THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, November 7 @ Binghamton (4-3-1-1, 10 points), fourth place, East Division
Saturday, November 7 vs. Manitoba (8-2-0-0, 16 points), second place, North Division
Sunday, November 8 vs. Houston (6-4-0-0), 12 points), third place, West Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Wednesay, October 29 - Crunch 2, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Saturday, November 1 - Crunch 3, ROCKFORD 2
Sunday, November 2 - CHICAGO 2, Crunch 1
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
SIGALET SHINES ON THE BACK END: It was a week to remember for Syracuse Crunch defenseman Jonathan Sigalet, as he tallied four points (2g, 2a), in three games.
Sigalet is no stranger to contributing points from the blueline, registering 21 goals and 60 assists in 199 AHL games with Providence before coming to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization in an off-season trade.
After netting only one assist in his first four games this season, Sigalet's first goal as a member of the Crunch was a huge one, scoring the overtime-winner in a 4-3 come-from-behind win vs. Binghamton October 24.
He has embarked in an offensive onslaught since then, racking up six points (2g, 4a), in his last four games. His most significant effort came Saturday night in Rockford, again in dramatic fashion.
Having already assisted on the Crunch’s first marker of the game and down by a goal with less than five and a half minutes to play, Sigalet took it upon himself to will Syracuse to another come-from-behind win.
All he did was score the game-tying and game-winning goals, the latter coming with just 1:09 remaining in the third period for a 4-3 Crunch victory, earning first star honors in the process.
Through nine games this season, Sigalet is tied for the team lead with eight points (3g, 5a). Those numbers also place him in a tie for fourth place in scoring among defensemen in the AHL.
GOALTENDERS GETTING IT DONE: One concern Crunch fans might have had at the beginning of this season was the question mark and lack of experience in between the pipes.
Before this season started, Crunch goaltenders had a combined 34 games of AHL experience under their belts, all coming by way of Dan LaCosta. Through his first five games this season, LaCosta has gone 5-0-0 with a 2.08 goals against average and .929 save percentage. For his effort and due to an injury to Pascal Leclaire in Columbus, LaCosta was recalled October 26.
Coming off a knee injury himself, and due to the call-up of LaCosta, that opened the door for 20-year old rookie and highly-touted prospect Steve Mason to show what he can do. In his first three games this season, he has not disappointed, going 2-1-0 with a 1.63 goals against average and .937 save percentage.
Mason looked at ease in his first professional start last Wednesday night in Grand Rapids, turning aside 32 of 33 Griffins shots and out-dueling Syracuse native Jimmy Howard to pick up the 2-1 win, his first as a professional.
Overall, Crunch netminders have allowed just 22 goals in the first nine games and stopped 253 of 275 total shots, good for a 2.39 team goals against average and .920 save percentage. The Crunch are currently tied with Portland for third in fewest goals against in the AHL.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch finish up their four-game road trip with a short drive down I-81 to Binghamton Friday night to take on the B-Sens at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. These two clubs could be in for a close game if history repeats itself, as both games they have played against each other this season have seen overtime. Syracuse defeated Binghamton in a come-from-behind shootout victory on October 17, converting on four of five shootout attempts for the 3-2 win. The Crunch also defeated the B-Sens on October 24, again coming back from a two-goal deficit to win on Jonathan Sigalet's overtime goal. Craig MacDonald (2g, 1a), Maksim Mayorov (0g, 3a) and Clay Wilson (2g, 1a), have led the offensive charge for the Crunch with three points each in the season series, while Dan LaCosta has gone 2-0-0 with a 2.33 goals against average and .930 save percentage against Binghamton. Ilya Zubov has tallied three points (2g, 1a), in the series for the Senators.
MANITOBA MOOSE (VANCOUVER CANUCKS): The Crunch welcome in the Manitoba Moose for the first of four meetings this season and first match-up since the Crunch's dramatic Game Six overtime victory to eliminate the Moose in the North Division Semifinals last Spring. Aaron Rome (1g, 2a) and Clay Wilson (0g, 3a), helped lead the scoring attack in the season series with the Moose last year, while Adam Pineault chipped in two goals. Jason Jaffray (4g, 1a) and Jimmy Sharrow (1g, 4a), led the attack for Manitoba. History tells us that these two clubs are very evenly matched, as the Crunch edged Manitoba by one point for second place in the North Division in 2007-08, needed six games to dispatch them in the North Division Semifinals and are 11-11-2 all-time against the Moose.
HOUSTON AEROS (MINNESOTA WILD): Syracuse welcomes in a rare West Division opponent in the form of the Houston Aeros for a matinee match-up on Sunday. The Crunch were 1-0-0-1 in two meetings with Houston last season and own a 4-3-1 all-time record against them. The Crunch took a 3-2 decision in Houston on October 30 last season and fell in a shootout, 5-4, on February 22 at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Derek MacKenzie tallied two points (1g, 1a), while Derick Brassard notched two assists in the one game he skated in. Erik Reitz and Clayton Stoner tallied three points (1g, 2a), each in the season series.
Saturday night's game in Rockford was the first time Nikita Filatov has been held scoreless… Jonathan Sigalet had his four-game point-scoring streak snapped on Sunday @Chicago… The Crunch set a season-low by taking just six minutes worth of penalties on Sunday @Chicago… The Crunch are 5-1 in one-goal games this season… Syracuse is 7-0 when they score two goals or more… The Crunch are 4-0-0-0 against North Division opponents… Syracuse was 29-12-2-0 against North Division opponents last season… The Crunch have had 12 players record multiple-point games in the first nine contests this season.
Johnstown, Pa. – Last week, the Johnstown Chiefs put to bed a season-long four-game road trip with three games over a span of four days. The Chiefs proved their mettle as road warriors as they won two of the three games and improved their road record on the season to 4-1-0. Next up for the Chiefs is a four-game stretch at the UPMC Health Plan Ice Rink at the Cambria County War Memorial that begins with a pair this weekend against the Reading Royals.
Record: 5-3-0, 10 pts., T-2nd place North Division
Goals – Randy Rowe: 5
Assists – Petr Pohl: 9
Points – Petr Pohl: 10
+/- - Chris Mueller/Kyle Bushee: +3
PIMs – Alex Penner: 36
PPG –Randy Rowe: 4
Wins – Ian Keserich/Kris Mayotte: 2
GAA – Kris Mayotte: 1.92
SVP – Kris Mayotte: .934
This Week: 11/7 & 11/8 vs. Reading, 7:05 p.m. – Home (0-0-0), Away (1-0-0)
The Chiefs' four-game home stand begins with a pair of contests against their in-state rival Reading Royals. The Chiefs began the season series with a 6-4 win against the Royals in their home opener on October 25. Johnstown's offense roared to life with a four-goal second period in that game, Petr Pohl had a team-high four points (4A), and rookie goalie Sebastian Dahm earned his first professional victory. The Chiefs will be looking to build on their two game winning streak after victories over Wheeling and Dayton to finish their four-game road trip. Reading is off to a shaky 2-4-0 start under new coach Jason Nobili, and the loss against the Chiefs started a three-game losing streak. The Royals rebounded to beat Idaho 6-2 for their first home win of the season on 11/1. The Chiefs were 2-3-0 against Reading at home last year.
Fri. 11/7: Chiefs vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m. – internet; approx. 9:30 – radio (tape delay)
Sat. 11/8: Chiefs vs. Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m. – radio and internet
*All Chiefs radio broadcasts can be heard on 1490 AM WNTJ and AM 990 WNTW, and live streaming audio of every Chiefs game is available courtesy of B2 Networks at www.johnstownchiefs.com. The Chiefs radio network is presented by Dodge.
Last Week: (2-1-0)
10/30 at Trenton: L 5-2
The Devils were able to end the Chiefs' string of victories at Sovereign Bank Arena that dated back to 12/27/07 with a 5-2 victory that was closer than the final score indicates. After a scoreless first period, the Chiefs and Devils traded goals 37 seconds and 24 seconds apart in the second and third periods, respectively. Trenton pulled away with three straight goals from Tyler Burton (PP; 5:58), Scott Bartlett (14:53), and Eric Castonguay (19:21; EN). Mike Bartlett and Jason Spence each picked up their first goals of the season for the Chiefs.
11/1 at Wheeling: W 3-2 (SO)
The Chiefs were faced with the tall task of slowing down the Nailers' high-flying offense on the road, and they passed the test with flying colors. Kris Mayotte got his first start of the season and made 38 saves in regulation, including a penalty shot from Tobias Holm, and five more in the shootout to help the Chiefs hold Wheeling to their lowest goal total of the season so far. Petr Pohl scored his first goal as a Chief on the power play and Randy Rowe added a PP goal as well that gave the Chiefs a brief 2-1 lead. Wheeling's Rob Sirianni scored nine seconds after Rowe's goal to eventually force overtime and the shootout. Choppy ice made things tough on the shooters but Pohl scored first for Johnstown, and Mike Bartlett provided the game winner in the sixth round.
11/2 at Dayton: W 4-2
Johnstown visited the Nutter Center last Sunday with a bit of revenge on its mind. Revenge because the Bombers beat the Chiefs 1-0 in Johnstown in the first meeting of the teams this season, and revenge because the Chiefs went 0-4-1 against Dayton in Ohio last season. The game played out almost perfectly for the Chiefs as Andrew Sarauer scored his first pro goal shorthanded, and Randy Rowe added his team-leading fourth power play goal to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead before the first was 10 minutes old. Dayton came back with goals from Justin Bowers (11:18; 1st) and Mike McLean (1:41; 2nd) to tie the game. Johnstown was unfazed, though, as the combination of Jon Landry from Matt Robinson and Ryan Del Monte cashed in twice in the second to set the final. Landry scored his third of the year at 4:39 of the second, and added an insurance goal on the power play at 15:13. Kris Mayotte earned his second straight win as he made 19 saves.
And the Nominees Are: Two Johnstown Chiefs have been nominated for weekly awards in the ECHL. Goalie Kris Mayotte is up for Goaltender of the Week honors after posting a 2-0-0 record, a 1.92 goals against average, and a .934 save percentage. Also, defenseman Ray Macias is in the running for Player of the Week honors. The defenseman from Long Beach, CA had four assists in three games last week, and with a goal against Reading on 10/25 has a four-game point streak, the longest for the Chiefs so far this season.
Road Kings: The Chiefs were tested in the early portion of this season with five of their first eight games away from the confines of the UPMC Health Plan Ice Rink at the Cambria County War Memorial. The team rose to the challenge, though, and holds an impressive 4-1-0 road record. With the strong start on the road, the Chiefs narrowly missed tying an old team record. The longest road winning streak in team history is five games and was set in 1993-94, and then equaled in 2001-02. Johnstown will have plenty more cracks at that mark, including two more four-game road trips that feature three-game sets in Cincinnati.
Any Fingernails Left?: There haven't been many, if any, instances where Chiefs fans were able to feel comfortable during a game so far this season. Every game that Johnstown has been involved in has had a slim margin of victory. In the Chiefs' five wins, they are averaging a 1.6 goal margin of victory and a 2.0 goal differential in their three defeats.
Andrew's a Killer: Chiefs rookie forward Andrew Sarauer's 6'4", 205-pound frame makes him hard to miss on the ice. Recently he's found a way to make himself stand out even more; by becoming a strong penalty killer. Sarauer has helped the Chiefs to an 84.3 percent conversion rate on the PK so far, which is eighth in the ECHL, but he has also become a scoring threat shorthanded. Sarauer earned his first pro point by assisting on Mark McCutcheon's shorthanded goal 10/25 at Reading, and then scored his first pro goal on a shorthanded breakaway 11/2 at Dayton.
Defense First: They say that defense wins championships, and if that's the case the Chiefs are in great shape. It's still early but the Chiefs rank fifth in the ECHL, and first in the American Conference in goals-against average. They've been allowing a paltry 2.75 goals per game. The defense has been strong from the blue line on back, and the Chiefs’ goalies are reaping the rewards. Kris Mayotte ranks seventh in the league with a 1.92 GAA and Ian Keserich is 13th with a 2.62 GAA.