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Weekly Syracuse Crunch Roundup: November 12, 2013

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week

Wed., Nov. 6 - Crunch at W-B/S - W, 4-3 (SO)

Fri., Nov. 8 - Crunch at Norfolk - W, 2-1

Sat., Nov. 9 - Crunch at Norfolk - W, 4-0

This Week

Fri., Nov. 15 - Crunch vs. W-B/S - 7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 16 - Crunch vs. Albany - 7 p.m.

Need to Know

- Syracuse has taken the East Division lead thanks to three wins out of three games in Week 6.

- Vlad Namestnikov has a 12-game scoring streak, the longest streak in the AHL this year, producing 19 points.

- After four consecutive road games, the Crunch are home Friday vs. W-B/Scranton and Saturday vs. Albany.

With three straight wins in Week 6, the Crunch have moved into first place in the East Division (9-3-1-0) at 19 points. Only the Atlantic Division-leading Manchester Monarchs have more points (21) among Eastern Conference teams. Syracuse's points percentage, 0.731, is third best the American Hockey League.

Syracuse has won eight of its last nine games heading into Week 7. The Crunch return home after a four-game road trip to host division foe Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday at 7 p.m. for Military Appreciation Night and the Albany Saturday at 7 p.m.

Scoring streaks

With four points over three Week 6 games, Vlad Namestnikov extended his scoring streak to 12 games (7g-12a-19pts), the longest streak in the AHL this season. It's the longest Crunch streak since Richard Panik's 12-game stretch Nov. 2-Dec. 1, 2012 which yielded 17 points (10g, 7a). Panik's streak was tied for the AHL's longest in '12-13.

J.P. Cote has assists in each of the last three games, the alternate captain's longest scoring streak in a Crunch uniform. His last three-game scoring streak came with Norfolk in February of 2012.

Nikita Kucherov's scoring streak was halted at nine games Saturday in Norfolk.


With injuries to Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, Sami Salo and Keith Aulie in Boston Monday, the Lightning have recalled right wing J.T. Brown and defenseman Dmitry Korobov from the Crunch.

Brown, 23, has played in 13 games with the Crunch this season, recording four goals and 10 points with a plus-5 rating. He is third on the team among forwards for penalty minutes with 24. Brown is currently on a two-game point streak for Syracuse, with a goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating.

Korobov, 24, has played in all 13 games for the Crunch, recording six assists. He is the team's plus/minus leader at plus-7. Playing in his second season in North America, Korobov has played 78 career AHL games totaling 28 points (3g, 25a). Last season he ranked second in the AHL among rookies with a plus-20 rating.

Goals by period

Syracuse's three-goal second period Saturday marked the fifth time that the team has scored three or more goals in a period this season and the third time on the road. The most goals the team has scored in a period is five, Oct. 26 vs. Bridgeport. Four of the five times the Crunch scored three or more goals in a period occurred in the second period. The only time the Crunch have scored three or more goals in a period other than the second was on Oct. 19 at Binghamton with three in the third. The Crunch have scored multiple goals in the first period twice this season: Oct. 30 at Albany and Nov. 6 at W-B/Scranton)

Margin of victory

The 4-0 victory over Norfolk on Saturday night was Syracuse's largest margin of victory on the road this season. It was the biggest road win since the team beat Binghamton 7-1 on Feb. 15. The Crunch have won road games by three goals twice this season: Oct 19. at Binghamton and Oct. 30 at Albany. At home, the Crunch's largest wins came by four (5-1 vs. Rochester, Oct. 12) and five (5-0 vs. Bridgeport, Oct. 26).

As a season average, Syracuse outscores opponents 3.46 to 2.46, the AHL's sixth most goals per game to the fourth smallest goals against per game.

Limiting shots

Saturday in Norfolk, the Crunch held an opponent to under 20 shots for the second time. Syracuse allowed three Admirals shots in the third, the second time the team has held an opponent to three shots or fewer in a period.

The Crunch held Rochester to one shot in the second period in their 5-1 victory over the Americans on Oct. 19. The Americans recorded only 19 shots in that game. Before that the last time Syracuse had held an opponent to three or less shots in a period was on May 26 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. They held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to one shot in the first period of that game.


Phil Paradis picked up his first point of the season with an assist on Vlad Namestnikov's second goal of the game Saturday. Paradis had one point in eight regular season games with the Crunch last season. In the playoffs, Paradis recorded four points (3g, 1a) in 18 games including a hat trick in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Cedrick Desjardins' shutout Saturday in Norfolk was his first of the season and 20th of his AHL regular season career. He also has four career Calder Cup playoff shutouts, including three last year, a Crunch postseason record.

Combining regular season and postseason action, Desjardins has 34 shutouts in 305 professional games between the ECHL (83), AHL (217) and NHL (5). His total pro record is 170-102-18. He's two wins short of his 100th AHL regular season win at 98-64-15.

Special Teams

Since starting the season at 21-for-29 on the penalty kill in the first six games the Crunch power play has been perfect in six of the last seven contests, successful on 31 of the last 33 chances (93.9%) and 19 consecutively. The last time the Crunch allowed a power play goal was Nov. 1 when Rochester had two. Syracuse has the best road penalty kill in the league (90.9%).

The week in review

Game 11: Syracuse takes shootout victory in Wilkes-Barre

Late heroics helped rescue the Crunch Wednesday at Mohegan Sun Area. Squandering 1-0 and 2-1 leads, Syracuse trailed 3-2 in the third. Evan Rankin tied the game, forcing OT, and Syracuse won a shootout, 2-0, for a 4-3 victory.

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 23 of 26 Penguins shots, including a penalty shot attempt in overtime from Harry Zolnierczyk, and all four attempts in the shootout. The Latvian owns two of Syracuse's three shootout wins.

Danick Gauthier had a two-point effort, the game's first goal, unassisted, at 4:44 of the first, and an assist on Rankin's game-tying marker in the final minutes of the third. Rankin's fourth goal of the year was his second in as many games. The points for Gauthier were his first this season, and his second AHL multi-point performance.

Nikita Kucherov and Vlad Namestnikov extended their scoring streaks, assisting on Nikita Nesterov's power-play goal late in the first, which put the Crunch ahead 2-1. But with Syracuse's season-low three shots on net in the second, the Penguins swung the tide and Andrew Ebbett scored the next two goals.

Syracuse battled back by killing each of the Penguins' five power-play chances, and taking no penalties in the third. After Rankin's equalizer, Tanner Richard and Kucherov beat Jeff Deslauriers in the shootout to seize the win.

Game 12: Crunch strike early and late to win tight contest at Norfolk

Nikita Kucherov and Vlad Namestnikov extended their scoring streaks with propitious timing Friday at the Scope. With just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Kucherov tipped in a Namestnikov drive to put Syracuse ahead 2-1. Kucherov's 22nd point proved to be the game-winning goal as Kristers Gudlevskis survived a barrage of Norfolk chances in the remaining moments to secure the win, his fourth in as many starts.

J.T. Brown opened the scoring as early in the game as Kucherov's goal was late. At 1:53 of the first Brown's left-point shot, aided by a J.P. Cote screen, evaded Norfolk goalie John Gibson. Cote and Artem Sergeev garnered assists.

Only Stephen Whitney's late first-period marker beat Gudlevskis, firing immediately after a Dave Steckel face-off win. The Latvian netminder stopped the other 23 shots he faced and lowered his goals-against average to 1.92.

Multiple altercations included Crunch captain Mike Angelidis fighting John Kurtz 21 seconds into the game. Later, Garnet Exelby clipped Eric Neilson, a collision to which Phil Paradis took exception and promptly fought Exelby. The offending Admiral was assessed two majors and game misconduct for clipping. The extended Crunch power play, along with four other man-up chances, was fruitless against the league's top ranked penalty kill. Syracuse shut down two Norfolk power plays.

Game 13: Syracuse sweeps week with shutout of Admirals

The Crunch completed a weekend sweep of the Admirals Saturday at the Scope, a 4-0 shutout over Norfolk. Cedrick Desjardins' 19 saves provided Syracuse's first road shutout since May 29, Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a 2-0 win for Desjardins in Wilkes-Barre.

While Vlad Namestnikov provided two goals to extend his league-best scoring streak to 12 games, no one else had more than one point. In all, 11 players got on the score sheet for the Crunch. Cedric Paquette and Dana Tyrell had the other two goals, Paquette's fourth and Tyrell's third and his first since Oct. 5.

Mike Angelidis and Geoff Walker assisted on the Tyrell marker, J.P. Cote and Dmitry Korobov set up the Paquette redirection goal. J.T. Brown and Nikita Nesterov had assists on Namestnikov's power play goal in the first. Phil Paradis and Danick Gauthier had helpers on Namestnikov's second goal which capped a three-goal second period for Syracuse. Syracuse stopped each of four Norfolk power plays and was successful on one of three power plays.


Crunch vs. W-B/Scranton-Friday, 7 p.m. (ESPN Radio)

Following a four-game road trip the Crunch return to the War Memorial on Friday for a match with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It's the third meeting between the East Division rivals. The Penguins won the first one, 6-3, Oct. 13 in Syracuse. The Crunch responded with a 4-3 shootout victory Nov. 6 in Wilkes-Barre.

The Penguins have lost three straight games (0-2-0-1), falling to 8-3-0-2 on the season. That gives them 18 points, putting them in second in the East Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Crunch's 19. After visiting Syracuse on Friday, the Penguins return home to host the Hershey Bears on Saturday.

The Penguins are led by center Brian Gibbons (5g-12a-17pts), center Andrew Ebbett (5g-7a-12pts), and right wing Tom Kostopoulos (4g-7a-11pts). Former Crunch defenseman Brendan Mikkelson has 11 points (2g, 9a). Kostopoulos has four points (1g, 3a) in his last two games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Mikkelson has a two game scoring streak. Defensemen Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin each have points in their last three games.

Goaltender Jeff Deslauriers leads the Penguins with 11 games played and a 7-2-0-2 record. He has a 2.56 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage. Against the Crunch he is 1-0-0-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage.

For the Crunch, five different players have two points this season against the Penguins. In the last match, Danick Gauthier had a goal and an assist. In net, Kristers Gudlevskis and Riku Helenius each made a start against the Penguins.

Over the last five seasons, the Crunch and Penguins have identical 16-15-0-1 records in head-to-head matches.

Crunch vs. Albany-Saturday, 7 p.m. (ESPN Radio)

The Crunch conclude the weekend with a game against the Albany Devils on Saturday. It's the second of six games between the Tampa Bay and New Jersey affiliates. The Crunch won 4-1 Oct. 30 in Albany. They don't meet again until Mar. 16 in Albany.

With its 5-2 win over Bridgeport on Monday, the Devils are 5-5-0-0 in their past ten to move to 7-6-0-1 on the season. That places the Devils fourth in the Northeast Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference with 15 points.

Offensively, Albany is led by left wing Joe Whitney (6g-7a-13pts), center Scott Timmins (5g-8a-13pts), and left wing Reid Boucher (5g-6a-11pts). Since being sent to Albany by the New Jersey Devils, Rostislav Olesz has three points (1g, 2a) in three games. Six different players had multipoint games on Monday against Bridgeport.

For the Crunch, Nikita Kucherov posted four points (2g, 2a) in the first meeting with the Devils. Vlad Namestnikov had a career high three assists in that win over the Devils. Cedrick Desjardins made the start and allowed one goal to earn the victory.

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