Crunch goaltending conundrum as they get set to play Norfolk

It all started with the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into Ottawa to face the Senators.

Early in the first period of Tampa’s loss to the Senators — nearly two minutes in, to be exact — Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was clipped in the back of the head by a teammate’s skate. Nikita Kucherov, the offending player, was forced to leap the downed Bishop after the goaltender sprung from his crease to attack a 50-50 puck that careened off the boards toward him.

And then it was up to Anders Lindback, Tampa’s backup, to fill the net.

Later in the game, Lindback was barrelled over by Senators forward Cory Conacher. He would finish the game, but now? Now he’s on the sideline. This leaves the Lightning in the unfortunate position of having to call up both their starting and backup goaltenders from the Syracuse Crunch.

Cedrick Desjardins — he, who just recently took a puck to the face while sitting on the bench — and Kristers Gudlevskis have both been recalled to the Lightning, and may both be called upon to suit up when the Lightning play the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal on Saturday.

Normally, the situation in this case would be a trickle down effect. However, the Crunch find themselves in an almost impossible spot: they’ve had to take a goalie on loan, and need to sign another on a tryout just to fill the backup position.

Riku Helenius, who had just finished spending some time in Florida of the ECHL, may have been the next in line for the crease. If — you know — he hadn’t been suspended for breach of contract.

SyracuseHockey.com got in touch with Julien Brisbois, the Crunch general manager, who said Helenius left Florida after the team’s game on Wednesday. Subsequent phone calls from Brisebois went unanswered, and the Syracuse GM told SyracuseHockey he was “disappointed” and that the decision was “obviously. . . his decision, not ours.”

To fill the net, BriseBois has called on Allen York. The 24-year-old York has been a journeyman since breaking into the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011-12. Since appearing with the Jackets, York has spent 19 games in Springfield with the Falcons, 11 games with ECHL Evansville, one with Charlotte, six with Texas, one in Rockford, and another six in ECHL South Carolina, where he comes from to make his appearance for the Crunch.

There has yet to be word on who will start for the Crunch, but one could assume it will be York. BriseBois has yet to sign a backup to a tryout to appear in Syracuse as the Crunch host the Norfolk Admirals tomorrow night.

UPDATE: From SyracuseHockey.com, the backup goalie for the Crunch on Saturday is expected to be Grant Rollheiser. He’ll be brought in on a tryout from the Central Hockey League’s Brampton Beast. In 20 games with Beast, Rollheiser has gone 10-9 with three shutouts, a .914 SV%, and 2.99 GAA.

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One thought on “Crunch goaltending conundrum as they get set to play Norfolk

  1. Pingback: The John Gibson Puzzle — Pens LOSE 2-1 | Chirps from Center Ice

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