Tue., Apr. 9 - Crunch at Lake Erie - OTL, 5-4
Fri., Apr. 12 - Crunch vs. Bridgeport - OTL, 3-2
Sat., Apr. 13 - Crunch vs. Rochester - W, 5-1
Fri., Apr. 19 - Crunch vs. Norfolk, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 20 - Crunch vs. Worcester, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Apr. 21 - Crunch vs. Binghamton, 3:00 p.m. (TV)
Need to Know
- Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson combined for five points (4g) in one game after returning from Tampa Bay.
- With four of six possible points last week, Syracuse is 1st in the East Division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
- Syracuse concludes its regular season with three home games this weekend, its ninth three-in-three.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Game 71: Monsters shake Crunch in seesaw affair in Cleveland
The Crunch lost in overtime, 5-4, Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena vs. Lake Erie. The game was even 1-1 after the first period, thanks to goals from Lake Erie’s Bill Thomas and Syracuse’s Dan Sexton. The Crunch took the lead halfway through the second when Vlad Namestnikov scored on the power play, as Andrej Sustr collected his first career point on the assist. The lead changed again when Mike Connolly tapped in a loose puck and Tom Vincour deflected a point shot to put the Monsters up 3-2 after two periods. The lead changed for the third time in the third period. Sustr tallied his first career goal to even the score before Philip-Michael Devos buried a rebound to make it 4-3 Crunch with 16:00 left. Six minutes later, Vincour beat Cedrick Desjardins a second time to even the game. In overtime, Luke Walker got credit for the game-winner, as a waffling puck evaded Desjardins. The Crunch netminder finished with 20 saves in the loss. Syracuse’s power play went 2-for-5 to snap an 0-for-33 skid.
Game 72: Crunch fall in overtime for second straight game
Syracuse dropped a second straight overtime game, this time at home, 3-2, against Bridgeport. Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins made 31 saves, but lost to former first overall draft pick Rick DiPietro, who stopped 28 shots. Dan Sexton beat DiPietro in the first period with a deflection of a Tanner Richard glove-side shot. The Sound Tigers battled back with a Scott Campbell backhand that got past Desjardins. Syracuse went into the first intermission with a lead after a Sexton pass gave Ondrej Palat a partial breakaway, which he finished. The only other goal in regulation came at the 7:27 mark of the third period, when Nino Niederreiter scored a power-play goal to tie the game 2-2. In overtime, Brock Nelson scored the decisive tally to hand Syracuse its second straight overtime loss. The Crunch were 0-for-1 with the man advantage, while the Sound Tigers were 1-for-4.
Game 73: Syracuse offense shines in dominant win over Rochester
Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson returned from Tampa Bay with a bang, sparking the Crunch offense to a 5-1 win over the Amerks Saturday at the War Memorial. Connolly scored his first professional hat trick and Johnson had a goal and an assist as Syracuse finished the regular season series against Rochester with three wins in ten games. The four-goal win was the biggest victory margin in any of the ten matchups. Connolly’s first goal was a snipe into the top corner just 1:37 into his first game back. That was the game’s only goal until the second period when Connolly finished a hectic play in front of the net. Then, Johnson finished another loose puck in front of Rochester’s David Leggio to make it 3-0 Syracuse. J.T. Wyman tipped a J.P. Cote point shot home with 27 seconds left in the second period to extend the lead. Connolly finished his hat trick with a right-wing shot early in the third that put the Crunch up 5-0. The final goal came when Alex Biega one-timed a shot past Cedrick Desjardins with 4:53 left to spoil the shutout bid. The Crunch netminder finished with 20 saves for the win. Syracuse’s power play converted twice on seven attempts (Connolly and Johnson) to help the win. Ondrej Palat added two assists (37).
04/14/2013 J.T. Wyman (RW) Syracuse DEL Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)
04/14/2013 Mark Barberio (D) Syracuse ADD Returned on loan from Tampa Bay (NHL)
04/13/2013 Brett Connolly (RW) Syracuse ADD Returned on loan from Tampa Bay (NHL)
04/13/2013 Tyler Johnson (C) Syracuse ADD Returned on loan from Tampa Bay (NHL)
- Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson each have 60 points, the most on the Crunch and tied for 10th most in the AHL.
- Connolly potted his first pro hat trick Saturday vs. Rochester, his first game with Syracuse after a five-game, one-goal stint in Tampa Bay. With the Crunch, the second-year pro has 30 goals on the season, tied for fourth in the AHL, and eight game-winning markers, tied for the league lead. Connolly has 14 multi-point games, including two three-point efforts (three assists Nov. 26 at Worcester, and three goals Saturday) and one four-point game (two goals, two assists Mar. 16 vs. Albany).
- Syracuse has five hat tricks this season: J.T. Brown, Connolly, Johnson, Ondrej Palat and J.T. Wyman.
- Johnson is tied for the AHL lead in goals, potting his 33rd Saturday vs. Rochester, plus an assist. The Spokane, Wash. native leads Syracuse with 18 multi-point games. Johnson missed the 12 previous Crunch games (Mar. 15-Apr. 12) while playing for Tampa Bay, posting six points (3g, 3a) in his first 14 NHL games.
- The Crunch power play had four goals in three games last week (4-for-13) after going eight games without a man-advantage goal. Johnson and Connolly, the team's top power-play goal scorers, each potted one Saturday. Of the team's 60 power-play goals, Johnson has 12 and Connolly has nine (a combined total of 35%). Syracuse was 4-for-45 (8.9%) on the power play in 12 games while Johnson was with the Lightning.
- Ondrej Palat has six points (2g, 4a) in the last four games. His 37 assists lead Syracuse; his 50 points are third.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Crunch vs. Norfolk—Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Friday at the War Memoria, the Crunch face East Division rival the Norfolk Admirals for the eighth and final time this season. Friday's tilt kicks off a three-in-three weekend for the Crunch to close out the regular season. The Crunch have won four of the first seven matches with Norfolk, but the Admirals have won the last three, including a weekend sweep Mar. 29 & 30 in Norfolk. Four of the seven have gone past regulation, with the Crunch collecting points in six of the seven (4-1-1-1), while Norfolk has points in five (3-2-1-1). The Ads won the last match 2-0 on Mar. 30.
The Admirals are coming into the week after winning two of three games in a three-in-three weekend. They beat Worcester on Friday and Saturday before losing to Providence on Sunday. After visiting the Crunch on Friday, the Admirals will visit Albany on Saturday and then close out the regular season, and their six-game road trip, in Providence on Sunday.
Norfolk has wins in seven of their last ten games, to move to 37-31-4-1 and 79 points. That has pushed the Admirals to fourth in the East Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of Manchester and Hershey for a playoff spot. The Ads are led by left wing Patrick Maroon (24g-24a-48pts), defenseman Sami Vatanen (9g-36a-45pts), and right wing Devante Smith-Pelly (13g-18a-31pts). In goal, Frederik Anderson has seen the majority of the time in goal down the stretch. He had started 12 straight games before sitting on Sunday. In 44 games this season he is 24-15-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. He is the AHL active leader in save percentage, behind only behind Senators goalie Robin Lehner (.938), currently in the NHL.
For the Crunch, Vladislav Namestnikov leads the Crunch with five points (2g, 3a) in his six games against the Ads. No current Crunch goalie has a win against Norfolk, as Cederick Desjardins lost both of his starts and Riku Helenius lost his only start against the Admirals.
Crunch vs. Worcester—Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
The Crunch play the middle game of the three-in-three against the Worcester Sharks Saturday night. Its just the second, and final, time the teams will play this year, and the only time they’ll meet in Syracuse. The Crunch won the first match, 6-1, Nov. 25 in Worcester.
The Sharks enter the week having lost all three games over the weekend. They dropped a pair to Norfolk and then were shutout by Manchester Sunday. The Sharks will play their last home game Wednesday against Springfield, before facing the Penguins on Friday and the Crunch on Saturday to close out their season.
The Sharks are winless in their last three (0-2-1-0) and have just one victory in their last ten games (1-6-3-0). This stretch has dropped the Sharks to 30-33-4-6 on the season. With 70 points, the Sharks are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference, but they have been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Sharks are led by center Bracken Kearns (21g-25a-46pts), right wing Daniil Tarasov (12g-13a-25pts), and left wing John McCarthy (9g-16a-25pts). Alex Stalock and Harri Sateri have split time in goal for the Sharks. Stalock has a 16-16-3 record in 36 games and Sateri has a 14-20-3 in 38 games.
For the Crunch, J.T. Brown led the way in the first match with the Sharks, posting four points, including a hat trick. Brett Connolly had three assists in that game as well.
Crunch vs. Binghamton—Sunday, 3 p.m. (TV)
The Crunch and Senators wrap up their eight-game season series Sunday, a contest that could decide the East Division champion. The Crunch have won four of the first seven games against the Senators, picking up points in five (4-2-0-1). The teams have met just twice since January, but the Crunch won the last match, 7-1, Feb. 15 in Binghamton. The Senators have won two of the three meetings in Syracuse.
Binghamton enters the week with two wins out of three over the weekend. The Senators beat Albany on Friday and Saturday, before losing to the Phantoms in a 15-round shootout on Sunday. This week, the Senators host Manchester on Friday and Hershey on Saturday before visiting the Crunch Sunday in the season finale.
The Senators are 4-4-0-2 over their last ten to slip to 42-23-1-7 on the season. With 92 points, the Senators are in second place in the East Division and are in fourth in the Eastern Conference. They are one point behind the Crunch for the division lead, but they have already locked up home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Senators are led by right wing Mark Stone (14g-21a-35pts), center Stephane Da Costa (12g-23a-35pts), and left wing Shane Prince (17g-16a-33pts). Nathan Lawson has seen most of the action in goal since Robin Lehner was called up to Ottawa in February. On the season Lawson is 12-6-2 with a 2.20 goals against average and a .937 save percentage.
For the Crunch, J.T. Wyman’s eight points (4g-4a), including a hat trick, lead the way in seven games against Binghamton. Brett Connolly has seven points (4g-3a) in six outings versus the Sens. Riku Helenius has one win in two appearances against Binghamton, while Cederick Desjardins has yet to face the Senators.