Syracuse Crunch

Panik, New Lines Lift Crunch Past Bears, 5-2


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After a tough overtime loss on Friday, Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler decided to shake up his lines.

The newly formed trio of Richard Panik, Vlad Namestnikov and Dana Tyrell found instant chemistry. The trio combined for four points Saturday, and added nine points in a 5-2 win over the Hershey Bears in the AHL Showcase at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Sunday.

Syracuse, which finished the weekend with five points in three games to break a recent slump, has won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-January. For Zettler, the effort has been there, but the team hasn't seen the rewards.

"Tonight I thought, from start to finish, it might have been our best hockey game," Zettler said. "The work ethic, the smarts, how to play it. It was just really good overall."

AHL Game Night: 2-23-14 Bears at Crunch

When Panik Attacks...

HER-2
SYR-5

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Namestnikov, (15) (Panik, Tyrell), 19:22

Second Period
HER Taffe, (15) (Stoa, Brouillette), 1:57 (PP)
SYR Panik, (2) (Tyrell, Namestnikov), 6:16
SYR Angelidis, (9) (Labrie, Landry), 10:32
HER Deschamps, (12) (Kolomatis, Wellman), 17:30

Third Period
SYR Tyrell, (7) (Panik), 9:01
SYR DiSalvatore, (8) (Connolly, Panik), 16:38 (PP)

Richard Panik and Dana Tyrell were the game's first and second stars. The Lightning organization has been waiting 4 and a half months for Richard Panik to wake up. With 1 goal and 3 assists tonight, the young Slovakian winger may very well have finally answered the bell. Beyond that, the Crunch got contributions from all their key prospects including Namestnikov and Connolly, leading to back-to-back pastings of Hershey.

Unfortunately, it's likely too little too late for Syracuse this season. Even with the wins over the past couple of games, the team is still a full 15 points out of 8th in the Eastern Conference. With that said, though, getting back to .500 for the season and playing the role of the conference's most feared spoiler heading into the playoffs is definitely a reasonable objective for this group to achieve, and it would set them up well for a comeback next season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-22-14 Crunch at Bears

Syracuse breaks out.

SYR-5
HER-0

Allen York stopped all 39 shots he faced for the shutout victory. With Kristers Gudlevskis coming back from the Olympics, tonight may have been York's last stand in Syracuse. He made the most of it.

First Period
SYR Witkowski, (1) (Korobov, DiSalvatore), 3:53
SYR DiSalvatore, (7) (Angelidis, Tyrell), 9:26

Second Period
SYR Panik, (1) (Namestnikov, Sergeev), 11:39 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Namestnikov, (14) (Landry, Mormina), 7:07
SYR Langelier-Parent, (1) (Richard, Rankin), 12:54

York, Jon DiSalvatore, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars. It was a game where almost all of the Crunch's struggling offensive stars, namely Namestnikov and Richard Panik, broke out. More than that, they even got contributions from the likes of Luke Witkowski and Maxim Langelier-Parent, in the form of both young men's first AHL goals. It's they kind of performance this team desperately needed to get their confidence back.

Box score
from TheAHL.com.

After Three Disallowed Goals, Crunch Fall to Comets in Overtime


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Mike Angelidis remained adamant after the game: It was in.

The Syracuse Crunch captain appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal on a wraparound early in the third period, but referee Graham Skilliter, who did not see the goal, ruled the video review to be inconclusive.

"It was a goal, I saw it clear as day," Angelidis said. "I saw it go over by a foot. Clear as day. There's nothing you can do. The ref's on the other side, he doesn't see it. It's frustrating, because everybody on the ice on our side and even their guys knew it went in."

The Crunch had three potential goals disallowed, including two by video review in the third period, and the Utica Comets rallied in overtime for a 2-1 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday. Syracuse has dropped 12 of its last 13 games.

"Our line had probably eight scoring chances tonight, we just couldn't get the one (goal)," Angelidis said. "When we did, it didn't count."

AHL Game Night: 2-21-14 Comets at Crunch

Power outage continues in Syracuse.

UTI-2
SYR-1 (OT)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the OT loss. It's another quality start wasted due to lack of goal support.

First Period
SYR Labrie, (2) (Paradis, Angelidis), 18:28

Second Period
UTI Jensen, (13) (O'Reilly, Pelletier), 12:30 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
UTI DeFazio, (9) (O'Reilly, Mullen), 4:02

Desjardins was the game's third star.

It's been a roller coaster season for Syracuse. When they've had dynamic offense, they couldn't keep the puck out of their own net. Now that they're getting better goaltending and defensive play, they can't score to save their own lives. It's hard to figure, really.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Richard Learning Lessons in Rookie Season


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tanner Richard remembers the view of the bench as much as the goal.

After accepting a pass from Cedric Paquette on a 2-on-1 and burying it for his first professional goal last month, the Syracuse Crunch center felt joy and relief. It took 46 games, but the drought was over.

“It definitely took a while - a lot longer than I hoped for,” Richard said. “It was pretty special for me, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team so excited for a guy like that. After the first 20 games, everyone was pulling for me and trying to get me that goal.”

Like many players, Richard’s rookie season has been full of firsts.

Namestnikov Adds NHL Experience to Development Path


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Vlad Namestnikov received the unexpected news earlier this month.

The Syracuse Crunch center went through a range of emotions when he learned he would be making his National Hockey League debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning Feb. 8.

“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Namestnikov recalled. “Nerves, excitement -- everything together.”

During the first 31 games of his sophomore season, Namestnikov accumulated 13 goals and 30 points to earn the look from the Lightning. Despite already eclipsing his rookie season output of 28 points in 62 games, the first step onto the NHL ice seemed imposing.

“The first period I just couldn’t believe I was there,” Namestnikov said. “Everything seemed so fast and everyone was so big.”

AHL Game Night: 2-15-14 Crunch at Admirals

John Gibson holds off the Crunch.

SYR-1
NOR-2

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the loss. He probably deserved better.

First Period
NOR Wagner, (7) (Exelby), 3:08 (SH)
NOR Etem, (12) (Smith-Pelly, Grant), 12:56 (PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Korobov, (2) (Paquette, Mormina), 11:33 (PP)

Desjardins was the game's third star. Norfolk goaltender John Gibson allowed just 1 goal on 46 shots over the 2 games this weekend. Last night was mostly a product of Syracuse's offensive ineptitude, but this time they applied more pressure and Gibson stood up to the task.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-14-14 Crunch at Admirals

Crunch find no love in Norfolk.

SYR-0
NOR-2

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the loss. It's impossible to win a game if the team in front of you doesn't score for you.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NOR Rakell, (11) (Smith-Pelly, Etem), 4:01

Third Period
NOR Smith-Pelly, (17) (Etem), 6:41

Norfolk outshot Syracuse 26-17 in the contest. 17 shots on goal simply won't get it done against a quality opponent like the Norfolk Admirals.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Comeback Spoiled By Falcons in Overtime


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Trailing 4-2 heading into the final period, the Syracuse Crunch started to play desperate hockey.

The Crunch, who dropped eight out of the nine contests coming into the game, needed a rally. Syracuse outshot Springfield 19-2 in the third period and scored three times to force overtime.

But a shot tipped in front of goalie Allen York spoiled the Syracuse comeback, as the Falcons topped the Crunch, 6-5, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

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