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Crunch Let the Good Times Roll

by Jamie Kelly / Tampa Bay Lightning

Same team, different city.

After winning 28 consecutive games last season and steamrolling the competition en route to a Calder Cup championship, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate moved from Norfolk to Syracuse for the 2012-13 season where much as been the same. Showing no signs of a championship hangover, the Crunch have stringed together an impressive 6-1-2 record to start the season, sitting second overall in the Eastern Conference.

Conacher providing serious bite for Crunch: Small in stature but big in heart, Cory Conacher has come out of the gates flying for the Crunch this season as he has registered a point in eight of his teams nine games. The reigning Les Cunningham Award Winner as the AHL MVP, Conacher has produced six goals and 12 points through nine games this season leaving him tied for third in league scoring.

Conacher hasn’t been the only Crunch player that has produced offensively. Tyler Johnson has collected six goals and 10 points through nine games to leave him in a tie for fifth in league scoring.

Seizing the Opportunity: It’s not about how many pucks are fired on net, it’s about how many pucks go in the net, and that couldn’t be more evident for the Crunch. The Crunch have won three of their six games while being outshot by their opponents, proving the importance of capitalizing on every opportunity.

The Crunch have also done a great job of holding a lead in the late stages of a game, as they sport a 5-0-1 record when leading after the second period.

Taking no prisoners: The Crunch can win a variety of ways. They can play an offensive game and outscore teams, or they can play a physical game and outmuscle teams. In the early stages of this season the Crunch have preferred the physical aspects of the game as they sit second in the league in penalty minutes with 258. The Crunch racked up a whopping 72 penalty minutes in a game against the Binghamton Senators in October that was highlighted by a goalie fight featuring the Crunch’s Riku Helenious and the Senators Robin Lehner.

Shutting the Door: The Crunch visited Hamilton Wednesday night and skated away with a 3-0 victory on the backs of a 23 save shutout from Crunch netminder Riku Helenius. Dmitri Korobov, J.T. Wyman and Richard Panik were the goals scorers for the Crunch as they have yet to lose on the road in regulation time. Helenius picked up his first shutout of the season.

Next on the Schedule: Friday, November 10th, the Crunch play host to the Rochester Americans. These two teams battled on the opening night of the season where the Crunch lost 6-5 in a shootout. Despite giving up a three-goal-lead, the Crunch received good offensive production from Tyler Johnson, with two goals, and Cory Conacher, with one goal and two assists.

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