Conacher, Cory

Crunch Continue to Struggle at Home, Fall to Amerks

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Pierre-Cedric Labrie recalled looking at the scoreboard with 14 minutes remaining.

With the Syracuse Crunch trailing 3-2, the forward saw 23 listed as his team's shots on goal. Twelve minutes later -- and the Crunch now trailing by three to the Rochester Americans -- the number had only changed by one.

"We can't win the game (like that) if we're losing by two or three," Labrie said. "If you don't shoot, you don't score."

Syracuse's 5-2 loss at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday snapped a three-game winning streak overall, and was the third straight loss on home ice.

AHL Game Night: 11-2-12 Crunch at Phantoms

Impressive thumping of a team with a lot of NHL talent on it.


Dustin Tokarski (pictured) picked up his 4th win of the season by stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced. His numbers so far look like a carbon copy of last season's, right down to the .913 save percentage.

First Period
SYR Conacher, (6) , 10:03
ADK Zolnierczyk, (3) (Eddy, Couturier), 17:37

Second Period
SYR Panik, (2) , 5:41
SYR Johnson, (6) (Taormina, Cote), 7:16

Third Period
SYR Taormina, (1) , 19:22 (EN/SH)

Tokarski and Cory Conacher were the game's first and second stars.

Panik attack, y'all! Off the milk carton and onto the scoresheet.

This was a really odd game when you think that Syracuse actually got held down to 18 shots. As I said, there's a lot of NHL talent on Adirondack. On paper, they're one of the real threats in the conference, so to whip them 4-1 in their barn is good for the soul.

Syracuse is off until Wednesday when they'll start a 2 game set against Hamilton.

Box score from

Crunch fall to Penguins, 4-1

By Jeremy Houghtaling

It took all of 38 seconds for the Syracuse Crunch to find the back of the net Saturday, but it was all downhill from there.

Seeing Brett Connolly and Alex Killorn crashing the net, Cory Conacher threw the puck on goal. After banking off one of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins defenders' skates, it slid past goalie Jeff Zatkoff.

"That was one good bounce we had all game," Conacher said.

AHL Game Day: 10-27-12 Penguins at Crunch

The Lightning's AHL affiliate suffers its first regulation regular season loss since the day of the Super Bowl.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for his first regulation loss of the year. Your serve, Riku.

First Period
SYR Conacher, (5) (Killorn, Connolly), 0:38
WBS Tangradi, (3) (Grant), 14:10

Second Period
WBS Holzapfel, (2) (Gibbons, Reese), 5:35
WBS Bennett, (1) (Smith, Ferriero), 7:57 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Tangradi, (4) , 18:06 (EN)

Cory Conacher was the game's second star.

Coincidentally, the Norfolk Admirals also lost their first game of the season tonight, finally snapping that franchise's regular season win streak. Quite the run for both these players in Syracuse and that franchise down in The Commonwealth.

Syracuse gets Adirondack tomorrow afternoon, presumably with the big Finn Helenius between the pipes.

Box score from

NCAA Game Night: 10-26-12

No. 19 Colorado College Tigers 0 @ No. 7 Cornell Big Red 2

D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

Cornell opened their regular season with a shutout win over visiting Colorado College. Senior John Esposito (undrafted) scored both goals for the Big Red. Lightning prospect Kirill Gotovets is looking to build on the eight points he accumulated last season as a sophomore.

No. 3 Miami RedHawks 2 @ No. 7 Michigan Wolverines 4

F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 4 GP, 0-2-2, E, 2 PIM

Jimmy Mullin set up teammate Cody Murphy on the power play to give Miami a short-lived 1-0 lead, but the RedHawks gave up two third period goals to lose in Michigan, 4-2. Jets first round defenseman Jacob Trouba had two assists for Michigan. Lightning camper Austin Czarnik had a goal for Miami, his third of the season.

Alaska-Anchorage SeaWolves 1 @ No. 4 North Dakota Fighting Sioux 4

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM (tripping), 3 SOG
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM

Brendan O’Donnell (pictured) notched his first point of the season and North Dakota handled the SeaWolves, 4-1. Flames prospect Danny Kristo had three assists for the Sioux.

USA U-18 2 @ No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers 2 (exhibition)

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Did not play
Season totals (pregame): 2 GP, 2-0-0, 1.31 GAA, .913 sv%, 0 SO

Freshman Adam Wilcox got the night off for the Gophers in an exhibition match against the USA Under-18 squad. The Gophers play again on Sunday against Cory Conacher's alma mater, Canisius.

AHL Game Night: 10-19-12 Crunch at Devils

Tic gets on track.


Dustin Tokarski (pictured) allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for his first victory of the season. That was a very solid rebound performance, especially in the Third Period, after an ugly stat line on opening night. So Tic just raised Riku, and we'll see what Helenius can do tomorrow to answer. It's great to have two really good young goaltenders who are the cusp of making the jump to the bigs pushing each other.

First Period
ALB Hoeffel, (1) (Josefson), 0:58
SYR Johnson, (4) (Palat, Conacher), 7:45 (PP)
ALB Tedenby, (1) (Sestito), 16:44

Second Period
SYR Brown, (1) (Killorn, Namestnikov), 10:44 (PP)
SYR Angelidis, (3) (Barberio, Nightingale), 16:44

Third Period

Mike Angelidis and Mark Barberio were the game's first and third stars. Tic was robbed.

J.T. Brown scored his first goal as an AHLer to tie the game up in the second stanza.

There's a little rust on this Syracuse team that still needs to be knocked off. The east-west guys are still getting their timing back and the north-south guys, stylistically, are clearly ahead. So, I'd definitely say the Paniks and the Connollys are still feeling things out. It'll come, though. It's good to be 2-0-0-1 knowing these guys aren't close to what they're capable of yet.

For being such a young pup, Vladislav Namestnikov is holding his own. His power play assist from the Hershey game got switched to Cory Conacher shortly after the game, but he got his second helper of the season tonight and looks every bit as feisty as the scouting report says he is, even despite being on the skinny side. It wouldn't shock me, at all, if he had a really good second half once Coach Cooper gets him settled in. There's a slightly built guy wearing #12 for the Crunch who had a similar story last season.

Box score from

Conacher Takes Home Weekly Awards

The American Hockey League announced today that Syracuse Crunch left wing Cory Conacher was selected the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 14, 2012. Conacher was also named our prospect of the week here at Bolt Prospects. Since the AHL candidates for their award far outnumber the number of prospects in the Lightning organization, we listed the AHL’s award first. On pure importance, value, and prestige, ours would be listed first, of course. But we’re nice.


Conacher picked up where he left off last season when he was named the AHL’s Most Valuable Player and Most Outstanding Rookie. During the league’s opening weekend, Conacher potted two goals and added three assists. His center, Tyler Johnson, had three goals, and his opposite winger, Ondrej Palat, had three helpers over the weekend.

Leftover Notes from Syracuse's Home Opener

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Cory Conacher did a little bit of everything Saturday.

Besides supplying the Crunch with a goal and an assist, he played the point on the first power play unit and drove hard to the net when he wasn't. The last part surely got under the skin of Bears goalie Braden Holtby. The two met in the crease a few times, and at one point it appeared Holtby was throwing punches after the two crashed into the net.

"I just broke my stick and stumbled into him," Conacher said. "I'm the one that goes to the net and does that kind of stuff."

AHL Game Story: Crunch 4 Bears 3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Fruitless on four previous power play attempts, the Syracuse Crunch found themselves with a two-man advantage for nearly two full minutes early in the third period Saturday.

With plenty of extra time and space, it took only 34 seconds for Mark Barberio to set up Brett Connolly with a one-timer that beat Hershey Bears goalie Braden Holtby from the point.

"I had a few chances last night and tonight," Connolly said. "It's always nice to see the puck go in the net."

AHL Game Night: 10-13-12 Bears at Crunch

Syracuse hangs on hard against one of the league's perennial powers.


Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory, in a successful return to North American hockey. This battle between Helenius and Dustin Tokarski for the top spot between the pipes in Syracuse is going to rage all season, and both guys are going to be better for it. It's an embarrassment of riches to boast two guys who won championships last season in the AHL and Finnish SM-liiga, respectively. Good. Problem. To. Have.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (2) (Wyman), 11:23 (SH)

Second Period
SYR Johnson, (3) (Conacher, Palat), 5:36
HER Mitchell, (1) , 7:26 (SH)
HER Almeida, (1) (Taffe, DiSalvatore), 14:36
SYR Conacher, (2) (Taormina), 18:44

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (1) (Barberio, Conacher), 5:02 (PP)
HER DiSalvatore, (1) (Kundratek, Taffe), 13:04 (PP)

Cory Conacher (pictured) and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars. For my money, Conacher was the best player in the league the first half of last season and Johnson the best in the second half. Why wouldn't they lead the Crunch in the home opener this year? With a little offseason rest, Conacher looks every bit the pesky scorer that tore up the league to start last year.

Brett Connolly scored the winner to notch his first point of the season. It's only a matter of time until J.T. Brown and Richard Panik follow suit.

No offense to our friends in Hershey, but I have to confess to being a little stunned that this year's version of the Bears is the least stacked, on paper, I've seen in a while. Sure, there's some fine players like Orlov and Holtby, but without the likes of Bourque or Giroux, this year's team lacks the fear factor of many recent editions. It's going to be interesting to see how the division plays out over the course of the season.

The Crunch travel to Albany next on Friday.

Box score from

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