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Syracuse Crunch Weekly Report

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
2009-10 RECORD: 24-27-3-3, 54 points, (13-10-1-1 home, 11-17-2-2 road), sixth place, East Division

Wednesday, February 24 @ Adirondack (26-27-2-2, 56 points), fifth place, East Division
Friday, February 26 @ Lake Erie (27-26-0-4, 58 points), fifth place, North Division
Saturday, February 27 vs. Springfield (18-31-9-3, 48 points), eighth place, Atlantic Division
Sunday, February 28 vs. Norfolk (30-25-3-1, 64 points), third place, East Division

Wednesday, February 17 vs. Texas: Texas 3; CRUNCH 1
Friday, February 19 vs. Lake Erie: Lake Erie 6; CRUNCH 4
Saturday, February 20 vs. Binghamton: CRUNCH 2; Binghamton 1

CRUNCH MAKE HISTORY IN MIRABITO OUTDOOR CLASSIC: It was a day that will live on in the annals of American Hockey League history. On Saturday, February 20, the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Binghamton Senators, 2-1 in the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, the AHL's first-ever outdoor game in the circuit's 74-year history.

A record crowd of 21,508 people packed the New York State Fairgrounds. A booming rendition of the national anthem by Mercury recording artist Jessie James, complete with a fly-by from the 174th Fighter Wing New York Air National Guard and introductions of Crunch all-time greats J.F. Labbe and Dan Smith and NHL legends Danny Gare, Bobby Nystrom and Rob Ray set the tone for a memorable afternoon.

If that wasn't enough, skydiver Ray Maynard proceeded to float down from above to deliver a puck to Governor David Paterson and Senator Chuck Schumer from the first-ever NHL outdoor exhibition game, that featured Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers facing off in 88-degree weather in Las Vegas on September 27, 1991.

Alexandre Picard scored the first-ever AHL outdoor game goal to put the Crunch up 1-0 at the 6:47 mark of the first period, before Binghamton's Josh Hennessy knotted the game at 1-1 just over five minutes into the second.

Windsor, Ontario native David Liffiton gave the Crunch back the two-tally edge when his wrister beat Mike Brodeur with 12 seconds left in the second session. Liffiton's goal stood up as the game-winner as goaltender Kevin Lalande denied 36 of 37 Binghamton bids to earn first star of the game honors.

A BIG LIFT: Known as more of a defensive defenseman, David Liffiton normally quietly goes about his business on the ice. He has been chipping in offensively lately, and recently set a career-high in points by recording the game-winning goal in Saturday's Mirabito Outdoor Classic vs. Binghamton, giving him 15 points (4g, 11a) in 50 games, eclipsing his former career-high of 14 points (4g, 10a), set when he skated in 58 games for Hartford back during the 2005-06 season.

He is currently riding a personal season-high four game point streak (2g, 2a) and has seven points (2g, 5a), over his last eight games. Liffiton was signed by Columbus to a two-way NHL/American Hockey League contract on September 30, 2009.

ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS (PHILADELPHIA FLYERS): The Crunch travel to Glens Falls for just the second time this season for the fifth of six overall games between these two clubs this year. Alexandre Picard leads the Crunch and all players in the season series with five points (2g, 3a) in four games. Jared Aulin has pitched in four points (3g, 1a) while Kevin Lalande is 2-0-0 with a 0.86 goals against average and .967 save percentage against the Phantoms this year. Jared Ross has tallied four assists and Jon Matsumoto has notched three points (2g, 1a) for Adirondack against the Crunch this season. The Crunch have won three of the four meetings against the Phantoms this season, including the last two.

LAKE ERIE MONSTERS (COLORADO AVALANCHE): The Crunch make their first and only visit of the year to Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night to battle the Lake Erie Monsters. Lake Erie took the only other game between these two former division foes on February 19. T.J. Hensick notched three points (1g, 2a) against the Crunch and was named the game's first star for his effort, while former Crunch center Philippe Dupuis (1g, 1a) and Brian Willsie (1g, 1a), contributed two points each. The Crunch's Brendan Bell has a five points (1g, 4a) in three combined games with Syracuse and Peoria against Lake Erie this season.

SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (EDMONTON OILERS): The Crunch welcome the Springfield Falcons to town for the second of two overall games between these two teams. The Crunch defeated Springfield in the only other meeting back on January 15 at the MassMutual Center by a 6-3 score. Dylan Reese tallied a career-high three points (2g, 1a), Trevor Frischmon had a goal and an assist and Brendan Bell, Mike Blunden and Jonathan Sigalet chipped in two assists each. Marc Pouliot recorded two points (1g, 1a) for the Falcons in the contest. Charles Linglet leads all Springfield players and ranks sixth in the AHL with 58 points (16g, 42a).

NORFOLK ADMIRALS (TAMPA BAY LIGHTING): The Crunch face division rival Norfolk at home on Sunday to finish up a four game in five day stretch. Syracuse has fared well against Norfolk this year, winning four of the first five contests against the Admirals. Jared Aulin leads the way in scoring for the Crunch against Norfolk, with five points (3g, 2a) in three games, while Brendan Bell (1g, 3a), Dan Fritsche (1g, 3a) and Derek MacKenzie (4 assists) each have four points in the season series. In three games against Norfolk this year, Kevin Lalande is 2-0-0 with a 1.56 goals against average and .955 save percentage. For the Admirals, Juraj Simek has registered five points (2g, 3a) against the Crunch this year.

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: CRUNCH ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF ALE 'N' ANGUS COWBELL GIVEAWAY: The Syracuse Crunch announced today that the first 1,500 fans at this Saturday's February 27 game vs. Springfield will receive a cowbell, courtesy of Ale 'n' Angus Pub. Ale 'n' Angus Pub is located at 238 Harrison St., kitty-corner to the War Memorial in downtown Syracuse. Ale 'n' Angus Pub offers a full bar, a variety of American cuisine and hosts private parties. Reservations on game nights can be made by calling (315) 426-9672.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE: The Crunch's weekly schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, February 24 - 10 a.m. Skate @ War Memorial at Oncenter; Game @ Adirondack 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 25 - 10:30 a.m. Practice @ TBD
Friday, February 26 - 11:15 a.m. Skate @ Lake Erie; Game @ Lake Erie 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 27 - 10 a.m. Skate @ War Memorial at Oncenter; Game vs. Springfield 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 28 - Game vs. Norfolk 3 p.m.

CRUNCHABLES: The Crunch set a new AHL single-game attendance record on Saturday, packing 21,508 fans into the New York State Fairgrounds... The previous record was held by the Carolina Monarchs, who drew 20,672 fans to the Greensboro Coliseum for a game against Kentucky on January 18, 1997... With that crowd, the Crunch jumped to 10th in the 29-team AHL with an average attendance of 5,529... Kevin Lalande has given up two goals or less in four of his last five starts... The Crunch plays 15 of their final 23 games at home... Derek MacKenzie is tied for the AHL league lead in shorthanded goals (5) and points (6)... The Crunch are 7-3-0-0 over their past 10 road games.

--Syracuse Crunch --

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