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Crunch Report: January 26, 2010

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2009-10 RECORD: 17-23-3-3, 40 points, (9-8-1-1 home, 8-15-2-2 road), seventh place, East Division


THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Friday, January 29 vs. San Antonio (18-19-3-4, 43 points), seventh place, West Division
Saturday, January 30 vs. Binghamton (19-18-3-1, 42 points), fifth place, East Division


LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

Friday, January 22 vs. WBS - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 6, CRUNCH 3
Saturday, January 23 vs. Worcester - Worcester 5, CRUNCH 4
Sunday, January 24 @ Toronto - Crunch 4, TORONTO 3 (SO)

HOME TEAM IN CAPS


CAPTAIN CLUTCH:
Despite dropping four or their last five games, Crunch center and captain Derek MacKenzie has been as clutch as you can get. He appeared in all three games for the Crunch this past week and led the team in scoring with six points (3g, 3a).

On Friday vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, MacKenzie tallied two points (1g, 1a) in a 6-3 loss to the Penguins. His second period shorthanded goal was the ninth of his Crunch career, tying him for first on the club's all-time list with Brad Moran and Joe Motzko.

MacKenzie added two more points (1g, 1a) in Saturday's 5-4 home loss to Worcester and repeated that performance with another two-point effort (1g, 1a) in a 4-3 shootout win over Toronto on Sunday. His goal and helper vs. Toronto extended his point streak to a personal and Crunch team season-high six games (5g, 4a) and gave him a goal in five straight contests, also a personal and club season-high.

In 29 games with the Crunch this season, MacKenzie leads the team in scoring with 26 points (10g, 16). Since the 2007-08 campaign, MacKenzie has appeared in 155 games with the Syracuse, totaling 127 points (57g, 70a). A native of Sudbury, Ontario, MacKenzie was selected by Atlanta in the fifth round, 128th overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

ROAD REVERSAL: From October to December, the Syracuse Crunch struggled mightily on the road. The club did not pick up its first road win until its sixth road game on October 30 at Norfolk and went just 3-14-2-1 in its first 20 games away from the War Memorial at Oncenter. Since that point, however, the Crunch suddenly find themselves showing one of the best road records in the AHL in recent games, going 5-1-0-1 over their last seven contests, picking up 12 of a possible 14 points. Over those seven road games, the Crunch have outscored their opponents 23-16 and held the opposition to two goals or less four times.

POWER SURGE: After struggling for most of the season, the Syracuse Crunch power play has suddenly found some life, with the man-advantage contributing a goal in each of the club's last four games, going 4-for-17 (23.53%) over that span. Overall, the Crunch power play has progressively improved from a season-low 9.23% on November 11 to 14.81% (28-for-189) on the year. One major factor has been the presence of a true power play quarterback in defenseman Brendan Bell, who has six power play points (3g, 3a) in 21 games.


UPCOMING GAMES:

SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE (PHOENIX COYOTES):
The Crunch welcome San Antonio to the War Memorial at Oncenter for the second of two overall meetings between these two clubs this year. The Crunch dropped a 3-2 decision back on December 30 at the AT&T Center after jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Derek MacKenzie and Mike Radja. San Antonio got three unanswered goals from Chad Kolarik, Kyle Turris and Stefan Meyer, including two on the power play, while Justin Pogge stopped 32 of 34 shots in between the pipes for the Rampage. The Crunch are 3-6-2 in 11 all-time meetings with San Antonio.

BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch welcome I-81 rival Binghamton to the War Memorial at Oncenter Saturday for the sixth of eight meetings between these two clubs this year. After this Saturday's game, the Crunch's next clash with Binghamton will come when they make history in the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, the AHL’s first-ever outdoor game on February 20 at the New York State Fairgrounds. Jared Aulin (3 goals) and Derek MacKenzie (1g, 2a) have both posted three points each in the season series for the Crunch, while Binghamton's Josh Hennessy leads his club and all players with seven points (3g, 4a). The Crunch are 2-3-0-0 against the Senators this season, but have posted a 13-3-1-1 record over the last five seasons against Binghamton at the War Memorial at Oncenter.


CRUNCHABLES:

Bates Battlaglia extended his assist streak to four games on Sunday and has seven helpers over that span… Syracuse is now 11-2-1-0 when scoring four or more goals… Sunday' s victory over Toronto marked the first win in 10 tries for the Crunch against a North Division team this year…With Saturday night's start vs. Worcester, Dan LaCosta moved past Pascal Leclaire into third place on the Crunch's all-time list in games played by a goaltender (102)… Alexandre Picard tied Mark Hartigan for ninth all-time in club history by appearing in his 221st game as a member of the Crunch on Saturday.

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