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Crunch Report - Nov. 17, 2009

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2009-10 RECORD: 5-7-2-2, 14 points, (4-1-1-1 home, 1-6-1-1 road), seventh place, East Division


THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Wednesday, November 18 @ Albany (8-8-0-2, 18 points), third place, East Division
Friday, November 20 @ Rochester (13-2-1-0, 27 points), first place, North Division
Saturday, November 21 vs. Hartford (10-7-0-0, 20 points), third place, Atlantic Division


LAST WEEK'S RESULT

Wednesday, November 11 vs. Albany - CRUNCH 4, Albany 3 SO
Friday, November 13 vs. Providence - Providence 2, CRUNCH 1 SO
Saturday, November 14 @ Hamilton - HAMILTON 5, Crunch 1

HOME TEAM IN CAPS


LALANDE STEPS UP:
With the Crunch ranked 27th in the AHL in goals against per game, the club looked to Kevin Lalande for two out of three games this past weekend to try to turn that trend around. He did not disappoint, going 1-0-1 with a 1.85 goals against average and .939 save percentage, stopping 62 of 66 total shots.

On Wednesday, Lalande kept his team in the game long enough to see them battle back from a 3-1 third period deficit, making 31 saves in regulation and stopping three of five River Rats shooters in the shootout to pull out a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

Lalande was outstanding in Friday's home contest vs. Providence, stopping 31 of 32 shots in regulation before eventually falling to the Bruins 2-1 in another game decided by a shootout. His effort was good enough to earn him second star honors. So far this season, the native of Kingston, Ontario has appeared in seven games for the Crunch, going 2-3-1 with a 2.65 goals against average and .916 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 on March 4, 2009.

TREMENDOUS TRIO: With recent call-ups and injuries, Crunch head coach Ross Yates has had to juggle his lines around to find some chemistry between his forwards. He found just the right mix of players in Syracuse’s 4-3 shootout win vs. Albany last Wednesday. The newly-formed trio of Trevor Frischmon, Dan Fritsche and Alexandre Picard combined for seven points (3g, 4a), a plus-seven rating, 10 shots on goal and scored all three regulation goals.

Two of those tallies came in a five-minute span in the third period to tie the game and force overtime and an eventual shootout. Frischmon and Fritsche each collected three points (1g, 2a), while Picard's goal with about eight minutes left in regulation tied the contest.

That line also scored Syracuse's only goal of the game in Saturday's 5-1 loss at Hamilton, when Picard found the puck in front of the net off a feed from Fritsche and put it past Cedrick Desjardins for the goal at the 5:42 mark of the first. In all, that unit has combined for nine points (4g, 5a) in three games since being put together.

Picard (7g, 5a) and Fritsche (3g, 8a) are now first and second on the team in scoring, respectively, while Frischmon's five points (2g, 3a) place him seventh on the club in scoring.


UPCOMING GAMES:

ALBANY RIVER RATS (CAROLINA HURRICANES):
The Crunch travel to Albany Wednesday for the first time this season for the second of eight meetings between the two clubs this year. Syracuse took the first game of the season series with a 4-3 shootout win last Wednesday at the War Memorial at Oncenter. In eight meetings last season, the Crunch went 5-3-0-0 against the Rats. Current Crunch leading scorer Alexandre Picard led his team and all scorers in the season series last year with 11 points (8g, 3a) in seven games, including a memorable four-goal performance against the River Rats back on March 21. Rats leading scorer Jerome Samson tallied two points (1g, 1a) in the first game of the season series and is currently tied for tenth in the AHL in scoring with 17 points (6g, 11a) in 18 games.

ROCHESTER AMERICANS (FLORIDA PANTHERS): The Crunch make the just over one hour trek west on I-90 to face rival Rochester for the fourth of five games at Blue Cross Arena and fifth of 10 overall meetings against the Amerks this season. Syracuse is 0-2-2-0 against Rochester this year. Nick Holden and Maksim Mayorov have each tallied two points (1g, 1a) for the Crunch, while Rochester’s Chris Taylor leads all players in the season series with six points (2g, 4a). Alexander Salak is 4-0-0 with a 1.45 goals against average and .949 save percentage against the Crunch this season.

HARTFORD WOLF PACK (NEW YORK RANGERS): The Crunch welcome in the Hartford Wolf Pack to the War Memorial at Oncenter for the first time since the club's Quickway home opener on October 13, 2007 and first meeting between these two teams since December 23, 2007 at the XL Center. The Crunch are 2-6-2 in 10 all-time meetings with Hartford. Derek MacKenzie had three points (1g, 2a) in two games against the Wolf Pack during the 2007-08 season, while now Crunch assistant coach Karl Goehring led Syracuse to the club's win against Hartford that season.


CRUNCHABLES:

The Crunch scored the first goal of the game Saturday for the first time since a 2-0 win vs. Norfolk back on October 30… Alexandre Picard has two goals in his last three games and leads the team in that category (7)… The Crunch have been outshot in 14 of 16 games this season… The Crunch have been held to one goal or less six times this season and are 0-5-0-1 in those contests… Brent Regner is one of only four rookies to have a shootout-winning goal this season… Dan Fritsche has seven points (2g, 5a) over his last six games.

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