Syracuse Crunch

Prospect of the Week: February 11, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for February 12 is … Alex Killorn, C/W, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA)

More than five years after his draft day, Alex Killorn made his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning at the world’s most famous arena.

Killorn, a third round pick of the Bolts in 2009, had an assist on Sunday in the Lightning’s 5-1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Killorn started on the third line, but worked his way up to a scoring line with Vincent Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell by game’s end. He brought grit on the forecheck and his willingness to play in front of the net resulted in an assist.

The Lightning brought Killorn to the big club to add size and skill to the Bolts’ third line. Dana Tyrell was waived and assigned to AHL Syracuse.

Panik Brings Size, Skill to Lightning

For the second time in two days, the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled one of their top prospects from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

On Sunday, the Bolts announced that center/winger Alex Killorn would join the NHL club for his NHL debut against the New York Rangers. Killorn had an assist and played well in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers.

On Monday, the NHL club put forward Ryan Malone on injured reserve and called-up second year pro Richard Panik. The Slovakian winger is expected to make his NHL debut at home against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Panik is second on the Crunch in goals with 21 and fourth in points with 35 in 43 games. His plus-19 rating is tied for second on the club and third in the league. He sits fourth in the AHL in goals.

He is a logical replacement for Malone, who plays a power forward role with the big club. Panik is a skill forward in a power forward’s body and exhibits a power forward’s mentality in traffic. While listed at 6-1, his strength is impressive as players frequently bounce off him when trying to make a hit. He’s not shy about dropping the gloves and he’s already blown last year’s penalty minute total of 62 out of the water (79).

AHL Game Night: 2-10-13 Crunch at Phantoms

Last night's collapse continues into today's match.

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ADK-6

Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 14 shots for the loss before giving way to Dustin Tokarski, who allowed 2 on 12 shots the rest of the way. At some point you'd like one of your two championship pedigree goaltenders to step up and act like it and steal you a game rather than getting lit up like Roman candles.

First Period
ADK Gustafsson, (4) , 7:02

Second Period
ADK Mangene, (2) (Sim), 0:37
ADK Dimmen, (3) (Mangene, Sim), 10:56
ADK Laliberte, (2) (Syvret, Akeson), 12:34 (PP)

Third Period
ADK Eddy, (2) (Wellwood, Lauridsen), 1:30
ADK Laliberte, (3) (Akeson, Noebels), 13:21
SYR Johnson, (23) (Connolly, Neilson), 18:38 (PP)

This is the kind of embarassing loss where you'd expect Julien BriseBois to start looking to make some moves, now. The Crunch let some valuable veteran components like Segal, Smith, and Jackson walk over the offseason with the thought there was enough good youth to handle it. And, yes, there is a lot of good youth. But, in my mind, a piece needs to be added to, at the very least, try to fill some of what was lost between Conacher and now, possibly, Alex Killorn, to Tampa Bay.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

At Long Last, Killorn Headed to NHL

If Lightning prospect Alex Killorn makes his NHL debut today for Tampa Bay as expected, it will mark 2,060 days from his draft day to debut.

The Lightning play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Killorn, a 2007 third round pick of the Bolts, was scratched last night by the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, leading to speculation he will be recalled by the Lightning for the first time in his career.

Syracuse Post-Standard Crunch reporter Lindsay Kramer confirmed with Killorn after the game that he was headed to the big show.

"It's a really good feeling. You don't know when it's going to come,'' Killorn told Kramer, who also reported Killorn’s mother cried when the 23-year-old Montreal native told her the news.

Killorn is a rookie in the AHL though he finished last season with the Norfolk Admirals upon graduating from Harvard University. Killorn graduated from Harvard and won an AHL championship within a few weeks of each other.

His mother likely cried then, too.

AHL Game Night: 2-9-13 Devils at Crunch

Third Period choke.

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SYR-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 21 shots. Really, it was 4 goals on 8 shots in the Third Period. Not good.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Namestnikov, (3) (Wyman, Oberg), 1:39
SYR Johnson, (21) , 19:48

Third Period
ALB Whitney, (12) (Anderson), 4:03
ALB Parse, (1) (Gelinas, Anderson), 10:32 (PP)
ALB Anderson, (9) (McKelvie, Zajac), 12:01
ALB Sestito, (7) (Sislo, Wiseman), 17:40
SYR Johnson, (22) (Connolly), 19:38

Evan Oberg was the game's third star. Remember Evan Oberg? 5 points in 33 games is almost unthinkable considering how productive and active he was last season.

What an epic melt down. At least the Crunch finally got Tyler Johnson off the side of the milk carton.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Falter in Third, Fall to Devils 4-3


By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Tyler Johnson, it was a game he'd rather just forget.

Despite tallying a pair of goals to break out of an 11-game drought, the Syracuse Crunch forward had trouble coming up with words to describe the third period.

The Crunch, who came into the frame with a two-goal lead on the Albany Devils, allowed four straight goals in a 4-3 loss at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. One night after snapping a two-game losing streak, Syracuse found itself with the same problems that caused it to drop six out of the previous eight.

"It was just a lot of stupid mistakes, it was uncharacteristic of our team," Johnson said. "I can't really think of a word except horrendous; it just wasn't good. Our effort was there, it was just dumb. We didn't play smart."

Panik's Goal Lifts Crunch Over Phantoms, 4-2


By Jeremy Houghtaling

With a subtle pump of the fist, Richard Panik's celebration showed his goal was more alleviating than exhilarating.

After his team squandered a two-goal lead against the Adirondack Phantoms, the Syracuse Crunch forward picked up a loose puck that ricocheted off a defenseman, and fired it low blocker-side. It wasn't his prettiest, but it counted all the same.

"I was so relieved that I scored and I put the team in the lead," Panik said.

The Slovakian winger's team-leading 21st goal of the season stood up as the game-winner, and Philip-Michael Devos added an insurance marker, as the Crunch snapped their two-game losing streak with a 4-2 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday night.

AHL Game Night: 2-8-13 Phantoms at Crunch

Getting back on track.

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SYR-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (7) (Cote), 14:33

Second Period
SYR Connolly, (18) (Killorn), 4:20
ADK FitzGerald, (1) (Syvret), 5:37
ADK Laliberte, (1) (Akeson, Dimmen), 12:20

Third Period
SYR Panik, (21) (Gauthier, Namestnikov), 9:15
SYR Devos, (3) (Connolly), 17:30

Richard Panik, Brett Connolly, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars. That's some impressive leadership by example by three of the team's best players.

It was a long week of hard work and soul searching for the Crunch as they continue to try to establish an identity in the post-lockout world. Fortunately, they got a result from their work right out of the chute, which is important to validate what they've put into the process so far and to keep it going.

Albany comes to town tomorrow. Syracuse moves within 2 points of Binghamton for both the East Division and the Eastern Conference lead.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Top Lightning Prospects Confident Crunch Can Stop Slide


By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch's recent slide is the result of a myriad of factors.

After losing two straight games and six of their last seven, it is impossible for the Crunch to pinpoint one specific problem. With a little bit of everything to blame, the answers range from a mix of bad luck and tough opposition in net to defensive lapses and a lack of scoring.

“We just haven’t been playing the way we want to play,” said Crunch forward Tyler Johnson.

The Crunch hopes to remedy one of those problems, an absence of offense, by combining their top three point-scorers on the same line. With Tampa Bay Lightning prospects Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Brett Connolly practicing on the same unit, Syracuse hopes it becomes the team's slump-buster when Albany and Adirondack visit the Onondaga County War Memorial on Friday and Saturday.

Crunch Continue to Struggle, Fall to Amerks 5-3


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Richard Panik was in the right place at the right time.

The Syracuse Crunch forward, stationed just outside the Rochester Americans' crease, watched as the puck trickled away from a sprawling David Leggio.

"I was standing on the goal line and I tapped it in," Panik said.

With the game tied, the tide seemed to turn in the Crunch's favor.

But that feeling was brief.

Before the goal was finished being announced, Rochester retook the lead on a Rick Schofield goal. The Americans scored three more times before the Crunch could respond, as Syracuse fell 5-3 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

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