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Crunch Weekly Roundup

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week:

Wed., Nov. 7 — Crunch at Hamilton — W, 3-0
Fri., Nov. 9 — Crunch at Hamilton (Montreal) — W, 4-1
Sat., Nov. 10 — Crunch vs. Rochester — L, 5-2

This Week:

Fri., Nov. 16 — Crunch vs. Hershey, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 17 — Crunch vs. Adirondack, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 18 — Crunch at Hershey, 5:00 p.m.


Saturday's 5-2 loss to Rochester had both the most penalty minutes served by an opponent (35) and the fewest served by the Crunch (21) among the four home games this season.

Prior to Saturday's 5-2 loss to Rochester, Syracuse had not allowed five goals since Oct. 20 in Binghamton when the Crunch pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history, overcoming a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 in overtime. The only other occasion in which an opponent has scored five goals vs. the Crunch Oct. 12 when Syracuse lost at Rochester, 6-5 in a shootout. As a team, the Crunch have a 2.91 goals-against average, 14th best in the AHL.

With one assist in each of the last five games, Ondrej Palat has the longest assist streak in the AHL. He has points in 10 of Syracuse's 11 games, and 11 of his 12 points have been assists. Those 11 assists are tied for second most in the AHL. The next highest assist totals for Syracuse belong to Cory Conacher and Alex Killorn (6).

Right wing Richard Panik has a four-game scoring streak with three goals and two assists in that span. His four points in Week 5 (2g, 2a) were most among Crunch scorers. The 21-year-old's eight points on the year (4g, 4a) are fourth most on the team and he shares the team lead for game-winning goals with Mike Angelidis (2).

2011-12 Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award-recipient Jon Cooper captured his 100th AHL regular-season coaching victory (his 165th career game) with Wednesday's 3-0 win in Hamilton. Currently at 101-46-20, Cooper was 39-26-15 with Norfolk in 2010-11 and 55-18-3 (with 28 straight wins to finish the regular season) in 2011-12. Hershey's Mark French holds the record for fastest to the century mark, earning 100 wins in his 147th game.

With two goals in Week 5-both in Montreal Friday-Tyler Johnson leads the Crunch with eight goals which is tied for third most in the AHL. Johnson's 12 points are tied with Ondrej Palat for second most on the team.

Syracuse has a six-game road win streak and a seven-game road point streak; both are the longest in the AHL this season, as the Crunch have not suffered a regulation loss on the road.

Goaltender Riku Helenius (2-1-0) earned his second win of the season Wednesday in shutout fashion, stopping all 23 Hamilton shots on a goal in Syracuse's 3-0 victory. The shutout is the Crunch's first of the season and Riku's first in North America since 2008-09 when he was 9-15-0 for Norfolk with a 2.72 GAA. He notched seven shutouts while playing for JYP in his native Finland last season, going 17-9-5 in 33 games with a 1.64 GAA.


Game 9: Syracuse earns first shutout behind Helenius, 3-0, at Hamilton

The Crunch shut out the Bulldogs Wednesday 3-0 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Riku Helenius recorded his second win of the year as Dmitry Korobov, J.T. Wyman and Richard Panik provided the offense.

Korobov put Syracuse ahead with his first North American goal at 6:01 of the second period, centering the puck from the left-wing boards off a Bulldogs defenseman and past goalie Robert Mayer. Matt Taormina had the lone assist. J.T. Wyman scored on rebound off the end boards following a deflected Radko Gudas drive, Wyman's second, at 15:40 of the second. Richard Panik added an empty-net goal from Ondrej Palat at 18:14 to seal the win.

Helenius stopped all 23 shots he faced in the Crunch's first shutout win of the season. Cory Conacher had his season-long (eight-game) point streak snapped, failing to record a point for the first time this year.

Game 10: 18,582 Watch Crunch Dominate Bulldogs in Montreal, 4-1

The 10th-largest regular-season crowd in American Hockey League history filled Montreal's Bell Centre Friday as the Canadiens' top development team, Hamilton, played the back end of a two-game set against the Syracuse Crunch.

Controlling play for most of the night, Syracuse topped the Bulldogs, 4-1, and might have upped the margin of victory if not for the play of Hamilton goalie Robert Mayer who made 27 saves-including a series of thrilling pad stops in defeat. Philip-Michael Devos, Mike Angelidis and Tyler Johnson twice beat Mayer, who dropped to 4-3-1 on the year with two losses in as many nights vs. Syracuse. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik tallied two assists each.

Syracuse limited the Bulldogs to one goal in two games, and just 14 shots on goal Friday. Dustin Tokarski picked up where Riku Helenius left off (shutting out Hamilton, 3-0, Wednesday) with 13 saves in his fifth win of the year. Syracuse supported its goalie with another impressive shot-blocking performance, limiting an opponent to less than 20 shots for the first time this year. J.P. Cote threw the hit of the night in the first period, perfectly timing a hip check on Blake Geoffrion along the boards-a collision that knocked the Bulldogs' leading scorer out of the game.

Game 11: Amerks spoil Crunch homecoming, 5-2

Syracuse dropped its third straight home game and its second regulation loss of the year Saturday at the hands of the Rochester Americans, 5-2. The Crunch fought back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, but the Amerks never trailed in the game, scoring three times in the third period to clinch the three-goal victory and snap a two-game losing streak while ending Syracuse's three-game win streak.

The scoring began in the second period, and the Crunch used the power play to overcome a 1-0 deficit. Richard Panik potted his fourth of the year at 9:17 after sharp passing from Alex Killorn and Philip-Michael Devos, snapping a three-game power play drought. Cory Conacher scored the next come-from-behind goal for Syracuse early in the third-with Ondrej Palat and Jared Nightingale earning helpers-but Rochester pulled away with the last three goals of the game.

Riku Helenius stopped 19 of 24 Rochester shots in his second loss of the season, as his goals-against average rises to 3.78 despite recording a shutout Wednesday in Hamilton.


Crunch vs. Hershey Bears—Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The Crunch continue a three-game home stand Friday against Hershey, hoping to end a three-game winless streak at home. Syracuse is 1-2-1-0 at the War Memorial in contrast to a league best 6-0-1-1 on the road. The only win at home for the Crunch came against the Bears in the home opener Oct. 13, 4-3. While Syracuse remains in first place despite the struggles at home, the Bears are under .500 overall at 5-6-1-0, last in the East Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Hershey has lost its last two games-both home games-Saturday vs. St. John's, 2-1, and Sunday vs. Portland, 3-1. Jeff Taffe leads the Bears with 12 points (4g, 8a) while Braden Holtby is the leading goalie at 3-3-1 with a 2.15 GAA.

Crunch vs. Adirondack Phantoms—Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Syracuse faces Adirondack for the third time this year, losing in overtime at the War Memorial Oct. 28, 4-3, and winning at the Glens Falls Civic Center Nov. 2, 4-1. The Phantoms begin Week 6 at 5-6-0-0, 4th in the Northeast Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Adirondack is coming off a Sunday road loss to Albany, 2-1, and have just three wins in seven games away from home. Brayden Schenn leads the Phantoms with 11 points (4g, 7a) including four against Syracuse Oct. 28.

Crunch at Hershey Bears—Sunday, 5 p.m.

The Crunch meet the Bears again, in what will be the third meeting of the season between the clubs, the first at Hershey's Giant Center where the Bears were 18-15-2-3 last year and where Syracuse is 4-6-0-0 over the last five seasons. Sandwiched between the two games against Syracuse, the Bears host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday. Hershey is 2-3-1-0 at home this year, while Syracuse has won six road games in a row.

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