Syracuse scored four times with the man-advantage and Nikita Kucherov registered a hat trick, leading the Crunch past the Rochester Americans, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"He was special tonight," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler of Kucherov. "He made some really heady plays, just a smart player. He thinks the game and he's got skill. He makes plays happen."
The Crunch scored three power play goals in the second period of their home opener, and added another 24 seconds into the third.
Syracuse's home opener takes on a distinctly Russian (and Belarusian) flavor.
Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 18 shots for the victory. Life is good when your team gives you 5 goals of support and only allows a paltry 8 shots the first 40 minutes of the game.
SYR Brown, (1) (Nesterov, Namestnikov), 4:31 (PP)
SYR Sergeev, (1) (Connolly), 6:18 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (1) (Namestnikov, Taormina), 16:48 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (2) (Nesterov, Taormina), 0:24 (PP)
RCH Tardif, (1) (Varone, McNabb), 5:30 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (3) (Nesterov, Brown), 12:56
Nikita Nesterov, J.T. Brown, and Dmitry Korobov were the game's three stars. Bold choice by the Syracuse media not giving a nod to Nikita Kucherov, who introduced himself to the home fans with a hat trick.
For their part, the Russian/Belarussian trio of Nesterov, Sergeev, and Korobov (AKA the mythical 70's R&B cover band known as Eastern European Soul) got huge marks in the game. Nesterov had assists in triplicate and was +1 while Artem Sergeev scored his first professional goal, and Dmitry Korobov got himself involved in one of the big physical dust ups late in the game and earned the third star selection. That's a heck of a positive sign for the Crunch as these guys need to step up this year for Syracuse to continue the momentum they had last season as an elite level AHL club.
Rochester goaltender Matt Hackett got 16 penalty minutes in the game, including a roughing call, diving call, and unsportsmanlike call (all minors) in three separate incidents in the Second Period that he chased down with a 10 Misconduct and a Game Misconduct late in the Third Period. You don't often see an unglued mess like that between the pipes. Treasure the memory, Crunch fans.
Syracuse gets Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tomorrow at home.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
No longer a rookie, JT Brown’s role with the Syracuse Crunch has changed.
Last year, the Minnesota native learned how to grind it out and shut down the opposition’s top lines. At Thursday’s practice at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Brown was paired with first-rounder Vlad Namestnikov and top prospect Nikita Kucherov on a scoring line.
Philippe Paradis describes it as one of his best memories.
Surrounded by friends and family at the Bell Centre in Montreal, not far from his hometown of Normandin, Paradis was selected 27th overall by Carolina Hurricanes in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
As Paradis made his way to the stage, one TV analyst mentioned his height, 6-1, and his ability to shoot the puck – 95.7 mph in the hardest shot competition during the CHL Top Prospects Game.
Crunch waste a chance to get 2 points.
SYR Tyrell, (1) (Korobov, Rankin), 1:24
BNG Grant, (1) , 3:35 (SH)
SYR Tyrell, (2) , 15:41 (SH)
SYR Rankin, (1) (Angelidis), 18:58
BNG Cowick, (1) (Ceci), 6:42
BNG Zibanejad, (1) (Wideman), 9:13 (PP)
BNG Ceci, (1) (Petersson), 2:13
Dana Tyrell was the game's second star, leading an excellent effort by some of the veteran guys. The team also got excellent physical contributions from guys like Philippe Paradis, as well. It won't take long for the younger guys to adjust and start chipping in, too. As it is, though, it still hurts to squander a 2 goal lead in the final frame. Syracuse gets a week to stew on it until their home opener against Rochester.
Box score from TheAHL.com.