2007-08 RECORD: 36-26-2-6, 80 points, (20-9-1-3 home, 16-17-1-3 road), third place, North Division
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Wednesday, March 26 vs. Toronto (43-18-3-5, 94 points), first place, North Division
Friday, March 28 vs. Albany (40-26-2-4, 86 points), third place, East Division
Saturday, March 29 vs. Lake Erie (25-32-5-7, 65 points), fifth place, North Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Wednesday, March 19 - CRUNCH 3, Hamilton 1
Saturday, March 22 - CRUNCH 5, Grand Rapids 2
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
HOME SWEET HOME: The Syracuse Crunch almost forgot what it was like to play at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The team played 34 of its first 54 games on the road this season, including a season-high seven-game trip from December 2 – 14. The Crunch played 19 of 28 on the road in December and January.
Without many home dates early in the year, it was difficult for Syracuse to get any momentum on home ice, barley floating above the .500 mark in their first 20 contests at the War Memorial at Oncenter with a 10-8-1-1 mark. Since that point, the Crunch have gone 10-1-0-2 at home and are currently 4-0-0-0 on their present season-high nine-game home stand.
The Crunch's .667 home winning percentage is currently fifth in the AHL, behind only Chicago, Portland, Providence and Toronto.
NORTH DIVISION DOMINANCE: The Crunch have fared well against rival North Division opponents this season, posting a 22-12-2-0 combined record against Grand Rapids, Hamilton, Lake Erie, Manitoba, Rochester and Toronto.
Syracuse has especially had their way with Hamilton (6-1-0-0 against) and Rochester (7-2-0-0 against). The Crunch have outscored their North Division rivals by a combined 109-83 and are 13-4-1-0 against Division opponents at home this season.
The Crunch have 7 (seven) of their remaining 10 (ten) games against North Division teams (Hamilton – 1), (Lake Erie – 2), (Rochester – 3), (Toronto – 1).
A FAST START: In their first 20 games of the season, the Syracuse Crunch scored the first goal of the game only five times. Their record in those twenty games was 7-12-1-0.
In the last 50 games, the Crunch have scored the first goal 37 times, good for getting on the board first 74% of the time. In the last 50 games, the Crunch's record is 29-14-1-6.
STARKOV TALLIES FIRST AHL GOAL: It has been a long road this season for Crunch left wing Kirill Starkov.
After starting the season with Elmira (ECHL) and failing to record a point in eight games, Starkov was sent to Columbus' Central Hockey League affiliate in Youngstown. He finally found his game there, notching 22 points (10g, 12a) in 25 games and was reassigned to the Crunch by Columbus on February 6 when Joakim Lindstrom was recalled.
After failing to record a point in his first 10 games with Syracuse, Starkov has 3 points (1g, 2a) in his last 3 games.
He tallied his first AHL goal Saturday night and was named the third star when he slammed home a rebound of a Mark Rycroft shot past Grand Rapids' Jimmy Howard in the third period.
A native of Yekaturinburg, Russia, Starkov was drafted by Columbus in the sixth round, 189th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
TORONTO MARLIES (TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS): The Toronto Marlies come to town on Wednesday for the eighth and final meeting of the season between these two teams. The Crunch are 3-3-1-0 against Toronto this season. Three of the seven games between these two teams have gone to overtime. Joakim Lindstrom (1g, 7a – currently on recall to Columbus), leads all Crunch players in the series in scoring. David Ling (6g, 3a) leads all Marlies in scoring and has scored 6 of his 13 goals on the season against Syracuse.
ALBANY RIVER RATS (CAROLINA HURRICANES): The Albany River Rats make their way to Syracuse Friday night for the eighth and final meeting of the season between these two teams. The Crunch are 5-2-0-0 against the River Rats this season. Albany's Brandon Nolan leads all players in the season series in scoring with 8 points (3g, 5a). The Crunch's Zenon Konopka (2g, 4a), Aaron Rome (2g, 4a – currently on recall to Columbus) and Clay Wilson (1g, 5a – currently on recall to Columbus) lead the Crunch in scoring in the series with 6 points each. Adam Munro is 2-0-0 with a 0.72 goals-against average and .973 save percentage in 3 games against Albany this year.
LAKE ERIE MONSTERS (COLORADO AVALANCHE): The Lake Erie Monsters visit the War Memorial at Oncenter on Saturday for the seventh of eight meetings between these two teams. The road team has won every game in the series so far this year, with the Crunch holding a 3-2-1-0 record against the Monsters. Joakim Lindstrom leads all players in the season series in scoring with 7 points (3g, 4a).
The Crunch are currently riding a 13-game point streak… They are 4-0-0-0 on their season-high nine-game homestand… Overall, the Crunch are on their longest winning streak of the season (five), are 9-0-0-1 in their last ten and 14-1-0-5 over their last 20 games… Syracuse is 32-3-0-3 when allowing 2 goals or less… The Crunch have scored the first goal in 37 of their last 50 contests (74%)… Derick Brassard has five points (2g, 3a) in his last five games… Kirill Starkov recorded his first AHL goal with his third period tally in Saturday's win over Grand Rapids… Duvie Westcott has 9 points (2g, 7a), over his past 7 games.