Syracuse Crunch

No Coincidences for Conacher


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Cory Conacher tries to not think about what could have been.

With the National Hockey League and the players’ association still working to resolve the lockout, the 5-8, 179-pound winger, who was expected to be a candidate for the Calder Trophy, knows that nothing is guaranteed.

"Even if the NHL figures it out and I get a chance to play in Tampa, I can't expect to be the best player and get all the points," Conacher said. "I have to do the little things that will help Tampa Bay win, and that's what is most important."

One season removed from hoisting the Calder Cup and being named the American Hockey League's Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player – the fourth player to achieve both in the same season – the 23-year-old Syracuse Crunch forward still doesn't take anything for granted.

AHL Game Night: 12-31-12 Crunch at Penguins

Panik brings the fireworks on New Year's Eve.

SYR-2
WBS-1

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 19 shots for the victory, completing 2012 with a solid performance that will hopefully set the tone for 2013. He came within 2 seconds of a shutout.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SYR Panik, (14) (Connolly), 16:53

Third Period
SYR Panik, (15) (Johnson, Palat), 0:33 (PP)
WBS Smith, (11) (Dumoulin), 19:59 (PP)

Richard Panik, Tokarski, and Brett Connolly were the game's three stars. Panik's 15 goals are already just 4 shy of his total from all of his rookie campaign last year.

Syracuse heads to the old barn, Scope in Norfolk, for a 2 game set starting Friday night. The Admirals are currently last in the East Division, while the Crunch finish 2012 in first place in the Eastern Conference. That's pretty good for a Crunch team that has yet to achieve the consistency that last year's Calder Cup champs had in the second half of the season and the playoffs.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Blow 4-Goal Lead in 5-4 OT Loss to IceCaps


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was a night of firsts for the Syracuse Crunch.

Vladislav Namestnikov notched his first professional goal and Cory Conacher registered his first Gordie Howe hat trick Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

But unfortunately for the Crunch, the firsts didn't stop there.

The St. John's IceCaps registered their first victory of the year after trailing at the first intermission, as the Crunch blew a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 overtime loss.

"I wish I was a little happier about it," Conacher said of his achievement. "Maybe sometime down the road I can get it and get a victory out of it, too."

AHL Game Night: 12-29-12 IceCaps at Crunch

Crunch's epic collapse ends in overtime defeat.

STJ-5
SYR-4 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 33 shots for the overtime loss in his first start since returning from Finland over the holiday break. A goaltender of his caliber should not be coughing up a 4 goal lead, and goaltending remains one of the big question marks of this Syracuse team.

First Period
SYR Conacher, (12) (Labrie, Barberio), 15:50
SYR Killorn, (12) (Oberg), 18:25 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Aulie, (2) (Killorn, Conacher), 5:20
SYR Namestnikov, (1) (Connolly, Palat), 7:40 (PP)
STJ O'Dell, (5) (Mouillierat, Klingberg), 8:31
STJ Postma, (6) (Clark), 11:15

Third Period
STJ Gregoire, (6) (O'Dell, Maxwell), 1:53
STJ O'Neill, (1) , 7:32

Overtime
STJ Chiarot, (1) (Maxwell, Macenauer), 4:40

Cory Conacher was the game's second star.

Congratulations to Vladislav Namestnikov on his first goal as a professional.

This loss is going to leave a sour, sour taste in Syracuse's mouth. They built a 4-0 lead and looked to be cruising before the wheels started coming off, particularly in a third period where they were outshot, 10-3. Along with mediocre goaltending, the tendency to only play 40 quality minutes of hockey rather than a full 60 has been a big bugaboo for this team. And, if Syracuse is going to try to grab a championship this season, those are two things they desperately need to remedy.

Syracuse is at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Monday, where they'll try to vindicate themselves after tonight's performance.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Score Three Power Play Goals, Beat Admirals 4-2


By Jeremy Houghtaling

As the Syracuse Crunch took the ice for warmups, they looked across the ice at something that gave them a range of emotions.

It was different. It was weird. It was somewhat-familiar.

It was the same bright blue, yellow and red Norfolk Admirals uniforms that most of the team wore last year during their amazing winning streak and ensuing run to the Calder Cup championship.

"You step out and you're skating around and you see them coming out of their lockerroom, and you're like 'Jeez, those jerseys look pretty familiar,'" Crunch defenseman Mark Barberio said. "After that, it comes down to you're playing hockey and they're the opposition."

Syracuse, the new affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored three power play goals in a 4-2 win over Norfolk, the former farm team, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

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