THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Tuesday, December 30 vs. Binghamton (17-10-3-3, 40 points), fourth place, East Division
Friday, January 2 @ Hamilton (19-11-2-0, 40 points), third place, North Division
Saturday, January 3 @ Lake Erie (11-14-1-5, 28 points), sixth place, North Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Friday, December 26 - BINGHAMTON 3, Crunch 2 (OT)
Saturday, December 27 - CRUNCH 5, Hamilton 4
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
VIGILANTE JUSTICE: Crunch left wing John Vigilante began his third professional season and first as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization after putting up career-highs in goals (15), assists (31) and points (46) with Milwaukee (AHL) last year.
He got off to a good start and was almost on pace to match his output from last season with two goals and five assists in his first 16 games, but then was held without a point from November 19 – December 26, a span of 12 games.
Vigilante had a breakout game in the Crunch's come-from-behind win Saturday vs. Hamilton, scoring two goals. His first was also the game's first and was of the shorthanded variety, only the Crunch’s second shorthanded marker of the season.
Vigilante's second goal came with just 4:58 remaining in regulation and tied the game at 4-4 before the Crunch eventually won the contest on Adam Pineault's tally just 1:49 later. He was named the game's first star for his effort.
A native of Dearborn, Michigan, the 6'0", 200lb. Vigilante spent two years as a member of the Nashville Predators organization before being signed as a free agent by the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 9, 2008.
NEWCOMERS CONTRIBUTING: One of the many reasons why the Crunch were struggling so badly before this past weekend was the array of injuries and call-ups they have experienced. The Crunch have been without at least three of its top five scorers in each of the last three games and without at least two of its top five point-getters in each of the last four games.
Because of this, many players have gotten a chance to show what they can do. On Saturday night, Ryan Garlock's shorthanded goal sparked the Crunch to two more unanswered markers in the third period and helped Syracuse to a 5-4 win over Hamilton.
On the game-winning goal, recent call-up Petr Pohl used his speed to gain the zone and work the puck down low to Adam Pineault, who flipped the puck on net past Marc Denis to give the Crunch the lead. The assist was Pohl's first AHL point.
Kevin Harvey, who signed a PTO with the Crunch on December 11, has notched two goals in nine games and also added some grit to the lineup with 45 penalty minutes.
CRUNCH SIGN CENTER CRAIG VALETTE: The Syracuse Crunch announced today that they have signed center Craig Valette to a professional tryout contract.
Valette, 26, has appeared in 15 games with Houston (AHL) this season, notching two assists and 15 penalty minutes. He has also skated in eight games with Stockton (ECHL) this year, tallying three goals, four assists and 16 penalty minutes.
A native of Shellbrook, Saskatchewan, Valette has appeared in 455 career AHL games with Cleveland, Worcester and Houston, racking up 36 goals, 46 assists and 455 penalty minutes.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch welcome in the Binghamton Senators to the War Memorial for the sixth of eight meetings between the two clubs this season. The Crunch are 2-2-1-1 against the B-Sens and four of the six games have gone to the extra session with two being decided in a shootout. Clay Wilson (3g, 2a) and Craig MacDonald (2g, 3a) pace Syracuse with five points each in the season series, while Binghamton defenseman Mattias Karlsson has tallied nine assists. Dan LaCosta is 2-3-1 with a 2.56 goals against average and .919 save percentage and Brian Elliott is 4-1-1 with a 1.92 goals against average and .934 save percentage against the Crunch this year.
HAMILTON BULLDOGS (MONTREAL CANADIENS): The Crunch travel to Canada's Steel City to face the Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum for the second of eight meetings between these two clubs this year. The Crunch took the first meeting on December 27 on the strength of three unanswered third period goals. John Vigilante notched two goals and Trevor Frischmon tallied three assists in the 5-4 Crunch victory. Yannick Weber posted two goals for Hamilton. Syracuse owns a 41-35-13 all-time record against the Bulldogs.
LAKE ERIE MONSTERS (COLORADO AVALANCHE): The Crunch make the trek to Cleveland to battle the Lake Erie Monsters for the first meeting at Quicken Loans Arena and second of eight overall contests between these two clubs this year. Lake Erie took the first game, 4-0 on December 20 at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Marty Sertich notched two goals and Tyler Weiman recorded a 28-save shutout in the victory.
The Crunch scored the first goal Friday for the first time in seven games…Tom Sestito's power play goal Friday broke an 0-for-25 drought for the Crunch with the man-advantage and was the club's first power play goal in five games… Grant Clitsome's first period goal Friday night was his first as a professional and first as a member of the Crunch… John Vigilante's two goals Saturday was the first time a Crunch player scored two goals in a game since Craig MacDonald's two-tally effort on November 28 vs. Toronto… Petr Pohl recorded his first AHL point, an assist, on Adam Pineult's game-winning goal Saturday… Ryan Garlock's shorthanded goal Saturday was his first as a member of the Crunch… Syracuse scored two shorthanded goals Saturday after only recording one all year… Trevor Frischmon recorded a season-high three assists in Saturday's win over Hamilton… Maksim Mayorov's goal Saturday was his first in 15 games.