Syracuse Crunch

Namestnikov Eager to Return to Crunch Lineup


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After only a handful of games, Jon Cooper saw the signs of what was to come from Vladislav Namestnikov.

The Syracuse Crunch head coach watched the same progression in many of the rookies on the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals last year, whether they were Tampa Bay Lightning picks like Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik, or undrafted free agents like Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher.

“Those guys that came in, felt out the league, learned it and after Christmas, took off,” Cooper said. “That’s where Vladdy would have been this year, but we’re just going to have to wait a few months for that to happen.”

AHL Game Night: 12-8-12 Crunch at Phantoms

Shot down in the shootout.

SYR-3
ADK-4 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 34 shots and 2 of 4 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss. He's hit a little dry spell now, going 1-3-0-1 in his last 5 starts. That may partly explain why it looks like Helenius will get the bulk of the time this weekend.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (9) (Brown), 17:47

Second Period
ADK McGinn, (7) (Couturier, Schenn), 1:56 (PP)
ADK Schenn, (10) (Couturier, Gustafsson), 4:54 (PP)
SYR Labrie, (5) (Wyman), 13:51
ADK Schenn, (11) (Akeson), 18:12
SYR Conacher, (10) (Aulie, Brown), 19:02

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- Palat
ADK- Schenn, Roe

Phantoms goaltender Scott Munroe managed to shut down the collective firepower of Conacher, Connolly, Panik, and Johnson in the shootout, only surrendering a goal to Ondrej Palat. Against that murderers row, I'd have to say he earned his pay - with the help of two posts.

Brett Connolly led the Crunch with a very solid 7 shots on goal to go with his game-opening marker. He's starting to really hit his stride.

Syracuse will finish out their weekend tomorrow afternoon against Bridgeport. That'll end the 3 in 3 nights scenarios for about 2 months, and the Crunch will settle into a more normal and less fatiguing routine. The fact they've managed to hang around the top spot in the conference even despite the scheduling challenges bodes well now that they've cleared this month-long hump of hectic weekend sets.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Crunch Score Early, Often In 5-1 Win Over Bulldogs


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Initially thought to have sustained a cracked sternum, Brett Connolly found out earlier this week that it was just a contusion.

While the injury made it hurt for him to breathe this week, the Syracuse Crunch forward was determined to play against the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

"Right now, it's just pain tolerance," Connolly said. "It's going to take a lot to keep me out of the lineup."

Connolly played through the pain, registering a pair of points - including a 5-on-3 power play goal seven minutes into the game that stood up as the game-winner - as the Crunch beat the Bulldogs, 5-1.

AHL Game Night: 12-7-12 Bulldogs at Crunch

Crunch squash Hamilton.

HAM-1
SYR-5

Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 20 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Palat, (3) (Barberio, Johnson), 0:26
SYR Connolly, (8) (Killorn, Johnson), 7:08 (PP)
SYR Taormina, (3) (Conacher, Brown), 13:42 (PP)
HAM Palushaj, (7) (Beaulieu, Leblanc), 19:42

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
SYR Killorn, (4) (Palat, Barberio), 6:28
SYR Labrie, (4) (Connolly, Korobov), 11:08

Brett Connolly, Ondrej Palat, and Alex Killorn were the three stars of the game.

Don't look now, but Palat has snuck past teammate Dmitri Korobov into the top spot in the league in +/- at +17. Tyler Johnson, who still leads the league in goal scoring, is lingering in a tie for third in the league at +14.Richard Panik and Radko Gudas are also in the top-20 in the league in the statistic.

Syracuse gave some rough treatment to former Lightning farmhand Cedrick Desjardins, running up a 42-20 shot advantage en route to pinning 5 goals on him. When you score 26 seconds into a game and swarm to a 3-0 lead within the first 14 minutes, it's safe to say you were ready to go at puck drop.

Keith Aulie (pictured) was back in the lineup for Syracuse for the first time since late October. The big d-man was +2 with 3 shots on goal.

Syracuse will move on to face Adirondack tomorrow night.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-2-12 Crunch at Senators

Crunch end tough weekend. Ben Bishop ends the Panik attack.

SYR-2
BNG-5

Dustin Tokarski allowed five goals on 38 shots for the loss.

First Period
BNG Da Costa, (1) (Prince), 10:23
SYR Johnson, (15) (Palat), 15:06 (SH)

Second Period
BNG Da Costa, (2) (Schneider), 3:35
BNG Silfverberg, (5) (Cannone, Borowiecki), 8:44
SYR Gauthier, (2) (Taormina), 18:19

Third Period
BNG Wiercioch, (5) (Prince, Da Costa), 11:27
BNG Da Costa, (3) (Prince, Benoit), 12:04

Richard Panik had his scoring streak snapped at a dozen games. Time to start a new one.

Syracuse was outshot 19-3 in the final frame, which might be indicative of fatigue setting in with the team playing 3 in 3 nights for the 3rd straight weekend. They'll do it again starting Friday, too, which I find interesting considering the complaint made about the Norfolk affiliation was regarding long, fatiguing road trips costing practice time. How about long, fatiguing weekends and constantly playing 3 in 3 night sets? The good news is that there are only 3 more of those sets after this coming weekend, and the next one is in February, so things will at least begin to settle down into more 3 in 4 night scenarios.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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