Tokarski, Bulldogs Power Past Crunch, 3-0

By Jeremy Houghtaling

While Syracuse failed to convert on six power play chances, the Hamilton Bulldogs cashed in three times to hand the Crunch its fourth-straight loss, 3-0, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

Former Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Dustin Tokarski stopped all 43 Crunch shots for his first shutout of the season with Hamilton.

"He played really well," said Syracuse defenseman Matt Taormina of Tokarski. "He did see a lot of shots, but we didn't really get in front to screen him."

"Every power play we had, we had really good looks," said Crunch forward Brett Connolly. "We had the puck for the majority of the power play. If we do that consistently, we're going to get goals."

The Bulldogs opened the scoring on a goal from Christian Thomas 1:29 into the second period. Greg Pateryn provided an insurance marker less than six minutes later, and Nathan Beaulieu put the finishing touches on the win with a goal less than seven minutes into the third.

Hamilton went 3-for-7 with the man-advantage. Cedrick Desjardins finished with 30 saves.

"(Desjardins) didn't see a couple, but they weren't really good point-blank shots that went in, they were out far," Taormina said. "We took too many penalties. Me, I took way too many penalties."

Connolly played in his first game with the Crunch since being reassigned by the Lightning Friday. As the team's new top-line center, he is working on being more productive on the scoresheet.

"I'm worried about my game right now and getting back on track, doing the little things consistently," Connolly said.

With four players injured in the game against the Bulldogs Friday, including first line center Vladislav Namestnikov with a broken hand, the Crunch needed Connolly to dress 18 healthy skaters.

"We've got a lot of guys out, but that doesn't matter," Taormina said. "We're going to have to roll through without them for now."

Syracuse (9-6-1-1) looks to snap out of its skid when it travels to Binghamton Wednesday.

"The last couple weeks we were getting those bounces, but lately we haven't," Taormina said. "That's just the way it goes. We can't get frustrated, we have to get past it and hopefully move on from it."

Pictured: Bulldogs goalie Dustin Tokarski makes a save on a shot by Crunch forward Tanner Richard at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.