Helenius, Riku

AHL Game Night: 3-23-13 Devils at Crunch

Still hanging onto first place.

ALB-1
SYR-3

Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He came within 54 seconds of a shutout before Albany's power play goal. Still, with the effort tonight, Helenius has finally managed to get his save percentage back to .900 for the season. He had a good February and is having a good March, which the Lightning have to hope leads to a good Option B for Syracuse come playoff time.

First Period
SYR Namestnikov, (5) (Gauthier, Jacques), 13:39
SYR Sexton, (6) (Wyman), 14:25

Second Period
SYR Brown, (10) (Wyman, Sexton), 14:00

Third Period
ALB Anderson, (13) (Whitney, Gelinas), 19:06 (PP)

Dan Sexton, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Helenius were the game's three stars. Namestnikov's strong play in March also has to have the Lightning extremely happy. We at the website can't wait to see him and Nikita Kucherov lined up together, which could happen this season depending on how the QMJHL playoffs go.

With Providence going down to Worcester, Syracuse holds a 2 point lead on Binghamton for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Springfield and Providence lag by 3 points. Syracuse gets Rochester next on Wednesday, and with just 11 games left in the regular season every point matters from here on out, as it could be the difference between being 1 seed or a 4 seed.

6 of Syracuse's remaining 11 games are at home, including a nice 5 game homestand to close out the regular season. Also, 6 of the 11 games are against teams that currently would not make the playoffs, although the team they have the most games left with, ironically Norfolk, is just 2 points out of 8th in the East.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-22-13 Bulldogs at Crunch

Tic's revenge.

HAM-1
SYR-0

Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 26 shots to take the loss in a classic goaltending duel against ex-tandem mate Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski stopped all 40 shots he faced for the sweet revenge against Syracuse.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
HAM Belzile, (1) (Bournival, Stejskal), 10:10

Helenius was the game's third star. Tokarski, of course, got top star billing.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-16-13 Devils at Crunch

Jon Cooper? Still Jedi.

ALB-2
SYR-6

Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (25) (Namestnikov, Devos), 6:08
SYR Cote, (2) (Angelidis, Nightingale), 6:38
SYR Panik, (22) (Connolly, Sexton), 10:38 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Brown, (9) (Angelidis, Mikkelson), 7:22
SYR Devos, (4) (Connolly, Namestnikov), 9:11
SYR Connolly, (26) (Barberio, Oberg), 9:57 (PP)

Third Period
ALB Kelly, (2) (Wohlberg), 8:00
ALB Whitney, (22) (Zalewski, Anderson), 12:38

Brett Connolly, Vladislav Namestnikov, and J.P Cote were the game's three stars.

With Tyler Johnson up in Tampa, Connolly becomes the Crunch's hope for hardware and plaudits. He currently sits in 3rd in the league in scoring, 4 points back of Grand Rapids' Gustav Nyquist. His 26 goals are also now tied for 5th is the AHL.

Vladdy Namestnikov continuing to play well continues to bode very well for the future.

As good a coaching job as Jon Cooper did last season, if he wins the Eastern Conference and even manages to post the best record in the AHL this season, it'll be an even more amazing job. It's hard to believe that with half of his team's core torturing the Carolina Hurricanes in Tampa, Cooper's team still managed to fly out to a 6-0 lead in Albany. He's a special coach. I can't say anything more and still do it justice.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-9-13 Crunch at IceCaps

Kings of the comeback trail.

SYR-4
STJ-2

Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the victory.

First Period
STJ Gagnon, (4) (Mouillierat, Sawada), 4:57
STJ Gagnon, (5) (Cormier, O'Dell), 16:01 (PP)

Second Period
SYR Taormina, (4) (Brown), 2:23 (PP)
SYR Wyman, (11) (Panik, Korobov), 11:44

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (24) (Gudas, Nightingale), 9:15
SYR Johnson, (31) (Panik, Wyman), 10:44

J.T. Wyman and Radko Gudas were the game's first and third stars.

Syracuse again staked the IceCaps to a 2-0 lead and again came back to snatch victory away from them. Richard Panik has 5 points, all assists, in 5 games since being returned from Tampa. Panik attack, y'all.

With Sprigfield stubbing their toe twice against Albany, Syracuse has opened up a 4 point lead in the East with the Falcons holding 3 games in hand. The Crunch are off until Friday when they face Norfolk.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 3-6-13 Crunch at Marlies

Crushed in Toronto.

SYR-3
TOR-6

Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 7 shots for the loss before giving way to Pat Nagle, who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
SYR Devos, (3) (Connolly, Taormina), 5:32 (PP)
TOR Hamilton, (24) (Gardiner, Zigomanis), 9:55 (PP)
SYR Brown, (8) (Tyrell), 14:28
TOR Abbott, (7) (Colborne, Gardiner), 15:24

Second Period
TOR Ranger, (7) (Colborne, Zigomanis), 1:31 (PP)
TOR Blacker, (3) (Ryan, D'Amigo), 2:27
TOR Abbott, (8) (Hamilton, Ranger), 7:24 (PP)

Third Period
TOR Hamilton, (25) (Ryan, McKegg), 17:24 (EN)
SYR Hutchings, (2) (Devos, Gudas), 18:27

I can't tell you how strange it is to see original Bolt Prospects alumni Paul Ranger come back and help trounce the farm team.

Syracuse has back-to-back games at St. John's on Friday and Saturday. There are 18 games left in the regular season and Syracuse is tied with Springfield at 75 points for the top spot of the East with the Falcons holding 3 games in hand. So, if they want home ice throughout, they need to snap out of this slump quick.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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