Panik, Richard

Crunch Continue to Struggle, Fall to Amerks 5-3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Richard Panik was in the right place at the right time.

The Syracuse Crunch forward, stationed just outside the Rochester Americans' crease, watched as the puck trickled away from a sprawling David Leggio.

"I was standing on the goal line and I tapped it in," Panik said.

With the game tied, the tide seemed to turn in the Crunch's favor.

But that feeling was brief.

Before the goal was finished being announced, Rochester retook the lead on a Rick Schofield goal. The Americans scored three more times before the Crunch could respond, as Syracuse fell 5-3 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.

AHL Game Night: 2-2-13 Americans at Crunch

It's starting to feel like Rochester has Syracuse's number.


Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 21 shots for the loss. That's an ugly stat line and a bitter pill for the whole team to swallow when they outshot Rochester 46-21.

First Period
RCH Rissmiller, (1) (McNabb), 11:48 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Panik, (20) (Wyman, Angelidis), 11:28
RCH Schofield, (6) (Varone, Legault), 12:06
RCH Crawford, (3) (McNabb, Rissmiller), 14:16 (PP)

Third Period
RCH Sundher, (4) (Mancari, Porter), 7:34
RCH Porter, (14) (Mancari, Gauthier-Leduc), 9:21
SYR Connolly, (17) (Killorn, Korobov), 12:50
SYR Gauthier, (5) (Barberio), 17:23

Richard Panik notched his 20th goal of the season in the defeat. Alex Killorn is tied with Jason Zucker of Houston for second in rookie scoring behind Justin Schultz, whose callup to Edmonton puts the Rookie of the Year award in play for Killorn.

But first, Syracuse needs to shake off the futility of this weekend.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-26-13 IceCaps at Crunch



Dustin Tokarski (pictured) allowed 3 goals on 18 shots before being kicked out of the game for leaving his crease to beat Eddie Pasquale like a drum. Key point: Eddie Pasquale is 6'3" 220 lbs. Tic is 6'0" 194 lbs. Didn't matter. Tic was like a rabid wolverine on its prey. He became a folk legend tonight. Oh, yeah, and Riku Helenius stopped all 15 shots he faced the rest of the way for the win (yawn).

First Period
SYR Killorn, (14) (Panik, Barberio), 14:50 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (4) , 17:37 (SH)

Second Period
STJ Arsene, (1) (Mouillierat), 1:46
STJ Mouillierat, (4) (O'Dell, Melchiori), 2:35
STJ Cormier, (3) (Klingberg), 4:46 (PP)
SYR Wilson, (1) (Oberg, Panik), 9:16

Third Period
SYR Killorn, (15) (Johnson, Barberio), 3:40 (PP)
SYR Cote, (1) (Angelidis, Killorn), 15:58
SYR Panik, (19) (Johnson, Korobov), 19:44

Alex Killorn and Richard Panik were the game's first and second stars. Panik's game was his first back from a 3 game suspension, and he came out like an animal that's been caged up too long with 1 goal and 3 points to show for his night. The Panik attack has equalled his goal total from a season ago and the sky is the limit if he keeps playing like that. Killorn snapped a personal three game scoreless streak in style with 2 goals and 3 points, as the entire Syracuse team had a breakthrough.

This was a huge win for this team, after suffering through the post-lockout malaise. They're still not at full strength with Taormina still out, but getting Panik tonight and winning an emotional, brawl-filled game by blowing a team off the rink in the Third Period goes a long way toward rekindling the club's confidence. They've been slowly recalibrating the bomb sites despite the setbacks and frustrations of the past few games, and tonight St. John's (and Eddie Pasquale's face, for that matter) was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Springfield is next on Friday.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-19-13 Monsters at Crunch

Post-lockout pains continue.


Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 22 shots for the loss. He's now just one game over .500 and his .878 save percentage is ugly. This can't be what anyone had in mind when he came over from JYP.

First Period

Second Period
LE Carey, (7) (Agozzino, Pock), 3:42
LE Pock, (5) (Carey, Steffes), 8:55
SYR Palat, (5) (Connolly, Gudas), 9:20
SYR Palat, (6) (Johnson), 16:23 (SH)

Third Period
LE Thomas, (15) (Sgarbossa, Connolly), 16:59 (PP)
LE Chouinard, (1) , 19:59 (EN)

You can't really say anything other than, "It'll get better." Richard Panik will come off suspension, Taormina will get healthy, and this group will begin to settle into their new roles and get used to new on-ice combinations. But, it's going to hurt a bit over the next couple of weeks to get there. The team did outshoot Lake Erie tonight and it is showing signs of improvement. But, it takes time to build chemistry.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-18-13 Crunch at Americans

Syracuse meets the post-lockout bump in the road.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
RCH Mancari, (11) (Porter, Sundher), 14:17

Second Period
RCH Flynn, (13) (Adam, Crawford), 4:41
RCH Rankin, (9) (Schofield, Varone), 7:05
SYR Nightingale, (1) (Johnson, Palat), 16:31

Third Period
RCH Varone, (4) (Biega, Schofield), 14:14

Chemistry in hockey can be a weird thing. There are plenty of examples of teams that weather losing a key player and continue to play well. But, in the case of the Crunch, they're dealing with losing Keith Aulie, Cory Conacher, and P.C. Labrie to Tampa Bay, Taormina being down with an injury right now, and Richard Panik on a three game suspension. Clearly it was too much to overcome tonight as the team struggles to develop continuity. Even once Panik and Taormina return, it's a tall task to try to replace a defenseman with NHL experience, the reigning AHL MVP, and an emotional and physical leader like Nacho. Fans of the Lightning farm team have been a little spoiled over the last year plus and these next few weeks are going to be a little tough as Syracuse works through the changes. It'll settle down eventually. Jon Cooper's too good a coach not to get it settled down and back on track. However, be aware, this isn't going to be quite the same juggernaut it was moving forward.

Syracuse plays Lake Erie tomorrow while the big boys get going against Washington.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-12-13 Americans at Crunch

The exodus to Tampa begins...


Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the loss.

First Period

Second Period
RCH Schofield, (4) (Sundher, Biega), 5:11
RCH Tarnasky, (8) (Flynn, Crawford), 13:26 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (15) (Killorn, Palat), 6:34 (PP)
RCH Porter, (11) (Brennan, Biega), 10:47
RCH Brennan, (14) (Mancari, Adam), 15:11 (PP)

Brett Connolly was the game's second star after scoring Syracuse's only goal.

As might be expected, Alex Hutchings and Charles Landry were called up from the Coast before the game. This allowed the Crunch to pull several of their vets from the lineup as they prepare to head to Tampa for abbreviated training camp. That, in of itself, made things weird enough. But, once Richard Panik got himself kicked out early in the Second Period of the game, the lineup really got scrambled beyond recognition. It's going to be a strange next few weeks as players move up and down from Tampa. Once the roster finally settles down a little, this Syracuse team will have to re-learn how to play together with the personnel who are left. That's why Jon Cooper makes the big bucks.

Box score from

Crunch Top Admirals in Shootout, 3-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Mike Angelidis, one of the strengths of the Syracuse Crunch is its ability to remain positive.

Down by a goal in the third period to the Norfolk Admirals at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday, the Crunch captain knew if his team poured on the pressure, it would find the game-tying goal.

Syracuse outshot Norfolk 23-4 in the third, finding the equalizer midway through the frame and and ultimately winning the game, 3-2, in the shootout. The Crunch has won five straight and seven of its last eight.

"It gets frustrating when you keep shooting the puck and missing the net or they're blocking shots," Angelidis said. "It's frustrating, but if you keep playing the game and you stay positive, good things happen."

AHL Game Night: 1-9-13 Crunch at Americans

In possibly their last game together as a group, Syracuse gets a win...


Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (14) (Gauthier, Korobov), 10:25
RCH Mancari, (9) (Porter, Finley), 13:14

Second Period
SYR Panik, (18) (Palat, Cote), 6:50
SYR Angelidis, (6) (Killorn, Taormina), 10:54
RCH Adam, (8) (Rankin, Brennan), 19:26 (PP)

Third Period
RCH Flynn, (11) (Tarnasky), 11:25
SYR Gauthier, (3) (Connolly, Devos), 12:20
SYR Wyman, (3) (Killorn), 18:11

Brett Connolly and Mike Angelidis were the game's first and second stars. If Lightning camp does indeed get going this weekend, tonight may have been Connolly's last in a Crunch jersey.

Richard Panik (pictured) is just 1 goal shy of his total from all of last season, and the Panik attack might well be deserving of at least an abbreviated training camp look.

Alex Killorn has 5 multi-point games in his last 10 outings. He's another one who might deserve a look.

Good to see Ondrej Palat back after getting banged up in the first game in Norfolk over the weekend. He is one of those guys who is the straw that stirs the drink.

Things get interesting now. The team has a game against Norfolk in Syracuse on Friday night. Speculation around the league earlier this week had most training camps opening on Saturday. Head Coach Jon Cooper made a comment about possibly losing a lot of his current roster to the NHL, presumably for an abbreviated camp as the Lightning evaluate whether it's smart (I think it is) to add a couple of these AHLers who have been playing well and don't have any rust to shake off. Watch the transaction wire the next couple of days, because you might see callups from Florida of the ECHL that signal what's to come.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-5-13 Crunch at Admirals

Crunch sweep homecoming weekend in dramatic fashion.

NOR-3 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the victory after Jon Cooper chose to pass over Riku Helenius for the start and keep the same netminder for the back end of the two game set. We'll see if Riku goes on Wednesday or if Cooper has evoked the "stick with a winner" selection process.

First Period

Second Period
NOR Kurtz, (3) (Vatanen, Rosehill), 2:54
SYR Killorn, (13) (Wyman, Gudas), 3:48
NOR Maroon, (10) (Vatanen, Sexton), 12:28 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (2) (Labrie), 17:58

Third Period
SYR Panik, (17) (Connolly, Cote), 3:46
NOR Palmieri, (11) (Vatanen), 11:39 (PP)

SYR Connolly, (13) (Killorn), 2:21

Brett Connolly was the game's first star. He's been pretty consistent all season, statistically. If you look at his last 22 games, for instance, he was only held off the scoresheet in 6 of those games. That's got to make Coach Cooper, and Guy Boucher for that matter, smile.

Richard Panik is now just 2 goals shy from his total of all last season. The Panik attack has lit the lamp 4 times in the last 3 games.

Vladislav Namestnikov is also consistently finding the scoresheet since his return from injury. He got his second pro goal tonight and he has 2 goals and 3 points in the 5 games since he came off the shelf.

Alex Killorn had his 4th multi-point game in his last 9 outings. He was chipping in singles in the early part of the season, but now he's starting to really pick up steam in his rookie campaign.

Syracuse moves on Wednesday to face Rochester.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 1-4-13 Crunch at Admirals

For tonight, Tic and the Crunch are still the Kings of Norfolk.


Dustin Tokarski (pictured) stopped all 22 shots he faced for the shutout. The comfort of the old barn? Extra concentration going against his old uniform? Whatever it was, he put up the forcefield tonight in the Crunch players' return to the scene of many of their greatest career triumphs.

First Period
SYR Panik, (16) , 2:28 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (20) , 14:50

Second Period

Third Period
SYR Aulie, (3) (Killorn), 17:04

Tyler Johnson, Tokarski, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars. On January 4th, TJ becomes the first Syracuse player to reach the 20 goal plateau. The Panik attack, for his part, is now just 3 goals shy of his total from all of last season.

Vladislav Namestnikov checked first pro goal off his list recently, and tonight he had his first pro fight. So, that's all the low hanging fruit. Now he's got to move on to first pro multi-point game, first pro hat trick, etc. Right?

Let's be honest: there was no way in hell the Crunch were losing this game. They held Norfolk to just 11 shots on goal through 2 periods and it was pretty clear how focused the team was. They weren't going to stub their toe in the homecoming game. It just wasn't happening. Credit to the Admirals, they clearly wanted it badly, too.

Now, tomorrow night holds some intrigue. Presumably Riku Helenius will go in net and he doesn't have as fond a set of memories about Scope. It'll also be interesting to see Riku go against his teammate from last season in JYP, Sami Vatanen, who was a stellar defenseman in the SM-liiga. They won a championship together last season. But, that was last season.

Box score from

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