2008-09 RECORD: 26-23-3-2, 57 points, (14-9-1-0 home, 12-14-2-2 road), fifth place, North Division
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Wednesday, February 18 @ Toronto (27-19-2-5, 61 points), fourth place, North Division
Friday, February 20 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (35-16-1-2, 73 points), second place, East Division
Sunday, February 22 @ Hamilton (33-20-2-0, 68 points), third place, North Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Wednesday, February 11 - TORONTO 6, Crunch 3
Friday, February 13 - CRUNCH 2, Grand Rapids 1 (SO)
Saturday, February 14 - CRUNCH 2, Springfield 1 (SO)
Monday, February 16 - Hershey 3, CRUNCH 2
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
SHOOTOUT SUCCESS: The Syracuse Crunch have been one of the best teams in the American Hockey League when it comes to shootouts this year. The club is tied for the most shootout wins in the league, posting a 6-2 record in the tiebreaker.
The Crunch won back-to-back games in shootouts last week, with 2-1 wins over Grand Rapids on Friday and Springfield on Saturday. One big reason the Crunch have been successful in shootouts this season has been their goaltending.
Dan LaCosta has stopped 12 of 18 shootout attempts against, good for a 66.67% success rate. Danish rookie Sebastian Dahm has been one of the best shootout goalies in the AHL this year, denying 12 of 14 attempts, good for an 85.71% success rate. He is second in the AHL in shootout percentage with goalies that have faced 10 or more attempts.
Current Blue Jackets netminder Steve Mason stopped all four shootout attempts against in one of the three games he played for the Crunch this year back on October 29.
Overall, Crunch goaltenders have denied 28 of 36 shootout attempts, good for a 77.78% success rate.
Another reason Syracuse has been dominant in the tiebreaker is because of their forwards. Mike York has converted 4-of-7 attempts, while Maksim Mayorov and Steve Kelly are both 3-for-6 in the shootout. Derek MacKenzie is 2-for-6, while Nikita Filatov and John Vigilante are both 1-for-2.
Overall, the Crunch have scored on 16 of 37 shootout attempts, converting 43.24% of the time. Syracuse is 3-0 at home in shootout and 3-2 on the road.
FEELING THE CRUNCH: The Syracuse Crunch have been a very good team in close games this season. The club has posted a 15-8-3-2 record in one-goal games and has nine wins when trailing after the second period, tied for the league lead in that category with Bridgeport.
Last season, the Crunch were 20-10-2-6 in one goal games and were 3-18-1-3 when trailing after two periods.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
TORONTO MARLIES (TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS): The Crunch head to Toronto Wednesday for the third time in 12 days to take on the Marlies in the sixth of eight overall meetings between these two clubs this year. Syracuse has taken three of the first five meetings as the Crunch currently sit four points behind Toronto for fourth place in the North Division. Craig MacDonald (3g, 2a), Derek MacKenzie (3g, 2a) and Aaron Rome (1g, 4a) pace Syracuse in scoring against the Marlies this year, while Dan LaCosta has gone 2-0-0 against Toronto with a 1.01 goals against average and .975 save percentage. Tim Stapleton has collected five points (1g, 4a) in the season series against the Crunch and leads Toronto in scoring on the year with 50 points (16g, 34a).
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS): The Crunch welcome in the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday night for the seventh of eight overall meetings and third of four games between these two clubs at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The Crunch are 3-3-0-0 against the Penguins this year. Veteran left wing Mike York leads the Crunch and all scorers in the season series with eight points (2g, 6a), while Steve Kelly (3g, 1a) and Derek MacKenzie (3g, 1a) have tallied four points each. Luca Caputi (3g, 2a), Janne Pesonen (3g, 2a) and Mark Letestu (2g, 3a), have all tallied five points, while goaltender Adam Berkhoel is 2-0-1 with a 1.95 goals against average and .929 save percentage against the Crunch this year.
HAMILTON BULLDOGS (MONTREAL CANADIENS): The Crunch are back on the road again Sunday, as they roll into Canada's Steel City for a 4 p.m. match-up with the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Crunch are 3-2-0 against Hamilton this year and are 43-37-13 all-time against the Bulldogs. John Vigilante has notched five (3g, 2a) of his 15 (7g, 8a) points on the year against Hamilton and leads the Crunch in the season series in scoring. Yannick Weber leads the Bulldogs in scoring against the Crunch and all players in the series with six points (3g, 3a).
After 54 games last season, the Crunch were 24-25-2-3 (53 points)… After Wednesday night's game in Toronto, the Crunch will play 16 of their final 25 games at home... Derek MacKenzie had his individual and Crunch season-high five-game goal-scoring streak ended Saturday night against Springfield… Aaron Rome (1g, 1a) and Mike York (0g, 2a), are both riding two-game point streaks.