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Syracuse Crunch Notebook

by Turner Batten / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Crunch take over first place in the Eastern Conference

The Syracuse Crunch managed to take two out of three games over the weekend solidifying first place in the Eastern Conference.

After a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of the Binghamton Senators on Friday night, the Crunch bounced back on the road with a 4-1 win on Saturday against the Albany Devils and a 6-1 victory on Sunday against the Worcester Sharks.

Syracuse has now collected 26 points for the season with a 12-3-1-1 record, which puts them two points ahead of the Springfield Falcons. The Crunch hold a four-point lead over the Binghamton Senators in the East Division, an upcoming opponent for the Crunch.

The Crunch will look to bounce back this weekend against Binghamton after the loss last week in a pivotal division match-up.

Brown Bag of Tricks: Crunch right wing J.T. Brown recorded his first professional hat trick this past Sunday against the Worcester Sharks. He also added an assist to his three goals becoming the first Crunch player this season to post a four-point game. With three goals and five assists during the previous eight games, Brown has accumulated a total of 10 points (four goals, six assists) this season through 13 games.

Hitting The Panik Button: Richard Panik is currently riding a 10-game point streak, which is the longest active in the AHL. After a slow start to the season, Panik has picked up 13 points during his 10-game roll and is currently third among Crunch skaters in scoring. Panik and the Crunch will face the Connecticut Whale and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this coming weekend whom Panik has not registered a point against. Panik will be happier to see Binghamton Sunday, a team he has tallied four points against in two games.

Home Away From Home: This year the Crunch have been performing on the road like they should be performing on home ice. With just a .500 record at home of 3-3-1-1, the Crunch seem much more comfortable on the road where they have won their past nine games and have yet to lose in regulation on the road this season. This weekend the Crunch will travel to Connecticut, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Binghamton and put their AHL-best 9-0-0-1 road mark to the test once again.

Johnson Flying High: Imitating Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson has got a six-game point streak of his own going. This past weekend Johnson netted three goals and registered two helpers through three games to keep his streak alive. Johnson’s point streak has catapulted him past Cory Conacher to the top spot for Crunch scoring with 20 points. Johnson has also overtaken the AHL goal-scoring lead with 13 goals.

Killing Them Softly: The Crunch penalty kill is currently ranked second in the AHL posting an 89.1 percent success rate and they have been dynamite during the month of November. During this month opponents have had 40 power-play opportunities but have only converted on two of those attempts. This weekend the Crunch will face Connecticut who holds the AHL’s eighth-best power-play on home ice. The other two weekend opponents, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Binghamton, rank in the lower tier of AHL with regards to their home ice power-play.

Week Ahead: This weekend will be the fourth back-to-back-to-back weekend set of the season for Syracuse and their third in as many weeks. In these three-game situations, the Crunch have fared well, posting an 8-1-0-0 record. This weekend set is a bit different though since all games will be on the road, but again, being away from home has not seemed to bother the Crunch in the least bit this season.

Syracuse has faced both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Binghamton Senators twice this season, splitting both series. The Crunch have yet to play the Connecticut Whale this season.

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