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."
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.
Getting back on track.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.
SYR Angelidis, (7) (Cote), 14:33
SYR Connolly, (18) (Killorn), 4:20
ADK FitzGerald, (1) (Syvret), 5:37
ADK Laliberte, (1) (Akeson, Dimmen), 12:20
SYR Panik, (21) (Gauthier, Namestnikov), 9:15
SYR Devos, (3) (Connolly), 17:30
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.
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.
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.
It's starting to feel like Rochester has Syracuse's number.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 21 shots for the loss. That's an ugly stat line and a bitter pill for the whole team to swallow when they outshot Rochester 46-21.
RCH Rissmiller, (1) (McNabb), 11:48 (PP)
SYR Panik, (20) (Wyman, Angelidis), 11:28
RCH Schofield, (6) (Varone, Legault), 12:06
RCH Crawford, (3) (McNabb, Rissmiller), 14:16 (PP)
RCH Sundher, (4) (Mancari, Porter), 7:34
RCH Porter, (14) (Mancari, Gauthier-Leduc), 9:21
SYR Connolly, (17) (Killorn, Korobov), 12:50
SYR Gauthier, (5) (Barberio), 17:23
Richard Panik notched his 20th goal of the season in the defeat. Alex Killorn is tied with Jason Zucker of Houston for second in rookie scoring behind Justin Schultz, whose callup to Edmonton puts the Rookie of the Year award in play for Killorn.
But first, Syracuse needs to shake off the futility of this weekend.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
A Bolt Prospects Alumni haunts his former organization.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 25 shots for the loss.
SPR Craig, (13) (MacLeod, Drazenovic), 0:42 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (16) (Killorn, Barberio), 8:37 (PP)
SPR Goloubef, (3) (Drazenovic, MacLeod), 10:46
SPR Chaput, (7) (Drazenovic), 12:51 (PP)
SPR Craig, (14) , 12:01 (SH)
SYR Wyman, (5) (Panik, Barberio), 16:53 (PP)
SYR Killorn, (16) (Jacques, Barberio), 18:04 (PP)
SPR Chaput, (8) (Craig), 19:08 (EN)
Bolt Prospects Alumni Ryan Craig with 2 goals, including the GWG, and assists on the empty netter to seal it. Cold blooded.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
It was the perfect recipe for some ruckus and a rally, and the Syracuse Crunch had all the ingredients.
Dragging a four-game losing streak into a game against the St. John's IceCaps, a team that had come back from a four-goal deficit the last times the teams squared-off, the already frustrated Crunch allowed three straight IceCaps goals and trailed 3-2 in the second period.
And then the gloves went flying.
Syracuse defenseman Dmitry Korobov crunched IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray in the corner, drawing a crowd. As the line brawl started, Crunch goalie Dustin Tokarski shared a look down the ice with fellow netminder Eddie Pasquale, shrugged, and before he knew it, was swinging at center ice.
"I was just running on adrenaline," Tokarski said. "It was fun. It's good to get the first one out of the way."
The fisticuffs sparked the Crunch, who scored four unanswered goals en route to a 6-3 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
Dustin Tokarski (pictured) allowed 3 goals on 18 shots before being kicked out of the game for leaving his crease to beat Eddie Pasquale like a drum. Key point: Eddie Pasquale is 6'3" 220 lbs. Tic is 6'0" 194 lbs. Didn't matter. Tic was like a rabid wolverine on its prey. He became a folk legend tonight. Oh, yeah, and Riku Helenius stopped all 15 shots he faced the rest of the way for the win (yawn).
SYR Killorn, (14) (Panik, Barberio), 14:50 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (4) , 17:37 (SH)
STJ Arsene, (1) (Mouillierat), 1:46
STJ Mouillierat, (4) (O'Dell, Melchiori), 2:35
STJ Cormier, (3) (Klingberg), 4:46 (PP)
SYR Wilson, (1) (Oberg, Panik), 9:16
SYR Killorn, (15) (Johnson, Barberio), 3:40 (PP)
SYR Cote, (1) (Angelidis, Killorn), 15:58
SYR Panik, (19) (Johnson, Korobov), 19:44
Alex Killorn and Richard Panik were the game's first and second stars. Panik's game was his first back from a 3 game suspension, and he came out like an animal that's been caged up too long with 1 goal and 3 points to show for his night. The Panik attack has equalled his goal total from a season ago and the sky is the limit if he keeps playing like that. Killorn snapped a personal three game scoreless streak in style with 2 goals and 3 points, as the entire Syracuse team had a breakthrough.
This was a huge win for this team, after suffering through the post-lockout malaise. They're still not at full strength with Taormina still out, but getting Panik tonight and winning an emotional, brawl-filled game by blowing a team off the rink in the Third Period goes a long way toward rekindling the club's confidence. They've been slowly recalibrating the bomb sites despite the setbacks and frustrations of the past few games, and tonight St. John's (and Eddie Pasquale's face, for that matter) was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Springfield is next on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
It was a proverbial staring contest, and neither netminder blinked.
Twenty scoreless minutes turned into 40, and before either the Syracuse Crunch or the Binghamton Senators were able to light the lamp, regulation had passed.
With 67 saves split between them, Robin Lehner stonewalled the Crunch and Dustin Tokarski came up big against the Senators, each keeping the game scoreless through an extra five minutes.
Stephane Da Costa was the first and only one to break through, scoring the lone shootout goal for Binghamton, as Syracuse dropped its fourth straight, 1-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.