In his first taste of professional hockey last season, Tanner Richard learned the importance of being versatile.
The Syracuse Crunch forward started his first game on the fourth line, but was promoted to the top line after a mid-game injury. The lines shuffled a few more times, and after reinforcements were sent for the team’s Calder Cup run, the 20-year-old fresh out of junior was back to a grinding line to finish out his eight-game stint.
Although he was a playmaking first-line center with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm, Richard has become acclimated with his role changing on a game-to-game or shift-to-shift basis.
The teams will square off again Saturday night.
Game recap from Syracusecrunch.com.
Oh so close to getting the 2 points in the final road game of the season.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the loss. Yuck.
LE Thomas, (22) (Hishon, Lauridsen), 4:13
SYR Sexton, (8) (Palat, Richard), 18:28
SYR Namestnikov, (6) (Sustr, Korobov), 10:50 (PP)
LE Connolly, (9) (Thomas, Beaupre), 14:14
LE Vincour, (15) (Pock, Sullivan), 18:34 (PP)
SYR Sustr, (1) (Korobov, Namestnikov), 2:03 (PP)
SYR Devos, (6) (Brown, Taormina), 3:26
LE Vincour, (16) (Hishon, Carey), 9:42
LE Agozzino, (19) (Walker, Pock), 2:49
Ondrej Palat got the extremely rare penalty shot in Overtime, but failed to convert against Lake Erie netminder Kent Patterson.
Congratulations to Andrej Sustr on his first pro point, first pro goal, and first pro multi-point game.
Tanner Richard got a helper. In related news, water is wet.
Syracuse is now 3 points back of Providence and 1 points back of Springfield in the conference and 3 points ahead of Binghamton in the division. They head home for a hugely important 5 game homestand to finish the regular season. With Ryan Malone back for Tampa Bay, might Coach Zettler get back one of his star players for the kick at the finish line?
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Rob Zettler's first win allows Syracuse to keep pace in the East.
Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 20 shots for the big win. Once again, he's eased his season save percentage up to .900.
SYR Cote, (3) (Devos, Hutchings), 10:07
HER Crabb, (2) (Taffe, Schmidt), 19:05
SYR Palat, (12) (Richard, Sexton), 3:50
Ondrej Palat and J.P. Cote were the game's first and second stars.
This is how Syracuse has to scratch out wins with their finishers called up to Tampa Bay. It's got to be low scoring games and finding a way to get key goals at key times. Providence and Springfield won tonight, and Binghamton is going down late to Norfolk. If that holds, that will leave Syracuse 2 points behind Providence for tops in the East and 2 points clear of Binghamton for the East Division lead. Syracuse's last road game of the regular season is Tuesday against Lake Erie. They'll end with 5 straight at home, which might be edge they need to take the top spot in the East.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
It's all still sinking in for Tanner Richard.
After finishing up his first practice with the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday afternoon, the 2012 third-rounder -- one of two draftees signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday -- was just beginning to take in his new surroundings.
"My phone has been ringing off the hook since Monday,” Richard said. “It just doesn't stop beeping. Every time I look there's 15 or 20 messages from Facebook and Twitter and everything. Honestly, I'm trying to soak it all in and have a good time."
Richard wasn’t the only fresh face getting acquainted to a new team at the Onondaga County War Memorial. Defenseman Luke Witkowski (pictured), a sixth-round pick in 2008 who finished up his senior season at Western Michigan University, also donned a Crunch sweater for the first time.