Jon Cooper? Still Jedi.
Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory.
SYR Connolly, (25) (Namestnikov, Devos), 6:08
SYR Cote, (2) (Angelidis, Nightingale), 6:38
SYR Panik, (22) (Connolly, Sexton), 10:38 (PP)
SYR Brown, (9) (Angelidis, Mikkelson), 7:22
SYR Devos, (4) (Connolly, Namestnikov), 9:11
SYR Connolly, (26) (Barberio, Oberg), 9:57 (PP)
ALB Kelly, (2) (Wohlberg), 8:00
ALB Whitney, (22) (Zalewski, Anderson), 12:38
With Tyler Johnson up in Tampa, Connolly becomes the Crunch's hope for hardware and plaudits. He currently sits in 3rd in the league in scoring, 4 points back of Grand Rapids' Gustav Nyquist. His 26 goals are also now tied for 5th is the AHL.
Vladdy Namestnikov continuing to play well continues to bode very well for the future.
As good a coaching job as Jon Cooper did last season, if he wins the Eastern Conference and even manages to post the best record in the AHL this season, it'll be an even more amazing job. It's hard to believe that with half of his team's core torturing the Carolina Hurricanes in Tampa, Cooper's team still managed to fly out to a 6-0 lead in Albany. He's a special coach. I can't say anything more and still do it justice.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Shootout in Syracuse.
Cedrick Desjardins was back with the Crunch tonight and stopped 34 of 37 before allowing 1 of 4 to convert in the shootout session to take the SO Loss.
SYR Namestnikov, (4) (Devos, Barberio), 1:43
NOR Wilson, (6) (Brittain, Guenin), 5:55
NOR Wagner, (5) , 11:14
NOR Brittain, (10) (Clark, Lindholm), 6:23
SYR Nightingale, (2) (Angelidis, Namestnikov), 7:19
SYR Angelidis, (10) (Taormina, Barberio), 19:40
I guess tonight was the first time you could honestly say this Syracuse roster was nearly unrecognizable compared to the team the organization has iced much of the last 2 years. No more Conacher or Johnson or Palat. No more Gudas on the backline. Tokarski traded.
All that said, it's a hopeful sign the team was competitive tonight and that one of the next wave, Vlad Namestnikov, stepped up in an expanded role. That's the way it's going to have to be the rest of the way with the Lightning floundering and so many of the veteran prospects getting their chance in Tampa Bay.
The Crunch face Albany tomorrow. Syracuse holds a 3 point edge in the Eastern Conference with the Crunch holding a 2 point edge of Binghamton and a 3 point edge on Springfield and Providence.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Crunch sweep homecoming weekend in dramatic fashion.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the victory after Jon Cooper chose to pass over Riku Helenius for the start and keep the same netminder for the back end of the two game set. We'll see if Riku goes on Wednesday or if Cooper has evoked the "stick with a winner" selection process.
NOR Kurtz, (3) (Vatanen, Rosehill), 2:54
SYR Killorn, (13) (Wyman, Gudas), 3:48
NOR Maroon, (10) (Vatanen, Sexton), 12:28 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (2) (Labrie), 17:58
SYR Panik, (17) (Connolly, Cote), 3:46
NOR Palmieri, (11) (Vatanen), 11:39 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (13) (Killorn), 2:21
Brett Connolly was the game's first star. He's been pretty consistent all season, statistically. If you look at his last 22 games, for instance, he was only held off the scoresheet in 6 of those games. That's got to make Coach Cooper, and Guy Boucher for that matter, smile.
Richard Panik is now just 2 goals shy from his total of all last season. The Panik attack has lit the lamp 4 times in the last 3 games.
Vladislav Namestnikov is also consistently finding the scoresheet since his return from injury. He got his second pro goal tonight and he has 2 goals and 3 points in the 5 games since he came off the shelf.
Alex Killorn had his 4th multi-point game in his last 9 outings. He was chipping in singles in the early part of the season, but now he's starting to really pick up steam in his rookie campaign.
Syracuse moves on Wednesday to face Rochester.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
For tonight, Tic and the Crunch are still the Kings of Norfolk.
Dustin Tokarski (pictured) stopped all 22 shots he faced for the shutout. The comfort of the old barn? Extra concentration going against his old uniform? Whatever it was, he put up the forcefield tonight in the Crunch players' return to the scene of many of their greatest career triumphs.
SYR Panik, (16) , 2:28 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (20) , 14:50
SYR Aulie, (3) (Killorn), 17:04
Tyler Johnson, Tokarski, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars. On January 4th, TJ becomes the first Syracuse player to reach the 20 goal plateau. The Panik attack, for his part, is now just 3 goals shy of his total from all of last season.
Vladislav Namestnikov checked first pro goal off his list recently, and tonight he had his first pro fight. So, that's all the low hanging fruit. Now he's got to move on to first pro multi-point game, first pro hat trick, etc. Right?
Let's be honest: there was no way in hell the Crunch were losing this game. They held Norfolk to just 11 shots on goal through 2 periods and it was pretty clear how focused the team was. They weren't going to stub their toe in the homecoming game. It just wasn't happening. Credit to the Admirals, they clearly wanted it badly, too.
Now, tomorrow night holds some intrigue. Presumably Riku Helenius will go in net and he doesn't have as fond a set of memories about Scope. It'll also be interesting to see Riku go against his teammate from last season in JYP, Sami Vatanen, who was a stellar defenseman in the SM-liiga. They won a championship together last season. But, that was last season.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
It was a night of firsts for the Syracuse Crunch.
But unfortunately for the Crunch, the firsts didn't stop there.
The St. John's IceCaps registered their first victory of the year after trailing at the first intermission, as the Crunch blew a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 overtime loss.
"I wish I was a little happier about it," Conacher said of his achievement. "Maybe sometime down the road I can get it and get a victory out of it, too."
Crunch's epic collapse ends in overtime defeat.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 33 shots for the overtime loss in his first start since returning from Finland over the holiday break. A goaltender of his caliber should not be coughing up a 4 goal lead, and goaltending remains one of the big question marks of this Syracuse team.
SYR Conacher, (12) (Labrie, Barberio), 15:50
SYR Killorn, (12) (Oberg), 18:25 (PP)
SYR Aulie, (2) (Killorn, Conacher), 5:20
SYR Namestnikov, (1) (Connolly, Palat), 7:40 (PP)
STJ O'Dell, (5) (Mouillierat, Klingberg), 8:31
STJ Postma, (6) (Clark), 11:15
STJ Gregoire, (6) (O'Dell, Maxwell), 1:53
STJ O'Neill, (1) , 7:32
STJ Chiarot, (1) (Maxwell, Macenauer), 4:40
Cory Conacher was the game's second star.
Congratulations to Vladislav Namestnikov on his first goal as a professional.
This loss is going to leave a sour, sour taste in Syracuse's mouth. They built a 4-0 lead and looked to be cruising before the wheels started coming off, particularly in a third period where they were outshot, 10-3. Along with mediocre goaltending, the tendency to only play 40 quality minutes of hockey rather than a full 60 has been a big bugaboo for this team. And, if Syracuse is going to try to grab a championship this season, those are two things they desperately need to remedy.
Syracuse is at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Monday, where they'll try to vindicate themselves after tonight's performance.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
As the Syracuse Crunch took the ice for warmups, they looked across the ice at something that gave them a range of emotions.
It was different. It was weird. It was somewhat-familiar.
It was the same bright blue, yellow and red Norfolk Admirals uniforms that most of the team wore last year during their amazing winning streak and ensuing run to the Calder Cup championship.
"You step out and you're skating around and you see them coming out of their lockerroom, and you're like 'Jeez, those jerseys look pretty familiar,'" Crunch defenseman Mark Barberio said. "After that, it comes down to you're playing hockey and they're the opposition."
Syracuse, the new affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored three power play goals in a 4-2 win over Norfolk, the former farm team, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
TJ and old Admirals beat down new Admirals.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 18 shots for the victory. He's won his last 2 starts, but his save percentage has dwindled all the way down to .901 after being at .913 to start the month of December. It's absolutely a cause for concern.
SYR Barberio, (6) (Connolly, Johnson), 9:42 (PP)
SYR Killorn, (11) (Namestnikov, Oberg), 12:12 (PP)
NOR Palmieri, (10) , 7:19
SYR Palat, (4) (Taormina, Johnson), 5:00
NOR Vatanen, (4) (Maroon, Wagner), 10:54
SYR Connolly, (13) (Panik, Palat), 16:15 (PP)
Tyler Johnson (pictured) and Richard Panik were the game's first and second stars. Panik attack y'all. Johnson's tied for 3rd in the league in scoring and is 2nd in goals. Unfortunately, given that 3/4 of Edmonton's NHL team is playing in Oklahoma City during the lockout, it's probably going to be tough for him to catch Jordan Eberle. Still, 3rd in the AHL in scoring during a lockout is damned impressive.
After giving the red light a one game holiday vacation, Alex Killorn scored yet another goal. That's 8 in his last 10 games. He's one of several guys, with Ondrej Palat also on that list, who might be playing themselves into contention for NHL jobs if the lockout ever lifts. It's an honest question the organization would have to ask itself: do you get more from a Tom Pyatt or a B.J. Crombeen than you'd get from a Killorn, Johnson, Conacher, Palat, Panik, etc?
Congrats to Vladislav Namestnikov on picking up a helper in his first game back since going on the shelf 2 months ago.
Syracuse faces the St. John's IceCaps tomorrow, with the Baby Thrasher-Jets still reeling from last year's Eastern Finals sweep and in dead last in the Atlantic Division.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
After only a handful of games, Jon Cooper saw the signs of what was to come from Vladislav Namestnikov.
The Syracuse Crunch head coach watched the same progression in many of the rookies on the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals last year, whether they were Tampa Bay Lightning picks like Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik, or undrafted free agents like Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher.
“Those guys that came in, felt out the league, learned it and after Christmas, took off,” Cooper said. “That’s where Vladdy would have been this year, but we’re just going to have to wait a few months for that to happen.”
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Quebec Remparts 3 @ Shawinigan Cataractes 2 (OT)
W Nikita Kucherov, QUE: Did not play
Season totals: 6 GP, 3-7-10, -1, 2 PIM
Nikita Kucherov sat for the second straight game, then after the game reports began to surface that Kucherov was on the QMJHL trading block. One reporter said Kucherov had been playing “lazy.” Quebec has three import players and one has to move, though it was assumed Kucherov and his good friend Mikhail Grigorenko would be the ones staying. Nick Sorensen is the other import player. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Kucherov was a surprise Import Draft selection because few expected him to be interested in coming to North America. Quebec’s Patrick Roy knew something others didn’t, and having Grigorenko on the Remparts was no doubt a big help in getting that talented Kucherov to North America. Kucherov could choose to return to Russia if he’s not happy with his next playing situation. Stay tuned.
Drummondville Voltigeurs 3 @ Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 6
C Cedric Paquette, BLB: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG, 2 Hits
Season totals: 22 GP, 10-16-26, +7, 45 PIM
Marc-Olivier Roy (undrafted) had two goals and an assist for the Armada in their win over the visiting Volts.
Val-d’Or Foreurs 5 @ Moncton Wildcats 4
D Artem Sergeev, VDO: 1-0-1, +1, 4 PIM, 1 SOG, 0 Hits
Season totals: 22 GP, 5-9-14, +6, 14 PIM
Artem Sergeev (pictured) snapped a 3-game scoreless streak with a goal in New Brunswick. He is within two goals of his career high of seven goals, scored last year in 46 games. Moncton outshot the Foreurs, 42-21, on Friday.
Ontario Hockey League
Brampton Battalion 4 @ Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds 3
D Dylan Blujus, BRAM: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM
Season totals: 22 GP, 2-8-10, -9, 20 PIM
Dylan Blujus scored his second goal of the year in a 4-3 win in Wayne Gretzky’s old stomping grounds. The Soo had a 2-0 lead entering the second period before the Battalion scored three times in the middle frame. Blujus had seven goals in 66 games last year.
Owen Sound Attack 2 @ London Knights 5
D Jake Dotchin, OS: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 21 GP, 1-4-5, E, 22 PIM
Former Lightning camper Seth Griffith (Bruins) had a goal and two assists for London and was given First Star honors. Griffith and Lightning prospect Vladislav Namestnikov were linemates last year in London. With the win, the Knights leapfrogged the Attack for first in the Midwest Division. They also took over the OHL lead in points by one over Barrie and Owen Sound.
Mississauga Steelheads 2 @ Guelph Storm 7
C/W Tanner Richard, GUE: 0-3-3, +2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 20 GP, 2-25-27, +6, 44 PIM
Tanner Richard had three helpers to regain the OHL assist lead from Islanders first rounder Ryan Strome (Niagara) at 25. Richard has played in two fewer games than Strome, who leads the league with 39 points. Former Lightning prospect Brock Beukeboom scored his first of the year for Guelph.
Peterborough Petes 3 @ Kingston Frontenacs 7
D Slater Koekkoek, PBO: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM
Season totals: 23 GP, 3-15-18, -14, 18 PIM
This was a 3-2 game halfway through the game until the Fronts exploded for a 7-3 win.