© Syracuse Herald-Journal (NY)
Nathan LaFayette scored two goals, Tyson Nash and Rod Stevens added one each and Syracuse goaltender Mike Fountain stopped all 26 shots as the Crunch won its fifth straight AHL game Friday night, 4-0 over the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The win puts Syracuse in first place in the Empire State Division.
It was the first game in the Steel City for coach Jack McIlhargey's team since the franchise, then known as the Hamilton Canucks, left two years ago. "I'm sorry we couldn't make it work in Hamilton," McIlhargey said after the win in front of a Copps Coliseum crowd of 3,515. "Things were always in turmoil in those two years here.
"We didn't know if we were staying or leaving and we didn't have a terribly strong team. I hope the people of Hamilton realize the NHL isn't coming and that this is good hockey and they should come out and support it."
The Bulldogs lost their sixth straight game.
Namestnikov to return
The Crunch announced Friday that the parent Vancouver Canucks have reassigned defenseman John Namestnikov to the Crunch.
Namestnikov appeared in two games for the Canucks, recording four penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11 Russian will represent the Crunch in the AHL All-Star Game Jan. 16 in Saint John, New Brunswick
Namestnikov has appeared in 17 games for the Crunch this season and ranks fifth on the team and first among defensemen in scoring with 22 points.
Despite missing 15 games with a broken thumb earlier this season, Namestnikov ranks fourth in scoring among AHL defensemen.
He is third on the Crunch all-time scoring list, having compiled 102 points in his career.
Adirondack 5, Rochester 4 - Paul Brousseau scored a pair of goals early in the first period as the Adirondack Red Wings built a 4-0 lead, then held on to defeat the Americans in Rochester.
Brousseau scored at 3:07 and 5:43 to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead, and goals by Anders Eriksson at 16:16 of the first period and Corey Spring at 12:25 of the second created the four-goal bulge.
Mark Major's power-play goal at 13:13 at the time appeared to be insurance, giving the Wings a 5-2 lead after Rochester winger Vaclav Varada was given a match penalty for cross-checking Stacy Roest across the back of the helmet.
But the Americans mounted a late rally, with Scott Metcalfe scoring his second goal of the game at 16:00 and his third at 18:03 on a power play to create the one-goal margin.
The loss, coupled with Syracuse's 4-0 victory at Hamilton, knocked Rochester out of first place in the Empire State Division for the first time since Nov. 15.
Philadelphia 4, Albany 3 - Paul Healey's goal with 3:25 gone in the third period proved to be the difference as the Phantoms rallied past the River Rats in Albany.
Healey snapped a 3-3 tie with a 10-foot wrist shot over goaltender Peter Sidorkiewicz's glove to give the Phantoms (24-10-5) their second straight win.
Neil Little allowed two goals on Albany's first three shots in the game's opening 1:32 before settling down to make 36 saves for the win.