DYNAMIC DUO: There were many questions about the Crunch's goaltending situation before the 2010-11 season began. So far, those questions have been answered. Netminders J.P. Levasseur and Timo Pielmeier have been very strong, combining for a 1.97 goals against average and .941 save percentage in the first four games with both ranking among the AHL league leaders in those categories. Levasseur was the hard-luck loser on Friday night at Adirondack, stopping 23 of 26 shots, but played well enough to keep his team in the game.
Pielmeier was brilliant on Saturday vs. Binghamton, stopping 31 of 32 shots while picking up his first AHL win and the Crunch's first victory of the season. His only blemish of the night came with 1:10 remaining in regulation when Binghamton's Bobby Butler was credited after he scored off a scramble in front that was finally ruled a goal after a lengthy discussion between the referee and linesmen. Highlights of Pielmeier's night included a breakaway stop on Kaspars Daugavins in the second period and a sprawling glove save diving to his left on Roman Wick in the third.
GOING IN FOR THE KILL: The Crunch penalty killing unit has been something to watch over the first four games of the 2010-11 season. Syracuse currently leads all AHL teams in that department, killing off 23 of its first 24 infractions, good for a 95.8 % success rate. The Crunch killed off 19 straight penalties to start the season, not allowing a power play goal until the third game of the season at Adirondack. Conversely, the power play has been struggling, going just 1-for-21 in the season's first four contests, ranking 29th in the league with a 4.8 % success rate.
ANAHEIM ASSIGNS DEFENSEMAN LUCA SBISA TO SYRACUSE: Luca Sbisa, 20, has appeared in two games for Anaheim this season, going scoreless with two penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 49 career NHL games with Anaheim and Philadelphia, notching seven assists and 44 penalty minutes.
The 6-2, 207-pound blueliner began last season with Anaheim, going scoreless with six penalty minutes in eight games. He made his Ducks debut on October 3 vs. San Jose and split the remainder of the season with Lethbridge and Portland of the Western Hockey League (WHL), collecting 18 points (4g, 14a) with 29 penalty minutes in 29 games. In 13 WHL Playoff games with Portland, he added 4 points (2g, 2a).
In addition, Sbisa represented Switzerland at both the 2010 World Junior Championship as captain and 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. He appeared in five games during the Olympics (with Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller) and three at the World Juniors. A native of Ozieri, Italy, Sbisa was selected by Philadelphia in the first round (19th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired along with Joffrey Lupul, a first-round selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (Kyle Palmieri), a first-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Emerson Etem), and a conditional third-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft from Philadelphia in exchange for Chris Pronger on June 26, 2009.
NORFOLK ADMIRALS (TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING): The Syracuse Crunch welcome in the Norfolk Admirals on Friday, October 22 for the first of eight meetings between the two clubs this season. In six games last year, the Crunch went 4-2-0-0 (1-2-0-0 home, 3-0-0-0 road) and are 9-10-1 in 20 all-time contests against Norfolk. The Admirals are off and running with an undefeated 3-0-0-0 record and are led in scoring by Marc-Antoine Pouliot (1g, 6a), James Wright (1g, 4a) and Paul Szczechura (3g, 1a). All-Star goaltender Cedrick Desjardins put up a shutout in his only appearance of the season so far, making 29 saves in a 4-0 win on October 15 vs. Worcester.
HARTFORD WOLF PACK (NEW YORK RANGERS): The Crunch travel to Hartford on Saturday to face the Wolf Pack in the first of two games between the two clubs and the first of six games for Syracuse against an Atlantic Division opponent this season. The Crunch went 1-0-0-1 in two games against the Rangers' affiliate last season and are 3-6-3 in 12 all-time contests. Hartford is led in scoring by Kris Newbury (0g, 7a) and veteran defenseman Wade Redden, who has six points (1g, 5a) in his first five games. Goaltender Chad Johnson is 1-1-0 with a 2.22 goals against average and .913 save percentage in two games.
CRUNCH PLAYERS TO PARTICIPATE IN SPECIAL BOOK SIGNING OF THE PUCK HOG ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20: Crunch players Jon Mirasty, Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri will participate in a special book signing of The Puck Hog on Wednesday, October 20 from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble located at 3454 Erie Blvd. East in DeWitt. The Puck Hog is a children's book written by WSYR-TV news anchor Christie Casciano featuring a fictional youth hockey team named the Crunch. The story focuses on Eddie, a puck-hogging teammate who only cares about his own stats. A team trip to a Syracuse Crunch game and a pivotal moment on the ice leads to kids learning about the importance of teamwork and unselfishness. Casciano, as well as Crunch players Mirasty, Bonino and Palmieri will be on hand to take photos and sign autographs.
'OLD VS. NEW' VIEWING PARTY THIS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20 AT THE BEGINNING II: The Beginning II will host the 'Old vs. New' viewing party on Wednesday, October 20 when the Anaheim Ducks (Crunch's NHL affiliate from 2010-present) visit the Columbus Blue Jackets (Crunch's NHL affiliate from 2000-10) at 7 p.m. The Beginning II will have $10 all you can eat taco and drink specials beginning at 6 p.m. In addition, the Crunch will raffle off door prizes and tickets to an upcoming home game. Fans will also have the opportunity to win a Crunch fan pack, which includes a team-autographed jersey. In addition, Crunch players as well as Al, the Ice Gorilla and Mirabito Ice Girls will be on hand to take pictures and sign autographs. The Beginning II is located at 6897 Manlius Center Rd. in East Syracuse.
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American Hockey League Stories from October 18, 2010
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- Wolf Pack Weekly - Connecticut Whale
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- Sound Tigers Weekly Report - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Falcons Weekly Notes - Springfield Falcons
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- Wolves Weekly Notes - Chicago Wolves
- Rockford Takes Two of Three in Week Two - Rockford IceHogs
- Oklahoma City Weekly Report - Oklahoma City Barons
- Phantoms Weekly - Adirondack Phantoms
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- Griffins Return Home After Bagging Moose - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Blackhawks Assign Leddy to Rockford, Hog Talk at Swilligans Tonight - Rockford IceHogs
- Rampage Host Spurs Night this Saturday - San Antonio Rampage
- Monarchs Weekly Report - Manchester Monarchs
- Nick Spaling Recalled by Nashville - Milwaukee Admirals
- Amerks Spoil Home Opener, Phantoms In This Weekend - Hershey Bears
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