Tokarski, Dustin

Crunch Come Back, But Come Up Short in Shootout

By Jeremy Houghtaling

The Syracuse Crunch came out flat Friday, and the Adirondack Phantoms took full advantage.

The Phantoms tallied goals on the first two shots of the game, and led 3-0 before the first intermission. The Crunch spent the rest of the game playing catch-up, and despite tying the game in the third, fell short in the shootout, 4-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

"It was a good comeback, the guys battled hard," Syracuse forward Tyler Johnson said. "But at the same time, we shouldn't put ourselves in that position. We shot ourselves in the foot."

AHL Game Night: 12-21-12 Phantoms at Admirals

Syracuse stumbles out of the gate, but salvages a point.

SYR-3 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 23 shots and 4 of 7 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss. His December numbers are positively shambolic compared to his strong November run.

First Period
ADK Zolnierczyk, (8) (Roe, Rinaldo), 1:11
ADK Akeson, (1) (Schenn, Couturier), 2:30 (PP)
ADK Akeson, (2) (Schenn, Lauridsen), 15:33

Second Period
SYR Panik, (13) (Palat, Johnson), 5:48 (PP)
SYR Killorn, (9) (Taormina, Connolly), 14:09

Third Period
SYR Johnson, (17) (Barberio, Connolly), 8:24 (PP)


ADK- Roe, Schenn, Akeson, Svyret
SYR- Taormina, Palat, Panik

Tyler Johnson was the game's second star. Alex Killorn has now scored goals in 5 straight games and 6 of his last 7. Richard Panik now has a 3 game point streak after missing the scoresheet for 5 games at the conclusion of his massive 12 game scoring streak that spanned the entire month of November.

Syracuse draws Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tomorrow before a brief Christmas break.

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Tokarski Records First Shutout of the Season, Crunch Top Pens 4-0

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Plenty of numbers stuck out after the Syracuse Crunch topped the Wikes-Barre Scranton Penguins 4-0 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

The night began with 1,286 teddy bears thrown on the ice after Brett Connolly opened the scoring, the Crunch's power play followed by converting for two goals, and Syracuse goalie Dustin Tokarski finished with 29 saves for his first shutout of the season.

AHL Game Night: 12-15-12 Penguins at Crunch

The weekend marks a return to Jon Cooper hockey...


Dustin Tokarski pitched a 29 save shutout to match the 0'fer Riku Helenius posted last night. Tokarski now has a 2 game winning streak after going an ugly 1-3-1 in his previous 5 starts.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (12) (Wyman, Killorn), 14:35

Second Period
SYR Killorn, (8) (Devos, Brown), 11:21 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Labrie, (6) (Johnson), 5:07
SYR Johnson, (16) (Panik, Palat), 16:37 (PP)

Tic, Alex Killorn, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. Killorn now has goals in 5 of his last 6 games. He's officially more on fire than a 1978 Ford Pinto after a rear end collision.

This weekend's two game set was a return to what makes Jon Cooper hockey so special. It's not just that the team will score a ton of goals. It's not just that they're tough as nails. At the heart of it all, what made last year's team in Norfolk so special was that they also played suffocating defense, too. They beat you like you stole large sums of money from them in every single phase of the game, and often made you look like a pee wee team in the process. And it didn't matter if it was Tic or Janus between the pipes, either. Back-to-back shutout annihilations should send a chilling message to the rest of the Eastern Conference. After two weekends of looking mortal, the next generation of the Lightning has returned to the style Jon Cooper preaches, and may God have mercy on the rest of the AHL's souls if they keep it up.

Syracuse is off until Friday when they'll try to continue their team shutout streak against last night's victim, Adirondack.

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Connolly Scores Twice, Crunch Hang On To Beat Senators 4-3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

It has been stressed to Brett Connolly that he needs to drive to the net.

The 20-year-old Syracuse Crunch forward followed through against the Binghamton Senators Wednesday at the Onondaga County War Memorial, potting a pair of goals in the Crunch's 4-3 win.

"Coach has been all over me to do that," Connolly said. "That's where I've been scoring all my goals."

AHL Game Night: 12-12-12 Senators at Crunch

Connolly cracks Lehner twice, with the help of Korobov.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on just 18 shots for the win.

First Period
SYR Killorn, (6) (Angelidis, Wyman), 9:35
BNG Hoffman, (4) (Da Costa, Benoit), 11:53 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (4) (Conacher, Killorn), 19:25

Second Period
SYR Connolly, (10) (Labrie, Korobov), 11:27
BNG Hoffman, (5) (Silfverberg, Benoit), 18:02 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (11) (Korobov, Devos), 7:16
BNG Stone, (3) (Grant, Dziurzynski), 14:06

Brett Connolly and Alex Killorn were the game's first and second stars. Connolly's 11 goals now put him in a tie with teammate Richard Panik and 3 others for 11th in the league in goals, 4 back of leader Tyler Johnson. Killorn, for his part, has goals in 3 of his last 4 games and sits tied for 11th amongst all AHL rookies in scoring.

Congratulations to Dmitry Korobov on his first AHL multi-point game. He's got 5 points in his last 6 games.

Syracuse goes to Adirondack on Friday.

Box score from

AHL Game Day: 12-9-12 Crunch at Sound Tigers


SYR- 2
BRI- 7

Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 13 shots for the loss before being lifted for Dustin Tokarski. Tic did little better, allowing 3 on 13 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
BRI Cizikas, (5) , 1:41 (SH)
BRI Landry, (6) (McDonald, Nelson), 12:34 (PP)
BRI Sundstrom, (7) (Persson, MacKay), 16:02

Second Period
BRI McDonald, (3) (Nelson, Niederreiter), 0:36
BRI Nelson, (10) (McDonald, Ness), 11:15 (PP)
SYR Killorn, (5) (Angelidis, Wyman), 15:27
SYR Brown, (5) (Devos, Taormina), 16:33
BRI Persson, (7) , 18:56

Third Period
BRI McDonald, (4) (Niederreiter, Landry), 12:35 (PP)

There's just no lipstick you can slap on this one to make it look good. Special teams and goaltending got the team behind the eight ball, and they never recovered. Now they've had back-to-back losing weekend sets heading into a game against Binghamton on Wednesday. Bingo's been hot as a firecracker in their past 10 games (9-1-0) and they have the best goaltending in the league, on paper, between Lehner and Bishop. So, it's a tough draw to try to make into a slump buster, and the Crunch have to be ready from the challenge from word "go" or they might get embarrassed again.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 12-8-12 Crunch at Phantoms

Shot down in the shootout.

ADK-4 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 34 shots and 2 of 4 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss. He's hit a little dry spell now, going 1-3-0-1 in his last 5 starts. That may partly explain why it looks like Helenius will get the bulk of the time this weekend.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (9) (Brown), 17:47

Second Period
ADK McGinn, (7) (Couturier, Schenn), 1:56 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (10) (Couturier, Gustafsson), 4:54 (PP)
SYR Labrie, (5) (Wyman), 13:51
ADK Schenn, (11) (Akeson), 18:12
SYR Conacher, (10) (Aulie, Brown), 19:02

Third Period


SYR- Palat
ADK- Schenn, Roe

Phantoms goaltender Scott Munroe managed to shut down the collective firepower of Conacher, Connolly, Panik, and Johnson in the shootout, only surrendering a goal to Ondrej Palat. Against that murderers row, I'd have to say he earned his pay - with the help of two posts.

Brett Connolly led the Crunch with a very solid 7 shots on goal to go with his game-opening marker. He's starting to really hit his stride.

Syracuse will finish out their weekend tomorrow afternoon against Bridgeport. That'll end the 3 in 3 nights scenarios for about 2 months, and the Crunch will settle into a more normal and less fatiguing routine. The fact they've managed to hang around the top spot in the conference even despite the scheduling challenges bodes well now that they've cleared this month-long hump of hectic weekend sets.

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AHL Game Night: 12-2-12 Crunch at Senators

Crunch end tough weekend. Ben Bishop ends the Panik attack.


Dustin Tokarski allowed five goals on 38 shots for the loss.

First Period
BNG Da Costa, (1) (Prince), 10:23
SYR Johnson, (15) (Palat), 15:06 (SH)

Second Period
BNG Da Costa, (2) (Schneider), 3:35
BNG Silfverberg, (5) (Cannone, Borowiecki), 8:44
SYR Gauthier, (2) (Taormina), 18:19

Third Period
BNG Wiercioch, (5) (Prince, Da Costa), 11:27
BNG Da Costa, (3) (Prince, Benoit), 12:04

Richard Panik had his scoring streak snapped at a dozen games. Time to start a new one.

Syracuse was outshot 19-3 in the final frame, which might be indicative of fatigue setting in with the team playing 3 in 3 nights for the 3rd straight weekend. They'll do it again starting Friday, too, which I find interesting considering the complaint made about the Norfolk affiliation was regarding long, fatiguing road trips costing practice time. How about long, fatiguing weekends and constantly playing 3 in 3 night sets? The good news is that there are only 3 more of those sets after this coming weekend, and the next one is in February, so things will at least begin to settle down into more 3 in 4 night scenarios.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 11-30-12 Crunch at Penguins

Crunch comeback from a flat opening 40 falls short.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 36 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Smith, (6) (Reese), 3:09
SYR Panik, (9) (Gudas), 18:58

Second Period
WBS Bennett, (5) (Holzapfel, Peters), 8:49
WBS Dumoulin, (1) (Holzapfel, Dupuis), 17:53 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Holzapfel, (5) (Bennett), 9:24 (PP)
SYR Connolly, (7) (Devos, Korobov), 10:45
SYR Devos, (2) (Barberio, Brown), 17:23 (PP)
WBS Smith, (7) (Zatkoff), 19:53 (EN)

Syracuse was outshot 30-12 through two periods before winning the shot battle in the final frame, 14-7. Flat as a pancake? I'd say so. That's got to be one of the bigger challenges for Coach Cooper. This is a deep, talented team that has already climbed the mountain. They're going to have games like this where they think they can just roll their helmets out on the ice and win, and that doesn't happen at any level of professional hockey.

Richard Panik completed his masterpiece of a November with a goal. He had a point in all 11 games in the month, finishing with 8 goals and 15 points in that span. For a guy whose biggest knock has been inconsistency, this is a huge statement, and he's even managed to raise his season totals to a point a game with 9 goals and 18 points in 18 games, despite a slow October. I'll re-ask the question: by definition is he not the AHL Player of the Month? As of this posting, the Panik attack is tied for 13th in the league in scoring with the likes of first rounders like Nino Niedereiter and Zach Boychuk. Can he extend it deep into December?

Dmitry Korobov slid into the league lead at +14, going +2 in a game where most of his teammates pulled minuses. There's a lot to like about big #44.

Syracuse will face Connecticut tomorrow, hopefully having learned their lesson that they need to be prepared to go at the drop of the puck. Don't give the opposition a two period head start.

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