Forwards Dave Scatchard and Tyson Nash proudly display their blue collars as members of the Syracuse Crunch's checking line.
Friday night, they showed how hard work can lift a team that's sagging.
Scatchard and Nash combined for three goals and two assists to help the Crunch gain a 4-2 win over Empire State Division leader Rochester Friday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Their efforts turned the game Syracuse's way despite another abysmal display on the power play, where the Crunch was scoreless in seven tries. And the breakup of top line of Lonny Bohonos, Rick Girard and Larry Courville failed to produce the hoped-for redistribution of goals.
However, hard work managed to turn the tide. Consider:
The strong play of Syracuse goalie Frederic Cassivi, who turned away 38 shots.
Bohonos scored a short-handed goal against a team that was the last in the American Hockey League to surrender one this season;
Nash, no speedster and certainly not a classic finisher, set up and converted his own breakaway;
"You look at a total game. I don't think you'll see too many pretty goals," Nash said. "Hockey's just hard work. You don't want to get down. It's bound to turn your way."
Scatchard and Nash delivered the knockout blows by each scoring in the third. Nash's hustle set up both.
First, he set up his breakaway by knocking the puck past Rochester's Sergei Klimentiev and off the right boards.
Nash then chugged to the puck and steamed down the right wing. He went top shelf past Amerks rookie goalie Frederic Deschenes to give the Crunch a 3-1 lead with 17:01 left in the game.
"All week we work on playing our defensive end, just chipping the puck off the wall," Nash said. "It was bye-bye from there."
A little later, Nash turned some nice work in the left corner into a centering pass to Scatchard. Scatchard was a sure thing from the slot at the 8:26 mark.
"We just worked our butts off," Scatchard said.
One of Scatchard's efforts paid off in the second period. With the Crunch winning 1-0, Scatchard turned and flipped a puck from the left circle at Deschenes. It was not a menacing attempt, just an effort to find a screen or perhaps a teammate in position for a rebound.
But Deschenes looked like he wasn't expecting the shot, and it sailed past him at the 11:25 mark.
"It was definitely a little bit of luck there," Scatchard said. "It's nice to get a bounce going my way."
Syracuse defenseman Frantisek Kucera was recalled by Vancouver Friday because injuries left the Canucks with just five healthy blueliners.
Dana Murzyn has a slightly separated shoulder and Dave Babych and Bret Hedican are sidelined with groin injuries. Kucera, who started the season with Vancouver before losing his job there, could be gone about one week.
Also called up after the game was Crunch forward Lonny Bohonos.