Syracuse Crunch

Lightning Roster Predictions

With the NHL and NHLPA coming to an agreement last night, it’s time to take a peak at what the Lightning might look like when the season starts in a couple weeks.

I was asked on Twitter this week how I thought the Lightning would fare in a shortened season. My answer is three fold. It depends on:

1. Goaltending
2. Special teams
3. How quickly the team gels

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

No Coincidences for Conacher

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Cory Conacher tries to not think about what could have been.

With the National Hockey League and the players’ association still working to resolve the lockout, the 5-8, 179-pound winger, who was expected to be a candidate for the Calder Trophy, knows that nothing is guaranteed.

"Even if the NHL figures it out and I get a chance to play in Tampa, I can't expect to be the best player and get all the points," Conacher said. "I have to do the little things that will help Tampa Bay win, and that's what is most important."

One season removed from hoisting the Calder Cup and being named the American Hockey League's Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player – the fourth player to achieve both in the same season – the 23-year-old Syracuse Crunch forward still doesn't take anything for granted.

AHL Game Night: 12-31-12 Crunch at Penguins

Panik brings the fireworks on New Year's Eve.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 19 shots for the victory, completing 2012 with a solid performance that will hopefully set the tone for 2013. He came within 2 seconds of a shutout.

First Period

Second Period
SYR Panik, (14) (Connolly), 16:53

Third Period
SYR Panik, (15) (Johnson, Palat), 0:33 (PP)
WBS Smith, (11) (Dumoulin), 19:59 (PP)

Richard Panik, Tokarski, and Brett Connolly were the game's three stars. Panik's 15 goals are already just 4 shy of his total from all of his rookie campaign last year.

Syracuse heads to the old barn, Scope in Norfolk, for a 2 game set starting Friday night. The Admirals are currently last in the East Division, while the Crunch finish 2012 in first place in the Eastern Conference. That's pretty good for a Crunch team that has yet to achieve the consistency that last year's Calder Cup champs had in the second half of the season and the playoffs.

Box score from

Crunch Blow 4-Goal Lead in 5-4 OT Loss to IceCaps

By Jeremy Houghtaling

It was a night of firsts for the Syracuse Crunch.

Vladislav Namestnikov notched his first professional goal and Cory Conacher registered his first Gordie Howe hat trick Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

But unfortunately for the Crunch, the firsts didn't stop there.

The St. John's IceCaps registered their first victory of the year after trailing at the first intermission, as the Crunch blew a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 overtime loss.

"I wish I was a little happier about it," Conacher said of his achievement. "Maybe sometime down the road I can get it and get a victory out of it, too."

AHL Game Night: 12-29-12 IceCaps at Crunch

Crunch's epic collapse ends in overtime defeat.

SYR-4 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 33 shots for the overtime loss in his first start since returning from Finland over the holiday break. A goaltender of his caliber should not be coughing up a 4 goal lead, and goaltending remains one of the big question marks of this Syracuse team.

First Period
SYR Conacher, (12) (Labrie, Barberio), 15:50
SYR Killorn, (12) (Oberg), 18:25 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Aulie, (2) (Killorn, Conacher), 5:20
SYR Namestnikov, (1) (Connolly, Palat), 7:40 (PP)
STJ O'Dell, (5) (Mouillierat, Klingberg), 8:31
STJ Postma, (6) (Clark), 11:15

Third Period
STJ Gregoire, (6) (O'Dell, Maxwell), 1:53
STJ O'Neill, (1) , 7:32

STJ Chiarot, (1) (Maxwell, Macenauer), 4:40

Cory Conacher was the game's second star.

Congratulations to Vladislav Namestnikov on his first goal as a professional.

This loss is going to leave a sour, sour taste in Syracuse's mouth. They built a 4-0 lead and looked to be cruising before the wheels started coming off, particularly in a third period where they were outshot, 10-3. Along with mediocre goaltending, the tendency to only play 40 quality minutes of hockey rather than a full 60 has been a big bugaboo for this team. And, if Syracuse is going to try to grab a championship this season, those are two things they desperately need to remedy.

Syracuse is at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Monday, where they'll try to vindicate themselves after tonight's performance.

Box score from

Crunch Score Three Power Play Goals, Beat Admirals 4-2

By Jeremy Houghtaling

As the Syracuse Crunch took the ice for warmups, they looked across the ice at something that gave them a range of emotions.

It was different. It was weird. It was somewhat-familiar.

It was the same bright blue, yellow and red Norfolk Admirals uniforms that most of the team wore last year during their amazing winning streak and ensuing run to the Calder Cup championship.

"You step out and you're skating around and you see them coming out of their lockerroom, and you're like 'Jeez, those jerseys look pretty familiar,'" Crunch defenseman Mark Barberio said. "After that, it comes down to you're playing hockey and they're the opposition."

Syracuse, the new affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored three power play goals in a 4-2 win over Norfolk, the former farm team, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

AHL Game Night: 12-28-12 Admirals at Crunch

TJ and old Admirals beat down new Admirals.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 18 shots for the victory. He's won his last 2 starts, but his save percentage has dwindled all the way down to .901 after being at .913 to start the month of December. It's absolutely a cause for concern.

First Period
SYR Barberio, (6) (Connolly, Johnson), 9:42 (PP)
SYR Killorn, (11) (Namestnikov, Oberg), 12:12 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Palmieri, (10) , 7:19

Third Period
SYR Palat, (4) (Taormina, Johnson), 5:00
NOR Vatanen, (4) (Maroon, Wagner), 10:54
SYR Connolly, (13) (Panik, Palat), 16:15 (PP)

Tyler Johnson (pictured) and Richard Panik were the game's first and second stars. Panik attack y'all. Johnson's tied for 3rd in the league in scoring and is 2nd in goals. Unfortunately, given that 3/4 of Edmonton's NHL team is playing in Oklahoma City during the lockout, it's probably going to be tough for him to catch Jordan Eberle. Still, 3rd in the AHL in scoring during a lockout is damned impressive.

After giving the red light a one game holiday vacation, Alex Killorn scored yet another goal. That's 8 in his last 10 games. He's one of several guys, with Ondrej Palat also on that list, who might be playing themselves into contention for NHL jobs if the lockout ever lifts. It's an honest question the organization would have to ask itself: do you get more from a Tom Pyatt or a B.J. Crombeen than you'd get from a Killorn, Johnson, Conacher, Palat, Panik, etc?

Congrats to Vladislav Namestnikov on picking up a helper in his first game back since going on the shelf 2 months ago.

Syracuse faces the St. John's IceCaps tomorrow, with the Baby Thrasher-Jets still reeling from last year's Eastern Finals sweep and in dead last in the Atlantic Division.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 12-26-12 Crunch at Senators

Wherein #89 reminds us he's the reigning league MVP...


Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Barberio, (5) (Conacher, Connolly), 18:54 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Conacher, (11) , 0:28
SYR Gudas, (3) (Wyman), 9:51
BNG Da Costa, (4) (Hoffman, Silfverberg), 11:07

Third Period
SYR Brown, (6) (Palat, Conacher), 1:02 (PP)
BNG Silfverberg, (12) (Jessiman, Benoit), 5:23 (PP)
BNG Pageau, (2) (Jessiman), 11:35
SYR Angelidis, (5) (Wyman), 19:15 (EN)

Cory Conacher (pictured) and Mark Barberio were the game's first and third stars. Conacher's been exceedingly quiet with just 1 goal and 4 points in the 10 games prior to tonight, but his 3 point outburst signals perhaps "The Honey Badger" (not the LSU variety that ends up in rehab) is ready to start hitting the scoresheet regularly again.

Hard to believe Alex Killorn didn't score a goal tonight. His streak snaps at 6 games, although he did have 5 shots on goal tonight.

Syracuse outshot Bingo a mind-numbing 44-20 in the game, including 29-9 through the first 40 minutes. Almost dominant.

And now, the moment that we knew was coming and have been dreading. Norfolk comes to town Friday night, and the Crunch will try to take down the franchise for which they staked a record-breaking winning streak that may never be equaled. Mixed emotions.

Box score from

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