Syracuse Crunch

Practice Notes: 3-30-13

Bolt Prospects' Mike Gallimore made it out to Lightning practice today and had the chance to chat with new Bolts coach Jon Cooper. Some notes:

* Cooper said Cory Conacher's limited minutes last night weren't punitive. He thought Conacher played well and noted Cory created a couple scoring chances.

* Conacher's and Pyatt's ice time got clipped due to Cooper's decision to go heavy with a couple lines, especially Killorn-Stamkos-St. Louis.

* Cooper volunteered that - despite 89's hot start - Conacher is still an unfinished product at the NHL level.

* The Lightning did a number of situational drills today, with particular emphasis on puck retrieval and zone exits.

* Cooper noted that the team is in flux and it's going to take time, but felt the team rebounded well after first period of "throwing pucks up the wall."

* Cooper praised new Lightning prospect Andrej Sustr for his debut. He said Sustr kept earning additional shifts. Cooper was impressed with how calm Sustr played in his NHL debut.

* Cooper was excited when talking about Alex Killorn. He said it took Killorn about 10 games last year in Norfolk to figure out the pro game - and then Killorn took off.

* Cooper said Killorn has been instrumental on the top line as puck retriever for St. Louis and Stamkos.

* The team scrimmaged 4-on-4 today. Cooper said it served as a fun activity, but also that he believes in preparing thoroughly for non-5v5 situations.

AHL Game Night: 3-29-13 Crunch at Admirals

Third Period collapse in Norfolk.

NOR-5 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss. So much for getting over the .900 save percentage line. No wonder the Lightning are rumored to be trying to sweet talk Bratislava into letting Jaroslav Janus come back.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (27) (Jacques), 3:51
SYR Neilson, (1) (Gauthier, Wyman), 17:07
NOR Maroon, (19) (Bonis, McMillan), 19:46

Second Period
SYR Hutchings, (3) (Cote, Namestnikov), 18:59

Third Period
SYR Sexton, (7) (Brown, Wyman), 0:10
NOR Smith-Pelly, (11) (McMillan), 0:50
NOR Wagner, (7) (Pelley), 2:46
NOR Maroon, (20) (Guenin, Vatanen), 8:49 (PP)

NOR Maroon, (21) (Sarault, Vatanen), 1:41 (PP)

I've said it many times, a 3 goal lead in the final frame in pro hockey is supposed to be a death sentence. When you cough up a lead like that, it lingers like a bad stench for a while. When you cheat the reaper like Norfolk did, it can propel you.

The news is bad with Bingo and Providence winning tonight. The Crunch now are tied with the Bruins and tied in points (and in their division) with Binghamton. Rematch with Norfolk tomorrow night. 9 games are left in the regular season, and every single precious point matters now.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 3-27-13 Crunch at Americans

Famine in Zettler's debut.


Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 14 shots for the loss. That's his second 1-0 loss in recent weeks, I believe. That just stinks for a goaltender.

First Period
RCH Schofield, (7) (Girgensons, Biega), 19:18

Second Period

Third Period

Zettler is being assisted by Martin Raymond and ex-video coach Brian Garlock. Brian Lee made his debut for the Crunch after being sent through waivers by the Lightning. Syracuse actually outshot Rochester 38-14 in the contest.

Syracuse now heads to Norfolk for a 2 game set on Friday and Saturday. They hold a scant 1 point lead on Providence in the conference with 10 games left in the regular season.

Box score from

Prospect of the Week: March 27, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for March 27 is … Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA).

Undrafted and undersized, Tyler Johnson has been huge for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Crunch Regain League-Lead with 3-1 Win Over Devils

By Jeremy Houghtaling

One night after being shutout, the Syracuse Crunch were glad to be right back on the ice.

The Crunch jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, added another in the second, and held on for a 3-1 win over the Albany Devils at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday night.

With the win, Syracuse paces the league with 86 points, two ahead of Binghamton for the Eastern Conference lead and one ahead of Texas in the Western Conference.

"We weren't going to let what happened last night happen tonight," said Syracuse forward Dan Sexton. "That's what makes good teams good -- they respond and they don't lose two in a row."

AHL Game Night: 3-23-13 Devils at Crunch

Still hanging onto first place.


Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He came within 54 seconds of a shutout before Albany's power play goal. Still, with the effort tonight, Helenius has finally managed to get his save percentage back to .900 for the season. He had a good February and is having a good March, which the Lightning have to hope leads to a good Option B for Syracuse come playoff time.

First Period
SYR Namestnikov, (5) (Gauthier, Jacques), 13:39
SYR Sexton, (6) (Wyman), 14:25

Second Period
SYR Brown, (10) (Wyman, Sexton), 14:00

Third Period
ALB Anderson, (13) (Whitney, Gelinas), 19:06 (PP)

Dan Sexton, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Helenius were the game's three stars. Namestnikov's strong play in March also has to have the Lightning extremely happy. We at the website can't wait to see him and Nikita Kucherov lined up together, which could happen this season depending on how the QMJHL playoffs go.

With Providence going down to Worcester, Syracuse holds a 2 point lead on Binghamton for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Springfield and Providence lag by 3 points. Syracuse gets Rochester next on Wednesday, and with just 11 games left in the regular season every point matters from here on out, as it could be the difference between being 1 seed or a 4 seed.

6 of Syracuse's remaining 11 games are at home, including a nice 5 game homestand to close out the regular season. Also, 6 of the 11 games are against teams that currently would not make the playoffs, although the team they have the most games left with, ironically Norfolk, is just 2 points out of 8th in the East.

Box score from

Crunch Shut Out By Tokarski, Bulldogs

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Even with a familiar face in the opposition's net, the Syracuse Crunch tried to focus on the two points up for grabs.

Former teammate Dustin Tokarski stole the show, turning away 40 shots between the pipes for the Hamilton Bulldogs to hand the Crunch a 1-0 loss at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday night.

"It's the same two points," said Crunch goaltender Riku Helenius. "Obviously, I wanted to win today, but it didn't happen…Even when you play against your friends, it doesn't change things."

AHL Game Night: 3-22-13 Bulldogs at Crunch

Tic's revenge.


Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 26 shots to take the loss in a classic goaltending duel against ex-tandem mate Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski stopped all 40 shots he faced for the sweet revenge against Syracuse.

First Period

Second Period

Third Period
HAM Belzile, (1) (Bournival, Stejskal), 10:10

Helenius was the game's third star. Tokarski, of course, got top star billing.

Box score from

Desjardins, Crunch Blank Penguins, 1-0

By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was all about the letter D for the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday night.

The defense held the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to nine shots in the first forty minutes, Philip-Michael Devos scored the lone goal and Cedrick Desjardins pitched a 20-save shutout, leading the Crunch to a 1-0 victory at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

Syracuse has registered a point in its last five games, and paces the American Hockey League with 84 points.

"Every night there's someone different that's the hero," Desjardins said. "Tonight, everyone stepped in."

AHL Game Night: 3-20-13 Penguins at Crunch

Still riding in first place.


Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 20 shots he faced for the shutout victory. With Anders Lindback possibly being hurt tonight in Toronto, we'll see if Cedrick hops a plane back to join the Lightning.

First Period

Second Period
SYR Devos, (5) (Gauthier, Taormina), 2:01

Third Period

Philip-Michael Devos, Desjardins, and J.P. Cote were the game's three stars.

Syracuse expands their Eastern Conference lead to 3 points over the Providence Bruins with Providence holding 1 game in hand. They'll also move 1 point ahead of the Texas Stars for the best record in the league, as well. They draw Hamilton next on Friday with 13 games remaining in the regular season. It's going to be a nail biter for Syracuse as they chase the conference crown.

Box score from

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