday, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Norfolk who dressed four goalies over the weekend because of injury.

Igor Bobkov earned the win Saturday, stopping 21 of 22 Crunch shots. The only one that beat the recently recalled Russian was from Eric Neilson, a rebound goal while crashing the net after a Max Parent drive and setup from Dmitry Korobov. That second-period tally, Neilson's first of the year and first ever at the War Memorial, canceled the game's first goal from Devante Smith-Pelly, a power play goal late in the first. Jesse Blacker, who assisted on Smith-Pelly's goal, potted the game winner himself with under nine minutes left in the game for a 2-1 Norfolk win.

Syracuse was 0-for-4 on the power play and never had more than 10 shots in a period, with just five in the third.


Crunch at St. John's-Tuesday, 6 p.m. & Wednesday 6 p.m.

ESPN Radio 97.7 FM & 1200 AM, Syracuse; 100.1 FM & 1440 AM, Oswego

The Crunch return to St. John's this week for the first time since claiming the Mary's Cup there in a three-game preseason series. The two teams square off Tuesday and Wednesday, making it the second and third time they play. The Crunch defeated the IceCaps 4-2 Nov. 29 in Syracuse. They won't face off again until Mar. 26 at the War Memorial Arena to close out the season series.

The IceCaps split a pair of games against the Penguins Friday and Saturday in St. John's. They are 5-3-0-2 in their last ten games, moving to 12-10-1-2 on the season. That gives the IceCaps 27 points, putting them in eighth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of ninth-place Syracuse. With three games in hand on the IceCaps, Syracuse owns the better points percentage, .568 to .540.

Center Eric O'Dell leads the IceCaps with 24 points (11g, 13a). Left wingers Kael Mouillierat (5g-15a-20pts) and Jason Jaffrey (7g-10a-17pts) are also among the team's top scorers.

In net, Eddie Pasquale has played in 20 games for the IceCaps this season. He has a 10-9-1 record, with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. He earned his first shutout of the season Friday against the Penguins, making 20 saves in a 5-0 win. He surrendered three goals on 33 shots in the loss to the Crunch Nov. 29.

For the Crunch, Cedric Paquette and Danick Gauthier both had multi-point efforts (1g-1a) in the match against the IceCaps. Cedrick Desjardins allowed two goals on 28 shots to earn the win.

Crunch vs. Rochester-Saturday, 7 p.m.

ESPN Radio 97.7 FM & 1200 AM, Syracuse; 100.1 FM & 1440 AM, Oswego

The Crunch return home to close off the week Saturday against I-90 rival Rochester. It's the third time out of eight the teams meet this season. The first two were Crunch wins, both in Syracuse, 5-1 Oct. 12 and 5-4 in a shootout Nov. 1. The Americans don't come back to the War Memorial until Mar. 8.

The Amerks lost two games in Grand Rapids last week and they are now 10-10-2-2 on the season. With 24 points Rochester is tied for ninth in the Western Conference, a point behind Lake Erie for eighth. The Amerks host the Monsters twice this week, on Wednesday and Friday, before meeting the Crunch on Saturday.

Rochester is led by center Phil Varone's 24 points (5g, 19a). Center Mike Zigomanis has 17 points (7g, 10a), and right wing Jamie Tardif has 17 points (6g, 11a).

In net, Matt Hackett has seen the majority of the ice time, playing in 16 games. He's 5-8-2 in those games, with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. He took the loss in both games against the Crunch this season.

For Syrcuse, Nikita Kucherov had eight points (5g-3a) in the two games against Rochester, including a hat trick in the home opener Oct. 12. But with Kucherov in the NHL, Nikita Nesterov leads active, healthy Crunch players with four points (1g, 3a) against the Amerks.

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