Helenius, Riku

AHL Preseason Game Night: 9-26-13 Crunch at IceCaps

Dump truck!

SYR-5
STJ-2

Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 21 shots after spelling Cedrick Desjardins, who was flawless in the opening half of the game.

Syracuse got a pair of goals by Cedric Paquette (aka Dump Truck), and goals by Luke Witkowski, Tanner Richard, and Vladislav Namestnikov.

The teams will square off again Saturday night.

Game recap from Syracusecrunch.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-19-13 Lightning at Predators

The kids at forward stake their claim.

TB-5
NSH-1

Riku Helenius was perfect on 15 shots before giving way to Cedrick Desjardins, who allowed 1 goal on 17 shots the rest of the way. It's a good showing for the potential tandem for Syracuse this season.

First Period
5:41 TB Connolly, (Hedman)
6:51 TB Palat, (unassisted)

Second Period
6:44 TB Stamkos, (Malone, Witkowski)
18:41 TB Connolly, (Hedman, Sustr)

Third Period
0:46 NSH Cullen, (unassisted)(SH)
2:03 TB Panik, (Kucherov, Taormina)(PP)

Brett Connolly, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars. Connolly also scored in a big scrimmage earlier in preseason to draw the praise of Jon Cooper and with Connolly and the PTP line (Palat, Johnson, and Panik) all playing well the roster calculus gets very interesting.

In particular, note Jonathan Drouin only got 12:23 of ice time tonight. Follow the ice time in these games, because it will tell you who the club is looking at and who is earning a little longer look. For instance, note Andrej Sustr with over 20 minutes of ice time, which was almost 4 minutes more than Keith Aulie. Interesting stuff.

Box score from Tampabaylightning.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-19-13 Admirals at Crunch

Wow. I feel like we need to issue a formal apology to all our friends in Norfolk for that savage beat down tonight.

NOR-1
SYR-6

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. For those wondering, Pat Nagle has been backing up Desjardins because Riku Helenius had some family issues back in Finland that required attention. Hopefully Riku will be back for the playoffs.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (11) (Wyman, Brown), 14:20
SYR Johnson, (34) (Sexton, Wyman), 14:58
SYR Wyman, (13) (Palat, Johnson), 19:02

Second Period
SYR Namestnikov, (7) (Devos, Connolly), 11:56
NOR Maroon, (25) (Guenin), 13:32
SYR Johnson, (35) (Palat, Sexton), 19:11

Third Period
SYR Johnson, (36) , 7:48

Tyler Johnson, J.T. Wyman, and Mike Angelidis were the game's three stars. The freshly minted AHL MVP, Johnson, celebrated with an incredible 3 goal, 4 point effort to start off a 3 game weekend set that will be so critical for playoff position.

Brian Lee was +4 in the contest. Several members of the Bolt Prospects message board's heads just exploded after reading that. Mind you, he also took a major for slashing and got kicked out of the game. I would suspect a suspension may follow.

Two games remain in the regular season. Providence toppled Springfield tonight 5-3, which clinches the top seed in the East for Providence. However, with Springfield going down and Syracuse winning, the Crunch now move to within 2 points of the Falcons with a game in hand. The Crunch also expanded their division lead over Binghamton to 3 points after Bingo lost to Manchester tonight. Each team has 2 games left on their schedules, including the head-to-head matchup Sunday. The loss for Norfolk was a particularly bad one with the Admirals, at this moment, in a 4-way tie at 79 points for one of the last 2 playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. How deeply ironic would it be if Syracuse had to face Norfolk in the first round? That prospect looks much more remote after tonight, but it's still at least on the edge of the table right now.

So here's the schedule for Saturday: Springfield draws Adirondack (eliminated from playoff contention), Binghamton gets Hershey (one of the clubs in that 4-way tie), and Syracuse gets Worcester (eliminated from playoff contention). Syracuse can make the division elementary with a win, thereby clinching not less than the 3 seed for the playoffs. Jumping Springfield may be a harder task for the Crunch with the Falcons likely holding the tiebreak at the finish line with a 2 game lead in the regulation win column right now.

Some other accounting issues heading into the end of the regular season:
- Syracuse still leads the AHL in goals scored by 10.
- Tyler Johnson is 8th in the AHL in scoring and Brett Connolly is currently tied for 10th.
- Mark Barberio is in 6th amongst AHL defensemen in scoring.
- Johnson also leads the league in goals by 3 with Connolly tied for 4th.
- Johnson is also 6th in power play goals.
- Connolly is tied for tops in game winning goals.
- Ondrej Palat is tied for 8th in the league in helpers.
- Despite being in Tampa for about a month, Radko Gudas is still 6th in the AHL in penalty minutes.
- Gudas is also still leading the league in +/- with teammates Johnson, Palat, and J.P. Cote all tied for 3rd. Dmitry Korobov is tied for 8th.
- Barberio is 9th in the league in shots on goal.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-6-13 Crunch at Bears

Rob Zettler's first win allows Syracuse to keep pace in the East.

SYR-2
HER-1

Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 20 shots for the big win. Once again, he's eased his season save percentage up to .900.

First Period
SYR Cote, (3) (Devos, Hutchings), 10:07

Second Period
HER Crabb, (2) (Taffe, Schmidt), 19:05

Third Period
SYR Palat, (12) (Richard, Sexton), 3:50

Ondrej Palat and J.P. Cote were the game's first and second stars.

Congratulations to Tanner Richard on his first professional point. Naturally, it was an assist. Luke Witkowski made his professional debut in the game.

This is how Syracuse has to scratch out wins with their finishers called up to Tampa Bay. It's got to be low scoring games and finding a way to get key goals at key times. Providence and Springfield won tonight, and Binghamton is going down late to Norfolk. If that holds, that will leave Syracuse 2 points behind Providence for tops in the East and 2 points clear of Binghamton for the East Division lead. Syracuse's last road game of the regular season is Tuesday against Lake Erie. They'll end with 5 straight at home, which might be edge they need to take the top spot in the East.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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