We're now almost two months deep into the second NHL lockout in less than a decade. As difficult as it is to remember, though, hockey goes on. It goes on in small junior rinks in Canada and on campuses throughout the U.S. It goes on in the sporting halls of Sweden and Russia. And, it goes on in Syracuse, New York, where players on the cusp of making the highest level of hockey in the world patiently await the mere chance to make their case to play in the NHL. For those players, and in spite the cynical greed of the NHL's business wing, Bolt Prospects presents its 2012-2013 Preliminary Rankings.
We delayed the release of the rankings a few weeks when optimism ran high that hockey would be back after Thanksgiving, believing that perhaps an NHL training camp was in the cards for some of our prospects. But with the breakdown of talks between the commissioner and the NHLPA, it looks like a Lightning camp is far from imminent. So, we press forward, in spite of the setback.
It was one smooth motion that brought the crowd to its feet.
On the doorstep of the Adirondack Phantoms crease, Richard Panik snatched the puck out of the air, set it down, and tapped the puck into the net, providing the Syracuse Crunch with a 5-0 second period lead at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
The effortless looking play was all instinct for Panik.
"The game is going so quick and fast, so you don't have time to think about anything," he said.
3 games in 3 nights. 3 wins. 16 total goals.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on just 19 shots, but got the win to run his season record to 7-1-0-1.
SYR Gudas, (1) (Panik), 12:04
HER Taffe, (5) (Kundratek, Stafford), 15:33 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (2) (Connolly, Brown), 17:46
HER Syner, (1) (Beaudoin, Schilling), 10:33
SYR Panik, (6) (Korobov, Gudas), 12:21
SYR Connolly, (6) (Palat), 8:08
SYR Johnson, (10) (Gudas, Labrie), 8:54
HER Hamill, (4) (Berry, Kane), 15:21
Radko Gudas (pictured), Brett Connolly, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars. Gudas' night was an uncharacteristic offensive outburst of 1 goal and 2 assists to double his overall point total for the season.
The Panik attack has now lasted 7 games, and he now has 5 goals and 9 points in those 7 games. After a slow October where he had 3 points in 7 games, Panik's now run his overall statistics to 6 goals and 12 points in 14 games, as he stalks a point a game.
Syracuse is now 10-2-1-1 through their first 14 games. Their 22 points gives them a 6 point cushion right now in the East Division. They've also managed to tied Springfield for the best record in the Eastern Conference, and their 54 goals are 5 clear of the next best team in the conference, as well.
Syracuse draws Binghamton at home next on Friday night to start another 3 games in 3 nights weekend.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
JT Brown described his team as having a good feeling going into the first intermission Saturday.
Leading 1-0 over the Adirondack Phantoms, it only got better for the Syracuse Crunch, who scored four times in the first 12 minutes of the second period en route to a 5-2 victory -- their second straight -- at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday.
"Our team has been playing well the past few games, and that's just the kind of thing we needed," Brown said. "We needed to put together a few good games to get ourselves rolling."
Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the victory. I'm not sure he ever got staked to a 5 goal lead for low-scoring, defensive-minded JYP last season. He had to be reveling in all the goal support tonight.
SYR Labrie, (3) (Conacher, Barberio), 13:09
SYR Conacher, (8) (Taormina, Connolly), 1:32 (PP)
SYR Palat, (2) (Brown, Killorn), 8:19
SYR Connolly, (5) (Brown), 9:59
SYR Panik, (5) (Barberio, Johnson), 11:53 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (8) (Manning, Gustafsson), 13:27 (PP)
ADK Gustafsson, (2) (Roe, Syvret), 10:07
Brett Connolly (pictured), Cory Conacher, and J.T. Brown were the game's three stars. Who knows, they could be playing together in Tampa if the owners ever pull their heads out of the sand and have a season.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Richard Panik each came within a helper of Gordie Howe hat tricks tonight. The Panik attack has lasted 6 consecutive games now, with points in every game in November. It's his month, I guess.
As I mentioned the last time Syracuse faced the Phantoms, bear in mind this Adirondack roster is dotted with NHLers like Bourdon, Schenn, Couturier, Rinaldo, etc. Their record doesn't bear it out, but that's a very talented team and Syracuse put them over their knee and spanked them hard tonight.
The Crunch finish their weekend tomorrow in Hershey.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Seeing that there were only four men on the ice after the first Syracuse Crunch line change, Philip-Michael Devos quickly jumped on the ice to join the play.
The center accepted a pass from Richard Panik and fed it to an open Tyler Johnson, who fired the puck past Hershey Bears goalie Braden Holtby to give the Crunch a one-goal lead less than a minute into the game.
"I looked and there were only four guys on the ice, so I'm going to go," Devos said. "I jumped on, and four seconds later, the puck was in the net."
Bears no match for Nacho.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. Light work. He only faced a whopping 2 shots the entire First Period. 2! Life is good for the former WHL star.
SYR Johnson, (9) (Devos, Panik), 0:59
SYR Labrie, (1) (Conacher, Cote), 16:46
SYR Connolly, (4) (Brown, Taormina), 14:28 (PP)
SYR Barberio, (3) (Oberg, Killorn), 16:00
HER Carman, (2) (Orlov, Stafford), 18:56
SYR Labrie, (2) (Barberio, Conacher), 19:23
SYR Gauthier, (1) (Wyman), 16:54
Pierre-Cedric Labrie (pictured), Mark Barberio, and Cory Conacher were the game's three stars. For Nacho, the night produced his first two goals of the season, as both Braden Holtby and Dany Sabourin were forced to bow before the might and the power that is PCL.
Panik attack, y'all. That's a 5 game scoring streak for the pride of Martin, Slovakia.
Congratulations to Danick Gauthier on the first goal of his professional career.
Syracuse pounded Hershey for having the simple audacity to step foot in their rink, outshooting the Bears 40-21 in the contest. The challenge steps up a tier or two tomorrow, as they face the more NHL-talent loaded Adirondack Phantoms. Twelve games into the campaign, Syracuse holds a 2 point lead over the Penguins in the division with 2 games in hand, and their 44 goal are tied for tops in the conference even though they've played one less game than Springfield.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The first, his father Leo, represented his country in multiple world championships and won the bronze medal for Czechoslovakia in the 1992 Olympics.
"I learned how he played, and that's how I play," Gudas said. "He was a really hard hitter, he had a good shot – a really good defenseman."
North American hockey fans are more familiar with the second player – longtime NHLer Scott Stevens, a fearsome defenseman with the most penalty minutes of any player enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie recalled looking at the scoreboard with 14 minutes remaining.
With the Syracuse Crunch trailing 3-2, the forward saw 23 listed as his team's shots on goal. Twelve minutes later -- and the Crunch now trailing by three to the Rochester Americans -- the number had only changed by one.
"We can't win the game (like that) if we're losing by two or three," Labrie said. "If you don't shoot, you don't score."
Syracuse's 5-2 loss at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday snapped a three-game winning streak overall, and was the third straight loss on home ice.
Helenius and the Crunch crumble in the third period.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 24 shots for the loss. He allowed 3 of those goals on 9 shots in the third period. Helenius looked to be back on the right track after a shutout in his last start, but he's been knocked back down to a 3.78 GAA and an ugly .852 sv% with this result.
RCH Tarnasky, (3) (Legault, Schofield), 5:28
SYR Panik, (4) (Devos, Killorn), 9:17 (PP)
RCH Rankin, (4) (Biega, Foligno), 12:16
SYR Conacher, (7) (Palat, Nightingale), 3:45
RCH Foligno, (6) (Rankin, Flynn), 6:12
RCH Brennan, (6) (Mancari, Sundher), 9:38
RCH Flynn, (4) (Foligno, McNabb), 18:08
Richard Panik (pictured) was the game's second star. After a slow start to his season he now has 4 goals and 8 points in 11 games, and a 4 game points streak.
It's a tough thing to see Bolt Prospects Alumni Nick Tarnasky contribute for Rochester. Et tu, Tarnasty?
Syracuse faces Hershey next on Friday.
Box score from TheAHL.com.