Tokarski, Dustin

AHL Game Day: 10-21-12 Crunch at Penguins

Tic goes 3-0-0-0 for the weekend.

SYR-3
WBS-1

Dustin Tokarski allowed just 1 goal on 21 shots to collect his third victory of the weekend and the season. He came within 1:57 of the shutout before Phillipe Dupuis popped in a power play goal to spoil the bid.

First Period
SYR Aulie, (1) (Palat, Connolly), 3:38
SYR Conacher, (4) (Connolly, Palat), 16:03 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (5) (Barberio, Killorn), 17:54 (PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
WBS Dupuis, (2) (Dumoulin, Reese), 18:03 (PP)

Keith Aulie (pictured), Brett Connolly, and Tokarski were your three stars. Aulie popped in his first goal of the season, which was his 6th in 115 career AHL games. He's the secret weapon. Connolly raised himself up to a point a game pace with his second multi-point outing in as many nights.

These two teams rematch Saturday in Syracuse. The Crunch moved into a one point lead over Norfolk in the division with the W.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-20-12 Crunch at Senators

When Panik attacks...

SYR-6
BNG-5 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 13 shots before leaving at 9:30 of the Second Period for dropping the gloves with opposing netminder Robin Lehner (yes, that happened). Dustin Tokarski was flawless on 14 shots the rest of the way for his second victory of the season.

First Period
BNG Hoffman, (1) (Silfverberg, Zibanejad), 7:25 (PP)
BNG Cannone, (1) (Hoffman, Petersson), 9:18

Second Period
BNG Eckford, (2) (Stone, Petersson), 1:35 (PP)
BNG Grant, (1) (Stone), 2:51
BNG Borowiecki, (1) (Claesson, Schneider), 6:35
SYR Conacher, (3) (Johnson), 10:29
SYR Barberio, (2) (Johnson, Connolly), 12:36 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (2) (Labrie, Korobov), 6:57
SYR Palat, (1) (Johnson, Panik), 11:39
SYR Wyman, (1) (Panik, Barberio), 16:18

Overtime
SYR Panik, (1) , 3:44

Richard Panik (pictured) was the game's first star, assisting on the final two goals in regulation of Syracuse's comeback before bagging the overtime winner. That's how you break out of your early season mini-slump in style.

Tonight's win has to be considered a super concentrated, extra strength, team-building win. This was a vicious, nasty game that saw the teams rack up a combined 152 penalty minutes and reached the height of mutual contempt in the brawl between Lehner and Helenius at center ice. That, in and of itself, would make the W a sweet one. But, to crawl out of a 5-goal hole to get the 2 points? That's how you ingrain belief in the team concept. On the other end of the rink, Bingo not only blew a 5 goal lead, but they blew a 3 goal lead going into the Third Period, which should be a death sentence for the trailing team in professional hockey. That's going to be a devastating pill for them to swallow psychologically.

Aside from Panik, multi-point nights abounded for the Crunch, with Tyler Johnson racking up 3 helpers and Mark Barberio and Brett Connolly each getting 1 goal and 1 assist. Newcomer Dmitry Korobov also hit the scoresheet for the first time this season with a helper and was a solid +3 in the win.

Syracuse ended up outshooting Binghamton 42-27 in the game. The Crunch conclude the weekend tomorrow against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-19-12 Crunch at Devils

Tic gets on track.

SYR-3
ALB-2

Dustin Tokarski (pictured) allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for his first victory of the season. That was a very solid rebound performance, especially in the Third Period, after an ugly stat line on opening night. So Tic just raised Riku, and we'll see what Helenius can do tomorrow to answer. It's great to have two really good young goaltenders who are the cusp of making the jump to the bigs pushing each other.

First Period
ALB Hoeffel, (1) (Josefson), 0:58
SYR Johnson, (4) (Palat, Conacher), 7:45 (PP)
ALB Tedenby, (1) (Sestito), 16:44

Second Period
SYR Brown, (1) (Killorn, Namestnikov), 10:44 (PP)
SYR Angelidis, (3) (Barberio, Nightingale), 16:44

Third Period
NO SCORING

Mike Angelidis and Mark Barberio were the game's first and third stars. Tic was robbed.

J.T. Brown scored his first goal as an AHLer to tie the game up in the second stanza.

There's a little rust on this Syracuse team that still needs to be knocked off. The east-west guys are still getting their timing back and the north-south guys, stylistically, are clearly ahead. So, I'd definitely say the Paniks and the Connollys are still feeling things out. It'll come, though. It's good to be 2-0-0-1 knowing these guys aren't close to what they're capable of yet.

For being such a young pup, Vladislav Namestnikov is holding his own. His power play assist from the Hershey game got switched to Cory Conacher shortly after the game, but he got his second helper of the season tonight and looks every bit as feisty as the scouting report says he is, even despite being on the skinny side. It wouldn't shock me, at all, if he had a really good second half once Coach Cooper gets him settled in. There's a slightly built guy wearing #12 for the Crunch who had a similar story last season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-13-12 Bears at Crunch

Syracuse hangs on hard against one of the league's perennial powers.

HER-3
SYR-4

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory, in a successful return to North American hockey. This battle between Helenius and Dustin Tokarski for the top spot between the pipes in Syracuse is going to rage all season, and both guys are going to be better for it. It's an embarrassment of riches to boast two guys who won championships last season in the AHL and Finnish SM-liiga, respectively. Good. Problem. To. Have.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (2) (Wyman), 11:23 (SH)

Second Period
SYR Johnson, (3) (Conacher, Palat), 5:36
HER Mitchell, (1) , 7:26 (SH)
HER Almeida, (1) (Taffe, DiSalvatore), 14:36
SYR Conacher, (2) (Taormina), 18:44

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (1) (Barberio, Conacher), 5:02 (PP)
HER DiSalvatore, (1) (Kundratek, Taffe), 13:04 (PP)

Cory Conacher (pictured) and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars. For my money, Conacher was the best player in the league the first half of last season and Johnson the best in the second half. Why wouldn't they lead the Crunch in the home opener this year? With a little offseason rest, Conacher looks every bit the pesky scorer that tore up the league to start last year.

Brett Connolly scored the winner to notch his first point of the season. It's only a matter of time until J.T. Brown and Richard Panik follow suit.

No offense to our friends in Hershey, but I have to confess to being a little stunned that this year's version of the Bears is the least stacked, on paper, I've seen in a while. Sure, there's some fine players like Orlov and Holtby, but without the likes of Bourque or Giroux, this year's team lacks the fear factor of many recent editions. It's going to be interesting to see how the division plays out over the course of the season.

The Crunch travel to Albany next on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-12-12 Crunch at Americans

A Syracuse comeback takes away a point on opening night.

SYR-5
ROC-6 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 5 goals on 24 shots and 1 of 5 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. That's an ugly stat line for a young man trying to stave off a Riku Helenius challenge for the starting job.

First Period
RCH Tropp, (1) (Hodgson), 0:24
SYR Barberio, (1) (Namestnikov, Killorn), 5:28 (PP)
RCH Tropp, (2) (Adam, Schiestel), 14:52
RCH Foligno, (1) (Porter, Mancari), 16:12

Second Period
RCH Pysyk, (1) (Rankin, Varone), 3:22
SYR Angelidis, (1) (Wyman), 19:14

Third Period
SYR Conacher, (1) (Palat), 1:42
SYR Johnson, (1) (Conacher, Taormina), 8:01
SYR Johnson, (2) (Conacher, Palat), 10:09 (PP)
RCH Mancari, (1) (Brennan, Foligno), 12:42 (PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- None
ROC- Mancari

Cory Conacher (pictured) was the game's second star after posting 1 goal and 2 assists on opening night.Tyler Johnson had a pair of goals and Ondrej Palat also had a multi-point night with a pair of helpers. Youngster Vladislav Namestnikov also posted his first professional point on an assist on Mark Barberio's game opening goal.

I'm stunned that Syracuse threw out a shootout lineup of Palat, Connolly, Panik, Johnson, and Conacher and got nothing. That's five stud prospects with a lot of skill and... nada. I wouldn't have bet on that.

Syracuse outshot Rochester 34-25 in the game, and was very game to come out of a three goal hole to get a point out of the night. When Johnson pulled Syracuse ahead for the first time in the Third Period, you even had to think for a moment that maybe that killer instinct from Norfolk last season was still in effect. There was plenty of good, plenty of bad, and plenty of coachable moments for Jon Cooper to work on the team with after this one.

On to Syracuse tomorrow and the home opener against perennial power Hershey.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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