THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Wednesday, January 13 @ Lowell (23-15-3-0, 49 points), third place, Atlantic Division
Friday, January 15 @ Springfield (11-21-8-2, 32 points), eighth place, Atlantic Division
Saturday, January 16 vs. Rochester (23-15-2-0, 48 points), second place, North Division
Sunday, January 17 @ Hershey (29-8-0-2, 60 points), first place, East Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Friday, January 8 @ Norfolk - Crunch 4, NORFOLK 1
Saturday, January 9 @ Norfolk - Crunch 2, NORFOLK 1
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
LALANDE FINDING A GROOVE: Crunch goaltender Kevin Lalande has proven lately that goaltending is a huge key to a team's success.
He has been in a groove over the past two weeks, and not coincidentally, so has his team. Lalande appeared in both games this past weekend in Norfolk against the Admirals, going 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and .973 save percentage. He stopped 33 of 34 shots and picked up the win as the Crunch cruised to a 4-1 victory on Friday night, nabbing first star honors in the process.
Lalande repeated his performance the very next night against the same Admirals team, turning aside 38 of 39 shots en route to being named the game's second star as the Crunch held on for a 2-1 win, completing a weekend sweep of their East Division rivals. The Crunch's win Saturday was the first time the club has won back-to-back games on the road and second time they have accomplished that feat all season.
Lalande has now made a Crunch season-high six straight starts, going 4-1-0-1 with a 1.97 goals against average and .936 save percentage over that span. Overall on the season, the Kingston, Ontario native is 10-9-2 with a 2.98 goals against average and .909 save percentage. Lalande was acquired in a trade by Columbus from Calgary in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, March 4, 2009. He was originally selected by Calgary in the fifth round, 128th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
AULIN LIGHTING IT UP: No player on the Crunch has been as scorching hot offensively lately as center Jared Aulin.
Aulin helped the Crunch to two wins this past weekend down in Norfolk, starting on Friday with a season-high three point effort (1g, 2a), which included the game-winning goal, his team-leading third of the season.
He stretched his personal season-high scoring streak to four games (3g, 3a) with one of the Crunch's two goals on Saturday in a 2-1 victory over the Admirals. That marker gave him the team lead in goals (11) and points (22).
Over his last 12 games, the Calgary, Alberta native has accumulated 13 points (6g, 7a). After starting the season on two different professional tryout agreements, Aulin was signed by the Crunch to an American Hockey League contract on January 2, 2010.
LOWELL DEVILS (NEW JERSEY DEVILS): The Syracuse Crunch mark the halfway point of their season by traveling to northeastern Massachusetts to battle Lowell in the first-ever meeting between these two clubs since the Devils entered the AHL for the 2006-07 season. This is the first of two games between these two teams this year, as Lowell visits Syracuse on Friday, March 12. Lowell currently has nine players with 20 or more points, including Rome, NY native Tim Sestito (10g, 11a), who is the older brother of Crunch left wing, Tom Sestito. Utica, NY native Nick Palmieri has tallied 24 points (14g, 10a) in 37 games, while defenseman Tyler Eckford (7g, 17a) was selected as the Devils' lone representative and is scheduled to suit up for the Canadian squad at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic on January 18 – 19 in Portland, ME.
SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (EDMONTON OILERS): The Crunch continue a two game swing through New England and finish up a season-long five game road trip with a match-up against the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center on Friday, January 15. This will mark the first of two meetings between these two clubs this year, as they clash again at the War Memorial at Oncenter on February 27. The Crunch went 1-0-0-1 against the Falcons last season and are 10-14-6 in 30 all-time meetings with Springfield. Left Wing Charles Linglet currently leads the Falcons and is tied for fifth in the AHL in scoring with 39 points (9g, 30).
ROCHESTER AMERICANS (FLORIDA PANTHERS): The Crunch finally return home on Saturday, January 16 to face arch-rival Rochester for the seventh of 10 overall meetings with the Amerks this year and third game played between these two clubs at the War Memorial at Oncenter this season. The Crunch have yet to get into the win column against Rochester in 2009-10, going 0-5-2-0. Prior to this year, the Crunch had dominated Rochester in the previous two seasons, going a combined 18-6-0-0, outscoring the Amerks by a combined 91-41 margin. Lone Crunch AHL All-Star Dan Fritsche leads Syracuse in scoring with four points (2g, 2a), while Rochester’s Chris Taylor leads his club and all players in scoring in the season series with 10 points (3g, 7a).
HERSHEY BEARS (WASHINGTON CAPITALS): The Crunch head right back out on the road after Saturday night's game and travel to Hershey on Sunday, January 17 to take on the East Division-leading Bears at the Giant Center at 5 p.m. The Crunch dropped a 4-1 decision back on December 26 in the only other meeting between these two clubs this year, as Hershey got help with a three-point night (2g, 1a) from Matheiu Perreault. The Crunch face Hershey four more times after Sunday’s contest, with all of the games coming in an 18-day span later this season from March 20 – April 6.
The Crunch are currently riding a season-high (tied) four-game point streak (3-0-0-1) and have picked up at least a point in six of their last seven games… Three of the Crunch’s five road wins this season have come against Norfolk… Defenseman Brendan Bell has four points (1g, 3a) over his last two games… Rookie center Tomas Kana has 7 goals and 3 assists in 14 games since coming to the Crunch.