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.
Post lockout misery continues...
Dustin Tokarski took the vicious, hard luck shootout loss stopping all 27 he faced in the real game and 3 of 4 in the penalty shot session.
Tokarski was the game's third star. How Robin Lehner got just second star after stopping 40 shots and 5 shooters is beyond me, but they gave the top spot to DaCosta for the winner in the shootout.
The Crunch will try to post the slump buster again tomorrow against St. John's.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
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 January 23 is … Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA)
Last week the North American sports world’s biggest headlines were about a story that was fake. During the college football season, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o was the subject of multiple stories documenting his inspirational play in memory of his deceased girlfriend. It was a heart-wrenching story… until it was proven to be false. Te’o was allegedly the victim of a hoax and his girlfriend never existed beyond someone’s imagination.
The American sports fan was already cynical, and now their ability to engage in an emotional story will take a greater hit.
Don’t let it.
Good (true) stories still exist. Take Cory Conacher as an example.
Jean-Philippe Cote has changed in many ways since his brief stint in the National Hockey League seven years ago.
The defenseman's experience since has helped show him how to do his job better, and he might be even a little faster. But he knows his chances of a call-up have likely passed.
"Obviously, there's that dream still, but I do know my role," Cote said. "I know, compared to maybe five years ago, I'm not the next guy on the list (of guys being called-up)."
Instead, the 30-year-old has embraced his new purpose – being a leader and mentor on and off the ice for some of the Tampa Bay Lightning's top prospects with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Jean-Francois Jacques from the Florida Panthers in exchange for future considerations, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Jacques, 27, has played in 24 games this season with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League, collecting five goals and seven points to go along with 37 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound left winger ranks tied for first on the Rampage with three power play goals.