By Jeremy Houghtaling
It took all of 38 seconds for the Syracuse Crunch to find the back of the net Saturday, but it was all downhill from there.
Seeing Brett Connolly and Alex Killorn crashing the net, Cory Conacher threw the puck on goal. After banking off one of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins defenders' skates, it slid past goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
"That was one good bounce we had all game," Conacher said.
The Lightning's AHL affiliate suffers its first regulation regular season loss since the day of the Super Bowl.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for his first regulation loss of the year. Your serve, Riku.
SYR Conacher, (5) (Killorn, Connolly), 0:38
WBS Tangradi, (3) (Grant), 14:10
WBS Holzapfel, (2) (Gibbons, Reese), 5:35
WBS Bennett, (1) (Smith, Ferriero), 7:57 (PP)
WBS Tangradi, (4) , 18:06 (EN)
Cory Conacher was the game's second star.
Coincidentally, the Norfolk Admirals also lost their first game of the season tonight, finally snapping that franchise's regular season win streak. Quite the run for both these players in Syracuse and that franchise down in The Commonwealth.
Syracuse gets Adirondack tomorrow afternoon, presumably with the big Finn Helenius between the pipes.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
This week 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.
This week’s winner is no stranger to winning.
The Prospect of the Week for October 23 is … Dustin Tokarski, goaltender, Syracuse Crunch (AHL - USA)
Despite winning a Calder Cup last season, Lightning goaltending prospect Dustin “Tic” Tokarski wasn’t guaranteed anything when he moved with Tampa Bay’s affiliation from Norfolk to Syracuse. Even with a Calder Cup, World Juniors gold medal, Memorial Cup, Ed Chynoweth Cup (WHL), and Telus Cup (Canadian Midget-level hockey) on his resume, the Saskatchewan native had to outplay former Lightning first rounder and Finnish import Riku Helenius for the right to start the Crunch’s season-opening game.
Four months ago the 22-year-old, in his second professional season, hoisted the Calder Cup with the Norfolk Admirals and was named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the American Hockey League's top defenseman – and he's the first to point out those accomplishments are in the past tense.
"It was one season, and I'm not going to sit on that season and say 'Yeah, I had a good year,'" Barberio said. "That's all great, but there's a new season now and it's time to get back at it and win hockey games again."
Last season, Barberio notched 61 points in 74 regular season games and followed with nine points in 18 playoff contests. Now the Syracuse Crunch power play quarterback, it took Barberio a little more than five minutes to find the back of the net in the season opener in Rochester.
Tic goes 3-0-0-0 for the weekend.
Dustin Tokarski allowed just 1 goal on 21 shots to collect his third victory of the weekend and the season. He came within 1:57 of the shutout before Phillipe Dupuis popped in a power play goal to spoil the bid.
SYR Aulie, (1) (Palat, Connolly), 3:38
SYR Conacher, (4) (Connolly, Palat), 16:03 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (5) (Barberio, Killorn), 17:54 (PP)
WBS Dupuis, (2) (Dumoulin, Reese), 18:03 (PP)
Keith Aulie (pictured), Brett Connolly, and Tokarski were your three stars. Aulie popped in his first goal of the season, which was his 6th in 115 career AHL games. He's the secret weapon. Connolly raised himself up to a point a game pace with his second multi-point outing in as many nights.
These two teams rematch Saturday in Syracuse. The Crunch moved into a one point lead over Norfolk in the division with the W.
Box score from TheAHL.com.