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Minor League Report: March 3

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2008-09 RECORD: 29-26-3-2, 63 points, (16-10-1-0 home, 13-16-2-2 road), fifth place, North Division


THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Tuesday, March 3 vs. Hamilton (36-23-2-0, 74 points), third place, North Division
Friday, March 6 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (37-19-2-2, 78 points), third place, East Division
Saturday, March 7 @ Hamilton (36-23-2-0, 74 points), third place, North Division
Sunday, March 8 @ Albany (Glens Falls) (26-27-3-3, 58 points) sixth place, East Division

 
LAST WEEK'S RESULT

Wednesday, February 25 - LAKE ERIE 6, Crunch 0
Friday, February 27 - CRUNCH 6 Grand Rapids 5
Saturday, February 28 - CRUNCH 5, Albany 2

HOME TEAM IN CAPS


'PIC'KING IT UP:
Crunch left wing Alexandre Picard admittedly plays better when he is physical and plays a lot.

With injuries piling up for parent club Columbus, Picard spent a good chunk of time earlier this season with the Blue Jackets, playing sparingly in his 15 games in mostly a third and fourth line role.

As Columbus finally got healthier, they sent Picard back to the Crunch on February 3. After struggling to find his offensive game in his first 11 games after being sent down with just one assist over that span, Picard erupted for four points (3g, 1a) in two games this weekend.

He scored a goal in the Crunch's 6-5 win over Grand Rapids Friday and notched three points (2g, 1a) and was named the game’s first star on Saturday night vs. Albany. Overall, he has appeared in 29 games for the Crunch this season, tallying five goals, seven assists and 86 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.


CRUNCH OFFENSE EXPLODES:
After just four goals in their previous three games, the Crunch offense exploded on Friday and Saturday night, scoring a combined 11 goals in the two games.

Syracuse notched a season-high five second period goals and matched a season-high with six goals in the game in a 6-5 win over Grand Rapids on Friday. The Crunch scored four goals in a two minute, 56 second span and held on in the third period to pick up the two points.

The Crunch added another five goals in a 5-2 win over Albany Saturday. In all, five Crunch players recorded multiple-point games in the two combined contests. It was the highest goal output in back-to-back games for the Crunch all season.


POWERFUL POWER PLAY:
Despite being ranked 26th in the 29-team American Hockey League, the Syracuse Crunch power play has been showing signs of life lately.

Syracuse notched two man-advantage markers Friday night, the first time they scored at least two power play goals in a game since January 7 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Before being held to an 0-for-5 night on the power play on February 25 at Lake Erie, the Crunch had scored a power play goal in five consecutive games.

Over the last eight games, the Crunch are 8-for-41 with the man-advantage, good for a 19.51% success rate, which is well above their overall season power play percentage of 14.45%.


THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:

HAMILTON BULLDOGS (MONTREAL CANADIENS):
The Hamilton Bulldogs make their way into the War Memorial at Oncenter Tuesday for the seventh of eight meetings between these two clubs this year. The two clubs face each other again in Hamilton on Saturday night. The Crunch have taken four of the six previous meetings and are 11-3-0-0 against Hamilton over the past two years. Mike York leads all Crunch players in points against the Bulldogs this year (0g, 6a), while Hamilton's Yannick Weber has also tallied six points (3g, 3a), in the season series. Steve Kelly has five goals in four games, while Ben Maxwell (3g, 2a) and Mike Glumac (2g, 3a) have notched five points each for Hamilton. Bulldogs netminder and former Columbus Blue Jacket Marc Denis has struggled against the Crunch this year, posting an 0-4-0 record with a 3.80 goals against average and .877 save percentage.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS): The Crunch welcome in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday for the eighth and final meeting of the year between these two teams. The Crunch are 3-4-0-0 against the Penguins and Mike York leads all scorers in the season series with eight points (2g, 6a). Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Mark Letestu (3g, 4a) and Connor James (2g, 5a) lead the Penguins with seven points each, while Adam Berkhoel has gone 2-0-1 with a 1.95 goals against average and .929 save percentage this year.

ALBANY RIVER RATS (CAROLINA HURRICANES): The Crunch battle Albany for the second time in eight days, as Syracuse makes the trip east on I-90 for a match-up in Glens Falls, NY at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Crunch are 4-2-0-0 against Albany and Alexandre Picard (3g, 3a) and Mike York (1g, 5a), lead the Crunch in scoring against the Rats this year, while goaltender Sebastian Dahm has posted a 3-1-0 record with a 1.41 goals against average and .953 save percentage in the season series. For Albany, Mike Angelidis leads all River Rats in scoring with five goals.

 

CRUNCHABLES:
The Crunch have now scored 11 goals in their last two games and improved to 16-1-0-0 when they score four or more goals… Mike York has four points (1g, 3a) in his last two games… Saturday was York's tenth multi-point game of the season and the Crunch are now 8-2-0-0 when he notches at least two points… Nick Holden notched his first multi-point game as a professional (1g, 1a) on Friday and now has eight points (2g, 6a), over his last nine games… The Crunch won their second game of the year when allowing at least four goals Saturday… Tom Sestito returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing 12 games with a shoulder injury.

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