Weekly Syracuse Crunch Roundup - Dec 4, 2013

Friday, 12.06.2013 / 12:40 PM Syracuse Crunch

Last Week

Wed., Nov. 27 - Crunch at Binghamton - L, 5-1

Fri., Nov. 29 - Crunch vs. St. John's - W, 4-2

Sat., Nov. 30 - Crunch at Adirondack - W, 1-0

This Week

Fri., Dec. 6 - Crunch vs. Norfolk - 7 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 7 - Crunch vs. Norfolk - 7 p.m.

Need to Know

- Syracuse has won its last two games, improving to third in the East Division at 24 points (11-7-1-1).

- Cedrick Desjardins reached 100 AHL wins and Cedric Paquette notched his first two game-winning goals.

- Syracuse hosts Norfolk Friday and Saturday, having swept the Admirals in two games at the Scope Nov. 8 and 9.

Syracuse (11-7-1-1) snapped it's five-game losing streak in Week 9, stopping the longest stretch without a win for the Crunch since affiliating with Tampa Bay. The Crunch won Friday vs. St. John's, 4-2, and Saturday at Adirondack, 1-0. Cedrick Desjardins earned both wins, the 99th and 100th of his career. Cedric Paquette recorded the game-winning goal both nights. Danick Gauthier and Brett Connolly also had points in both victories.

The Crunch enter the week tied in the standings with the Norfolk Admirals, their opponent Friday and Saturday at the War Memorial. While tied with Nofolk for eighth in points, 24, Syracuse owns the Eastern Conference's sixth best points percentage, .600. The Crunch beat the Admirals twice in Norfolk Nov. 8 and 9.

Transactions

- 12/4/2013 Kristers Gudlevskis (G) Recalled (from ECHL Florida)

- 11/29/2013 Ray Kaunisto (LW) Signed to PTO (from ECHL Kalamazoo)

- 11/27/2013 Philip-Michael Devos (C) Signed to PTO (from ECHL Elmira)

- 11/26/2013 Dana Tyrell (LW) Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)

- 11/26/2013 Dmitry Korobov (D) Returned on loan from Tampa Bay (NHL)

Milestones for Cedrick & Cedric

Cedrick Desjardins earned his 100th career AHL regular season victory Saturday in Glens Falls, a 28-save shutout of the Phantoms. He's one of seven active AHL netminders who've attained the 100-win plateau. The 28 year old from Edmunston, New Brunswick, is 100-66-16 in 195 AHL regular season games with Syracuse (13-10-2), Lake Erie (16-11-5), Norfolk (15-6-1) and Hamilton (56-39-8). In 310 pro games (postseason included) he has 172 wins.

His shutout Saturday was the 25th of his AHL career, and his sixth with Syracuse. Three of the six were during the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, setting a Syracuse postseason record. In 27 career Calder Cup playoff games he is 19-8, including 13-5 last year for the Crunch. The 13 wins and 18 games in one postseason are also Crunch records.

Rookie Cedric Paquette, 20, scored his first two career game-winning goals Friday vs. St. John's and Saturday at Adirondack. He previously collected two shootout game-winning tallies (Oct. 25 at Utica and Nov. 1 vs. Rochester).

Paquette's one-goal, one-assist effort Friday against the IceCaps was his first career multi-point performance. Saturday's goal made Paquette Syracuse's goal leader (among available players) with six on the season. Last year in the QMJHL with Blainville-Broisbriand the Gaspe, Quebec native amassed 83 points (26g, 56a) in 63 games.

New additions make instant impact

Phillip-Michael Devos, Ray Kaunisto and Max Parent made their season debuts for the Crunch last week. With the addition of those three, 30 players have appeared in Crunch uniforms this season.

Devos, who played 70 regular season and 18 postseason games for the Crunch last year, was signed to a PTO Wednesday after starting the season in Elmira (ECHL) with nine points (1g, 8a) in 14 games.

Kaunisto made his Crunch debut on Friday night against St. John's scoring the game's first goal. The Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. native started 2012-13 with Kalamazoo (ECHL) appearing in 13 games. Kaunisto, 26, played 132 AHL games with Manchester between 2010 and 2012. His 2011 Monarchs lost to Norfolk in the playoffs.

Parent made his AHL debut Wednesday in Binghamton, recorded an assist on Kaunisto's goal Friday and had his first AHL fight Saturday. The 26 year old from Lery, Quebec, missed most of 2012-13 with an injury following four years at McGill University in Montreal, a collegiate career capped by a CIS University Cup, the school's first.

The Week in review

Game 18: Syracuse can't keep pace with Sens in 5-1 loss

Syracuse lost to Binghamton 5-1 Wednesday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, extending Syracuse's losing streak to five games, the longest since the Crunch partnered with Tampa Bay.

Shane Prince had a three-point game (1g, 2a) and, along with linemates Jim O'Brien (2a) and Andre Petersson (2g), finished the night plus-4. Michael Sdao and Cole Schneider potted the other Binghamton goals, which were all at even strength. Schneider was also denied by Riku Helenius on a penalty shot attempt in the first.

Geoff Walker's second-period power-play goal in the second period ended a four-game drought for the Crunch power play. His first goal in a Crunch uniform was assisted by Dmitry Korobov and J.P. Cote.

Helenius made 32 saves opposite two Binghamton goalies. Starter Nathan Lawson stopped all 12 first-period shots before giving way to Andrew Hammond in the second because of injury. Hammond made 20 stops.

Game 19: Syracuse snaps skid, skating by St. John's

A late third-period goal from Cedric Paquette helped the Crunch defeat St. John's 4-2 Friday at the War Memorial and snap the team's five-game skid. Cedrick Desjardins made 26 saves on 28 shots for his 99th career win.

Newcomer Ray Kaunisto started his Crunch career with a goal as time wound down in the first period with linemates Eric Neilson and Max Parent collecting their first Syracuse assists.

Midway through the second Geoff Walker potted his second man-up marker in as many games to give Syracuse a 2-0 lead. Paquette and Dmitry Korobov had assists. The IceCaps tied the game with scores 23 seconds apart late in the middle frame, with goals from Jason Jaffray and J.C. Lipon.

In the third, Cedric Paquette provided the heroics with four minutes left in regulation. Philip-Michael Devos and Danick Gauthier garnered assists. Gauthier joined Paquette as the game's only multi-point performers with an empty net goal in the final minute. On the score Brett Connolly picked up his first point since returning to the Crunch from Tampa Bay. Gauthier and J.P. Cote were both plus-2 in the game.

Game 20: Cedrick and Cedric help Crunch 1-0 win at Adirondack

Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 28 Phantoms shots and Cedric Paquette scored the game-winning goal on a power play with eight minutes left in the third to give the Crunch their second straight win, a 1-0 shutout of Adirondack, Saturday at Glens Falls Civic Center. It was the third shutout win of the season for Syracuse, the second for Desjardins and the 21st of his AHL regular season career. It was also his 100th AHL victory.

Brett Connolly and Danick Gauthier had assists on Paquette's game-winning tally, Gauthier's seventh point and first career power-play point. Connolly's helper was his third with Syracuse this year and second on the power play.

Syracuse's penalty kill stopped all seven power-play opportunities for Adirondack, the league's worst power-play team (8.2%). The Crunch PK improved it's AHL-best road success rate to 93.2%. Each side was charged with 16 penalty minutes at 3:59 of the third after a five-on-five scuffle.

The Phantoms' Cal Heeter turned away 22 of 23 Syracuse shots and was the game's third star.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Crunch vs. Norfolk-Friday, 7 p.m. & Saturday, 7 p.m.

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

The Crunch host the Norfolk Admirals twice this weekend, a return in engagement after two matches in Norfolk last month. The Crunch took both games at The Scope outscoring the Admirals 6-1 Nov. 8 and 9. Steven Whitney scored Norfolk's lone goal against the Crunch in the two games.

Norfolk is tied with Syracuse at 24 points, however the Admirals come into the weekend having played two more games and therefore a lower points percentage, .545 compared to .600. The Admirals have lost seven of their last ten games, and three of the last four.

Whitney leads the Admirals with 11 points (6g, 5a) through 22 games. Rickard Rakell is second on the team with ten points (6g, 4a) in 16 games. Defenseman Alex Grant led the Admirals with 12 points (6g, 6a) in 19 contests before being called up to Anaheim Nov. 28.

In net rookie John Gibson has played in 18 games compiling an 8-5-3 record with a 2.21 goals-against average, a .933 save percentage and two shutouts. Only Springfield's Mike McKenna has a better save percentage (.943). Gibson is tied with four other goaltenders including Syracuse's Cedrick Desjardins for the most shutouts (2). Gibson made 47 saves on 53 shots Nov. 8 and 9 against the Crunch.

Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen has played in one game since signing with the Admirals on Nov. 28. He has posted a 0-1-0 with a 3.08 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Thiessen appeared in all six games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Crunch last season and was 1-6-0 in seven games during the regular season vs. Syracuse.

Thirty-six players have suited up this season for the Admirals including five different goaltenders.

Special Teams

On the power play the Admirals are converting on 16.5% of opportunities (16-for-97), 16th in the AHL. Norfolk has the 23rd ranked power play on the road at 11.8%. Norfolk has the league's second best penalty kill despite being the eighth most penalized team in the league (20.2 minutes per game). The Admirals have stopped 88 of 99 shorthanded situations (88.9%). Seven of the 11 power play goals scored against Norfolk this season have been scored when the Admirals were on the road.

Looking back

Since Tampa Bay changed its AHL affiliation from Norfolk to Syracuse the Crunch have posted a 5-1-1-1 record against the Admirals.

Last season when the Admirals visited Syracuse they had 19 players who had spent time in Syracuse during the 2011-12 season as a member of the Ducks organization. This year only four players remain on the Norfolk roster who played for the Crunch two seasons ago. Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelley, John Kurtz, and Mat Clark are the only players left who played in Syracuse two years ago. Etem (2 games) and Smith-Pelly (4 games) appeared only briefly for the Crunch.

Syracuse had 16 players who played for the Admirals in the 2011-12 season. Only Mike Angelidis, J.P. Cote, Phillip-Michael Devos, Eric Neilson, and Charles Landry are left. Angelidis, Cote, and Devos are the only players that appeared in the playoffs for Norfolk during the club's Calder Cup championship run.

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