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Minor League Report: March 17

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2008-09 RECORD: 33-28-4-2, 72 points, (20-10-2-0 home, 13-18-2-2 road), fifth place, North Division

 

THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, March 20 vs. Rochester (24-38-0-6, 54 points), seventh place, North Division
Saturday, March 21 vs. Albany (29-30-3-3, 64 points), sixth place, East Division
Sunday, March 22 @ Rochester (24-38-0-6, 54 points), seventh place, North Division

 


LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Wednesday, March 11 - CRUNCH 3, Toronto 1
Friday, March 13 - CRUNCH 3, Lake Erie 1
Saturday, March 14 - CRUNCH 4, Rochester 1
HOME TEAM IN CAPS

 


LALANDE LIGHTS OUT:
Since being acquired in a trade by Columbus and being assigned to the Crunch, all goaltender Kevin Lalande has done is go 3-1-0 with a 1.26 goals against average and .963 save percentage.

He appeared in all three games for the Crunch last week, going 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and .974 save percentage. Lalande made his home Crunch debut Wednesday night against Toronto, stopping 32 of 33 shots, picking up the win and earning first star honors.

He recorded 31 stops on Friday night against Lake Erie in a 3-1 Crunch victory and was again named the game's first star. Lalande capped off his and the Crunch's week by making an individual and Crunch team-high 48 saves on 49 shots in a 4-1 win over Rochester Saturday night in front of 6,021 fans at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Lalande was named the first star of the game for the third straight contest and was the AHL's first star of the night.

A native of Kingston, Ontario, Lalande was acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets from Calgary in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft on March 4, 2009.


HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE:
Last season, the Syracuse Crunch won their final 11 regular season home games and ended up tied for the second-best home record in the AHL at 27-9-1-3, a .725 winning percentage.

After a rough month of January at the War Memorial at Oncenter that saw Syracuse drop four of seven contests on home ice, the Crunch have recently picked it up on their own turf, putting together a 6-0-1-0 stretch over their last seven games and a 7-2-1-0 mark over their last ten, once again establishing the War Memorial as a very tough building for opponents to come out of with two points.

Overall, the Crunch are 20-10-2-0 at home this season, good for a .656 winning percentage which currently ranks eighth in the AHL. Syracuse has been especially good at home against divisional opponents, posting a 12-4-2-0 record against their North Division rivals while outscoring them 62-46.

With 13 regular season games left, here is a breakdown of the Crunch's remaining schedule with their opponents, how many times they play them and the Crunch’s record against each one. Rochester (5x, 5-2-0-0), Albany (1x, 4-3-0-0), Manitoba (2x, 1-0-1-0), San Antonio (1x, 0-1-0-0), Lake Erie (1x, 2-4-1-0), Toronto (1x, 4-3-0-0), Rockford (1x, 1-0-0-0), Binghamton (1x, 2-3-1-1). Against these teams this season, the Crunch are a combined, 19-16-3-1.


ALMIGHTY ALEXANDRE:
Crunch left wing Alexandre Picard has put together a nice stretch of games.

Known more as a physical, power forward that contributes some offense, Picard has been scoring at an over point per game pace, with seven goals and four assists over his last nine contests, a stretch that has seen the Crunch go 6-2-1-0.

For the season, Picard has appeared in 36 games for the Crunch, totaling nine goals, 10 assists and 94 penalty minutes. A native of Les Saules, Quebec, Picard was drafted by Columbus in the first round, eighth overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

 


THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:

ROCHESTER AMERICANS (FLORIDA PANTHERS):
The Rochester Americans come to town Friday for the second weekend in a row to face the Crunch for the eighth of 12 overall match-ups between the two clubs this year. The Crunch are 5-2-0-0 against the Amerks this season and 15-4-0-0 over the last two seasons combined. Syracuse has dominated Rochester over the past five years, with a combined record of 26-13-1-3 and have pulled close to tying the teams' all-time series record at 68-72-15. Derek MacKenzie (4g, 2a), Andrey Plekhanov (1g, 5a) and Mike York (1g, 5a), lead the Crunch and all players in the season series in scoring with six points each, while goaltenders Dan LaCosta and Kevin Lalande are a combined 5-0-0 with a 1.29 goals against average and .959 save percentage.

ALBANY RIVER RATS (CAROLINA HURRICANES): The Crunch welcome in the Albany River Rats to the War Memorial at Oncenter Saturday night for the final meeting of the season between these two clubs. The Crunch are 4-3-0-0 against Albany this year and are 10-5-0-0 the past two seasons against the Rats. The Crunch have won the past eight games against Albany at home dating back to the 2006-07 season. Alexandre Picard leads the Crunch and all players in the season series in scoring with seven points (4g, 3a). Mike Angelidis (5g, 0a) and Brett Carson (0g, 5a) lead the way for Albany in scoring against the Crunch with five points each.

 

CRUNCHABLES:
Derek MacKenzie’s goal Saturday night gave the 2009 AHL all-star back-to-back 20 goal seasons for the first time in his career…Syracuse allowed a season-high 49 shots against Saturday night…Dan Spang scored his first goal as a member of the Crunch Saturday…The Crunch are now 18-15-3-1 when they are out-shot by their opponents…Their 18 wins when out-shot are tied for ninth in the AHL.

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