Helenius, Riku

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

Crunch squash Hamilton.


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

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: 12-1-12 Crunch at Whale

Syracuse beats the odds with a remarkable third period comeback.

CT-3 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 27 shots to get the victory.

First Period
CT Thomas, (5) (Haley, Miller), 18:49

Second Period
CT Parlett, (1) (Segal), 13:53

Third Period
CT Hrivik, (2) (Newbury, Kolarik), 3:03 (PP)
SYR Johnson, (14) , 6:37
SYR Panik, (10) (Devos), 12:45
SYR Panik, (11) , 13:20

SYR Barberio, (4) (Conacher), 4:13

Mark Barberio and Richard Panik (pictured) were the game's first and second stars. The Panik attack's two goals continued his scoring streak, which now stands at a dozen games. His 11 goals now break him into the top-10 in the AHL in goal scoring. Look out. Before the season Panik would've been a longshot to make the Lightning's NHL roster. He's now worked himself toward the head of the line among the young players in Syracuse for whenever the lockout finally ends, and his versatility and high ceiling will be tantalizing for Steve Yzerman and Guy Boucher when they consider how to fill out the team.

Well over 90% of the time in professional hockey, when a team builds a 3-goal lead in the third period, it's over. On the rare ocassion that a team manages to overcome that deficit, it can be a huge team-building moment for the winning team, and a crippling emotional blow for the loser. And, the effects of the game can linger for a week or two. So, for the Crunch, mark the calendar. Tonight was a big moment in 2012-2013 season.

For the moment, the team sits in first place in the Eastern Conference. They'll conclude the weekend in Binghamton tomorrow against the Senators' outstanding goaltending corps.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 11-24-12 Crunch at Devils

And the Panik attack continues...


Riku Helenius stopped 18 of 19 shots he faced for the victory.

First Period
SYR Conacher, (9) (Taormina, Connolly), 14:52

Second Period
ALB Whitney, (1) (Henrique), 5:00
SYR Johnson, (11) (Panik, Palat), 10:26
SYR Killorn, (3) (Johnson, Palat), 13:04

Third Period
SYR Panik, (8) , 8:17

Tyler Johnson and Richard Panik were the game's first and second stars. Panik extended his scoring streak to nine games, matching the other two longest streaks in the AHL this season. More importantly, Panik is now creeping into the league leaders in goals and points alongside fellow Crunch forwards Johnson and Cory Conacher. This is big news for the Lightning organization. If he translates his stellar play in November consistently over the rest of the year, he will be in Tampa Bay next season. There's never been any doubt Panik has the highest upside of any forward in the Lightning organization. If he puts it all together, he's Marian Hossa reincarnate, and the rest of the NHL should be wary of him joining a team that already has the likes of Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

Alex Killorn got the third goal of his rookie campaign tonight and it's hard not to be pleased with the 11 points he has in his first 16 games, but there's something instructive buried deeper in the stats. Killorn actually leads Syracuse in shots on goal with 49, ahead of Johnson's 47. The difference is that Johnson has an NHL shot and Killorn doesn't, yet. Developing an NHL shot can be done with hard work. Ask Vincent Lecavalier. And, if Killorn puts that work in, it can be the difference between a 5-10 year NHL career as a lower-liner and a 10-15 year career as a top two-liner. With the style of game he plays, which is a north-south, shoot first kind of game, if he fine tunes his shot he's going to score a lot of goals. He's an Ivy League guy, so I suspect he's capable of calculating the difference in career earning power in both scenarios. And, when he does, I'm fairly confident he'll find the cost-benefit of putting that extra time in will be well justified.

Syracuse ends their weekend set tomorrow afternoon in Worcester.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-17-12 Phantoms at Crunch



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.

First Period
SYR Labrie, (3) (Conacher, Barberio), 13:09

Second Period
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)

Third Period
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.

Crunch Continue to Struggle at Home, Fall to Amerks

By Jeremy Houghtaling

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.

AHL Game Night: 11-10-12 Americans at Crunch

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.

First Period

Second Period
RCH Tarnasky, (3) (Legault, Schofield), 5:28
SYR Panik, (4) (Devos, Killorn), 9:17 (PP)
RCH Rankin, (4) (Biega, Foligno), 12:16

Third Period
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.

AHL Game Night: 11-7-12 Crunch at Bulldogs

Finland representing.


Riku Helenius (pictured) stopped all 23 shots he faced to post his second career AHL shutout.

First Period

Second Period
SYR Korobov, (1) (Taormina), 6:01
SYR Wyman, (2) (Killorn, Gudas), 15:40

Third Period
SYR Panik, (3) (Palat), 18:14 (EN)

Helenius and Dmitry Korobov were the game's first and second stars, respectively. Korobov's goal was his first career AHL goal. It was originally awarded to forward J.T. Brown who was back in the lineup tonight after missing a couple of weeks of action. He was +2 with 3 shots on goal. Wait til the rust falls off.

Panik attack, y'all. Empty net style.

The real story is Helenius getting off the canvas, though, with his first AHL shutout since he was a rookie about four years ago. His season GAA and save percentage are still the dog's breakfast, but readers of this site last season know what Helenius did early in the season in the SM-liiga last year when he turned one shutout into bunches of shutouts. It's a good omen for the Crunch.

Syracuse wraps up the two game set against Hamilton on Friday in Montreal.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 10-28-12 Phantoms at Crunch

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

SYR-3 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the overtime loss. He's struggled in his past couple of starts and currently checks in with a horrific .824 save percentage. Ouch.

First Period
SYR Connolly, (3) (Conacher), 8:21 (PP)

Second Period
ADK McGinn, (2) (Syvret, Schenn), 1:07
ADK McGinn, (3) (Schenn, Mangene), 8:45
SYR Killorn, (1) (Palat), 13:31
SYR Killorn, (2) (Taormina), 14:01 (PP)

Third Period
ADK Schenn, (4) (Couturier, Gustafsson), 18:58 (PP)

ADK Manning, (2) (Schenn, Couturier), 0:14 (PP)

Alex Killorn (pictured) was named the game's second star. I got a question on the message boards about Alex Killorn's quiet start. Two goals and six points in his first seven games is nothing to sneeze at. On the list of things that concern me about the start of this season, J.T. Brown getting nicked up and Richard Panik having his photograph on the side of a milk carton rate quite a bit higher.

Syracuse came within 1:02 if taking a win against an Adirondack team that, on paper, looks to be one of the better teams in the conference. I liked the start, with Brett Connolly cashing a check he wrote in his interview after yesterday's game, and I liked Killorn bringing the team back after surrendering the lead in the first half of the second period. But, they got back on their heels a bit in the third period and didn't quite get that one more big save they needed. Welcome to the lockout version of the AHL, boys. You're going to have to up your game when protecting a lead when 1/4 of Adirondack's roster was playing in Flyers jerseys last year.

The rematch goes down Friday night in Adirondack.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-20-12 Crunch at Senators

When Panik attacks...

BNG-5 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 13 shots before leaving at 9:30 of the Second Period for dropping the gloves with opposing netminder Robin Lehner (yes, that happened). Dustin Tokarski was flawless on 14 shots the rest of the way for his second victory of the season.

First Period
BNG Hoffman, (1) (Silfverberg, Zibanejad), 7:25 (PP)
BNG Cannone, (1) (Hoffman, Petersson), 9:18

Second Period
BNG Eckford, (2) (Stone, Petersson), 1:35 (PP)
BNG Grant, (1) (Stone), 2:51
BNG Borowiecki, (1) (Claesson, Schneider), 6:35
SYR Conacher, (3) (Johnson), 10:29
SYR Barberio, (2) (Johnson, Connolly), 12:36 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (2) (Labrie, Korobov), 6:57
SYR Palat, (1) (Johnson, Panik), 11:39
SYR Wyman, (1) (Panik, Barberio), 16:18

SYR Panik, (1) , 3:44

Richard Panik (pictured) was the game's first star, assisting on the final two goals in regulation of Syracuse's comeback before bagging the overtime winner. That's how you break out of your early season mini-slump in style.

Tonight's win has to be considered a super concentrated, extra strength, team-building win. This was a vicious, nasty game that saw the teams rack up a combined 152 penalty minutes and reached the height of mutual contempt in the brawl between Lehner and Helenius at center ice. That, in and of itself, would make the W a sweet one. But, to crawl out of a 5-goal hole to get the 2 points? That's how you ingrain belief in the team concept. On the other end of the rink, Bingo not only blew a 5 goal lead, but they blew a 3 goal lead going into the Third Period, which should be a death sentence for the trailing team in professional hockey. That's going to be a devastating pill for them to swallow psychologically.

Aside from Panik, multi-point nights abounded for the Crunch, with Tyler Johnson racking up 3 helpers and Mark Barberio and Brett Connolly each getting 1 goal and 1 assist. Newcomer Dmitry Korobov also hit the scoresheet for the first time this season with a helper and was a solid +3 in the win.

Syracuse ended up outshooting Binghamton 42-27 in the game. The Crunch conclude the weekend tomorrow against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Story: Crunch 4 Bears 3

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Fruitless on four previous power play attempts, the Syracuse Crunch found themselves with a two-man advantage for nearly two full minutes early in the third period Saturday.

With plenty of extra time and space, it took only 34 seconds for Mark Barberio to set up Brett Connolly with a one-timer that beat Hershey Bears goalie Braden Holtby from the point.

"I had a few chances last night and tonight," Connolly said. "It's always nice to see the puck go in the net."

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