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Connolly Records Hat Trick, Crunch Top Amerks 5-1


By Jeremy Houghtaling

In his first game since being sent down, Brett Connolly made an immediate impact.

Reassigned by the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday, Connolly scored three times to lead the Syracuse Crunch to a 5-1 win over the Rochester Americans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

"I didn't expect to get three, but I wanted to help out and help the team win," he said. "I was fortunate enough to get a couple good looks and they went in for me."

With the victory, Syracuse remains two points ahead of Binghamton in the East Division, and clinches home ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.

AHL Game Night: 4-13-13 Americans at Crunch

Back on track.

RCH-1
SYR-5

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (28) (Namestnikov, Korobov), 1:37

Second Period
SYR Connolly, (29) (Johnson, Palat), 8:28 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (33) (Palat, Taormina), 10:11 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (12) (Angelidis, Cote), 19:33

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (30) (Paradis, Lee), 2:08
RCH Biega, (5) (Ellis, Mancari), 4:53

Brett Connolly, Tyler Johnson, and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars.

The cavalry arrived, and just in time. Brett Connolly threw in a hat trick, his first as a pro, to get to 30 goals. For my money, this guy needs to be in the AHL MVP discussion prominently. He's been the most consistent Crunch player all year long, even more so than Tyler Johnson whose stats sagged a little after coming back from Lightning camp midway through the year. Connolly and Johnson are tied for 8th in the league in scoring at 60 points.

Binghamton absolutely throttled Albany 5-0 to start the day, which put huge pressure on Syracuse to win. Meanwhile, Providence beat Springfield 2-0 in a head-to-head matchup that was advantageous for the Crunch. Syracuse remains 4 back of the Bruins, pulls into a tie with Springfield at 93 points, and remains 2 up on the Senators. All three teams have a game in hand on Syracuse, though. Next weekend, starting Friday, will be a 3-games-in-3-nights set to complete the regular season, all at home: Norfolk, Worcester, and a game against Binghamton that may well decide the East Division title. With Mark Barberio out of the lineup for Tampa Bay tonight and Victor Hedman back in, I would think more reinforcements are on the way, too.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 4-13-13 Lightning at Capitals

Moral victory?

TB-5
WSH-6 (OT)

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 20 shots before being pulled after the first period. Mathieu Garon allowed 3 on 18 the rest of the way for the old back door loss.

First Period
13:45 WSH Brouwer (16), (Ribiero, Ovechkin)(PP)
18:45 WSH Hillen (2), (Beagle, Oleksy)
19:22 WSH Ovechkin (27), (Backstrom)

Second Period
02:41 WSH Chimera (2), (Perrault, Oleksy)
03:55 TB Panik (3), (Pyatt, Purcell)
05:26 WSH Fehr (8), (Perreault)
18:47 TB St. Louis (10), (Stamkos, Pouliot)

Third Period
04:23 TB Panik (4), (Gudas, Aulie)
08:17 TB St. Louis (11), (Hedman, Pyatt)
17:25 TB Purcell (11), (Pyatt, Panik)

Overtime
02:59 WSH Green (10), (Ribiero, Fehr)(PP)

Richard Panik was the game's third star.

I expected the Lightning to get routed tonight. That's why I spent most of it watching Peca in the Quinnipiac game. And, it pretty much went to plan until all of a sudden the Lightning decided not to lay down. Whatever Jon Cooper said to them, they had the hearts of lions in the Third Period and to start Overtime. It's a shame one bad defensive play (Matt Carle) got them in the box and they lose on a 4-on-3 situation. Still, you have to like the show of character.

Alex Killorn was -1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 20:14.

Panik went insane with 2 goals, 1 assist, and a +4 rating. 4 shots and 4 hits too in 15:32. He's got this kind of ability, folks. He's a beast when it comes together.

Radko Gudas had a helper, 1 shot, and 4 hits in 17:14.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

ECHL Playoff Game Night: 4-12-13

(4)Florida Everblades 5 @ (5)Elmira Jackals 4
Quarterfinals: Florida leads the best-of-seven series 3-1

D Charles Landry, FLA: 0-1-1, E, 0 SOG, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 4 GP, 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM
Season totals: 51 GP, 4-12-16, +7, 33 PIM

Florida, after squandering a two-goal lead built up nearing the midpoint of the middle period and falling behind minutes later, scored twice in the final frame to narrowly edge Elmira and take a commanding series lead. Both teams mustered 37 shots on goal for the game, though the Everblades again won the special teams battle, burying two of its five sequences with the man-advantage while foiling the Jackals on all but one of their power play opportunities. Everblades netminder Jesse Deckert, who has played in all four matches so far, stopped 33 of 37 shots against. Charles Landry, the lone Tampa Bay Lightning prospect to appear in the series, notched his first point of the playoffs when he was credited with a secondary helper Florida's first goal, though it was largely the result of a tremendous individual effort by Brandon MacLean. Both clubs will square off one last time in New York on Saturday night.

Official Recap | Box Score

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