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WBS Weekly: Crunched

The WBS point streak reaches 12 games, but then is crunched to pieces by the North Division’s basement dwellers.


What Changed

In preparation for the WBS Penguins’ Thanksgiving week slate of 3 games, they received the services of defender Frank Corrado, who was sent back to WBS from Pittsburgh on Monday. WBS also added forward Freddie Tiffels to the roster from Wheeling on Wednesday.

November 22: Lehigh Valley 2 @ WBS 4

WBS came out of the gates flying against the Phantoms, with the scorching hot Ryan Haggerty scoring his 8th goal of the year just 31 seconds into the first period. Lehigh Valley, missing its leading goal scorer Danick Martel and rugged defender Samuel Morin on recall to Philadelphia, answered with goals from Corbin Knight at 5:09 of the first and Greg Carey at 6:55 to take a 2-1 lead after the first period. WBS recovered well in the second period, with Haggerty feeding Jean-Sebastien Dea for his 5th of the year at 6:57 of the second, then Colin Smith scoring his 2nd of the year at 15:54 of the second. Smith’s goal proved to be the game-winner, as Ryan Haggerty provided the final score of 4-2 with an empty-netter at the final horn to equal Daniel Sprong’s 9 goals for the team lead and extend the WBS point streak to 12 games.

Casey DeSmith finished with 31 saves on 33 shots for his 9th victory of the season, while Alex Lyon saved 34 of 37 shots to take the loss.

Three stars: 3) Smith, one goal; 2) Dea, one goal and two assists; 1) Haggerty, two goals and one assist

November 24: WBS 2 @ Syracuse 5

All good things come to an end, but few would have expected a Syracuse Crunch team ranking last in their division and missing leading goal scorer Cory Conacher to recall to be the ones to cut short the WBS point streak. Goals by Alexander Volkov at 1:51 of the first, Jamie McBain at 8:39 of the first, then Kevin Lynch at 9:36 of the first put WBS down 3-0 within 10 minutes, and WBS could not recover. Despite Smith scoring his 3rd of the year at 9:19 of the second, then assisting on Dominik Simon’s 3rd of the year at 13:00 of the third, plus WBS getting a full five-minute major power play due to a Ben Thomas boarding call, WBS could not draw even. Carter Verhaeghe and Michael Bournival scored empty-net goals (Bournival’s was shorthanded) to provide the final score, 5-2, and give WBS its first regulation loss since October 14.

DeSmith suffered his first regulation loss of the season, saving only 25 of 28 shots, while Louis Domingue secured his second win for Syracuse with 23 saves on 25 shots.

Three stars: 3) Volkov, one goal; 2) Domingue, 23 saves; 1) Lynch, one goal

November 25: Syracuse 4 @ WBS 3

Andrey Pedan rejoined the lineup for Saturday’s rematch against the Crunch after his three-game suspension, taking the place of Zach Trotman.

Just like Friday in Syracuse, the Crunch started strong, with Daniel Walcott scoring his first of the year at 1:39 of the first. WBS responded quickly, though, with Freddie Tiffels scoring his first goal for WBS at 2:58 of the first, then Teddy Blueger scoring his 3rd of the year at 7:39 of the first to give WBS a 2-1 lead.

Syracuse would answer back, though, as they were able to convert the third of 3 consecutive WBS minors in the first period through Carter Verhaeghe’s 3rd of the year at 17:28.

Syracuse carried that momentum into the second period, where Michael Bournival scored his 7th of the year on a shorthanded breakaway, then Matthew Peca scored his 2nd of the year at 16:50 of the second to put WBS down 4-2 into the third period.

WBS could only recover one of the two goals, as Frank Corrado scored his 2nd of the year at 7:15 of the third. As a result, the Crunch swept the home-and-home series with WBS.

Syracuse starting goalie Connor Ingram stopped 30 of 33 shots for the win, but that total does not include several blocked shots by the Crunch defense, including at least four off the stick of Daniel Sprong and a final block by Bournival in the dying seconds. Casey DeSmith saved only 21 of 25 Syracuse shots to suffer his second regulation loss in as many nights.

Three stars: 3) Tiffels, one goal; 2) Peca, one goal; 1) Verhaeghe, one goal and one assist

Standings (through the games of November 26)

  • Atlantic Division: 1) WBS 12-4-1, .735; 2) Lehigh Valley 12-6-2, .650; 3) Providence 10-6-2, .611; 4) Bridgeport 11-7-1, .605; 5) Charlotte 12-8-1, .595; 6) Hershey 9-9-3, .500; 7) Hartford 7-11-3, .405; 8) Springfield 8-13-1, .386
  • North Division: 1) Toronto 16-4-0, .800; 2) Rochester 11-5-3, .658; 3) Laval 9-8-4, .524; 4) Belleville 9-10-2, .476; 5) Utica 8-9-1, .472; 6) Syracuse 7-9-3, .447; 7) Binghamton 6-9-3, .417
  • Central Division: 1) Manitoba 14-5-2, .714; 2) Iowa 10-7-2, .579; 3) Rockford 11-8-1, .575; 4) Milwaukee 10-8-0, .556; 5) Cleveland 7-6-4, .529; 6) Grand Rapids 8-9-2, .474; 7) Chicago 5-10-4, .368
  • Pacific Division: 1) Tucson 10-3-3, .719; 2) Stockton 11-6-1, .639; 3) San Antonio 11-8-1, .575; 4) Texas 11-8-1, .575; 5) Ontario 8-7-1, .531; 6) San Jose 8-8-1, .500; 7) Bakersfield 7-8-2, .471; 8) San Diego 7-10-1, .417

Statistics (through the games of November 26)

  • GOALS: Daniel Sprong, Ryan Haggerty - 9 (T-8th in AHL, Sprong is T-2nd among rookies); Thomas DiPauli - 7; Jean-Sebastien Dea - 5; Christian Thomas, Gage Quinney - 4; Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Colin Smith - 3
  • ASSISTS: Dominik Simon - 12 (T-14th in AHL); Kevin Czuczman - 11 (T-6th among defenders); Lukas Bengtsson - 8 (T-4th among rookie defenders); Zach Aston-Reese, Adam Johnson, Jean-Sebastien Dea - 7; Teddy Blueger - 6; Christian Thomas, Garrett Wilson, Andrey Pedan, Daniel Sprong - 5
  • POINTS: Dominik Simon - 15; Daniel Sprong - 14 (T-7th among rookies); Ryan Haggerty - 13; Jean-Sebastien Dea, Kevin Czuczman - 12 (Czuczman T-13th among defenders); Thomas DiPauli - 10; Christian Thomas, Teddy Blueger, Zach Aston-Reese, Adam Johnson - 9; Lukas Bengtsson - 8
  • GOALIES: Casey DeSmith 9-2-1 (T-3rd in wins), 2.29 GAA (11th in AHL), .924 save percentage (10th in AHL), one shutout; Tristan Jarry 3-2-0, 3.18 GAA, .897 save percentage, no shutouts
  • SPECIAL TEAMS: Power play 14.5%, 24th in AHL, five shorthanded goals allowed; penalty kill 84.4%, 8th in AHL, two shorthanded goals forced

Player of the Week

Having already highlighted Ryan Haggerty as a player of the week so far this season, let’s put Dominik Simon under the spotlight this week, as he took the team lead in assists and points on WBS this week.

Simon recorded the primary assist on Colin Smith’s game-winner against Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, scored off a Smith assist in Syracuse on Friday, then assisted on Corrado’s third period goal on Saturday. Simon is in his third season for WBS, the final season on his entry-level contract, but he could very easily be considered one of the most experienced hockey players on WBS’s roster, having played parts of three seasons in the Czech Extraliga before being drafted by Pittsburgh #137 overall in 2015.

To this point in his WBS career, he has recorded 43 goals and 66 assists for 109 points, which puts him 22nd all-time on the WBS scoring list.

The Week Ahead

WBS will contest a three-in-three this weekend, starting on Friday, December 1 with the first visit to WBS of the Milwaukee Admirals since June 6, 2004, the date on which the Admirals finished off a four-game sweep of the Penguins in the 2004 Calder Cup Finals. Game time is 7:05 pm EST for the first Fan Friday of the season for WBS, featuring $14 tickets and $2 draft beers until 7:30 pm.

The weekend continues with WBS hosting the Rochester Americans for its annual Teddy Bear Toss night on Saturday, December 2 at 7:05 pm EST.

The weekend concludes on Sunday, December 3, as WBS visits the Hershey Bears at 5:00 pm EST.