Sexton, Levasseur wrap up big weekend for Syracuse.

Dan Sexton’s three-point game Sunday wrapped up a big weekend for the erstwhile Ducks right wing in the American Hockey League.

Sexton scored once at even strength and once short-handed – who knew he could kill penalties? – and added an assist in the Syracuse Crunch’s 5-0 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack Connecticut Whale. Sexton also had a goal in a 4-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday, giving him three goals and an assist in two games since his latest AHL demotion.

Defenseman Brett Festerling (two goals, plus-4 rating), left wing Matt Beleskey (goal, assist) and defenseman Mat Clark (goal, assist) also had strong games for the Crunch on Sunday.

Although playing back-to-back games is common for AHL goalies, Jean-Phillippe Levasseur’s weekend bears mentioning. His 32-save shutout Sunday came less than 24 hours after a 42-save effort against the Penguins. The 23-year-old lowered his goals-against average to 2.81 and boosted his save percentage to .918.

With Timo Pielmeier struggling (6-10-1, 3.61, .898), Levasseur looks like the Ducks’ number three goalie by default.

Crunch on bad end of blowout.

It was the only game in the American Hockey League on Monday, but the Syracuse Crunch probably preferred that no one watched.

The Ducks’ top affiliate lost 10-3 to the Charlotte Checkers after falling behind 9-1 after two periods. According to the Syracuse Post-Dispatch, Charlotte’s eight-goal second period was the most in an AHL period since Providence scored a league-record 10 in the first – also vs. the Crunch – on Nov. 25, 1998. During the middle period Charlotte scored twice in a span of 21 seconds, three goals in 1:07, four in 1:41, five in 2:41, six in 3:39, seven in 7:15, and eight in a span of 13:44.

Timo Pielmeier started in goal before giving way to Jean-Phillippe Levasseur in the fateful second period. Levasseur provided no relief, allowing goals on both shots he faced, before being pulled in favor of Pielmeier, who finished with 33 saves on 41 shots.

Dan Sexton played his first game back in Syracuse since returning from Anaheim. Kyle Palmieri, Stefan Chaput and San Jacinto native Jake Newton scored goals for the Crunch.

Syracuse has won two of its last 10 games, falling to 8-12-1-3 on the season.

Lupul activated; Sexton to Syracuse.

After 12 months that included two surgeries, a long summer of resting and walking and not much else and, more recently, three rehab games in the AHL, Joffrey Lupul is back.

The Ducks activated Lupul off long-term injury list after the winger was cleared by team doctors to play. He’ll probably be in the lineup tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes at Honda Center; Dan Sexton has been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch.

Lupul played 22 minutes, 7 seconds for the Crunch on Friday, after playing roughly
15 minutes in each of his first two games with Syracuse. He finished with one
goal and three assists.

Sexton had a goal and two assists in six games since his last recall. He had gone scoreless in his last three.

More to come after tonight’s game.

Lupul could suit up tonight – for Syracuse.

Ducks winger Joffrey Lupul has been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch on a long-term injury
conditioning loan.

Under this scenario, Lupul can play up to three
games for the Ducks’ American Hockey League affiliate. Syracuse has a road game tonight against the Toronto Marlies, a home game Sunday against the Hamilton Bulldogs, and a road game next Friday against the Rochester Americans. Lupul, who is not on the Ducks’ 23-man roster, is expected to play tonight.

After the three games, the club can either recall Lupul to the
NHL, or apply for a two-game AHL extension.

The 27-year-old winger hasn’t appeared in an AHL game since the 2004-05 lockout season,  when he was a member of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. Lupul hasn’t played in a game at all since Dec. 8 of last season. Earlier this week, Lupul said playing in a game was the next step for him, and it looks like that step will come tonight.

Down on the farm, some Ducklings are hatching.

The Syracuse Crunch can loosely be broken down into two
groups of players: Those who are still developing, and those you might see in
Anaheim this season.

Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri cut to the front of the
promotion line with strong performances last week. By Wednesday they were in
Ducks uniforms, playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

That might have been ahead of the curve for both, who are
just beginning their first full season in professional hockey. Even though
Ducks fans have been hearing about Bonino and Palmieri for more than a year, if
anything they have been fast-tracked to the NHL.

“In baseball, most of the top prospects get put into
Single-A and work their way up,” said David McNab, the Ducks’ senior vice
president of hockey operations. “It doesn’t appear that they draft a player and
immediately stick them in Triple A. that’s what the American League is:
Triple-A baseball. It’s a tough league. There’s a lot of veteran hockey players
in the American Hockey League who are great players. It takes time.”

Continue reading “Down on the farm, some Ducklings are hatching.” »

Kyle Palmieri recalled from Syracuse.

Recognizing the need for more offense against the NHL’s best offensive club, the Ducks have recalled right wing Kyle Palmieri from AHL affiliate Syracuse.

In his second week as a professional hockey player, the 19-year-old had five goals in three games last week for the Crunch to earn AHL player of the week honors. For the season Palmieri had seven goals (tied for the league lead) and nine points in nine games.

On Monday the Ducks recalled Nick Bonino, who had been centering the line with Palmieri and left wing Nicolas Deschamps, and the two could will be paired together (according to Randy Carlyle) tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It’s all positives when you’ve got young players in their first foray into the American Hockey League and they’re playing to a top level,” Carlyle said Tuesday.

Ducks assistant general manager David McNab said Tuesday that Palmieri and Bonino will both have to prove they can perform at the NHL level before determining whether they can be counted on long-term to help the Ducks. But Palmieri’s accomplishments in a short time in the AHL speak for themselves.

“I don’t know if there’s another 19-year-old in the AHL or not. Most guys are in junior until they’re 20,” McNab said. “Very few under-20 players play in that league. He’s walked in and scored goals, done everything that you wanted. He’s been – not a surprise – but to play this well this early, and score as many goals as he has, just his play all around as well, he’s a guy who likes to shoot the puck, likes to score goals, gets chances and plays hard. In a 30-team league and your second week as a pro hockey player, to be player of the week in the AHL, not many guys do that.”

More from McNab on the development of other Ducks prospects in the AHL in a future blog soon.

Palmieri named AHL Player of the Week.

Prospect Kyle Palmieri was rewarded Monday for his big week with AHL affiliate Syracuse.

The 19-year-old right wing, who had five goals and an assist in three games, is the league’s Player of the Week. Palmieri notched his first career hat trick in a 5-4 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday, had the game-tying goal in a 4-3 loss to the Hershey Bears Friday, and the go-ahead goal and an assist in 3-2 win over the Albany River Rats on Saturday.

The 26th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Palmieri now co-leads the AHL with seven goals. His nine points are tied for second among AHL rookies. He was tied for the team scoring lead with Nick Bonino, who was recalled Monday by the Ducks.

Crunch open AHL season tonight in Syracuse.

If you haven’t bookmarked the Syracuse Crunch blog on the website of the Syracuse Post-Standard, now would be a good time to do so.

The Crunch play their first game tonight, with Marco Cousineau in goal among a laundry list of Ducks prospects who recently joined the AHL camp:

J.P. Levasseur will back up and also get minutes.

The scratches are defensemen Joe DiPenta, Mark Mitera, Mat Clark, and
Jake Newton, and forwards Brian Lebler, John Kurtz, Trevor Smith, Eric
Lampe, A.J. Perry and Derrell Levy.

Reports: Florida, Elmira candidates to become Ducks’ ECHL affiliate.

Since severing ties with the Bakersfield Condors, the Ducks have been searching for an ECHL affiliate closer to AHL affiliate Syracuse. According to reports out of Florida and New York, the Florida Everblades and Elmira Jackals are the leading candidates.

The Naples-based Everblades recently severed ties with the Florida Panthers. Elmira is already affiliated with the Ottawa Senators, but dual affiliations are not uncommon and no ECHL city is closer to Syracuse.

Coincidentally, the Jackals’ new head coach, Malcolm Cameron, spent the last two seasons coaching the Everblades.

Perry’s younger brother joins Crunch.

A.J. Perry, the 23-year-old younger brother of Ducks forward Corey Perry, has signed an AHL contract with the Syracuse Crunch.

Perry spent last year with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies and scored 30 goals and 78 points (sixth in the league) in 67 games. He was named an all-star for the ECHL’s National Conference and had an assist in the game, which was played at Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Where the brothers are similar in scoring touch, they differ in size. A.J. is 5-foot-11, 195 pounds and doesn’t play as physical a game as Corey, who stands 6-3 and 209 pounds. A.J. has 12 games of experience in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage in 2008-09, when he notched a goal and two assists. He spent most of that year, his first as a pro, in the Central Hockey League, scoring 23 goals in 45 games for the Arizona Sundogs.

The Crunch also announced the signing of forward John Mitchell, who just finished a four-year career at the University of Wisconsin.