We're now almost two months deep into the second NHL lockout in less than a decade. As difficult as it is to remember, though, hockey goes on. It goes on in small junior rinks in Canada and on campuses throughout the U.S. It goes on in the sporting halls of Sweden and Russia. And, it goes on in Syracuse, New York, where players on the cusp of making the highest level of hockey in the world patiently await the mere chance to make their case to play in the NHL. For those players, and in spite the cynical greed of the NHL's business wing, Bolt Prospects presents its 2012-2013 Preliminary Rankings.
We delayed the release of the rankings a few weeks when optimism ran high that hockey would be back after Thanksgiving, believing that perhaps an NHL training camp was in the cards for some of our prospects. But with the breakdown of talks between the commissioner and the NHLPA, it looks like a Lightning camp is far from imminent. So, we press forward, in spite of the setback.
It was one smooth motion that brought the crowd to its feet.
On the doorstep of the Adirondack Phantoms crease, Richard Panik snatched the puck out of the air, set it down, and tapped the puck into the net, providing the Syracuse Crunch with a 5-0 second period lead at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
The effortless looking play was all instinct for Panik.
"The game is going so quick and fast, so you don't have time to think about anything," he said.
3 games in 3 nights. 3 wins. 16 total goals.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on just 19 shots, but got the win to run his season record to 7-1-0-1.
SYR Gudas, (1) (Panik), 12:04
HER Taffe, (5) (Kundratek, Stafford), 15:33 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (2) (Connolly, Brown), 17:46
HER Syner, (1) (Beaudoin, Schilling), 10:33
SYR Panik, (6) (Korobov, Gudas), 12:21
SYR Connolly, (6) (Palat), 8:08
SYR Johnson, (10) (Gudas, Labrie), 8:54
HER Hamill, (4) (Berry, Kane), 15:21
Radko Gudas (pictured), Brett Connolly, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars. Gudas' night was an uncharacteristic offensive outburst of 1 goal and 2 assists to double his overall point total for the season.
The Panik attack has now lasted 7 games, and he now has 5 goals and 9 points in those 7 games. After a slow October where he had 3 points in 7 games, Panik's now run his overall statistics to 6 goals and 12 points in 14 games, as he stalks a point a game.
Syracuse is now 10-2-1-1 through their first 14 games. Their 22 points gives them a 6 point cushion right now in the East Division. They've also managed to tied Springfield for the best record in the Eastern Conference, and their 54 goals are 5 clear of the next best team in the conference, as well.
Syracuse draws Binghamton at home next on Friday night to start another 3 games in 3 nights weekend.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
JT Brown described his team as having a good feeling going into the first intermission Saturday.
Leading 1-0 over the Adirondack Phantoms, it only got better for the Syracuse Crunch, who scored four times in the first 12 minutes of the second period en route to a 5-2 victory -- their second straight -- at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"Our team has been playing well the past few games, and that's just the kind of thing we needed," Brown said. "We needed to put together a few good games to get ourselves rolling."
Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory. I'm not sure he ever got staked to a 5 goal lead for low-scoring, defensive-minded JYP last season. He had to be reveling in all the goal support tonight.
SYR Labrie, (3) (Conacher, Barberio), 13:09
SYR Conacher, (8) (Taormina, Connolly), 1:32 (PP)
SYR Palat, (2) (Brown, Killorn), 8:19
SYR Connolly, (5) (Brown), 9:59
SYR Panik, (5) (Barberio, Johnson), 11:53 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (8) (Manning, Gustafsson), 13:27 (PP)
ADK Gustafsson, (2) (Roe, Syvret), 10:07
Brett Connolly (pictured), Cory Conacher, and J.T. Brown were the game's three stars. Who knows, they could be playing together in Tampa if the owners ever pull their heads out of the sand and have a season.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Richard Panik each came within a helper of Gordie Howe hat tricks tonight. The Panik attack has lasted 6 consecutive games now, with points in every game in November. It's his month, I guess.
As I mentioned the last time Syracuse faced the Phantoms, bear in mind this Adirondack roster is dotted with NHLers like Bourdon, Schenn, Couturier, Rinaldo, etc. Their record doesn't bear it out, but that's a very talented team and Syracuse put them over their knee and spanked them hard tonight.
The Crunch finish their weekend tomorrow in Hershey.
Box score from TheAHL.com.