2008-09 RECORD: 18-17-2-2, 40 points, (9-5-0-0 home, 9-12-2-2 road), fifth place, North Division
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Friday, January 16 vs. Albany (15-18-3-2, 35 points), seventh place, East Division
Saturday, January 17 vs. Hamilton (24-13-2-0, 50 points), third place, North Division
LAST WEEK’S RESULT
Tuesday, January 6 - Crunch 3, LAKE ERIE 1
Wednesday, January 7 - Crunch 2, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
Friday, January 9 - ROCHESTER 3, Crunch 1
Saturday, January 10 - Crunch 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3 (SO)
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
KELLY CASHING IN: After tallying six points (1g, 5a) in his first 11 games, Crunch veteran left wing Steve Kelly was sidelined after suffering a rib injury on November 8 vs. Manitoba. Kelly missed 13 games because of the injury before returning to the lineup on December 12 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
After playing in five games and being held scoreless, Kelly’s rib injury flared up again, forcing him to miss another four games until he came back on January 2 at Hamilton. Since that point, Kelly has been contributing offensively with five points (3g, 2a), over his last six games.
Kelly led the Crunch in Saturday night's come-from-behind win @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, scoring on the power play to tie the game at 1-1 with 3:21 to go in the first period.
With his team down 3-2 and its goalie pulled for the extra attacker in the final minute, Kelly picked up the game-tying goal with five seconds left in regulation to knot the game at 3-3 and force overtime and eventually a shootout.
The first shooter to go for Syracuse, Kelly scored on Adam Berkhoel in the first round to even up the score at 1-1. Tied after the first five shooters and after Janne Pesonen was denied by Sebastian Dahm on his sixth round attempt, Kelly, with the game on his stick, beat Berkhoel on the backhand to seal the win for Syracuse. The goal was Kelly's second shootout goal of the night after scoring two in regulation.
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Kelly was signed by Columbus as a free agent on July 16, 2008.
SESTITO SHOWING OFFENSIVE SPARK: After a successful rookie season that saw him put up 23 points (7g, 16a) and 202 penalty minutes in 66 games, Rome, NY native Tom Sestito has stepped up and is on pace to surpass those numbers in his second professional campaign.
Known more for his physical play, Sestito has stepped it up offensively this year, already matching his output in goals from last season (7), while tacking on seven assists for 14 points in just 25 games. His points per game average is up to .56 ppg from .34 ppg last year. Sestito has also kept the physical part of his game, racking up 103 penalty minutes so far this year.
The 6-5, 226 lb. left wing was drafted by Columbus in the third round, 85th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:
ALBANY RIVER RATS (CAROLINA HURRICANES): The Crunch return home after a season-long six-game road trip for the club's fifth of eight meetings with the Albany River Rats on Friday. The Crunch are 2-2-0-0 against the River Rats this year, as the home team has taken every game so far in the season series. Nikita Filatov, currently on recall with Columbus, leads the Crunch in scoring in the season series with four points (1g, 3a). Sebastian Dahm is 1-1-0 with a 1.28 goals against average and .957 save percentage against Albany this season. Mike Angelidis leads the River Rats in scoring against the Crunch with four goals. Goaltender Justin Peters is 1-1-1 with a 1.95 goals against average and .936 save percentage against Syracuse.
HAMILTON BULLDOGS (MONTREAL CANADIENS): The Crunch welcome in the Hamilton Bulldogs for their second meeting at the War Memorial at Oncenter and third of eight overall games between the two teams this year. Each club is 1-1-0-0 in the season series with both teams winning their respective home games by one goal. The last time these two teams met back on December 27, the Crunch tallied three unanswered third period goals to secure a 5-4 win. John Vigilante has tallied three of his five goals this year against Hamilton while Trevor Frischmon has three assists. Mike Glumac leads Hamilton in scoring against the Crunch with three points (1g, 2a).
The Crunch finished a season-high six game road trip, going 3-2-1-0, gaining seven of a possible 12 points… Syracuse has now played 25 of its 39 games on the road this season and has 26 of its remaining 41 games at the War Memorial at Oncenter… Tom Sestito and Mike York both have four points (1g, 3a), over their last four games... Sestito tallied back-to-back game-winners on January 6 and 7… Crunch defenseman Andrey Plekhanov notched his first two goals of the season this week, his first in the regular season since April 6, 2008 @ Rochester… The Crunch won back-to-back games on January 6 and 7 for the first time since November 15 and 16… It was also the first time the club won back-to-back road games since October 29 – November 1… Aaron Rome skated in his 300th AHL game and Ryan Garlock appeared in his 100th AHL game Tuesday @ Lake Erie.