Syracuse Crunch

Prospect of the Week: February 25, 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 February 25 is … Ondrej Palat, W, Syracuse (AHL – USA)

Ondrej Palat doesn’t make headlines.

The Syracuse Crunch forward is a complimentary winger, usually photographed in the background of a dramatic goal or its celebration. But without him, that play probably doesn’t happen.

Palat gives a scoring line 2-way ability or playmaking, whichever is needed the most. Like Martin St. Louis with the Lightning, if a coach adds him to a line, that line gets better.

AHL Game Day: 2-24-13 Whale at Crunch

The Entertainer, en fuego.

CT-0
SYR-4

Cedrick "The Entertainer" Desjardins stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout. Nothing wrong with that.

First Period
SYR Labrie, (11) (Namestnikov, Connolly), 9:11
SYR Johnson, (27) (Palat, Barberio), 14:29 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Johnson, (28) (Barberio, Palat), 18:16 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Wyman, (10) (Palat), 7:34

Desjardins, Tyler Johnson (pictured), and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars. Johnson currently sits 1 point behind Grover Nyquist of Grand Rapids for the top spot in the league in scoring and Brett Connolly is 4 back of Nyqvist in a tie for 5th in the league. Johnson also leads the league in goals and Palat is tied for 2nd in the league in assists, 2 back of leader Jeff Taffe of Hershey.

After scoring just 2 points in the entire month of January, Mark Barberio has 11 so far in February.

With Springfield getting thumped by Worcester today, Syracuse extends their Eastern Conference lead to 5 points over the Falcons and Senators with the Falcons hold 2 games in hand. Syracuse will go for 8 straight on Tuesday against Rochester.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Win Seventh Straight By Blanking the Whale, 4-0


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Not even 24 hours after notching his first shutout in a Syracuse Crunch sweater, Cedrick Desjardins was back at it.

The netminder kept his streak going, stopping all 29 shots and leading the Crunch to a 4-0 win over the Connecticut Whale at the Onondaga County War Memorial Sunday afternoon.

"You never expect that," Desjardins said of his back-to-back whitewashes. "Those were two big games for us and teams we don't see a lot. We need to step up against those teams."

Desjardins, Crunch Shut Out Falcons, 3-0


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Most first impressions take all of a few seconds.

For the first 13-plus minutes in front of his new home crowd at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse Crunch goalie Cedrick Desjardins waited for his opportunity.

When the shots finally came - 26 in total - the New Brunswick native had an answer, notching his first shutout in a Crunch uniform and third of the season in a 3-0 win over the Springfield Falcons Saturday night.

"You want a good first impression at home," Desjardins said. "I don't think it gets better than that."

AHL Game Night: 2-23-13 Falcons at Crunch

Beasts of the East.

SPR-0
SYR-3

Cedrick Desjardin (pictured) raised shields for a 26 save shutout.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Barberio, (8) (Labrie, Connolly), 4:37
SYR Labrie, (10) (Cote, Wyman), 12:35
SYR Brown, (7) (Tyrell, Cote), 19:33 (EN)

Desjardins, Mark Barberio, and Pierre-Cedric Labrie were the game's three stars. J.T. Brown returned from injury and had an empty net goal in his first game back.

Syracuse came into this game 1 point ahead of Springfield for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. This was a battle of titans with a lot on the line, and ultimately Syracuse smoked the Falcons like a fine cigar. Mind you, Springfield netminder Allen York made it interesting, but Syracuse outshot Springfield 46-26 in this game, including 17-8 in the decisive final frame. That was a 1 versus 2 game. Think on that. Then think on the fact that the Crunch have won 6 in a row.

Uh oh, rest of the AHL. Jon Cooper sorted out the post-lockout madness. Jon Cooper has started to tune up the machine again. We've seen this movie before, folks, and we all remember how it ends.

Syracuse draws Connecticut next tomorrow afternoon.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Complete Comeback in Shootout


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dana Tyrell believes it was a bit of hockey karma.

His team trailing 3-2 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the Syracuse Crunch forward caught a break. The puck bounced behind the net, and despite many of the Toronto Marlies looking for the puck in the corner, Tyrell found it on his stick.

"I think it went up my pants. To be honest, I'm not really sure what happened," Tyrell said. "I was forechecking the puck down - hunting it down - and it bounced up somewhere. I think it got caught up in my gear somewhere. As I was coming around the net, it dropped down in front of me and I had an open net.

"If we work hard as a team, we're going to get bounces like that," he added.

Tyrell's goal sent the game to overtime and the Crunch completed the comeback in the shootout, topping the Marlies 4-3 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Wednesday night. Syracuse has shrugged its slump that lasted from late January into early February, winning its last five games.

AHL Game Night: 2-20-13 Marlies at Crunch

5 in a row.

TOR-3
SYR-4 (SO)

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 31 shots before stopping 3 of 5 in the penalty shot session for the win. Riku is now on a personal 4 game winning streak.

First Period
TOR Colborne, (8) (Zigomanis, Hamilton), 19:59 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Angelidis, (9) (Palat, Hutchings), 2:46
TOR Colborne, (9) (Abbott, Mottau), 5:43
SYR Palat, (7) (Barberio, Helenius), 6:51 (PP)

Third Period
TOR Hamilton, (21) (Yeo, Colborne), 6:50
SYR Tyrell, (4) (Korobov), 18:26

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- Colborne, Connolly
SYR- Palat, Connolly, Gudas

Dana Tyrell and Ondrej Palat were named the game's first and third stars. Palat has 1 goal and 6 points in his last 3 games, all multi-point efforts.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Bolt Prospects 2012-2013 Midterm Prospect Rankings

By Pete Choquette

It's been a long, strange trip for Bolt Prospects to arrive at this year's Midterm Prospect Rankings. Between the end of the NHL lockout and an abbreviated training camp, call-ups, graduations, and trades, there's been a lot of movement in the rankings. One lesson learned from the first half of this season: no more standing still for Lightning prospects. Even first and second round picks can't afford to stagnate in their development with so much quality depth within the organization. More than that, the youth movement is already beginning in Tampa Bay with three prospects currently up with the Lightning and recently graduated Keith Aulie also with the NHL club.

AHL Game Night: 2-18-13 Crunch at Devils

The return of The Entertainer.

SYR-5
ALB-3

Cedrick "The Entertainer" Desjardins made his Crunch debut stopping 23 of 26 for the win. Riku Helenius, who was named the AHL Player of the Week, got the night off.

First Period
SYR Tyrell, (3) (Hutchings, Angelidis), 9:40
SYR Johnson, (24) (Palat, Cote), 10:14
ALB Sislo, (3) (Zalewski, Urbom), 14:32 (PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Johnson, (25) (Wyman), 3:45
ALB Zalewski, (9) (DeSimone, Urbom), 7:26
SYR Johnson, (26) (Palat, Korobov), 14:27 (PP)
ALB Josefson, (9) (Gelinas, Anderson), 18:28
SYR Connolly, (22) , 19:57 (EN)

Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat (pictured) were the game's first and third stars. Palat's 29 assists are tied for 6th most in the league while Johnson is now tied for the lead in goals.

So, after a month of struggling to regain their equilibrium, lookee at the standings and Syracuse is right back on top of the Eastern Conference standings, moving 1 point ahead of Bingo and Springfield. Jon Cooper = Jedi. Syracuse draws the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-17-13 Crunch at Penguins

Riku is hulking up.

SYR-3
WBS-0

Riku Helenius (pictured) stopped all 23 shots he faced for his 2nd shutout in the past 3 games and his 4th shutout of the season. He's allowed just 1 goal over the span of those 3 games. We've seen this before with Helenius, when he had a string of shutouts early in the season for JYP en route to backstopping them to a SM-liiga title. His save percentage is still just .891 for the season, and the Lightning just acquired Cedrick Desjardins for a reason, but when Riku starts getting on a roll like this, he can be unbelievable.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Wilson, (2) (Labrie), 2:02
SYR Connolly, (21) (Palat, Johnson), 3:25
SYR Wilson, (3) (Johnson, Palat), 11:44

Helenius, Kyle Wilson, and Brett Connolly were the game's three stars.

Syracuse draws Albany tomorrow night as they try to run down Springfield and Binghamton for the conference lead.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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