After spending most of the offseason putting on 15 pounds of muscle, Vladislav Namestnikov is starting to see the results.
The second year Syracuse Crunch center, who trained in the summer with Joe Neal at 2SP Elite Athletic Development in Michigan, has used his new-found mass to register six points in the first five games of the season. He's adjusting to his new role as the team's top center, but at 6-feet, 185 pounds, Namestnikov is still working to get bigger.
"I think I got a little faster, and in the corners I'm winning more battles," the 20-year-old said. "It's good."
Crunch coach Rob Zettler believes Namestnikov is being rewarded for playing to his strength.
Mid course correction successful.
Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. I dare say he just defined himself as the #1 tonight.
SYR Sergeev, (2) (Richard, Mormina), 9:48 (PP)
BNG Prince, (1) (Wideman, Petersson), 17:23 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (3) (Kucherov, Taormina), 2:34
SYR Kucherov, (5) (Brown), 9:15
SYR Paquette, (2) (Taormina), 15:38
Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's first and second stars. I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat. Kucherov, as of this posting, leads all AHL rookies in scoring and is just 3 points off the pace for the overall league lead.
Syracuse washes out the taste of that bitter defeat last night at the hands of the Senators. This was a big win psychologically for the team. They're off until Friday when they'll play Utica. Utica is the new affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Jokerit 4 @ HIFK 2
FW Saku Salminent, Jokerit: Did not play
2012-2013 Season totals: 13 GP, 1-1-2, E, 12 PIM
2013 7th-rounder Saku Salminen, who got his first taste of the top Finnish league last season, has yet to make his 2013-2014 debut. Jokerit (15 GP, 30 PTS) next plays host to Kalpa (14 GP, 13 PTS), which is currently bringing up the bottom of the league table, on Tuesday.
Despite outshooting Binghamton 22-8 in the second period and 42-20 overall, the Syracuse Crunch fell to the Senators 6-2 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
Syracuse struggled to solve Binghamton goalie Nathan Lawson, who stopped multiple odd-man rushes and point black opportunities. He finished with 40 saves and was the first star of the night.
"We had plenty of chances to score," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We got sloppy. We weren't stopping on pucks, we weren't doing some little details. The chances they had were good -- I didn't think they had a lot of them -- but the chances they had were good."
Wow, that's ugly.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 6 goals on 20 shots for the loss. That's probably not the stat line you want the start after a Twitter kerfluffle that was, at a minimum, ill conceived.
BNG Hoffman, (1) (Wideman, Zibanejad), 7:05 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (2) (Kucherov, Taormina), 16:42 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (4) (Namestnikov, Brown), 8:18 (PP)
BNG Robinson, (1) (Puempel, Da Costa), 9:43
BNG Blood, (1) (Wideman, Dziurzynski), 10:43
BNG Hoffman, (2) , 15:28
BNG Petersson, (2) (Wideman, Zibanejad), 4:43
BNG Puempel, (1) (Da Costa, Robinson), 14:11
Vladislav Namestnikov was the game's third star.
Two things have to happen early in this season while the youngsters adjust to their new roles. One, guys like Korobov absolutely have to be stabilizing influences. Guys with some experience need to be leaders and they can't be making mistakes that lead to scoring chances. It can't be the blind leading the dumb. That's a recipe for disaster. And, second, one of these two goaltenders needs to be the magic eraser when mistakes are made. 6 on 20 shots is bad, no matter how you slice it. As with what I've said about the Lightning's situation, the Crunch need either Desjardins or Helenius to be a reason they win games.
Lucky for Syracuse, they don't have to wait long to atone. They get Bingo in Bingo tomorrow night.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Syracuse Crunch lineup still has a few question marks heading into a home-and-home series with the Binghamton Senators this weekend.
With Brett Connolly called up to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Charles Landry and Maxime Langelier-Parent sent to ECHL Florida on Wednesday, the Crunch are down to 19 skaters -- 12 forwards and seven defensemen.
Although Syracuse is unsure if Connolly will return by the puck drop at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday, Crunch coach Rob Zettler has confidence in the forward lines he assembled at practice Thurday, which included moving Evan Rankin into Connolly's spot with Tanner Richard and Geoff Walker.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored five times in the third period to shock the Syracuse Crunch, 6-3, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday.
The Penguins scored twice on the power play in the final frame, and finished 3-for-9 with the man-advantage.
"I just thought we were really sloppy in the third overall from a discipline point of view," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler. "We weren't stopping on pucks, we were circling around. It wasn't fun to watch the third."
Much like the big club, the Crunch have a Third Period collapse against the Pens.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 26 shots for the loss.
WBS Kostopoulos, (1) (Drazenovic, Harrington), 17:28 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (1) (Taormina, Nesterov), 10:49 (PP)
SYR Paquette, (1) (Rankin), 14:39 (SH)
WBS Kostopoulos, (2) (Mikkelson, Drazenovic), 0:55 (PP)
WBS Drazenovic, (1) (Conner, Mikkelson), 4:04 (PP)
WBS Megna, (1) (Ebbett), 8:48 (SH)
SYR Taormina, (1) (Walker, Richard), 10:26
WBS Zolnierczyk, (3) (Sill, Despres), 14:20
WBS Uher, (1) (Deslauriers), 18:34 (EN)
Eric Neilson and Mike Angelidis were the game's first and second stars. Things got out of hand in the Third Period (obviously) after Cedric Paquette (who also got his first professional goal in the game) took a Game Misconduct for boarding that led to a pair of Penguins goals that helped flip the outcome.
Syracuse is off until Friday when they'll face Binghamton.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Syracuse scored four times with the man-advantage and Nikita Kucherov registered a hat trick, leading the Crunch past the Rochester Americans, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"He was special tonight," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler of Kucherov. "He made some really heady plays, just a smart player. He thinks the game and he's got skill. He makes plays happen."
The Crunch scored three power play goals in the second period of their home opener, and added another 24 seconds into the third.
Syracuse's home opener takes on a distinctly Russian (and Belarusian) flavor.
Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 18 shots for the victory. Life is good when your team gives you 5 goals of support and only allows a paltry 8 shots the first 40 minutes of the game.
SYR Brown, (1) (Nesterov, Namestnikov), 4:31 (PP)
SYR Sergeev, (1) (Connolly), 6:18 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (1) (Namestnikov, Taormina), 16:48 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (2) (Nesterov, Taormina), 0:24 (PP)
RCH Tardif, (1) (Varone, McNabb), 5:30 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (3) (Nesterov, Brown), 12:56
Nikita Nesterov, J.T. Brown, and Dmitry Korobov were the game's three stars. Bold choice by the Syracuse media not giving a nod to Nikita Kucherov, who introduced himself to the home fans with a hat trick.
For their part, the Russian/Belarussian trio of Nesterov, Sergeev, and Korobov (AKA the mythical 70's R&B cover band known as Eastern European Soul) got huge marks in the game. Nesterov had assists in triplicate and was +1 while Artem Sergeev scored his first professional goal, and Dmitry Korobov got himself involved in one of the big physical dust ups late in the game and earned the third star selection. That's a heck of a positive sign for the Crunch as these guys need to step up this year for Syracuse to continue the momentum they had last season as an elite level AHL club.
Rochester goaltender Matt Hackett got 16 penalty minutes in the game, including a roughing call, diving call, and unsportsmanlike call (all minors) in three separate incidents in the Second Period that he chased down with a 10 Misconduct and a Game Misconduct late in the Third Period. You don't often see an unglued mess like that between the pipes. Treasure the memory, Crunch fans.
Syracuse gets Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tomorrow at home.
Box score from TheAHL.com.