Just when it seemed like the Syracuse Crunch may have been hitting a midseason slump, dropping out of first place briefly earlier this winter, the hometown team is flat out dominating the competition.
The Crunch, which is comprised mostly of players that won the Calder Cup with Norfolk last season, has now won 8 straight games.
The latest, coming on the road in Rochester tonight. Syracuse now has the most points of any AHL team
Here's a look at the Crunch's release on the win tonight:
Rochester, NY â?? Ondrej Palatâ??s hat trick lifted the Syracuse Crunch over the Rochester Americans 4-1 tonight at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win in his fourth consecutive start and the Crunchâ??s season-high eighth win in a row. The Crunch improve their overall record to 34-13-2-4 and road record to 21-6-0-2. With 74 points the Crunch have the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Palat scored twice in the opening frame to send the Crunch into the first intermission with a two goal lead. Palatâ??s first goal came 10:17 into the period when he one-timed a cross-crease pass from Tyler Johnson past Rochester netminder David Leggio. Palat scored his second of the game on the power play with 5:40 to play in the period. Palat threw the puck into the crease where it deflected past Leggio for Palatâ??s ninth goal of the season.
After a scoreless second period Palat completed the hat trick at the 15:35 mark of the final frame. Palat put the rebound of a Johnson shot past Leggio to give the Crunch a 3-0 lead.
Rochester center Nick Tarnasky spoiled Desjardins shutout bid with a power-play goal with 1:35 to play in the final period. The Syracuse penalty kill unit finished the night four for five.
The Crunch will host the Albany Devils on Friday, March 1 before a rematch with the Amerks on March 2 at the War Memorial.
Crunchables: Tonight was Ondrej Palatâ??s 10th multi-point game this seasonâ?¦Palat has 12 points in his last six gamesâ?¦Palatâ??s hat trick is the fourth Crunch hat trick this seasonâ?¦The Crunch are 21-0-2-1 when leading after the first periodâ?¦With an assist on Ondrej Palatâ??s first goal and third goal Tyler Johnson now leads the league in scoring with 53 points.