Minor League Report: October 14
From Russia with Love
2008-09 RECORD: 2-0-0-0, 4 points, (1-0-0-0 home, 1-0-0-0 road), second place, North Division
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, October 17 @ Binghamton (2-0-0-0, 4 points), second place, East Division
Saturday, October 18 @ Hershey (3-0-0-0, 6 points), first place, East Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Friday, October 10 - Crunch 4, ROCHESTER 3
Saturday, October 11 - CRUNCH 6, Rochester 1
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
CRUNCH TIE AHL RECORD WITH 17 CONSECUTIVE REGULAR SEASON WINS:
The returning players on the Syracuse Crunch knew one thing coming into this past weekend’s home-and-home series against Rochester.
Those players experienced a run at the end of last year’s regular season that saw the team rattle off 15 consecutive wins. Although historic for the franchise, the club fell two games short of tying the AHL's all-time regular season consecutive wins mark, in part because they simply ran out of games to play. The Crunch were so good at the end of last season, they went 24-1-0-5 in their final 30 games.
After getting off to 3-7 and 0-6 starts in each of the last two seasons, the Crunch did not want to repeat history. The team won a close game in Rochester Friday night that saw the Amerks battle back to within one goal two times. Key goals from Nikita Filatov, Derek MacKenzie and Mike York propelled the Crunch to a close 4-3 victory.
With a chance to make history on a night when history was honored by raising a banner in tribute to Paul Newman, the Crunch didn't disappoint the capacity crowd at the War Memorial at Oncenter with a 6-1 lashing of their I-90 rivals. The win was the club's seventeenth in a row, tying them for the most consecutive regular season wins with the 2003-04 Philadelphia Phantoms, who put together that streak from October 22 to November 27, 2004.
The Crunch will try to break the record when they travel to Binghamton on Friday night.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE:
If you visit the Crunch locker room before practice on a normal day, you will notice players taping sticks, lacing up skates, reading the newspaper, or talking to each other while pump-up music plays in the background. Although the language being spoken is primarily English, you definitely notice another language as a close second. That language is Russian.
That's because the Crunch currently have four Russian players on the team. All four players are Columbus Blue Jackets draft picks and most have contributed to the Crunch’s 2-0 start.
Nikita Filatov, Maksim Mayorov, Andrey Plekhanov and Kirill Starkov add a noticeable European flair to what is an otherwise gritty Crunch lineup.
18-year old Blue Jackets 2008 first-round pick Filatov notched two goals in his first two professional games, including the game-winner in Saturday's home-opener against Rochester.
19-year old Mayorov scored a highlight reel goal on Saturday by going top shelf after deking his way around the Rochester defenseman and has been impressive in his first two professional games.
Plekhanov has contributed two assists, including one on the power play in his first two games this season. He recorded 25 points (9g, 16a), in 40 games last season with the Crunch.
Although he has yet to see action in the regular season this year, Starkov led the Crunch in preseason scoring with three points (2g, 1a) in three games and registered eight points (4g, 4a) in 20 games last season with Syracuse.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch make their first trip of the year to Binghamton on Friday, as they battle the B-Sens in the first of eight meetings between the two teams. Syracuse took five of eight meetings last season against their I-81 rivals. Zenon Konopka (6g, 1a) and Derick Brassard (1g, 6a), led the Crunch with seven points each in the season series. Dan LaCosta went 3-0-0-0 with a 1.65 goals against average and .947 save percentage against the B-Sens last year. For Binghamton, Alexander Nikulin led all players with 9 points (3g, 6a). Josh Hennessy tallied 7 points (2g, 5a) and Jeff Glass went 2-3-0-0 with a 2.72 goals against average and .921 save percentage against the Crunch last season.
HERSHEY BEARS (WASHINGTON CAPITALS): The Crunch travel further south into central Pennsylvania on Saturday to take on Hershey in their first of two meetings this season. These two teams did not play each other last year. The Bears swept both games in 2006-07 by a combined 11-3 score. The Crunch are 26-34-12 against Hershey all-time. These two teams don’t meet again until February 16 at the War Memorial at Oncenter.
Steve Kelly, Derek MacKenzie and Dan Smith all wore an 'A' as alternate captains Friday night… Craig MacDonald, Aaron Rome and Mike York all wore an 'A' as alternate captains Saturday night… The Crunch's opening night roster consisted of 10 Canadians, seven Americans, four Russians and one native of Denmark… Eight players made their Crunch debuts last weekend (Dahm, Filatov, Kelly, MacDonald, Mayorov, Sigalet, Vigilante and York)… Three players (Dahm, Filatov and Mayorov), made their North American and professional debuts… Filatov tallied his first professional, AHL and North American point with his second period goal Friday… York and Kelly both tallied their first points in a Crunch uniform as Kelly assisted on York's third period marker Friday night... Filatov, Kelly, MacKenzie, Pineault, Plekhanov, Sestito and York all recorded at least a point in each of the Crunch's first two games… Mayorov's first period marker Saturday was his first as a professional and first as a member of the Crunch... Sebastian Dahm made his professional and Crunch debut Saturday, stopping all 15 shots he faced in the third period.