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.