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Weekly Syracuse Crunch Roundup

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week

Wed., Oct. 30- Crunch at Albany - W, 4-1

Fri., Nov. 1 - Crunch vs. Rochester - W, 5-4 (SO)

Sat., Nov. 2 - Crunch at Binghamton - L, 4-2

This Week

Wed., Nov. 6 - Crunch at W-B/S - 7:05 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 8 - Crunch at Norfolk - 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 9 - Crunch at Norfolk - 7:15 p.m.

Need to Know

- Syracuse won two of three games in Week 5, and plays three road games in Week 6: at W-B/S and two at Norfolk.

- October rookie-of-the month Nikita Kucherov leads the AHL with 11 goals is tied for the lead in points, 20.

- Vlad Namestnikov has a nine-game scoring streak, the longest active streak in the AHL, producing 15 points.

The Crunch had their five-game win streak snapped Saturday in Binghamton, dropping Syracuse's record to 6-3-1-0, third in the East Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference at 13 points. Despite the loss, Nikita Kucherov and Vlad Namestnikov extended their respective scoring streaks while climbing the AHL's scoring leaderboard.

The Crunch have their first extended road trip of the season in Week 6, playing in Wilkes-Barre against the Penguins Wednesday and traveling to Norfolk for games Friday and Saturday versus the Admirals. The Pens and Ads are tied for the best record in the AHL with 17 points each.

Kucherov garners league recognition

Nikita Kucherov was name the AHL's rookie of the month in October and the league's best player for the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 3. With five goals and four assists in three Week 5 games, Kucherov has a league-leading 11 goals and 20 points. He also leads the AHL in power-play goals (6) and power-play points (11). His seven-game scoring streak is the third-longest in the AHL.

Kucherov is the first Crunch player to win a rookie-of-the-month honor since Peter Holland in March of 2012. Kyle Palmieri won in March of 2011. Derick Brassard is the only Crunch player to have won twice: October and April of the 2007-08 season. Jarkko Ruutu and Steve Kariya took the award in back-to-back months to begin the millennium, January and February of 2000. No Crunch player has been an AHL rookie of the year.

Four-point games

Three times in his first 10 games, including consecutive games Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, has Nikita Kucherov produced four points in one game; no player was so prodigious last season. Four Crunch players had four-point efforts in 2012-13: J.T. Brown (3g, 1a), Nov. 25 at Worcester; J.T. Wyman (3g, 1a), Feb. 15 at Binghamton; Brett Connolly (2g, 2a), Mar. 16 vs. Albany; Tyler Johnson (3g, 1a), Apr. 19 vs. Norfolk. Johnson also had four points in one playoff game (3g, 1a), May 11 at Springfield.

Patrick Maroon was the last Crunch player to post three four-point games in one season (2011-12). Dan Sexton was the last player to record consecutive four-point performances: Nov. 5 (1g, 4a) & Nov. 6 (1g, 3a), 2011.

During the 2005-06 season, Mark Hartigan had four games with at least four points, twice going back-to-back. He first coupled four-point efforts Dec. 22 (1g, 3a) & Dec. 27 (3g, 1a), and again Feb. 11 (1g, 3a) & Feb. 15 (1g, 4a).

Scoring streaks

Vlad Namestnikov's nine-game scoring streak is the longest of his career, and the longest active streak in the AHL. It's the longest Crunch scoring streak since Brett Connolly strung together 11 points (7g, 4a) over a nine-game span, Feb. 1-18, 2012, which included three multi-point efforts.

Matt Taormina' scoring streak was snapped at eight games Friday, the contest in which he suffered an injury and could not play the later stages of the game.

Nikita Kucherov has a seven-game scoring streak, third longest active streak in the AHL.


The Crunch made three player moves in Week 5, losing right wing Brett Connolly to Tampa Bay on recall Oct. 31, but adding left wing Danick Gauthier and defenseman Charles Landry from the ECHL's Florida Everblades Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Connolly scored his first goal of the year for the Lightning Nov. 2, the game-winning tally vs. St. Louis. The third-year pro had one assist in six games for Syracuse.


Captain Mike Angelidis played his 450th AHL regular season game Saturday in Binghamton. He has 175 points (87g, 88a) over eight seasons in the league, plus 20 points (5g, 15a) in 57 Calder Cup playoff games.

Goalie Cedrick Desjardins is three wins short of 100 for his AHL career. The eighth-year pro is 97-64-15 in 189 career AHL regular season games. Totaling regular season and playoffs in the NHL, AHL and ECHL combined, Desjardins has appeared in 304 pro games.

Artem Sergeev recorded his first AHL assist Saturday in Binghamton. He has three points (2g, 1a) in 10 career games.

Dana Tyrell reached 250 pro games played Oct. 26, and has 125 career games in the NHL and 128 in the AHL.

The week in review

Game 8: Kucherov fuels Syracuse victory in Albany

Nikita Kucherov's four points (2g, 2a) guided the Crunch to a 4-1 victory over the Albany Devils Wednesday at the War Memorial. J.T. Brown scored twice in the third and Vlad Namestnikov contributed three assists to round out the Crunch offense. The Crunch penalty kill had a perfect outing stopping each of six Albany man-advantages. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins stopped 24 of 25 shots in his second win of the season.

Kucherov tallied twice in the opening frame to send the Crunch into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead. Albany left wing Reid Boucher made it 2-1 halfway through the second stanza. The Devils had a three-on-two breakaway after intercepting a Crunch outlet pass and Boucher's shot from the slot trickled through Desjardins' pads and over the goal line.

Brown extended the Crunch lead with two third-period tallies, his first multi-goal game (3g, 1a) since Nov. 25, 2012 at Worcester. His first came at the 6:44 mark, redirecting a Kucherov shot past Wedgewood, and again with 9:46 to play. The game-winner belonged to Kucherov, the first of his career.

Game 9: Stunning comeback vaults Crunch over Amerks

A four-point night from Nikita Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov's first pro goal helped the Crunch overcome a 4-1 deficit and defeat the Amerks 5-4 in a shootout at the War Memorial Arena Friday. Cedric Paquette scored his second shootout winner on the season. In net, rookie Kristers Gudlevskis made 29 saves on 33 shots and picked up his second consecutive win.

Kucherov scored his ninth goal of the season 0:33 after the Amerks got on the board to tie the game at one 3:58 into the first. Rochester would score the next three goals to build a 4-1 lead about seven minutes into the second. Kucherov answered back less than a minute later, cutting the lead to 4-2.

In the third, power-play goals from Nesterov and Namestnikov tied the game, sending the Crunch and Amerks into overtime. Neither side scored in the extra frame, but in the shootout Nikita Kucherov put the Crunch ahead in the second round, 1-0. Paquette scored in the fourth round, which proved to be the winner.

Game 10: Syracuse streak snapped by Sens

The Crunch had their five-game win streak halted by a 4-2 loss to the Binghamton Senators Saturday at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The Crunch penalty kill held the league's leading power play scoreless but the Crunch were only able to convert one of five man-advantages. Crunch netminder Cedrick Desjardins allowed four goals on 37 shots while his Binghamton counterpart Nathan Lawson made 37 saves on 39 shots.

Both teams traded goals in the first frame to go into the intermission knotted at 1-1. Evan Rankin scored a power-play goal for the Crunch to even the score just over two minutes later. Rankin beat Lawson with a shot from the slot for his third goal of the season. Cedric Paquette and Artem Sergeev were credited with the helpers.

Senator's left wing Shane Prince broke the stalemate with 5:37 to play in the middle frame. Prince found his own rebound to beat Desjardins and give Binghamton a 2-1 lead. The Senators extended their lead when Matt Puempel converted Jean-Gabriel Pageau's pass from behind the net with 9.3 seconds to play in the period.

Binghamton's Cole Schneider potted a rebound 5:48 into the final frame to put the Senators ahead 4-1.

Nikita Kucherov cut the Crunch deficit to two with a goal 12:22 into the third period. Vlad Namestnikov was credited with the secondary assist, extending his point streak to nine games. The goal extended Kucherov's point streak to seven games and goal streak to three games.


Crunch at W-B/Scranton-Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN Radio)

The Crunch play the Penguins for the second time this season Wednesday at Mohegan Sun Arena. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won the first meeting, 6-3, Oct. 13 at the War Memorial. Pens captain Tom Kostopoulos had two goals in that game. That contest, eight games ago, was the last in which Nikita Kucherov did not register a point.

Since beating the Crunch the Penguins are 5-1-0-1, losing only to Norfolk and to Binghamton in a shootout. The Pens own the AHL's second-best record (8-1-0-1), trailing the Manchester Monarchs (who have played two more games) by two points.

Offensively, Brian Gibbons leads the team with 15 points (5g, 10a) and is tied with Vlad Namestnikov for the second highest total in the AHL. Former Crunch defenseman Brendan Mikkelson is second on the team with nine points (2g, 7a).

Jeff Deslauriers has seen most of the work in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton posting a 7-0-1 record with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. Peter Mannino has posted a 1-1 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. The Pens have allowed the third fewest goals (24) in the AHL; only Springfield and San Antonio have allowed fewer (23).

Averaging 27.8 penalty minutes per game, the Pens are the most penalized team in the AHL and their penalty kill is ranked ninth, stifling at 85.4%.

Crunch at Norfolk-Friday, 7:30 p.m. & Saturday, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN Radio)

The Crunch and Admirals played eight times last season with the Crunch winning five times, but losing in regulation only once. Among current Crunch players, Vlad Namestnikov (3g, 2a) and Mike Angelidis (2g, 2a) had the most points against Norfolk last year, while former Admiral Eric Neilson scored his lone goal of the 2012-13 in Norfolk Mar. 29. Cedrick Desjardins posted a 1-0-1 record in two games while Riku Helenius went 0-1-1.

Five players on the current Crunch roster played for Norfolk at some point during the Admirals' 2011-12 championship season (Mike Angelidis, J.P. Cote, Charles Landry, Eric Neilson, Dana Tyrell), but only two appeared in the Calder Cup playoffs (Angelidis and Cote).

On Jan. 4, 2013, when the Crunch visited the Admirals for the first time since the Tampa Bay Lightning affiliation switch from Norfolk to Syracuse, there were 16 Crunch players who'd been part of the Admirals' title the year before.

Alex Grant and Maxime Sauve lead Norfolk in scoring with seven points each, while former Crunch center Peter Holland has four goals and two assists in just six games. Since Frederik Andersen (2-0 with a shutout) was called up to Anaheim, John Gibson (5-1-2) has the bulk of the playing time, posting a 1.61 goals-against average in nine games.

Norfolk collected five of a possible six points in Week 5 and is tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the greatest point toal in the AHL (17) at 7-2-0-3. The Admirals do not play this week aside from their two games versus Syracuse.

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