Cory Conacher is doing everything he normally does.
The Syracuse Crunch forward is averaging roughly a point per game. He is dependable in all situations. And despite being listed at 5-8, he's constantly in players' faces and drawing the ire of the competition.
But five years removed from winning the AHL's Rookie of the Year award, Conacher is looking to become more of a leader as he wears the alternate captain's A with the Crunch.
"I've been working hard on and off the ice," Conacher said. "I try to show by example rather than talk as much. That's the way I lead. I work hard on the ice and I work hard off the ice, so that's hopefully getting to the young guys."
Crunch make good on the previous night's defeat.
Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. I think that might be his first quality start in a Crunch uniform.
10:27 UTI Zalewski (5), (Billins, Pelletier)
11:56 SYR Conacher (15), (Bournival, Peca)
12:30 SYR Ikonen (4), (Comrie, Thomas)(PP)
4:57 SYR Kurtz (3), (Peca, Condra)
8:44 SYR Froese (27), (Taormina, Conacher)(PP)
13:26 SYR Conacher (16), (McGinn)
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch answered quickly and kept plugging away.
The Crunch netted the equalizer 89 seconds after the Comets opened the scoring and went on to score five unanswered goals, as Syracuse routed rival Utica, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
“We thought we had a solid effort from the first to last minute,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “It was unfortunate that they took the lead, but we were able to answer back quickly. That gave us confidence for the rest of the game.”
Libor Hajek hopped over the boards for the first shift roughly 1:20 into the game.
The 19-year-old defenseman described the feeling simply. “Just nervous. That’s it.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2016 second round draft pick made his pro debut with the Crunch, but Syracuse was outmatched by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
“Libor was good. I like the way he skated,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Tough night for him. It’s tough to start your career in a game like this. Overall, I thought he did some good things.”
Crunch crushed by class of the conference.
5:22 WBS Di Pauli (2), (Dea, Pouliot)
10:54 WBS Porter (11), (Aston-Reese, Goers)
14:16 WBS Aston-Reese (2), (Porter)
15:19 SYR Bournival (6), (Conacher)(SH)
1:09 WBS Goers (4), (unassisted)
1:34 WBS Simon (13), (Haggerty, Prow)
Michael Bournival was the game's third star.
Tonight showed just how far Syracuse is from being a serious contender in the Eastern Conference with a slim number of regular season games to get well. Getting some players back from Tampa Bay would be helpful, but there's still way too much inconsistency from the players who stay behind in Syracuse.
Syracuse is tied atop the North Division at 75 points with Toronto and hold a game in hand on the Marlies. Nobody seems to really want to win this division. The Crunch keep teetering at the top of the table playing around .500 hockey recently, but nobody seems to want to seize the opportunity to overtake them.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
KHL Western Conference Finals
(2)St. Petersburg 5 vs. (4)Yaroslavl 4 (OT)
St. Petersburg Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 4-6-10, +2, 2 PIM
Regular season totals: 57 GP, 24-47-71, +33, 8 PIM
SKA overcame a 2 goal Third Period deficit with a comeback that included a tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to post a 5-4 Game One OT triumph over Yaroslavl in the KHL Western Conference Finals. Nikita Gusev scored the first goal of the comeback of the power play and then setup the game winner in Overtime. He played 18:51 in the match. Linemate Vadim Shipachyov had assists in triplicate for SKA in the win.
Tye McGinn knew he couldn’t sit around and sulk.
The Syracuse Crunch winger missed 53 games over the course of four-plus months as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery, but hardly took the time off. Instead, he put in the work to come back stronger than before.
McGinn and the Crunch have seen immediate dividends, as the veteran forward has points in eight of his last nine games since returning.
“I dedicated a lot of the four months of rehab to working hard,” McGinn said. “I wanted to be in top shape when I came back, and I did a lot of work with the trainers and felt really good coming back. I think our team is playing really well right now, and I’m just kind of working with everyone. The puck is just going in right now.”
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Libor Hajek (LEE-bohr, HIGH-ak) to a three-year, two-way entry level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Hajek, 19, skated in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League this season, recording four goals and 26 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound defenseman ranked second on the Blades for penalty minutes. Hajek also ranked second among all Saskatoon defensemen for assists (22) and points.
The Smrcek, Czech Republic native has appeared in 134 career WHL games, all with Saskatoon over the past two seasons, posting seven goals and 52 points to go along with 157 penalty minutes. He led all Saskatoon rookies for points and assists with 23 during the 2015-16 season. Hajek was selected second overall at the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.
Hajek was originally drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.
Libor Hajek signed a three-year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday.
The defenseman, who was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Lightning after they dealt Anthony DeAngelo to the Arizona Coyotes for the pick, wrapped up his second season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League last weekend.
Hajek also signed an amateur tryout with Syracuse, and Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said he is expected to practice with Syracuse Wednesday.
“I saw Libor in camp in September. He's a good, young defenseman who skates well,” Groulx said of the 6-2, 202-pounder. “We’ll see how it plays out with him. We’ve got to see him in practice first, and obviously it’s a huge adjustment playing against junior and against men.”
Peca delivers critical divisional victory for Syracuse.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed just 1 goal on 42 shots for the victory, helping the Crunch overcome a 42-28 shot disparity. Since the trade deadline, Gudlevskis has suddenly been locked in while veteran Mike McKenna has struggled, begging the question of who will really be the team's number one goaltender heading into the playoffs.
2:10 SYR Peca (9), (Bournival, Condra)
17:09 ALB Gibbons (13), (Stollery, Helgeson)
1:13 SYR Peca (10), (Taormina, McGinn)(PP)
With the victory, the Crunch move out to a 3 point lead in the North Division over Albany with the Devils now holding a game in hand.
Box score from TheAHL.com.