Tanner Richard doesn’t fit easily into a single category.
The Crunch forward, a top point producer in junior, turned into a grinder during his rookie campaign with Syracuse last season. With more opportunity on a scoring line this year, Richard has a shootout winner and six points — four of which came in the last three games — and 32 penalty minutes in his first 13 games this season.
Richard is hoping his versatility makes him a mainstay in the Crunch lineup — no matter what line he’s assigned.
“That’s what I was drafted as, a point producer,” the 21-year-old center said. “My numbers were nowhere near where they needed to be and where I wanted them to be last year, so that was frustrating. I’m just hoping I can produce and provide secondary scoring for the team and contribute that way. At the same time, be gritty in front of the net and stand up for teammates.”
The Gourde and Richard Show rolls on.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 22 shots and stopped 2 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win.
ALB Timmins, (5) (Thompson), 1:06
SYR Gourde, (3) , 4:49
SYR Vermin, (4) (Dotchin, Marchessault), 2:52
ALB Sestito, (3) (Scarlett), 2:44
SYR- Gourde, Richard
Joel Vermin and Tanner Richard were the game's first and third stars. After posting just 1 point in 8 games in the month of October, Yanni Gourde had 3 goals and 6 points in 5 games in November. Richard, who faced the same futility at the scoresheet in October, has 2 goals and 5 points in 5 games this month, and obviously had the shootout winner tonight.
I also remain pleasantly surprised by the production of some of the Lightning's middle-tier rookie blueliners. Both Dylan Blujus and Jake Dotchin continue to hover around a half a point a game and are on the plus side of the ledger for the year.
With the win, Syracuse climbs into 8th place in the Eastern Conference, just 2 points back of division leaders Hartford and Bridgeport. Syracuse faces Hershey next on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Dalton Smith has taken the wisdom from his father and uncles to heart.
The Syracuse Crunch power forward, whose father, Derrick Smith, and uncles, Keith and Wayne Primeau, each played more than 500 NHL games, was told to find a way to make an impact in every game.
Smith, known more for his work with his fists than producing points, scored twice in each of his last two games to take the team lead in goals scored.
“They always talk about not blending into games, and always standing out and doing something every night to get yourself noticed,” the 22-year-old said. “And to put as many tools as you can in your toolbox, and I think that’s what I worked on a lot this summer.”
Comeback Crunch craft a point.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 35 shots for the loss. Patience is the word of the hour with Vasya. Patience. It'll come.
SYR Smith, (5) (Cote, Blujus), 2:06
WBS Megna, (5) (Ebbett, Bennett), 4:25
SYR Richard, (2) (Gourde, Blujus), 12:24
WBS Chorney, (2) (Bennett, Rust), 16:11 (PP)
WBS Pouliot, (2) (Bennett, Ebbett), 0:57 (PP)
WBS Megna, (6) (Bennett, Dumoulin), 5:04
SYR Richard, (3) (Gourde, Nesterov), 12:07
SYR Smith, (6) (Nesterov, Marchessault), 17:41 (PP)
WBS Dea, (4) (Dumoulin, Pouliot), 3:21
Syracuse had a strong 2 goal comeback in the Third Period to steal a point on the road, keyed by the play of Dalton Smith and Tanner Richard. Richard has 2 goals and 4 points in the last 2 games, and Smith has 4 goals over the same span to take the Syracuse team lead in goals. People forget Smith is a former 2nd round, 34th overall pick. He has always had some power forward potential and upside greater than that of just a lumberjack.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
After allowing a pair of power play goals in the first 16 minutes, the Syracuse Crunch searched for momentum.
A big fight at the end of the first period, a penalty shot at the beginning of the second and line juggling provided sparks that were quickly snuffed out.
But after Syracuse netted two goals in the first five minutes of the third, the Crunch came alive. Syracuse scored four unanswered goals in the final frame to stun the Norfolk Admirals, 5-4, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"There were times during the game, like after the (Jonathan) Marchessault goal and after the (Eric) Neilson fight, like we had the momentum, but we let it slip away," said Crunch forward Dalton Smith, who finished with a pair of goals. "That third (period), we didn't let it slip away."
Turning point of the early season?
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the win. He wasn't good, and gave up a couple of questionable goals. But, the Crunch had his back in the Third Period tonight.
NOR Theodore, (2) (Wagner, Sarault), 5:47 (PP)
NOR Theodore, (3) (Winchester), 15:10 (PP)
SYR Marchessault, (5) , 6:15 (PS)
NOR Leblanc, (2) (Sarault, Kerdiles), 15:32
NOR Blacker, (1) (Steckel, O'Brien), 17:29
SYR Smith, (3) (Angelidis, Koekkoek), 3:51
SYR Gourde, (1) (Richard), 4:32
SYR Smith, (4) (Cote, Blujus), 14:38
SYR Gourde, (2) (Richard, Paradis), 15:23
Yanni Gourde, Dalton Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault were the game's three stars. Gourde gets the monkey off his back in a big way after not potting a goal all season by getting 2, including the game winner.
Being down 3 goals in the Third Period in pro hockey is supposed to be a death sentence. Teams in that position seem to lose 98-99% of the time. It's a rare and sometimes galvanizing thing if a team can come back against those odds, and a hugely demoralizing thing to the team that blows that kind of lead. So, for Syracuse to overcome those odds tonight is no small thing, and is likely to give them some momentum as a team that they can carry forward from here on out into the season. Big, big win.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out the role Tanner Richard played in the comeback, as the next wave of Lightning prospects starts to step it up.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch had a pair of leads, but let them slip away.
Syracuse went ahead with a goal early in the third period, but the Norfolk Admirals evened the score with a shorthanded goal and scored two minutes into overtime to win, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
"Hockey is pretty simple," said Crunch assistant captain Jean-Philippe Cote. "At this level, if you just tip toe and try to not take a hit to make a play, the other team is going to make you suffer the consequences. That's what happened tonight."
Joel Vermin has put last year behind him.
The Crunch forward, who finished with a disappointing 18 points in 49 games with Bern of the Swiss A-League, has found a role on one of Syracuse's top lines and registered six points in his first nine games this season.
"Last year was last year," Vermin said. "I don't really think about that too much. It was a learning process for me."
For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, a leader doesn't have to be the loudest one on the ice.
Case in point: Crunch assistant captain and frequent Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette.
A player known for his high compete level, Paquette has registered seven points in five games with the Crunch and has developed into a quality depth player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who recalled the second-year pro on Tuesday.
"I like what he brings to the table on the ice," Zettler said of the 21-year-old forward. "His work ethic in practice, his work ethic in a game -- it doesn't change. That's what I like about him, and that's why he has an A on his sweater. You don't always have to be a loud or a vocal guy to be a leader."
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory. Goal support: Kristers has it, tonight.
SYR Marchessault, (3) (Dotchin, Paquette), 1:38
SYR Koekkoek, (1) (Blujus, Richard), 9:05 (PP)
BNG Pageau, (3) (Wideman, Robinson), 10:23
BNG Puempel, (2) (Dzingel), 12:26
SYR Kunyk, (2) (Paradis, Gourde), 3:06
SYR Vermin, (3) , 4:39
BNG Wideman, (7) (Mullen), 6:48 (PP)
SYR Smith, (2) (Dotchin), 12:13
SYR Paquette, (4) (Vermin), 17:05
Joel Vermin and Cedric Paquette were the game's first and second stars. Defenseman Slater Koekkoek scored his first AHL goal in the contest, as well. And, there was #blujuspalooza happening on that goal, too.
They really faced down a hot goaltender last night, which happens, and were unfortunate to get shut out, but the scoreboard wasn't indicative of the team's play. They were doing a lot of the right things to snap their offensive funk, and the floodgates finally came open for them tonight. Hopefully they stay open now even if Paquette has to go back to the Lightning with Alex Killorn getting hurt again up top.
Syracuse gets Norfolk on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.