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Weekly Syracuse Crunch Roundup — Oct. 9, 2013

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week

Sat., Oct. 5 - Crunch at Binghamton - OTL, 4-3

This Week

Sat., Oct. 12 - Crunch vs. Rochester - 7 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 13 - Crunch vs. W-B/Scranton - 5 p.m.

Need to Know

- The Syracuse Crunch play their 20th home opener at the War Memorial Saturday at 7 p.m. vs. Rochester.

- Festivities include raising championship banners, return of John Badduke and retrospective video.

- The Crunch dropped their first game of the year, 4-3 in overtime Saturday in Binghamton.

The Crunch play their 20th home opener, "Upstate University Hospital Opening Night," Saturday, October 12, at the War Memorial. The 7 p.m. game against inter-conference rival Rochester will be preceded by the raising of 2012-13 East Division and Eastern Conference championship banners, an appearance by Crunch alumnus 'Big Bad' John Badduke and a retrospective video celebrating 20 seasons of Crunch hockey in Central New York. Opening weekend continues Sunday with a 5 p.m. game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, whom the Crunch defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

The Crunch started their season on the road for the eighth straight season, losing Saturday in Binghamton, 4-3 in overtime. Evan Rankin and Dana Tyrell each had two points in the loss.

How do the Crunch fare in openers?

In their 20 season openers, the Crunch have seven wins, eight losses, one overtime loss, a shootout loss and three ties. The Crunch have played 14 different teams in season openers, with Binghamton and Rochester the most frequent opponents (three meetings each). The Crunch won the first two season openers with Binghamton before losing in overtime Saturday. Syracuse is 1-1-0-1 against the Amerks when meeting in a season's first game. The Crunch lost 6-5 in a shootout to begin the 2012-13 season at Rochester.

Starting with a 7-7 tie vs. Albany in the franchise's first-ever game, the Crunch played their first six season openers at the War Memorial, and 10 of their first 12. When playing its first game of the season on the road (including the last eight consecutive seasons), Syracuse has five wins, two losses and three ties.

In 19 home openers, the Crunch have nine wins, five losses, one shootout loss and four ties. Against Rochester, the opponent for the 2013-14 home opener, Syracuse earned a 6-1 win to open the home slate in 2008.

The War Memorial Arena has been sold out for the Crunch's last four home openers, including an overflow crowd of 6,434 last season. On September 30, 1994, 6,750 fans packed the War Memorial Arena for the first home opener in team history, a Crunch/War Memorial attendance record that stands today.

Crunch debuts for six

Of the 20 players who dressed for the Crunch Saturday in Binghamton, six were making their debut in a Crunch uniform: Nikita Kucherov, Joey Mormina, Nikita Nesterov, Drew Olson, Evan Rankin and Geoff Walker. It was the first regular season Crunch game for Cedrick Paquette who appeared in one Crunch postseason game last year.

Other players on the Crunch roster who've yet to debut are Dan Milan and Maxime Langelier-Parent, both of whom were with Tampa Bay's ECHL affiliate, the Florida Everblades, last season.

Mormina drops the mitts for 25th time

Defenseman Joey Mormina, 31, made an impression in his Crunch debut with his 25th career fight. Mormina took exception to Binghamton's David Dziurzynski snowing goalie Cedrick Desjardins in the first.

Now in his ninth pro season, Mormina has played 511 games for five AHL teams, including Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for four of the last five years. He's had only two fights in each of the last four seasons, but had 16 bouts from 2006 to 2009. He's not had a fight in 66 career Calder Cup playoff games.


Crunch vs. Rochester Americans—Saturday, 7 p.m. (ESPN Radio)

The Crunch and Amerks played 10 times in the 2012-13 season with Rochester winning seven times. Brett Connolly led all Crunch scorers against the Americans with eight points in ten games (6g, 2a) while captain Mike Angelidis posted four points in eight matchups.

Phil Varone is one of the few Amerk returners who notched multiple points against the Crunch last season (2g, 3a in six games). Now with Syracuse, former Amerk Evan Rankin faces his former team for the first time.

The last time the teams played was April 13 at the War Memorial with Syracuse winning, 5-1. Brett Connolly scored his only hat trick of the season in that game. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins made one of his two appearances for Syracuse against the Americans in that game stopping 20 of 21 shots.

The Amerks fell in their season opener, 8-1, at the hands of Grand Rapids. They host Utica Friday before visiting the Crunch for the first of eight meetings in 2013-14.

Crunch vs. W-B/Scranton Penguins—Sunday, 5 p.m. (ESPN Radio)

The Crunch defeated the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals four games to one last season, clinching the series with a 7-0 win, the largest margin of victory in Crunch playoff history. In the regular season, Syracuse won five of eight meetings and bested the Pens by nine points in the standings.

In the regular season, Trevor Smith and Riley Holzapfel had five point each against the Crunch last year to pace the Pens while Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson posted seven points each in the season series. Phil Paradis led all goal scorers in the Crunch-Penguins playoff series thanks to a Game 6 hat trick.

New Crunch players Joey Mormina and Geoff Walker are former Penguins. Mormina played 233 regular season and 51 playoff games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and was Pens captain in 2012-13. Walker skated with the Pens from 2010 to 2012, producing 74 points (29g, 45a) in 138 regular season games, plus two goals and seven assists in 24 playoff contests. He did not play against the Penguins as a Lake Erie Monster last season.


Game 1: Syracuse drops season opener at Binghamton, 4-3

The Syracuse Crunch opened their 20th season with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Binghamton Senators at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday.

Dana Tyrell scored twice and netminder Cedrick Desjardins made 35 saves as the Crunch fell to the BSens in the first of ten contests this season. Binghamton goaltender Nathan Lawson made 32 saves.

After a scoreless first period it only took 1:24 of the second for the Crunch to find the back of the net. Tyrell threw the puck toward the Senators goal mouth where it was deflected past Binghamton netminder Nathan Lawson. Assists on the play went to Dmitry Korobov and Evan Rankin.

Just over two minutes later Senators center Derek Grant tied the game on a shorthanded breakaway. A Crunch turnover at the blue line let Grant walk in all alone on Desjardins for the unassisted score.

The Crunch responded with their own shorthanded tally with 4:19 to play in the middle frame. Tyrell collected his own rebound after beating Lawson five-hole for his second goal of the game. Rankin extended the Crunch lead to 3-1 with 1:02 to play in the stanza. After an Angelidis steal, Rankin faked out Lawson in the crease and snuck the puck inside the right post.

The Senators struck twice in the third period to even the score at 3-3 and force overtime. Corey Cowick lifted a rebound over Desjardins at the 6:42 mark and Mika Zibanejad evened the score with a one-timer on the power play from the top of the circle 9:13 into the frame. Binghamton defenseman Cody Ceci scored the game-winner 2:47 into the extra frame.

Syracuse stands at 40-44-5 against Binghamton all time.


Defenseman Dan Milan assigned to Florida (ECHL) 10/8/13

Center Danick Gauthier assigned to Florida (ECHL) 10/8/13

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