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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Recap

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Week

Fri., Nov. 23 — Crunch vs. Binghamton - L, 2-1

Sat., Nov. 24 — Crunch at Albany - W, 4-1

Sun., Nov. 25 — Crunch at Worcester - W, 6-1

This Week

Fri., Nov. 30 — Crunch at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 1 — Crunch at Connecticut, 7:00 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 2 — Crunch at Binghamton, 5:05 p.m.

Need to Know

- Syracuse has sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference at 12-3-1-1, 26 points.

- Tyler Johnson leads the Crunch in points (20) and the entire AHL in goals (13).

- The Crunch play three more road games in Week 8, already 9-0-0-1 away from home.


Game 15: Senators even season series with Syracuse

Binghamton took a 1-0 lead in the opening minutes and held on to a 2-1 win Friday at the War Memorial. In contrast to the 11 goals and 152 penalty minutes between the Sens and Crunch Oct. 20 (a 6-5 OT win for Syracuse), Friday's game was the lowest scoring (three combined goals) and least penalized (eight combined infractions) for the Crunch this season. Tyler Eckford scored his second and third goals against Syracuse this season, while Richard Panik managed a power-play goal in the third period to narrow the gap. The Crunch couldn't complete another comeback, despite 31 shots on goal and 22 saves from Dustin Tokarski who had his personal four-game win streak snapped. Robin Lehner made 30 saves and was the game's third star.

Game 16: Crunch frustrate Devils in Albany

Syracuse bounced back from its home loss Friday to beat the Devils on the road, 4-1, Saturday at Times Union Center. Weathering steady pressure from the Devils in the early going, Syracuse turned momentum in its favor, finally scoring the game's first goal at 14:52 of the opening frame, Cory Conacher's ninth of the season. Early in the second, Joe Whitney tied the game for Albany with his first goal, but Syracuse posted the last three tallies unanswered; Tyler Johnson scored his 11th at 10:26 of the second and assisted on Alex Killorn's goal less than three minutes later. Ondrej Palat assisted on both goals. Richard Panik, who had an assist on Johnson's marker, sealed the game at 8:17 of the third, unassisted. Riku Helenius made 18 saves for his fourth win and Syracuse's eighth straight on the road.

Game 17: Brown's hat trick boosts Crunch

J.T. Brown's four points, including the Crunch's first hat trick of the year, led Syracuse over Worcester, 6-1, Sunday at DCU Center. Equaling their largest margin of victory of the season, the Crunch extended their franchise record to nine consecutive road victories and-combined with a Springfield loss-moved into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. The Crunch scored on their first two shots, both tallies from Brown, and had a 3-0 lead at 6:16 of the first after Tyler Johnson's first of two. Bracken Kearns got one back for the Sharks before the first ended, but a five-minute power play in the second period allowed Syracuse to regain a three-goal edge on Johnson's league-leading 13th of the season. Dmitry Korobov blasted his second of the year on a third-period power play, and Brown completed the hat trick with under three minutes left. Brett Connolly had three assists, Philip-Michael Devos had two, and Jared Nightingale had an assist, a fight and a plus-1. Dustin Tokarski made 25 saves for his eighth win and dropped his goals-against average to 1.89.


- J.T. Brown recorded his first professional hat trick Sunday with three goals and one assist at Worcester, the first four-point performance of any Crunch player this season and the first hat trick. The three goals were Brown’s first since his first pro marker Oct. 19 at Albany. Brown had four assists in three games in Week 7 (Nov. 16-18) and now has four goals and six assists in 13 games this season.

- Tyler Johnson leads the AHL with 13 goals following a three-goal, two-assist weekend. Those five points were most on the Crunch in Week 7. Riding a six-game scoring streak, Johnson has surpassed Cory Conacher for the team lead in points with 20 (13g, 7a).

- Richard Panik has the longest scoring streak in the AHL, 10 games, dating to Nov. 2 at Adirondack. Panik had three points (1g, 2a) in seven games before the streak, and has 13 points (7g, 6a) during the streak, totaling 16 points (8g, 8a). The second-year pro had two goals and two assists in Week 7 (three games).

- Brett Connolly turned in his first three-point game of the season Sunday in Worcester with three assists and now has 10 on the season, second most on the team.

- The Crunch penalty kill has stopped 38 of the last 40 opposing power-play chances (the month of November).For the season, Syracuse has the second best penalty kill in the AHL at 89.1%, stopping 82 of 92 power plays.

- Syracuse has won nine consecutive away games, the longest streak in franchise history; no other AHL team has more than five straight road wins. The Crunch are the only team in the AHL without a regulation loss on the road. Syracuse lost in a shootout Oct. 12 at Rochester, the only non-win away from the War Memorial this season.

- Dustin Tokarski is one of six AHL netminders with a goals-against average under 2.00 (1.89) while his eight victories are tied for second most in the AHL.

- Dmitry Korobov and Ondrej Palat lead the Crunch in plus-minus, plus-12, tied for third best in the AHL.


Crunch at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins—Friday, 7:05 p.m.

Syracuse meets Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the third time this season Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The Crunch won at Wilkes-Barre/Scanton Oct. 21, 3-1, and the Penguins won in Syracuse Oct. 27, 4-1. Last year, the Crunch and Penguins split their eight-game season series. W-B/S has won three straight and is tied for second in the Atlantic Division at 11-7-0-0 after losing their first four of the season. Beau Bennett and Benn Ferriero lead the Pens in scoring with 13 points each. Jeff Zatkoff is the team's leading goalie, playing in 13 of 18 games, winning eight with three shutouts, and posting a 1.62 goals-against average, second best in the league. Zatkoff and Syracuse's Dustin Tokarski have started both meetings, allowing four goals each.

Crunch at Connecticut Whale—Saturday, 7:00 p.m.

The Crunch meet the Whale, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, for the first time Saturday at the Excel Center in Hartford. Syracuse is 6-7-3 all time against the Whale, formerly the Hartford Wolfpack. Winners of four in a row, the Whale are third in the Atlantic Division at 9-7-1-0, 19 points, good for an eighth-place tie in the Eastern Conference. Connecticut is led by center Kris Newbury, the team leader in scoring with 18 points (7g, 11a) and penalty minutes (55). Goalie Cameron Talbot has seven of the team's nine wins (7-4-0) with a goas-against average of 2.54. Crunch defenseman Jared Nightingale spent most of the last five seasons playing in Hartford. Connecticut visits Providence Friday before hosting Syracuse and Springfield Saturday and Sunday at XL Center where the Whale are 3-4-0-0.

Crunch at Binghamton Senators—Sunday, 5:05 p.m.

Syracuse plays the last of five consecutive road games Sunday at The Arena in Binghamton, the site of Syracuse’s 6-5 overtime thriller Oct. 20. A match marred by 153 penalty minutes, Syracuse mounted the greatest comeback in team history, scoring six straight goals following the ejection of Sens netminder Robin Lehner who fought Riku Helenius. Binghamton took the next round with the Crunch Nov. 23 at the War Memorial, 2-1, to even the eight-game season series. Tyler Eckford leads Binghamton vs. Syracuse with three goals, including both Nov. 23 scores, and his 10 points overall lead the team. Along with Panik’s game winner and two assists Oct. 20, he had one assist vs. Binghamton Nov. 23. Robin Lehner—among the league leaders in goals-against average—has allowed only one goal in 92+ minutes against Syracuse.

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