Syracuse Crunch

AHL Game Night: 12-14-12 Crunch at Phantoms

Riku makes the Phantoms' scoring chances disappear.

SYR-3
ADK-0

Riku Helenius stopped all 21 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Coming into the season, Helenius had just one shutout in 37 career AHL appearances. Now he has two in his first 11 appearances since re-emerging from Finland.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Killorn, (7) (Aulie), 4:53
SYR Panik, (12) (Korobov), 9:39 (SH)

Third Period
SYR Gudas, (2) , 13:44

Helenius, Alex Killorn, and Radko Gudas were the game's three stars. Killorn scored his fourth goal in the past five games.

After a five game scoreless streak, Richard Panik and the Panik attack returned to the scoresheet with a shorthanded goal.

This was a rough, brutal game that saw the teams combining for 119 penalty minutes. If you're looking for one of the biggest differences between the AHL and the NHL versions of the Lightning, it's that the Crunch are tougher than the steak you get at Golden Corral.

Syracuse tries to wrap up a solid week tomorrow at home against the Penguins.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Connolly Scores Twice, Crunch Hang On To Beat Senators 4-3


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It has been stressed to Brett Connolly that he needs to drive to the net.

The 20-year-old Syracuse Crunch forward followed through against the Binghamton Senators Wednesday at the Onondaga County War Memorial, potting a pair of goals in the Crunch's 4-3 win.

"Coach has been all over me to do that," Connolly said. "That's where I've been scoring all my goals."

AHL Game Night: 12-12-12 Senators at Crunch

Connolly cracks Lehner twice, with the help of Korobov.

BNG-3
SYR-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on just 18 shots for the win.

First Period
SYR Killorn, (6) (Angelidis, Wyman), 9:35
BNG Hoffman, (4) (Da Costa, Benoit), 11:53 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (4) (Conacher, Killorn), 19:25

Second Period
SYR Connolly, (10) (Labrie, Korobov), 11:27
BNG Hoffman, (5) (Silfverberg, Benoit), 18:02 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (11) (Korobov, Devos), 7:16
BNG Stone, (3) (Grant, Dziurzynski), 14:06

Brett Connolly and Alex Killorn were the game's first and second stars. Connolly's 11 goals now put him in a tie with teammate Richard Panik and 3 others for 11th in the league in goals, 4 back of leader Tyler Johnson. Killorn, for his part, has goals in 3 of his last 4 games and sits tied for 11th amongst all AHL rookies in scoring.

Congratulations to Dmitry Korobov on his first AHL multi-point game. He's got 5 points in his last 6 games.

Syracuse goes to Adirondack on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 12-9-12 Crunch at Sound Tigers

Thud.

SYR- 2
BRI- 7

Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 13 shots for the loss before being lifted for Dustin Tokarski. Tic did little better, allowing 3 on 13 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
BRI Cizikas, (5) , 1:41 (SH)
BRI Landry, (6) (McDonald, Nelson), 12:34 (PP)
BRI Sundstrom, (7) (Persson, MacKay), 16:02

Second Period
BRI McDonald, (3) (Nelson, Niederreiter), 0:36
BRI Nelson, (10) (McDonald, Ness), 11:15 (PP)
SYR Killorn, (5) (Angelidis, Wyman), 15:27
SYR Brown, (5) (Devos, Taormina), 16:33
BRI Persson, (7) , 18:56

Third Period
BRI McDonald, (4) (Niederreiter, Landry), 12:35 (PP)

There's just no lipstick you can slap on this one to make it look good. Special teams and goaltending got the team behind the eight ball, and they never recovered. Now they've had back-to-back losing weekend sets heading into a game against Binghamton on Wednesday. Bingo's been hot as a firecracker in their past 10 games (9-1-0) and they have the best goaltending in the league, on paper, between Lehner and Bishop. So, it's a tough draw to try to make into a slump buster, and the Crunch have to be ready from the challenge from word "go" or they might get embarrassed again.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Namestnikov Eager to Return to Crunch Lineup


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After only a handful of games, Jon Cooper saw the signs of what was to come from Vladislav Namestnikov.

The Syracuse Crunch head coach watched the same progression in many of the rookies on the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals last year, whether they were Tampa Bay Lightning picks like Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik, or undrafted free agents like Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher.

“Those guys that came in, felt out the league, learned it and after Christmas, took off,” Cooper said. “That’s where Vladdy would have been this year, but we’re just going to have to wait a few months for that to happen.”

AHL Game Night: 12-8-12 Crunch at Phantoms

Shot down in the shootout.

SYR-3
ADK-4 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 34 shots and 2 of 4 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss. He's hit a little dry spell now, going 1-3-0-1 in his last 5 starts. That may partly explain why it looks like Helenius will get the bulk of the time this weekend.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (9) (Brown), 17:47

Second Period
ADK McGinn, (7) (Couturier, Schenn), 1:56 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (10) (Couturier, Gustafsson), 4:54 (PP)
SYR Labrie, (5) (Wyman), 13:51
ADK Schenn, (11) (Akeson), 18:12
SYR Conacher, (10) (Aulie, Brown), 19:02

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- Palat
ADK- Schenn, Roe

Phantoms goaltender Scott Munroe managed to shut down the collective firepower of Conacher, Connolly, Panik, and Johnson in the shootout, only surrendering a goal to Ondrej Palat. Against that murderers row, I'd have to say he earned his pay - with the help of two posts.

Brett Connolly led the Crunch with a very solid 7 shots on goal to go with his game-opening marker. He's starting to really hit his stride.

Syracuse will finish out their weekend tomorrow afternoon against Bridgeport. That'll end the 3 in 3 nights scenarios for about 2 months, and the Crunch will settle into a more normal and less fatiguing routine. The fact they've managed to hang around the top spot in the conference even despite the scheduling challenges bodes well now that they've cleared this month-long hump of hectic weekend sets.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Score Early, Often In 5-1 Win Over Bulldogs


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Initially thought to have sustained a cracked sternum, Brett Connolly found out earlier this week that it was just a contusion.

While the injury made it hurt for him to breathe this week, the Syracuse Crunch forward was determined to play against the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"Right now, it's just pain tolerance," Connolly said. "It's going to take a lot to keep me out of the lineup."

Connolly played through the pain, registering a pair of points - including a 5-on-3 power play goal seven minutes into the game that stood up as the game-winner - as the Crunch beat the Bulldogs, 5-1.

AHL Game Night: 12-7-12 Bulldogs at Crunch

Crunch squash Hamilton.

HAM-1
SYR-5

Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 20 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Palat, (3) (Barberio, Johnson), 0:26
SYR Connolly, (8) (Killorn, Johnson), 7:08 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (3) (Conacher, Brown), 13:42 (PP)
HAM Palushaj, (7) (Beaulieu, Leblanc), 19:42

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Killorn, (4) (Palat, Barberio), 6:28
SYR Labrie, (4) (Connolly, Korobov), 11:08

Brett Connolly, Ondrej Palat, and Alex Killorn were the three stars of the game.

Don't look now, but Palat has snuck past teammate Dmitri Korobov into the top spot in the league in +/- at +17. Tyler Johnson, who still leads the league in goal scoring, is lingering in a tie for third in the league at +14.Richard Panik and Radko Gudas are also in the top-20 in the league in the statistic.

Syracuse gave some rough treatment to former Lightning farmhand Cedrick Desjardins, running up a 42-20 shot advantage en route to pinning 5 goals on him. When you score 26 seconds into a game and swarm to a 3-0 lead within the first 14 minutes, it's safe to say you were ready to go at puck drop.

Keith Aulie (pictured) was back in the lineup for Syracuse for the first time since late October. The big d-man was +2 with 3 shots on goal.

Syracuse will move on to face Adirondack tomorrow night.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-2-12 Crunch at Senators

Crunch end tough weekend. Ben Bishop ends the Panik attack.

SYR-2
BNG-5

Dustin Tokarski allowed five goals on 38 shots for the loss.

First Period
BNG Da Costa, (1) (Prince), 10:23
SYR Johnson, (15) (Palat), 15:06 (SH)

Second Period
BNG Da Costa, (2) (Schneider), 3:35
BNG Silfverberg, (5) (Cannone, Borowiecki), 8:44
SYR Gauthier, (2) (Taormina), 18:19

Third Period
BNG Wiercioch, (5) (Prince, Da Costa), 11:27
BNG Da Costa, (3) (Prince, Benoit), 12:04

Richard Panik had his scoring streak snapped at a dozen games. Time to start a new one.

Syracuse was outshot 19-3 in the final frame, which might be indicative of fatigue setting in with the team playing 3 in 3 nights for the 3rd straight weekend. They'll do it again starting Friday, too, which I find interesting considering the complaint made about the Norfolk affiliation was regarding long, fatiguing road trips costing practice time. How about long, fatiguing weekends and constantly playing 3 in 3 night sets? The good news is that there are only 3 more of those sets after this coming weekend, and the next one is in February, so things will at least begin to settle down into more 3 in 4 night scenarios.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-1-12 Crunch at Whale

Syracuse beats the odds with a remarkable third period comeback.

SYR-4
CT-3 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 27 shots to get the victory.

First Period
CT Thomas, (5) (Haley, Miller), 18:49

Second Period
CT Parlett, (1) (Segal), 13:53

Third Period
CT Hrivik, (2) (Newbury, Kolarik), 3:03 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (14) , 6:37
SYR Panik, (10) (Devos), 12:45
SYR Panik, (11) , 13:20

Overtime
SYR Barberio, (4) (Conacher), 4:13

Mark Barberio and Richard Panik (pictured) were the game's first and second stars. The Panik attack's two goals continued his scoring streak, which now stands at a dozen games. His 11 goals now break him into the top-10 in the AHL in goal scoring. Look out. Before the season Panik would've been a longshot to make the Lightning's NHL roster. He's now worked himself toward the head of the line among the young players in Syracuse for whenever the lockout finally ends, and his versatility and high ceiling will be tantalizing for Steve Yzerman and Guy Boucher when they consider how to fill out the team.

Well over 90% of the time in professional hockey, when a team builds a 3-goal lead in the third period, it's over. On the rare ocassion that a team manages to overcome that deficit, it can be a huge team-building moment for the winning team, and a crippling emotional blow for the loser. And, the effects of the game can linger for a week or two. So, for the Crunch, mark the calendar. Tonight was a big moment in 2012-2013 season.

For the moment, the team sits in first place in the Eastern Conference. They'll conclude the weekend in Binghamton tomorrow against the Senators' outstanding goaltending corps.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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