Week Thirteen: Smith Shines
With all the player movement and injuries to the roster this season, the Crunch haven't had much consistency in their lineup. One player that has been a constant and provided offense on a regular basis is center Trevor Smith. After being shuffled around on all sorts of different line combinations, Smith has been a true professional and quietly gone about his business, leading the club in scoring with 27 points (12g, 15a) in 35 games.
Smith appeared in all five games for the Crunch this past week, helping his team to a 3-2-0-0 record while leading the club in scoring with seven points (5g, 2a). After being held scoreless in Syracuse's first two games of the week on Tuesday vs. Adirondack and Wednesday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Smith scored his eighth goal of the season while registering four shots on goal in a 4-2 win over the defending Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears on Friday, December 31. The win broke a five-game road losing streak to Hershey and was the Crunch's first victory at the Giant Center since a 5-4 shootout win on December 3, 2005. Smith then picked up two assists in a dominating 4-1 win over Rochester on Saturday, January 1, the Crunch's first win in four tries against their I-90 rivals this season.
The North Vancouver, British Columbia native decided not to be so quiet and made a lot of noise on Sunday, January 2, tying a Crunch single-game record by exploding for four goals in a 5-3 win over Albany at the Times Union Center. Smith lit the lamp in four of the five ways possible to score a goal in a hockey game, tallying at even strength, on the power play, while shorthanded and into an empty net. The only way in which he did not score was on a penalty shot. He also tied a Crunch season-high with two power play goals in a game and racked up a season-high nine shots on goal. Smith became the fifth player in Crunch history to score four goals in a game, joining Steve Kariya, Mark Hartigan, Andy Delmore and Alexandre Picard. In addition to leading the team in overall scoring, Smith's eight power play points (2g, 6a) are also tops among all Crunch players this year.
POWERING UP: It's no secret that when the Crunch's power play is producing, they are a much better team that sees much better results. When the Crunch score at least one power play goal in a game, they are 11-4-1-2. When Syracuse's man-advantage attack is kept off the score sheet, the club is 3-14-0-1. Recently, the power play has been on the rise, with the Crunch going 5-for-15 (33.3%) with the man-advantage over the last three games, a stretch that has seen Syracuse go 3-0-0-0. The Crunch are 28-for-156 (18.0%) on the power play this season, which ranks 14th among the 30 AHL teams. In addition, 13 different players have scored a power play goal for the Crunch this season, with Matt Beleskey leading the way with five man-advantage goals.
BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch travel down I-81 to Binghamton for the fourth and final time and fifth of eight overall meetings between these two clubs this year. The Crunch won the first game of the season series by a 2-1 score back on October 16, but since then it has been all Binghamton, which has won all three subsequent contests by a combined score of 16-0. AHL leading scorer Corey Locke has scored nine points (1g, 8a) of his 46 points (11g, 35a) against the Crunch this season, while Bobby Butler has notched six of his AHL rookie-leading 18 goals vs. Syracuse. Goaltenders Robin Lehner and Barry Brust have combined to go 3-1-0-0 with a 0.50 goals against average and .982 save percentage against the Crunch this year.
ALBANY DEVILS (NEW JERSEY DEVILS): The Crunch travel to Albany on Saturday, January 8 to take on the Devils for the second time in a week at the Times Union Center. The Crunch have picked up seven of a possible eight points against Albany so far this season, going 3-0-0-1 against their East Division rivals. Trevor Smith (4g, 3a in four games) and Dan Sexton (2g, 5a in three games), have each recorded seven points this season against Albany, while Timo Pielmeier and J.P. Levasseur have each started two games, combining for a 1.96 goals against average and .926 save percentage. For the Devils, Matt Anderson (1g, 2a), Adam Henrique (1g, 2a), Vladimir Zharkov (1g, 2a) and Alexander Urbom (0g, 3a) have all recorded three points in the season series.
CRUNCH PLAYERS TO SIGN AUTOGRAPHS AT NESTLE CANDY DISPLAY AT FAYETTEVILLE TOPS FRIENDLY MARKETS: The Syracuse Crunch announced today that Crunch players Dan Sexton and Nigel Williams will be at the Nestle candy display at the Fayetteville TOPS Friendly Markets on Monday, January 10. Sexton and Williams will be signing autographs from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. The TOPS Friendly Markets location in Fayetteville is located at 5351 N. Burdick St. For directions, please call (315) 637-7903. Players are subject to change.
PRACTICE SCHEDULE: The Crunch's weekly schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, January 4 Practice @ Cicero Twin Rinks - 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, January 5 Practice @ Cicero Twin Rinks - 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, January 6 Practice @ Cicero Twin Rinks - 11:00 a.m.
Friday, January 7 Morning Skate @ Cicero Twin Rinks - 10:30 a.m.
Game @ Binghamton - 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, January 8 Morning Skate TBD
Game @ Albany - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 9 TBD
CRUNCHABLES: The Crunch are currently riding a season-high three-game road winning streak, which is also tied for their overall season-high winning streak.The Crunch have had 40 different players play in at least one game so far this season.With Sunday's win over Albany, the Crunch ended a five-game in six-day stretch.The Crunch chased a goaltender from a game for the first time this season after Dany Sabourin was pulled in favor of Braden Holtby on Friday at Hershey.
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American Hockey League Stories from January 3, 2011
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