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Crunch Snap Nine-Game Skid, Defeat Comets, 5-4

February 19, 2016 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Syracuse Crunch News Release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Crunch snapped a nine-game skid as they defeated the Utica Comets in a high-scoring affair tonight at the War Memorial Arena.

The Crunch came out quick with two power-play goals by Matt Taormina and Tye McGinn in the opening minutes. As the contest went on, Jeff Tambellini found the back of the net twice and Mike Blunden added a man-advantage marker. Four separate times, the Comets were able to pull within one, but they fell short and ended their eight-game point streak with a 5-4 loss to the Crunch.

The victory pushes Syracuse to 20-21-9-2 on the season. Despite the loss, Utica still controls the 10-game Galaxy Cup series, 4-2, and move to 25-18-4-3.

Crunch netminder Kristers Gudlevskis grabbed his ninth win of the season with a 25-save performance. Comets goaltender Richard Bachman stopped 26 of 31 in defeat. The Syracuse power play was highly effective, converting on 3-of-6 man-advantages. The team also successfully killed 6-of-7 Utica power plays.

The Crunch built up a 2-0 lead just 2:52 into the first period. Taormina netted one from the high slot before McGinn beat Bachman from down low. Blunden, Tanner Richard, Dylan Blujus and Yanni Gourde recorded points on the opening tallies.

With 4:52 remaining in the opening frame, Carter Bancks pulled the Comets within one off assists from Jon Landry and Travis Ehrhardt. The Crunch regained their two-goal lead two minutes later. Luke Witkowski fed McGinn, who fired from the right wing. The rebound was left out for Tambellini. However, Utica was quick to take it back when Ashton Sautner lit the lamp with 24 seconds remaining in the first.

The back-and-forth scoring continued in the second period. At the 2:34 mark, Tambellini one-timed Ryan Martindale's feed to put the Crunch up, 4-2. Again, the Comets were there to cut the lead, converting on the power play at 6:54. Andrey Pedan potted his fourth of the season with the help of Ronalds Kenins and Alexandre Grenier.

At the 2:33 mark of the final frame, Blunden redirected Adam Erne's pass from the right circle for the eventual game-winner. Richard made it a multi-point night with a secondary assist on the power-play goal.

The Comets tried to mount a comeback halfway through the third when Brandon Prust netted one shorthanded. The attempt was futile and the Crunch beat the Comets, 5-4.

The Crunch host the Rochester Americans tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Syracuse Crunch single game and season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased either in person at the Crunch Box Office located in the War Memorial at 800 South State Street in Syracuse or by calling the office at 315-473-4444. For the latest Crunch news, visit or follow the club on Facebook (, Twitter (@SyracuseCrunch) and Instagram (@officialsyracusecrunch) using #SyrCrunch and #BelieveInBlue.

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