The return of The Entertainer.
Cedrick "The Entertainer" Desjardins made his Crunch debut stopping 23 of 26 for the win. Riku Helenius, who was named the AHL Player of the Week, got the night off.
SYR Tyrell, (3) (Hutchings, Angelidis), 9:40
SYR Johnson, (24) (Palat, Cote), 10:14
ALB Sislo, (3) (Zalewski, Urbom), 14:32 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (25) (Wyman), 3:45
ALB Zalewski, (9) (DeSimone, Urbom), 7:26
SYR Johnson, (26) (Palat, Korobov), 14:27 (PP)
ALB Josefson, (9) (Gelinas, Anderson), 18:28
SYR Connolly, (22) , 19:57 (EN)
So, after a month of struggling to regain their equilibrium, lookee at the standings and Syracuse is right back on top of the Eastern Conference standings, moving 1 point ahead of Bingo and Springfield. Jon Cooper = Jedi. Syracuse draws the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
For Mike Angelidis, one of the strengths of the Syracuse Crunch is its ability to remain positive.
Down by a goal in the third period to the Norfolk Admirals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday, the Crunch captain knew if his team poured on the pressure, it would find the game-tying goal.
Syracuse outshot Norfolk 23-4 in the third, finding the equalizer midway through the frame and and ultimately winning the game, 3-2, in the shootout. The Crunch has won five straight and seven of its last eight.
"It gets frustrating when you keep shooting the puck and missing the net or they're blocking shots," Angelidis said. "It's frustrating, but if you keep playing the game and you stay positive, good things happen."
In possibly their last game together as a group, Syracuse gets a win...
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the victory.
SYR Connolly, (14) (Gauthier, Korobov), 10:25
RCH Mancari, (9) (Porter, Finley), 13:14
SYR Panik, (18) (Palat, Cote), 6:50
SYR Angelidis, (6) (Killorn, Taormina), 10:54
RCH Adam, (8) (Rankin, Brennan), 19:26 (PP)
RCH Flynn, (11) (Tarnasky), 11:25
SYR Gauthier, (3) (Connolly, Devos), 12:20
SYR Wyman, (3) (Killorn), 18:11
Richard Panik (pictured) is just 1 goal shy of his total from all of last season, and the Panik attack might well be deserving of at least an abbreviated training camp look.
Alex Killorn has 5 multi-point games in his last 10 outings. He's another one who might deserve a look.
Good to see Ondrej Palat back after getting banged up in the first game in Norfolk over the weekend. He is one of those guys who is the straw that stirs the drink.
Things get interesting now. The team has a game against Norfolk in Syracuse on Friday night. Speculation around the league earlier this week had most training camps opening on Saturday. Head Coach Jon Cooper made a comment about possibly losing a lot of his current roster to the NHL, presumably for an abbreviated camp as the Lightning evaluate whether it's smart (I think it is) to add a couple of these AHLers who have been playing well and don't have any rust to shake off. Watch the transaction wire the next couple of days, because you might see callups from Florida of the ECHL that signal what's to come.
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.