Syracuse Crunch

Connolly, Johnson Returned to Syracuse

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forwards Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Connolly, 20, has skated in five games with the Lightning this season, tallying one goal on 10 shots. He scored his lone goal of the season while on the power play last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward has also appeared in 67 games with the Crunch, registering 27 goals and 57 points to go along with a plus-15 rating and 51 penalty minutes. Connolly ranks second on Syracuse for goals and points and is third for assists with 30. The Campbell River, British Columbia native was originally drafted by the Lightning in the first round, sixth overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Johnson, 22, has played in 14 games with the Lightning this season, collecting three goals and six points to go along with a plus-3 rating and four penalty minutes. The 5-foot-9, 182-pound forward made his NHL debut on March 14 against the New York Islanders and recorded his first career NHL goal and assist on March 16 versus Carolina. Johnson ranks second among all NHL rookies in faceoff percentage at 59.5% (minimum 50 taken). The Spokane, Washington native has also appeared in 59 games with the Crunch, posting 32 goals and 58 points with a plus-28 rating. He ranks first on Syracuse in goals and points and has a team-high 11 power play goals.

AHL Game Night: 4-9-13 Crunch at Monsters

Oh so close to getting the 2 points in the final road game of the season.

SYR-4
LE-5 (OT)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the loss. Yuck.

First Period
LE Thomas, (22) (Hishon, Lauridsen), 4:13
SYR Sexton, (8) (Palat, Richard), 18:28

Second Period
SYR Namestnikov, (6) (Sustr, Korobov), 10:50 (PP)
LE Connolly, (9) (Thomas, Beaupre), 14:14
LE Vincour, (15) (Pock, Sullivan), 18:34 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Sustr, (1) (Korobov, Namestnikov), 2:03 (PP)
SYR Devos, (6) (Brown, Taormina), 3:26
LE Vincour, (16) (Hishon, Carey), 9:42

Overtime
LE Agozzino, (19) (Walker, Pock), 2:49

Ondrej Palat got the extremely rare penalty shot in Overtime, but failed to convert against Lake Erie netminder Kent Patterson.

Congratulations to Andrej Sustr on his first pro point, first pro goal, and first pro multi-point game.

Tanner Richard got a helper. In related news, water is wet.

Syracuse is now 3 points back of Providence and 1 points back of Springfield in the conference and 3 points ahead of Binghamton in the division. They head home for a hugely important 5 game homestand to finish the regular season. With Ryan Malone back for Tampa Bay, might Coach Zettler get back one of his star players for the kick at the finish line?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

What to Expect from Mark Barberio

In the old days of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mark Barberio may be a 2-year veteran at this point in his career.

The Lightning had little organizational depth and if prospects showed flashes of NHL ability, they were called up to the big club and thrown to the proverbial wolves.

When new general manager Steve Yzerman took over, he changed all that, and Barberio is a prime example of his player development philosophy.

Barberio to Make NHL Debut

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled defenseman Mark Barberio from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Additionally, defenseman Matt Taormina has been reassigned to the Crunch

Barberio, 23, has played in 70 games this season with the Crunch, posting eight goals and 40 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating. He ranks third for assists (32) and fifth for points among AHL defensemen. The Montreal, Quebec native leads all Crunch defensemen in goals, assists and points. Of his eight goals this season, five have been recorded while on the man-advantage.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman has skated in 212 career AHL games with the Crunch and Norfolk Admirals, posting 30 goals and 132 points with 111 penalty minutes. Last season, while playing for the Admirals, Barberio won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s top defenseman. He was also part of the Admirals team that won the Calder Cup, registering two goals and nine points in 18 games during the playoffs.

Barberio was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 152nd overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

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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