For Tyler Johnson, it was a game he'd rather just forget.
Despite tallying a pair of goals to break out of an 11-game drought, the Syracuse Crunch forward had trouble coming up with words to describe the third period.
The Crunch, who came into the frame with a two-goal lead on the Albany Devils, allowed four straight goals in a 4-3 loss at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. One night after snapping a two-game losing streak, Syracuse found itself with the same problems that caused it to drop six out of the previous eight.
"It was just a lot of stupid mistakes, it was uncharacteristic of our team," Johnson said. "I can't really think of a word except horrendous; it just wasn't good. Our effort was there, it was just dumb. We didn't play smart."
With a subtle pump of the fist, Richard Panik's celebration showed his goal was more alleviating than exhilarating.
After his team squandered a two-goal lead against the Adirondack Phantoms, the Syracuse Crunch forward picked up a loose puck that ricocheted off a defenseman, and fired it low blocker-side. It wasn't his prettiest, but it counted all the same.
"I was so relieved that I scored and I put the team in the lead," Panik said.
The Slovakian winger's team-leading 21st goal of the season stood up as the game-winner, and Philip-Michael Devos added an insurance marker, as the Crunch snapped their two-game losing streak with a 4-2 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday night.
Getting back on track.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the victory.
SYR Angelidis, (7) (Cote), 14:33
SYR Connolly, (18) (Killorn), 4:20
ADK FitzGerald, (1) (Syvret), 5:37
ADK Laliberte, (1) (Akeson, Dimmen), 12:20
SYR Panik, (21) (Gauthier, Namestnikov), 9:15
SYR Devos, (3) (Connolly), 17:30
It was a long week of hard work and soul searching for the Crunch as they continue to try to establish an identity in the post-lockout world. Fortunately, they got a result from their work right out of the chute, which is important to validate what they've put into the process so far and to keep it going.
Albany comes to town tomorrow. Syracuse moves within 2 points of Binghamton for both the East Division and the Eastern Conference lead.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch's recent slide is the result of a myriad of factors.
After losing two straight games and six of their last seven, it is impossible for the Crunch to pinpoint one specific problem. With a little bit of everything to blame, the answers range from a mix of bad luck and tough opposition in net to defensive lapses and a lack of scoring.
“We just haven’t been playing the way we want to play,” said Crunch forward Tyler Johnson.
The Crunch hopes to remedy one of those problems, an absence of offense, by combining their top three point-scorers on the same line. With Tampa Bay Lightning prospects Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Brett Connolly practicing on the same unit, Syracuse hopes it becomes the team's slump-buster when Albany and Adirondack visit the Onondaga County War Memorial on Friday and Saturday.
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.