Wednesday, December 17 @ Grand Rapids (13-7-3-3, 32 points), third place, North Division
Friday, December 19 @ Binghamton (13-9-2-3, 31 points), fifth place, East Division
Saturday, December 20 vs. Lake Erie (10-12-1-2, 23 points), sixth place, North Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Friday, December 12 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4, CRUNCH 3
Saturday, December 13 - Toronto 4, Crunch 2
Sunday, December 14 - ROCHESTER 1, Crunch 0
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
DECEMBER DOLDRUMS: The month of December has not been very kind to the Syracuse Crunch. Syracuse is 0-5-0-0 this month, has lost six straight road contests and six straight games overall, dropping to fourth place in the division.
The Crunch were off to one of their best starts in franchise history, skating out to a 14-6-0-1 record before this recent skid. The club is 2-9-0-0 in its last 11 games overall and 2-8-0-1 in its last 11 road games. Before this past weekend, the Crunch had not lost back-to-back games at home in regulation since November 16 and 17 of last season.
Over the last six games, the Crunch have been outscored by a 22-11 margin. The Crunch power play is just 4-for-58 over the last 11 games (6.9%).
CRUNCH VETERANS REACH MILESTONES: Derek MacKenzie and Dan Smith are two guys that have been around the block. Recently, both of them reached career milestones in games played.
MacKenzie skated in his 500th professional game Saturday night vs. Toronto. The Sudbury, Ontario native has played in 456 AHL games, racking up 115 goals, 132 assists and 501 penalty minutes. In 79 games with the Crunch over the last two seasons, MacKenzie has notched 32 goals, 31 assists and 60 penalty minutes. In 45 combined NHL games with Atlanta and Columbus, MacKenzie has added two goals, two assists and 28 penalty minutes.
Crunch captain Dan Smith is a veteran of parts of 12 professional seasons, and skated in his 700th professional game Sunday @ Rochester. A native of Fernie, British Columbia, Smith has notched 28 goals, 102 assists and 656 penalty minutes in 677 AHL games with Hershey, Springfield, Toronto, Edmonton, Hamilton, Grand Rapids and the Crunch.
Smith has also skated in 22 combined NHL games with Colorado and Edmonton, adding 16 penalty mintues.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS (DETROIT RED WINGS): The Crunch travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan Wednesday for a divisional match-up against the Griffins and the second of four overall meetings between the two clubs this season. These two teams collide at the War Memorial at Oncenter on February 13 and 27. The Crunch won the first meeting by a 2-1 final after Nikita Filatov scored in regulation and the tiebreaker and Steve Mason stopped 32 shots in regulation and all four shootout attempts. The Crunch are 6-11-2 all-time against the Griffins.
BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch make their third of four trips down I-81 for the fifth of eight overall meetings between these two clubs this year. Syracuse is 2-2-0-0 against the B-Sens this season and defenseman Clay Wilson (3g, 1a), currently on recall to Columbus, and center Craig MacDonald (2g, 2a) pace the Crunch with four points each in the season series. Binghamton defenseman Mattias Karlsson leads all players with five assists and goaltender Brian Elliott is 2-1-1 with a 1.93 goals against average and .932 save percentage against Syracuse this year.
LAKE ERIE MONSTERS (COLORADO AVALANCHE): The Crunch welcome in the Lake Erie Monsters for the first time this year and first of eight overall meetings between these two clubs this season. The Crunch were 5-2-0-1 against the Monsters last season. Joakim Lindstrom led all players with nine points (4g, 5a) while center Derek MacKenzie tallied six points (4g, 2a) in the season series. Wyatt Smith led all Lake Erie scorers with six points (4g, 2a).
The Crunch have played 16 of 27 games on the road this season… Syracuse has managed just 30 goals in those 16 road games (1.88 goals per game)… The Crunch were shut out for the third time this year and second time in the last five games Sunday @ Rochester… The Crunch lost back-to-back games at home in regulation this past weekend for the first time since November 16 and 17 of last season… Syracuse has been outscored 20-9 during second periods on the road this season… Goaltender Ryan Munce made his Crunch debut Saturday vs. Toronto… Defenseman Trevor Hendrikx appeared in his first AHL game Saturday night vs. Toronto… Left wings Steve Kelly and Tom Sestito both returned to the lineup Friday night vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after missing 13 and 12 games, respectively, with injuries... Goaltender Sebastian Dahm made his first home start of the season Friday night and first start since November 21 @ Albany.