2007-08 RECORD: 32-26-2-6, 72 points, (16-9-1-3 home, 16-17-1-3 road), third place, North Division
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, March 14 vs. Rochester (18-37-5-4, 45 points), seventh place, North Division
Sunday, March 16 vs. Binghamton (28-27-6-4, 66 points), sixth place, East Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Friday, March 7 - CRUNCH 3, Toronto 2
Saturday, March 8 - WB/S 2, CRUNCH 1 SO
Sunday, March 9 - Crunch 2, TORONTO 1 OT
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
THE PUCK STOPS HERE: In their last 16 games, the Crunch have put together a record of 10-1-0-5, vaulting them into third place in the North Division and the last guaranteed playoff spot. The constant throughout that span has been the team's goaltending. Splitting time between the pipes, Karl Goehring and Dan LaCosta have been exceptional.
Playing in seven games since February 2, Goehring has posted a record of 5-0-0-2 with a 1.11 goals-against average and .963 save percentage. For his achievements, Goehring was honored as the Rbk/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 3, 2008.
In nine games since February 2, LaCosta has been almost as equally impressive. He has put together a record of 5-1-0-3 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
Overall, in the past five weeks, Goehring and LaCosta have combined to go 10-1-0-5 with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.
PK IS A-OK: With the Crunch's recent winning ways, much attention has been paid to the team's nine-game point streak and record over the last 15 games. One thing that has gone almost unnoticed, but is a huge reason why Syracuse is where they are is the outstanding defensive play and penalty killing in particular that the Crunch have displayed.
The Crunch last allowed a power play goal against in the first period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton back on February 27. Since that goal, the Crunch have killed off 37 consecutive penalties to catapult themselves into third overall in the AHL at 85.5%.
The culmination of how good Syracuse has been on the PK was during Friday night's 3-2 win vs. Toronto. The Crunch were down two men with under five minutes to play and killed off a 5-on-3 for the entire two minutes, along with the rest of another penalty that made it a 5-on-4 after the two-man advantage was over. Toronto ended up 0-for-9 on the power play.
Opponents need to watch out that they don't get scored upon when they are on the man-advantage, because the Crunch also lead the league in short-handed goals with 18 and are one shortie away from tying the single-season franchise record.
Trevor Frischmon is one player in particular that has been outstanding on the PK Unit. He was named second star of the game on March 7 vs. Toronto for his excellent penalty killing effort.
CRUNCH SET TO BEGIN NINE-GAME HOMESTAND: The Syracuse Crunch play 11 of their last 14 games in the friendly confines of the War Memorial at Oncenter.
On Friday night they begin a season-long nine-game homestand that goes from March 14 to April 4. The previous long homestands were a five-game set from November 9 – 23 and another five-game homestand from February 15 – 23.
The Crunch have posted a 16-9-1-3 home record on the year and look to improve on that in the upcoming match-ups.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
ROCHESTER AMERICANS (BUFFALO SABRES/FLORIDA PANTHERS): The Rochester Americans come to the 'Cuse on Friday night for the fifth game at the War Memorial at Oncenter and ninth of 12 overall meetings between these two clubs this season. The Crunch are 6-2-0-0 against the Amerks this season, winning six straight after dropping the first two. Adam Pineault leads all players in the season series in scoring with 11 points (3g, 8a) in eight games.
BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Binghamton Senators make their way to Syracuse for just their second trip to the War Memorial at Oncenter this season and fifth of eight overall meetings. The Crunch are 2-3-0-0 against the B-Sens this year, but took the last meeting, 4-1 back on February 15. Zenon Konopka (3g, 1a) and Alexander Nikulin (2g, 5a), lead their respective clubs in scoring in the season series.
The Crunch extended their season-high point streak to nine games with a win @ Toronto Sunday night… Syracuse is 10-1-0-4 in their last 15 games…The Crunch improved their record on Sundays to 5-1-0-0… The Crunch penalty killing unit has now killed off 37 consecutive penalties…Alex Picard has two goals in his last two games… Crunch goaltenders Karl Goehring and Dan LaCosta combined to go 2-0-0-1 this weekend with a 1.29 goals-against average and .957 save percentage… Crunch center Derek MacKenzie tallied his first NHL goal Sunday night in Columbus' 5-3 win over Tampa Bay at Nationwide Arena.